Does my sportbike need a tuner?

Jan 9, 2019

Does my bike need a tuner after installing my new exhaust?

This is a question we get almost every day. The answer is not always the same. The truth is that it depends on your bike, your mods, and your desired end result. Let's break that down a bit.

Is the exhaust your only modification?

The government has restrictions on emissions that all bikes must pass. This means that a motorcycles engine and stock exhaust system is tuned to comply with these strict emission requirements. In most cases, the end result is a bike that is running lean from the factory. Technically speaking, a motorcycle will benefit from a proper ECU tune when it is BONE STOCK! Just because your bike is brand new, and seems to run fine, does not mean it is tuned to offer its full potential.

Basically, if you are only installing a slipon exhaust, in most cases the bike will still start and run ok with the slipon. However, just like the stock tune, your bike is already being choked down. Adding an aftermarket free-flowing exhaust or even a performance air filter only makes this lean condition worse. Why buy an exhaust if you arent going to benefit from the increased performance it was designed for?

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Are you installing a slipon or full system exhaust?

As mentioned above, a slipon exhaust is a small step towards increasing your bikes performance potential. When you install a slipon exhaust to a bike that retains the factory catalytic converter, the new exhaust improves air flow just enough, that the stock bike can try to adjust for the change. This level of adjustment is very minor and is more designed to adjust to keep the bike able to pass an emissions test. This leaves lots of untapped power and smoothness on the table. A simple tuning solution will take that new slipon exhaust and really unlock your bikes potential.

Installing a full system, or even a decat slipon system (eliminating the catalytic converter)? You DEFINITELY need to install a tuning system. Once you open of the exhaust flow of your motor to this level, your bike will struggle to provide enough fuel to match the drastically increased air outflow. Remember, your motor is just a pump. Air goes in, air goes out. At the level of exhaust gas flow that a full system offers, your motor simply cannot get enough fueling to run properly with the stock ECU tune. No stock ECU map can properly handle the changes that a full system offers your motorcycle.

Are you riding the track, the street, or both? How much does peak performance matter?

This is where it gets to be a personal choice. Can you install a slipon exhaust and leave your ECU tuning alone? Sure, riders do it all the time. Really it comes down to the rider deciding if the overall performance and reliability of their machine matters to them. If you install the exhaust for looks and some sound, and dont care if the bike runs poorly, then by all means, slipon that shiny new pipe and go ride. As long as you are aware that you have sacrificed performance and most likely, the long term reliability of your motor. A proper tune will certainly give you more power, but the overall run-ability of the engine is also improved. Throttle sensitivity is smoothed out with a proper tune. The surging or lurching that you bike does at low rpms is because of improper air to fuel ratios. A tuners entire job is to make the air to fuel ratio of your motor a proper mixture in all aspects.

What tuning solution do you use?

Fortunately, we have over a decade of experience with exhausts and tuners. Everything from full on Ducati race motors, to street hooligan bikes, we have matched up the proper tune for each individual motorcycle. It used to mean expensive time on a dyno machine, downloading and uploading fuel maps, and a laptop plugged into your bike as you test parameters to get that perfect static map. Only to have a map that is exactly that....static.

Gone are the days of burning up your rear tire on a dyno machine, and downloading random fuel maps generated from some yahoo on the internet with the same bike as you (but totally different elevation, mods, fuel octane, etc).

Now, with the technology that is available, the days of power commander static tunes or "maps" is gone. The high tech world of engine performance has developed completely dynamic "auto" tuning solutions. Adding a new air filter? No problem. Riding to a different elevation? No problem. Swapping from a slipon to a full system exhaust? No problem, the auto tuner handles the necessary changes.

The most popular tuning solution used on all of our street and track machines, is the Rapid Bike EVO Auto Tuner

  • Plug n Play
  • Connects using factory wiring harness plugs
  • No computer required (advanced tuning options may utilize a PC)
  • Dynamic tuning with no static map
  • No permanent ECU changes
  • Just ride! Let the auto tuner do the work

Rapid Bike is a completely automatic tuning solution. The piggyback unit installs with all plug-n-play stock connectors. Once the unit is installed, the Auto-Adaptive feature monitors your air/fuel parameters and applies the necessary adjustments AS YOU RIDE. No need to connect to your computer, mess with software, or make any changes. JUST RIDE. The Rapid Bike unit handles all the tuning. Perfect for stock bikes, slipon exhausts, full systems, and other common motorcycle upgrades.

Because this unit simply piggybacks the ECU, the unit can be removed at any time, and does not make any permanent changes that may affect the factory warranty.

The Rapid Bike module manages up to 8 injectors and modulates the signal up to two O2 sensors (up to 2 lambdas). The purpose of the O2 sensor (lambda) modulation is to prevent the stock ECU from recognizing the adjustment applied by the RapidBike module to the injection map without any further attempts to re-set the stock parameters matching the criteria fixed by the restrictive exhaust gas emission laws.

The Rapid Bike Evo module’s most important benefit is the Auto-adaptive feature. This offers the ability to automatically correct the injection map by reading the signal of the stock O2 sensor (lambda) and making the adjustments automatically while riding the bike.

When riding the motorcycle, the self-adaptive feature determines the automatic self-correction of the air/fuel ratio maps: this active management is added up to the pre-set parameters. The adjustments set by RapidBike improve the engine efficiency in order to reach the best performance.The self-correction process is set in multipoint technology according to RPM and TPS, for the whole range of the engine working, even when the original RPM limiter is raised (when available).

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rapid bike auto tuner