How to improve your bike with a flash tune

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How to improve your bike with a flash tune
How to improve your bike with a flash tune

What is a flash Tune? 

Flashing your ECU or ECU means that you modify your bike’s engine control system (also known as an engine control module or ECM). To optimize your bike’s performance, this involves changing the fuel and ignition mapping values. It’s a great way to improve your bike’s power, torque, performance, fuel efficiency, throttle response, smoothness, throttle response, and overall rideability. All bikes will benefit from an ECU flash. This is not a job for the DIY mechanic. It’s best to leave this job to professionals who have invested in powerful and expensive equipment (such scan tools that can read fault codes and diagnose faults, among other things) and are well-versed in the field.

Are you looking to upgrade your bike’s exhaust system? Have you replaced the restrictive factory filter? You’re likely to have. These modifications are the most common and popular on BT Moto. They allow the engine’s sound, performance, weight, and breathing to improve.

Is your bike actually that much more reliable? Is your bike achieving the performance gains that aftermarket brands promise? No, it has not. You will need to recalibrat your bike’s computer (also known as flashing the ECU) in order to reap the benefits and make it perform at its best. Those upgrades are only half of the story without it.

Let’s see why your modern needs to have a flash tune, regardless of whether you own a racebike, a sportbike, a learner or adventure bike. This does not apply if your bike uses EFI and is powered by a carburettor.

The airbox can be opened and a high-flow exhaust and filter installed. This will allow your bike to draw more air and extract it better. You get more power when there is more air. It’s not exactly. You can draw more air from your engine without having to adjust the ECU. This will cause the air-fuel mixtures to err toward being lean (too many air and too little fuel for the engine) and can lead to loss of power and torque as well as a real risk of engine damage in the medium- and long-term.

The advantages
Professional ECU tuners, dyno specialists, such as Dave Edgecombe, of Dynobike in Melbourne’s south east suburb of Moorabbin create and test multiple tunes before making them available for purchase. This includes separate tune files for each model of bike and each exhaust brand.

Dave points out that when it comes to choosing which ECU file to purchase and where to buy it from, it is important to consider the overall result and how it affects riding. Will you experience more acceleration and throttle response when riding on the streets? Is the engine cooler? Will the engine run cooler? It’s the difference in a good Tune and a bad one, and ultimately the difference in a great ride or a terrible ride,” says the ex-Team Honda race mechanic.

An ECU flash might not result in huge gains in power or torque, but it will make significant improvements in how it does those numbers.

The price
Either drop your bike off or take your ECU to a shop to be flashed. Dynobike charges between $500 and $600 for an Australian flash tune.

Tuning the bike for Dynobike’s mods, for example, starts at $895. Depending on the bike’s system complexity and how long it takes, it can cost up to $1500 for a Ducati Panigale.

Dynos are basically large treadmills that can be used to test cars or bikes. They provide a great way to measure data like power and torque characteristics, as well as air-fuel ratio. These measurements will determine how fuelling is being handled by your bike and thus make it as efficient as possible.

In summary
Because peak power and torque are only measured at maximum revs, good motorcycle tuners don’t spend much time on them. The rest of the power curve is what gets attention. Low throttle openings are where you need smooth, controllable power to let you open the throttle and inspire confidence.