Twenty-fifth in a series of helpful pointers written by MotoAmerica’s technical manager
Now that we have all the necessary stuff completed on our trackday Yamaha YZF-R1, we get to the fun part: electronics. In the last five or so years, electronics have progressed many times over and have become a lot more affordable.
About 15 years ago, the only modification you could make to the ECU was a piggyback Power Commander that controlled the lower injectors. A few years later, Power Commander introduced ignition controllers, secondary injector controllers, and quickshifters. Bazzaz became known for its all-in-one fuel, quickshift, and traction-control units. To this day, these piggyback units are a great way to tune the fuel mixture, adjust timing, make a little more power, and, most importantly, smooth power delivery.
Today’s motorcycles, however, already come equipped from the manufacturers with very powerful ECUs. Features that were previously only available on factory Superbikes—traction control, wheelie control, engine braking, fuel maps, ignition maps, launch control, quickshifting, auto blipping and more—are now often standard. So rather than installing a piggyback unit, I decided to access the stock ECU and make my adjustments internally.
There are many “flashing” companies, so do your research before purchasing. I chose the FT ECU Bike-Side Programming Harness with standard flash. I also added the auto-blip, quickshifter, and active-tune features.
Active tune works well because you can establish the parameters to sample fuel mixture under the conditions you choose and set fuel-adjustment limits. After a session on the track, you can either apply the adjustments to your stock map or let it learn each time you ride.
Auto blip lets you to downshift without using the clutch or changing throttle position. Combine that with a quickshifter for seamless upshifts and it feels like you are cheating the shifting gods. With the standard flash, you can disable fault codes and alter throttle output, as well as adjust fuel and ignition maps. You can even decide when the cooling fans kicks on.
Just remember a few things: Flashing the ECU is not legal for on-road use, and anytime you adjust fuel, ignition, or throttle control you might damage the engine. So, consult a professional if you don’t fully understand how to make these adjustments.
If you would like me to answer a tech-related question about the MotoAmerica Series or if you just have general motorcycle question, please email me at email@example.com.