The Magic Box? The TRE and Low End Performance of the 2006 ZX- 14 Evaluated
Bikeland.org and Brock’s Performance Products Conduct an Independent Impartial Third Party Review of the TRE
The dawn of the internal combustion engine gave birth to motorsport, and in turn gave birth to enthusiasts, and the earheads who tinkered with engines squeezing those last final ounces of power out of their machines in an effort to be the fastest on the block. Along with the gearheads came the inventors, promising a quick fix for those less technically inclined. Even in today’s modern world where specifically engineered computer controlled digital componentry dictates the operation of our everyday lives, enthusiasts still seek out that magic box, gadget or pill that will unleash hidden horsepower held back by a perpetual X-Files like government conspiracy.
We’ve all seen the likes of it, and certainly the Internet has played (more often than not) into the hands of modern-day Snake Oil salesman, working the forums through a network of communications like “pss-t.. my buddy knows a guy who used this thing and I swear I gained 20 hp”. The inevitable debate ensues, usually ending up with a lack of hard data and the marketers throwing “seat of the pants” stories out there in an effort to sell their product.
Today’s story is a little different. The release of the ZX-14 and the birth of ZX-14.com has possibly, for the first time, brought together a group of riders and technicians who not only have the technical skill, knowledge and background, but also the facilities, industry positioning and resources to once and for all determine if today’s Magic Box, the “TRE”, lives up to its claims.
Sit back and read the Tale of the TRE…
Things couldn’t have been going better for Ivan Rovinsky before the ZX-14 hit the streets. As a renowned tuner and developer of his TRE, the “Timing Retard Eliminator”,Ivan had shared many years of success marketing his TRE to customers on the Internet through model specific enthusiast forums. More often than not, no one could really put their finger on exactly WHAT the TRE did, though some had their suspicions. Many riders couldn’t deny that the TRE did something, but what it did, no one was exactly sure. This left the TRE and Ivan in a sort of Internet “grey area”, him and his product being sent off into the annals of myth and folklore. Perhaps he HAD invented the Magic Box? No one was sure, but at the same time no one could state otherwise.
Advertising on a few sites, but covertly marketing on others brought some heat and unwanted attention to Ivan, mostly for his unpaid advertising tactics. Disgruntled webmasters had their hands full with Ivan and his friends, even on this site, but at the same time no one could state either way as to what the TRE did, or how it did it, and certainly no one wanted to get rid of him. What if Ivan was right? You wouldn’t want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
Two Worlds Collide
When the ZX-14 community got wind that their bikes had been neutered by KHI for low end performance, readers immediately went to work to try to solve the problem, and so begins the undoing of the Ivan myth, and finally some resolution to explain exactly what happens and why. The timing couldn’t have been worse for Ivan, as he stepped into the forum of online ZX-14 chat. He had expected the same age-old response to his product; mystified acceptance. He had been down this road before, so as a seasoned veteran of underground marketing, certainly the ZX-14 would be no different…. but this time things would be different. The ZX-14 is a unique motorcycle and its owners bring a unique and distinct wealth of information to the table.
Simultaneous to Ivan stumbling like a clutzy Desperate Housewives’ Teri Hatcher in the ZX-14.com door, industrious members of the site had focused their efforts on removing the suspect secondary butterfly valves fitted to the bike. Taking cues from both the automotive and motorcycle racing worlds,this likely suspect turns out to be the key in this long awaited and debated story. Part emissions, part drivability, the secondary butterfly valves limit the airflow into the throttle bodies. Tuners and rider’s interest peeked when a few members posted dynocharts reflecting 15% low-end power gains by simply removing these plates. 20 ft/lbs or torque for free is almost unheard of in today’s motorcycle enthusiast’s world.
Enter Ivan. Like a blind child walking into a hornet’s nest, his timing couldn’t have been worse. Per his standard marketing techniques, up went Ivan’s charts for his TRE, and immediately members cried foul! Why? Because the charts for the TRE almost exactly mirrored the charts for the secondaries being removed. Suddenly, finding himself label a heretic and backed into a corner, Ivan became entangled in arguments and debates, desperately trying to defend himself and his product. When Bikeland and ZX-14.com offered Ivan an independent, third party all expenses paid test to verify his product’s claims and clear his name, not only did Ivan outright refuse, but he went even farther.
He publicly stated that Bikeland and ZX- 14.com was “littered with a lot of trash and just plain low class animals”. Obviously this didn’t help his cause, but what it did do was to fuel Bikeland’s members’ desire to find out just exactly WHAT Ivan was selling, how it worked and why. Why were the dyno charts so similar? Had he lied and fudged the charts like members stated? And if his product didn’t work, then why did some members report it did work? Were they paid by Ivan? No one knew, and the plot thickened.
As word spread throughout the community, members began removing their secondary throttle plates, and others purchased TREs. Equally intrigued by the conspiracy theories was Brock Davidson of Brock’s Performance. When Brock tried to contact Ivan regarding testing and verifying the TRE, he ran into the same stone wall that Bikeland did. Bikeland, joining forces with Brock contacted Schnitz Racing to secure a TRE. Brock then went to work to finally crack this nut open, and give all of you, the readership, the information you need to make a purchasing decision.
The Story Unfolds:
Bikeland.org Low End Power Tests for the 2006 ZX-14
By Brock Davidson…
Internet ramblings are rampant these days about the “restricted” low RPM power issues perceived by some in regards to the ZX-14. After receiving a phone call inquiring about my personal views on this topic by the owner of ZX-14.com, aka fish_antlers (aka: Editor of Bikeland.org), I decided to conduct a bit of independent research on my own as a “continuing study” project on my personal ZX-14 “Diary Bike”.
Some points of interest: I only test using a known good fuel from a sealed container because pump gas results vary far too much. Since my personality dictates that I have NO USE for ALMOST going as fast as possible on the drag strip, my fuel of choice for testing is VP’s MR9 race gas. Side note: A lower octane rating keeps me away from the MR10. I have thoroughly tested the MR9 in my ZX-14 with no measurable problems. We know from experience to drain it after every use as multiple fuel pumps have been sacrificed to the damn-it gods in the past due to ignorance and/or laziness!
MR9 makes the best power and produces the most consistent results of any oxygenated fuel I have ever tested, and it’s readily available in my area. I am so anal that I even drain the “stock tanked” MR9 into a separate container before testing on pump gas. Then I refuel with fresh gas from the untainted sealed container to prevent contamination from any pump gas not sucked up by my Holly Blue Pump draining station. I expect…NO, I DEMAND +/- Hp variances of around 2 Hp for any particular day’s test if the weather conditions don’t change to extremes. There are always “flyers,” but I try to weed them out. I even compare first-pull (cooler engine) to secondpull (warmer engine) results and place them together. This is why you might see even number pulls in one section verses odd number pulls in another. I also try to keep the engine at a consistent temperature. As a result, you will also notice the peak numbers of this test down a bit from the Diaries. Had I given the engine appropriate time to cool, an additional 2-3 HP peak would be shown.
Since this is a continuation of the Diaries (not a part 3,) I have not labeled the days. But, a quick glance at the time/date on dyno charts and time tickets will confirm that I try to keep consistency to a maximum for all of my testing.
As you can tell from my Diary’s Part 1 and 2, I LOVE this motorcycle! As I continue learn more (practically on a daily basis as it seems,) I gain a greater respect for the time, effort, and thought Kawasaki’s team of engineers and technicians put into this machine. As an engineering-minded individual myself, I also realize just how tough their job is, in fact. Imagine if these gentlemen were turned loose on a project without emissions and noise restraints?! Could you imagine the 1352cc inline four cylinder GP missile they could construct? Ah, but back to reality…EPA regulations, sound requirements, smooth streetability, and $3 per gallon gas prices all add up to one big mess for them.
I have always experienced anxiety attacks on the street while attempting to obey the ridiculously low speed limits set for cars which can’t “accidentally” go 150 MPH while merging onto the interstate! This is why my personal street bikes see more drag strip time than road use. However, my customers don’t seem to have such issues, so it is my duty to assure smooth drivability and optimum performance in the lower revs seen during typical daily use. This Bikeland.org project is being conducted precisely for this reason. I have emphasized low rpm results as opposed to peak numbers for street junkies on the following dyno charts, but be sure your bike has NO IDEA if it’s on the street or a drag strip; so, our peak performance results combine very well with the lower rev mods to create a machine that out-accelerates any other production streetbike on the planet—PERIOD!
For these tests, I have once again enlisted the riding services of Mr. Walter (Sonny) Kerschner as my ability to heal from my MX mishap is not nearly as fast as my ability to find new ways to make the ZX-14 even quicker and faster. While Keith Dennis is fantastic, he lives too far away for weekly testing. Sonny has been riding the ‘pooh’ out of my bike since day one, and he only lives an hour or so from the track. This, and his ability to ride consistently, makes him the logical choice.
I have provided same day dyno and time ticket information on Sonny’s best factory set-up in the Diary Part 2, so I will not post these items here (with the exception of his best time ticket from Part 2 for comparison’s sake later on in this article.)
In a nutshell, Sonny was able to run a best pass of firstname.lastname@example.org MPH with stock throttle bodies and electronics just a couple of weeks ago. Our conditions at my home track this time of year hover in the 2000- 3000 ft. corrected air density range depending upon whether the sun is still out or has fallen during our Two-Wheel Tuesday test and tune sessions which begin at 6:00 pm at Kil-Kare raceway in Xenia, OH.
For my first test, I decide to confront the offerings of the TRE-008 available from Ivan’s Performance. I do not know Ivan personally, but have used his products in the past. They always do something, but there seems to be a bit of mystery surrounding what it is they do verses what they are named. Although it’s no mystery to me, explaining it in a few quick sentences is beyond the realm of this project, however by the end of this article you should have a reasonable grasp on what the TRE does to the bike and what it’s performance effects are.
As you can see by the chart below, simply adding the TRE netted a noticeable gain in torque and HP specifically in the lower revs. Also note the HORRIFIC lean condition on the Air/Fuel graph at the bottom of the Chart!
You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to realize that an OFF THE CHART lean condition at typical street cruising rpms is a VERY bad situation.
After mapping to correct this illness, a very nice gain from 68.12 ft-lbs to 86.13 ft-lbs of torque at 3400 rpms is noticed. SWEET! That’s also a pretty nice area to pick up around 9 additional Hp for street use.
But, HOW?! Oh no…here I go again. I decide that I MUST WATCH what is going on during a dyno pull to realize how this can be happening. I won’t get into the specifics of exactly what the TRE does here, but I will tell you that it tricks the bike into thinking it is in 6th gear all of the time. This is demonstrated by the gear position indicator ALWAYS indicating 6th gear. My initial estimate is that the bike’s stock ECU must open the secondary throttle plates quicker in 6th than in the lower gears. I tested this (by making a couple of 6th gear pulls before attempting to remap) to realize that the same AF spike at lower rpms was not noticed. Hmmm, I still need to watch this.
I prop up the gas tank and remove the right side cover to expose the inlets to cylinders three and four. This should be fun. Just whack the gas, watch the tach and take a photo. Seems simple enough. After, oh I don’t know, about **40** missed attempts trying to compensate for the delay between when I click the photo and the MUCH LATER moment when the shot actually snaps, I am finally able to capture the events.
Believe it or not, without the TRE, the secondary throttle plates DON’T EVEN MOVE until around somewhere around 7000 rpm! (It is rather hard to watch all of these items at once, but these numbers are pretty close.) This amazed me because the engine is still able to make well over 100 Hp with what appears to be a plugged inlet?!
After the TRE is installed, the shot at the top shows how much the secondaries are open a little before 3000 rpm, and the shot on the bottom at around 7000 rpm. They are still not open very much, but obviously enough to explain the gains on the charts above.
I had to show the above shot because it is THE COOLEST photo my ‘non-shutterbug’ behind has ever taken. This shot was totally by accident, mind you, and a direct result of the timing problems noted previously. It shows soon to be atomized fuel from the injectors being gulped into the 14’s bores during a pull at “full song” as the old timers used to say. I love technology!
As always, I attempt to dyno on my way to the track and the TRE test was no exception. One of the advantages of the TRE is the ability to quickly remove it and re-install for test purposes. I initially set the bike up “sans-TRE” to allow Sonny to attempt duplicate his previous 9.20. In the hot air this day, his best was a 9.23@151 MPH without the TRE with a first run back-up of email@example.com.
Sonny stated that he felt the 9.23 was a clean pass and that he didn’t see any reason not to try the TRE. His first attempt was a wheelie fighting firstname.lastname@example.org. After the pass he said the noticeable increase in torque was going to require that he left at a lower rpm to help keep the bike on the ground.
Here is the result. A better than stock, in worse air, best E.T. to date email@example.com. As a tuner, there is no better feeling than making a bike quicker, and Sonny received the personal satisfaction of going a “teen” all the while making sure everyone present knew that it was a week too late, to make it into the Diary Part 2.
The next item on my plate was to gather data pertaining to the complete removal of the secondary throttle plates. Internet hype claimed that this modification was the “Mecca of Mods” for the ZX-14 street enthusiast as tire-smoking wheelies were now immanent as the result of FREE removal of what Kawasaki placed into the 14 intentionally. Yea, right. After the TRE leaned down the A/F ratio to dangerous levels, I was guessing that this mod was going to take overheating a ZX-14 to new heights! I read it on the Internet, so it MUST be true. P-L-E-A-S-E!
My first, and biggest, problem with removing the secondary plates is that it is a mechanical modification, which could lead to serious problems for some because it involves the USE of TOOLS! Not only can the inexperienced strip the head of one of these little screws, but having one fall down into the engine would be VERY BAD. Also, they are held in place with a heat-sensitive thread locker which can be a bit tricky to unlock for the non-mechanical type. Worse even is the fact that as a function of the engineering process of designing such a machine, a proper thread locker (for use in the supersonic, fuel-filled atmosphere of an engine inlet) must be chosen and thoroughly tested to prevent failure–forever. If the shade-tree, do-it-yourselfer decides to re-install the plates without any additional thread locker, OR chooses the incorrect “color” from Pep Boys…a hot little screw might just hit a riding buddy in the eye after being spit from the exhaust of their new steed! This, of course, occurs after causing expensive damage on its journey to the cornea on the way out.
The following pulls were conducted during what has become known as “Brock’s ZX-14 Dyno Marathon” at our office. After realizing that some of our customers had intentionally IGNORED my posted advice not to perform any of these mods until I had time to test/figure out and map for all of the potential combinations, AND after receiving frantic e-mails that some of these folks turned their perfectly running ZX-14’s into erratically performing over-heating messes, it was now clear that it was my responsibility to cure their problems—right this instant! I needed a straight jacket, and a Prozac I.V. after ignoring my company duties for 15 days during Diary Part 2. After the Marathon? Well, let’s put it this way, I used to have at least some hair and weighed 150 lbs. before quitting my engineering job to offer my services to a go-fast motorcycle public!
Not so surprisingly, the torque curve is EVEN WORSE when this modification is performed without appropriate mapping to correct for the now GAPING HOLE in the inlet tract formerly filled by a metal plate. Please be sure to look at the UGLY outline of the torque curve on this sheet and the STAYING off scale plateau at the top of this potentially engine-killing A/F Ratio.
After mapping, a serious amount of additional torque and HP is noticed. This chart shows the numbers at the same 3400 rpm as used with the TRE.
This chart shows an AMAZING 25.9 ft-lb increase in torque over the plates-in configuration at 3600 rpm.
I will admit that a quick trip down the street after mapping made me giggle uncontrollably. My very smooth and well-mannered ZX-14 was now a BEAST!
A couple of our customers had relayed this message on the boards after receiving my maps for this mod. I thought they were just being nice and trying to say thanks for my hard work to cure their problem. NOPE, you might as well add Nitrous Oxide at 3000 rpm because that is exactly what it would take to make this much torque so soon! It is WAY COOL.
But, as life would have it, ALL GOOD is rarely possible. This mod creates very hectic and less controllable low end performance. This is in addition to inconsistent off idle performance which is also sensitive to engine temperature. These idiosyncrasies are not nearly as evident when using the TRE and non-existent in stock form.
Above is a direct comparison between TRE and no-throttle plate performance to help you decide the mod that is best for you.
As with the TRE tests, it’s off to the Dyno before heading to the track.
You will notice the run numbers jump to nearly 200 pulls after “The Marathon.” Of course, my ‘flat as I could get it’ A/F ratio was no longer present. The no-plates map performance is very frustrating. I didn’t care because I expected the bike to stall and die on the line without the plates at the track. I decided to compare what we have now, verses stone-stock with pump gas. A cool 32 ft-lbs of torque and a hot/humid (3100 ft. corrected air in the dyno room) increase of “ONLY” 21 HP over stock. I shuffled my feet to the trailer to load up and head to the track. A glimmer of drool could surely be seen on my bottom lip. I REALLY didn’t care at this point. I was done. Besides, this bike needs to rest from all of these beatings with nearly 500 ‘mostly dyno’ miles showing on the odometer and after 15 full load tuning sessions (which tried to melt my belly pan from the glowing exhaust pipe.) I used 25 gallons of fuel, most of which costs over $20 per gallon. I have never tortured any motorcycle or myself in this fashion. In fact I now have over 70 passes on the stock clutch and the cover has not been off since I added the spacers in Memphis in Part 2 of my Diary. I wonder if anything I have done lately would affect the bike’s warranty?! That’s funny! “Hat’s off engine design team. This thing really seems to be bulletproof.”
Sonny once again took the helm after I tried out my still aching wrist. My very ugly 9.38 was nearly my fastest ZX-14 pass ever, but my wrist just can’t take the shifting. Oh well, I WILL run 9.20’s my next time out with a healthy wrist. To my surprise, the bike did not try to stall on the launch, but the additional power was MUCH harder to control. No-plates should be reserved for race use only… preferably with an extended swingarm.
Sonny’s first pass was an easy firstname.lastname@example.org, followed by a more aggressive email@example.com. His thoughts on the no-plates situation were also a feeling that if he left at a low enough rpm to keep the front end down, that the bike might die and botch a pass which was clearly pointing in the right direction–fast.
I actually said, “Oops…looks like he tried a little too hard,” as I watched the most violent launch I had ever seen Sonny attempt to control on my bike. The numbers say it all. A 185 lb. suited rider, foot shifting, with borrowed leathers that don’t fit correctly, just ran a firstname.lastname@example.org MPH on a stock wheelbase ZX-14 at a corrected attitude of over 2200 ft. Unbelievable! The additional torque definitely helps on the front 1/2 of the track as the stunning email@example.com MPH indicates.
My conclusion? Decide for yourself. I suggest the TRE for street use, if having your shift indicator displaying 6th gear all of the time doesn’t drive you nuts. It is also a better choice for most on the drag strip as it is easily removable if your riding skills aren’t ready for the additional launching power.
The no-plates set-up is a race only mod which could also be used by the ‘shortpee-pee crowd’ on the street for maximum ‘minimal member’ excitement. But, the bike will actually stall and die if subjected to full throttle at low rpm’s in the wrong gear. I do not recommend this modification for street use at all, especially if you like to roll-on with your buddies. A Honda Hawk will outrun your 14 if your engine isn’t running! It could also be dangerous, so don’t do it.
I actually received an e-mail from a customer requesting a map for BOTH the TRE and NO PLATES as if opening something quicker, which isn’t even present any longer, would make his bike faster?! I love the Internet as much as I hate the Internet.
Regardless of the direction you choose, the bike MUST be re-mapped to operate properly with either of these mods. This can be a real problem for some as multiple maps might be required for optimum performance with different set-ups. It can also get very expensive and frustrating if you try to go this road alone.
You will notice that either of these mods requires much more additional fuel to be sent to the engine at cruising speeds. Did I mention that Kawasaki engineers placed the secondaries in this bike for a reason? You need to have your wallet ready and a clear idea of where the nearest gas stations are located.
Of course, you could leave it alone and be happy. Nah, how much fun would that be?
Good Luck and GO FAST.
As always, a very special THANK YOU goes out to my friends Marc Huelsman, and Tony Wiford for the trackside support. Dean Shields of American Made Cycles in Dayton, OH and my lovely Rhonda for the candid photos.
There you have it. After months of torturing Ivan, each other, and now Brock , the readership has a clear answer: there is no clear answer.
Does this make you feel better? It should, because at least we now understand what is going on and why.
The Facts as we know them:
- KHI installed secondary throttle plates to further control airflow into the engine
- In stock form, the ZX-14 is extremely rideable, due in part to the secondary plates limiting low end power delivery
- The secondary plates do not open until 7000 rpm in stock form
- The TRE is a gadget that tricks the bike into thinking it is in 6th gear all of the time.
- The TREs net effect is NOT MAGIC. All it does is trigger the already present 6th gear
- In the 6th gear map the plates begin to open at about 3000 rpm and it is because of this early plate opening that you see a power gain with the TRE on the ZX-14
- Because the TRE leaves the plates closed below 3000 rpm you retain some drivability
- YOU MUST PURCHASE A POWER COMMANDER AND HAVE YOUR BIKE MAPPED TO USE THE TRE SO IT WILL COST YOU MORE THAN $70
- Using the TRE disables the gear indicator, neutral light, shift light and launch light
- Removing the throttle plates has the same net effect as installing the TRE
- If you remove the throttle plates count on losing most of the ridability on the street
- YOU MUST PURCHASE A POWER COMMANDER AND HAVE YOUR BIKE MAPPED TO REMOVE THE THROTTLE PLATES SO IT IS NOT A “FREE” MOD
- Don’t bother adding a TRE to a bike without plates. There is no point. The TRE triggers the plates, and with no plates there is nothing to trigger
There you have it. Either way, you’re going to have to buck up and buy a Power Commander, take your bike and get it mapped, TRE or plates removed. This is going to cost you money, but either way you will gain power, and a lot of it. I am sure that eventually most of the exhaust manufacturers will supply the correct maps for these different combinations. Brock says that if you purchase your pipe and Power Commander from him he will supply you a map for free.
Now… here are two final pieces of info to take away with you, if you haven’t had enough of this yet. The real key to this puzzle could be Dynojet and the USB Hub. When I spoke with Dynojet regarding this, they stated that although it is not possible at this time, it is likely that the USB Hub could control the trim on the secondary throttle plates, allowing tuners to build maps with both the drivability offered by the plates being in place, and all the power available by being able to control when they open and how much they open by.
That would be the best of both worlds, and since you have to buy a Power Commander anyways, you may consider waiting for this solution. Be forewarned! Dynojet is a large company and like all large companies, often it takes a while for the wheels to begin turning.
Lastly, if this works so well for the ZX-14, then what about other models and brands?
- Brock Davidson and his products for your ZX-14 can be found online at BrocksPerformance.com
- The TRE costs about $70 and can be purchased online from Ivan’s Performance Products
- A Phillips screwdriver costs $3.49 and can be purchased online from Home Depot
- A Power Commander will set you back about $340 and isn’t officially available yet.
- If you think you’re done, you’re not, because you’ll have to find the closest authorized Dynojet tuning center and get a map made. Costs range from $250 upwards.
Bonus: See Brock’s Actual Dynojet run files which were used during the testing, click here to download all the Dyno run files.
LOW END PERFORMANCE UPDATE SEPTEMBER 20, 2006 – BY BROCK
It’s amazing to me the perspective a little extra time gives a person…
I HATE to give anyone inaccurate advice, but I believe I may have jumped the gun a bit in regard to some areas involving removing the secondary throttle plates (or “flies” as they have become known to the Internet crowd) for STREET use in the initial Low End Performance Gains article.
I’m not making excuses, but please allow me to explain:
Most of my seat time on any bike these days is on the dyno and drag strip as ‘pleasure riding’ usually does not get penciled into my busy schedule. The day I completed the ‘no-secondary throttle plates’ dyno sessions, I decided to take my 14 out for a brief ride to get a seat-of-the-pants feel for this new configuration. Quite simply, I rolled the bike off of the dyno, put on my helmet and jacket and headed for the closest rode which would allow me to twist the gas a bit. I had just witnessed the bike do things on the dyno i.e. stall, buck, jump, etc… which surely biased my judgment, AND as luck would have it my chosen test road also had expansion joints!
Armed with straight MR9 and no air cleaner, while personally sporting an exhausted attitude about what I just felt and witnessed on the dyno from my new favorite ride, I headed out. Every time I crossed an expansion joint, my head snapped back and my smooth powerful ZX-14 lunged forward making it feel like a jerky mess. In brief words, I liked the added power, but I thought the drivability sucked.
Since the initial story, I have ridden around 200 miles on the street without the secondary plates (FYI: that is a bunch of street miles for me!) I typically leave my ‘no secondaries’ track map in the Power Commander. This is the exact map Sonny used to run 9.15 (with no air cleaner and MR9 fuel during testing.) I like to keep the bike race ready just in case I get a chance to break away and head to the drag strip, so, for the most part, I leave the race map in and the flies out. (FYI: I install my air cleaner, pump gas and the appropriate matching map before heading out for longer street rides. I DO NOT recommend that anyone ever ride on the street without their air cleaner installed. Serious engine damage can result in a hurry! Of course with the air cleaner and pump gas, the bike is down about 10 HP average, but it is still a COMPLETE JOY to ride and FAST AS HELL!) When riding the bike without the secondary plates, the throttle response and drivability is PERFECT on any normal road. The only ill affect I have noticed is an occasional deceleration pop from the exhaust while backing off of the gas during shifts. I have my emission system blocked so I’m sure the pop is the result is a simple lean or rich condition which may or may not be curable after disabling a factory control mechanism?! For now, I will have to live with it. My data logger will be on the bike soon so I will know more about the A/F ratio while the bike moving which should help me find a direction toward any potential cure. In my opinion, deceleration pop is merely a nuisance, and I have never witnessed any damaging affects to any bike I have ever owned as a result of it.
The throttle response is MUCH smoother (and more tame) with pump gas than when using MR9 with the air cleaner removed. However, once I re-trained myself to modulate the throttle gently enough to control the extra low end power, my ‘flyless’ 14 is every bit as smooth as any Busa I have ever mapped.
The ZX-14 engine makes so much torque that the lower rev/wide open throttle position stalls that plagued me on the dyno DID NOT OCCUR on the street. You would have to be a horrible rider to even get in a position to bog the bike to the point of shut off on the street as the low end grunt of the 14 just won’t allow a competent rider to screw up so badly.
Further reports from some of our street riders (using our street maps) have confirmed my own findings that the fuel mileage did not suffer as a result of removing the secondaries; in fact, some actually reported an INCREASE in miles per gallon! This does correspond somewhat to my dyno results because, yet again, the 14 is so powerful that low RPM rides at moderate throttle openings do not occur much during normal use. This allows the bike to function at an area of the factory mapping which does not require a significant amount of additional fuel with the flies out compared to having the flies installed.
I still believe that this modification is not for all riders, and that a considerable mechanical aptitude must be present to perform this alteration correctly. I also believe that the ‘no secondary’ configuration is a bit rowdy for most riders (who do not possess above average riding skills at the drag strip) with a stock wheelbase ZX-14. Of course, this modification is perfect for 14’s with lengthened swingarms and street squids with a passion for wheelies! I personally have struggled with the abrupt power delivery, but a (still not healed) wrist fracture has delayed my riding practice throughout the summer.
I stand firm with the rest of the results from the first ‘no flies’ article.
That being said, I now “officially” stand corrected on my ‘no flies’ stance for street use and must (of course) admit to being a VERY happy member of the “need to compensate” club!
Good Luck and GO FAST!
P.S. There have been questions posed of late on the effects of adding the TRE and removing the flies in conjunction with the stock exhaust system. I am a racer who makes his living in the aftermarket performance business. No racer who cares about their personal reputation at all would show up at a closed course timed event with a bike which is not set up to go as fast as possible. That’s why we call it a RACE track. My job and passion is to go fast and pass my knowledge on to my customers and friends for further use against “non” or “soon to be, as a result of” customers/friends. I will not be testing these modifications on a factory strangled machine anytime soon, as I keep myself EXTREMELY busy designing and testing new products to make the fastest sport bikes even faster. I’m sure someone else has the time and would be glad to post their results in the forum?!?
Article originally posted at www.bikeland.org