5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW…
Which dyno operator?
If you’re not sure where to take your bike, speak to people who have had work done. Word of mouth on good service gets round really quickly. One attractive factor for people using us is that we have [carb supplier] Allen’s Performance four doors up from us. The boss, Steve Panter, really knows his stuff. If a dyno shop has a carburettor supplier just up the road that’s useful.
Most people know Power Commanders [the module that allows a dyno operator to modify the signals the ECU sends to the fuel injectors], but they need to up their game now. You can do the same with Bazzaz for a lot less money, or go the Woolwich way where you can actually talk to the ECU.
Power Commander have the name and the brand, but there’s the fuel module, then people often need the secondary fuel module and then the ignition module, so it gets expensive. Bazzaz will do a package all in one. Woolwich allows you to reflash the standard ECU. Some ECUS are impossible to break into, but I’ve not come across one yet!
Dyno v the road
It’s about experience: If a bike behaves in a certain way on the dyno then I know how it’s going to behave on the road. With some bikes I might see a flat spot, but owners say it feels great. You get the momentum of the bike pushing forward on the road; you don’t get that as much on the dyno.
What’s the process on a bike with carbs?
If it’s ticking over OK we’ll get everything warm, start with the main jets and work backwards. So wide open throttle to get the main jet right, then we start looking at part-throttle – the needle setting – and roll-ons as well, for when it’s loaded or when it’s just cruising. The pilot system is usually the last thing we look at.
What are older bikes like to work on?
A lot depends on the owner. If they know what they’re doing we might just balance the carbs and that would be it. Otherwise it’s more a case of being methodical.
We have a Z1000 in at the moment that’s not running right. You start by cleaning the carbs, but after that we might do a compression and leak down test, then maybe valve clearances, then make sure all the cylinders have sparks. Then generally they’ll run OK.
Sometimes, like with this bike, people will fit aftermarket ignitions themselves and then not tell you it hasn’t run right since. So we’ve downloaded the instructions and we’re working our way through that.
I just love the challenge. I managed to get crap field bikes working when I was younger, so it doesn’t faze me now. Some shops just want to do service work, but we enjoy the fault-finding side of it.
Getting perfect fuelling with carbs is a more tricky business
Where art meets science