Performance mods.

A lot of people on here are constantly asking about some performance mod or new bling for there bikes and I'm kinda curious, does it really make a difference? I have never really modded any bikes. I have rebuilt plenty, maintained, fixed and changed sprockets, seats,suspension n such to suit my riding, but ultimately, every bike I have ever bought was sold similar to how I bought it. I started wondering about this the other day when I bought a new exhaust for my quad after the last one started to rust. Looks great, but I don't notice much difference in performance and any bikes I have ever bought that had an aftermarket pipe, I didn't have the factory one to compare. Does anyone really notice performance gains from individual mods? If not, how much does it take to be noticeable and is it really worth the cost?

I have found that you can make things generally "run better". Smoother, faster throttle response, things like that. Sure sometimes you can gain some performance by uncorking something that is pretty corked up for sound or emissions reasons, anyone with an XR650R, or a KLR650 knows that for instance. I often tell peolle that the best performance gains attainable on a YZ250 are setting the timing (free) and replacing or cutting the throttle slide (@$60). Zillions of dollars are spent now days replacing exhaust systems for little if any gain.

 

I had a friend that had the same quad that I have for mowing my lawn and plowing my driveway and ice race track. He monkeyed his exhaust for better flow and his quad did pull better with his much heavier ass on it than mine did. But to date I have ridden my quad for "fun" twice. His did make more noise. So I wasn't about to do anything to mine. It has adequate power. He merely traded some performance for more noise. Not cool in my book.

I have found that you can make things generally "run better". Smoother, faster throttle response, things like that. Sure sometimes you can gain some performance by uncorking something that is pretty corked up for sound or emissions reasons, anyone with an XR650R, or a KLR650 knows that for instance. I often tell peolle that the best performance gains attainable on a YZ250 are setting the timing (free) and replacing or cutting the throttle slide (@$60). Zillions of dollars are spent now days replacing exhaust systems for little if any gain.

I had a friend that had the same quad that I have for mowing my lawn and plowing my driveway and ice race track. He monkeyed his exhaust for better flow and his quad did pull better with his much heavier ass on it than mine did. But to date I have ridden my quad for "fun" twice. His did make more noise. So I wasn't about to do anything to mine. It has adequate power. He merely traded some performance for more noise. Not cool in my book.

I have always been able to get a bike to run better without throwing any bolt on parts on, more curious if most of the "performance" parts available are much more than expensive gimmicks.

Most of the time They are feel good parts. Most bike do have some glaring problem that needs to be addressed. But those problems are seldom addressed by the aftermarket, because there is little money in it. I suppose now days with the FI bikes people are going to need some kind of interface box to be able to make ignition or jetting changes. But just watch people buy a pipe first.

The best place to spend any performance money you may have is on your suspension. Handling and putting your power on the ground is going to move you forward faster than anything else.

That's less true now that some bikes come with pretty good suspension. Once upon a time in the nineties it was almost mandatory.

 

I had a 2003? KTM 525EXC that I got some suspension for from a guy who's bud was a suspension guru. THAT stuff transformed the bike. To date the non-linkage KTMs aren't nearly as good. I would have figured that KTM would have gotten with the program by now.

Edited by shagger

Work on the rider and you will go faster. Guaranteed increase in performance.

The newer KTM stock exhaust is very restrictive. Its a very noticeable performance increase when replacing those with aftermarket exhaust. Most improved performance mod I've expereinced would definately be suspension work. And like DR.billz mentioned, the best mod to go faster is seat time. :thumbsup:  

Here's a great example of that. I can still ride at a mid to upper pack B Class hare scramble pace. I have a friend I ride with that is a AA Class rider(one row behind the pros). He can ride my trials bike and stay with me in tight trails. Most of it is the rider

I would add that work on rider as tuner helps a lot too.

 

I met this guy at a road race and went dirt biking with him in the woods. The guy was a pretty good rider. But he had a weird style and he always had some kind of weird bike. Once when he finally got a fairly mainstream bike (XR400) that didn't have a lot of "you have to" instructions on how to ride the thing. We swapped bikes for a little while.

 

Man! That thing pushed and pogoed all over the place. We went back to the truck for a look. Honest to God. The rear spring was only tight enough not to rattle and every dampening adjuster the bike had was all the way out. I asked him what was the deal with all that. He looked at me with a straight face and said "everybody knows that the XR400 is over-sprug and over-dampened. Yyyyyyeah...

 

After much cajoling I convinced him to let me monkey the suspension for him a bit. It was tough. The word "motocross" came out of his mouth a lot in a derogatory way. I set the sag and guessed on the clickers, rode it a little and monkeyed a little bike more until I felt that I had a decent baseline. He rode it and whined a little. But he did admit that you could at least steer the thing. I convinced him to ride it that way for a while. About two weeks later he called me after riding with some of his other buds and went on and on about what a hero superstar rider he was and how I was DOOOMED! While tales of my demise were greatly exaggerated. He was riding a lot faster for a lot longer before he wore out.

 

While I was tuning his bike some other guys showed up. One of the guys wanted he to have a look at his bike. He was on the other end of the spectrum with a measured one inch of laden race sag on the rear on a 250 motocross bike, I forget which one. I tried to get him to understand the concept of too much and too little sag. But the guy that I came there with got into the mix and they were all on about personal preferences yadda yadda. Needless to say. That guy went bouncing off down the trail in a visibly painful way.

 

All through my life I have run in to quite a lot of people who struggle to tune their bike to preform like the very first clapped out piece of crap that they ever rode. You know guys. You paid extra to get a good bike. Why tune it into a clapped out piece of crap on day one?

Edited by shagger

Some folks exagerate gains when installing aftermarket pipe/silencer/reeds on a 2 strokes,

the new parts required them to re-jet, afterwards their bikes ran better / crisper than before.

 

If they would of placed as much attention to proper jetting before installing these items,

they would of probably noticed the same overall improvements with their stock pipe/silencer/reeds.

 

Dialing-in your suspension and riding experience make the biggest difference.

Edited by mlatour

I can tell you this, a 500xcw doesn't need any more power (for off road). In fact I think detuning it a bit would make it fester.

Edited by DR.billZ

Putting a big bore on a 250F makes a world of difference, no real increase in peak HP but it makes the power/torque more linear

I fix things I break.  If an aftermarket replacement part gives me better performance (Engine power, maintenance intervals, ease of maintenance), then yeah, on it goes.  But if something's not broken, I'm usually not going to spend the money to fix it.

 

Bike has 1mm oversized SS valves, mostly for maintenance intervals (a couple times a year vs. every other oil change (once or twice a month)).  Couple little suspension changes.  And a couple thousand miles on it.

 

Sled, same deal for the most part.  Engine's stock.  Done some cleanup on oil line routing and electrical, but other than setup/suspension adjustments it's had nothing changed.  This summer it's getting a primary clutch balance and a Paragon secondary put on, which is 10-15% more efficient transfer of power to the track... so i'm not really upgrading the engine, but i'm getting the power it makes to the track more effectively.  And since it's not a motor mod, it keeps me in improved-stock class. :)

I can tell you this, a 500xcw doesn't need any more power (for off road). In fact I think detuning it a bit would make it fester.

 

I know its a 4t but don't you mean faster? ;)

A lot of people on here are constantly asking about some performance mod or new bling for there bikes and I'm kinda curious, does it really make a difference? I have never really modded any bikes. I have rebuilt plenty, maintained, fixed and changed sprockets, seats,suspension n such to suit my riding, but ultimately, every bike I have ever bought was sold similar to how I bought it. I started wondering about this the other day when I bought a new exhaust for my quad after the last one started to rust. Looks great, but I don't notice much difference in performance and any bikes I have ever bought that had an aftermarket pipe, I didn't have the factory one to compare. Does anyone really notice performance gains from individual mods? If not, how much does it take to be noticeable and is it really worth the cost?

Nowadays I'm like you spence. I tune them in with what I have, mostly. I do have a built for me suspension on one bike, but mostly I'd rather spend my money on fuel, tires, and not working.

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