Blogs » Motorcycle Blog: Beyond the Ride
A local motorcycle enthusiast's look at motorcycles, motorcycle gear and anything that goes into enjoying a ride — including where you can find the stuff in our area.

Making it mine…

What I loved about my Fat Bob is that being a Harley the world is my oyster when it comes to customization.  I mean seriously, there are like a million different manufacturers, even small one-off places.  For example there’s Horsepower, Inc – where they make their own custom performance upgrades including a terrific air cleaner system.  I compared this against the stock air cleaner, a Harley Davidson Screaming Eagle Air Cleaner and the Vance and Hines VO2 NakedAir Intake, with a decorative cover that just reeked of quality.

They all had a significant improvement in power and responsiveness over stock, but I was happy to see that the Home Team did really well – it tied with the Vance and Hines for best horsepower improvement, and totally crushed the competition when it came to torque where the Horsepower V2 came in at a whopping 96 lbs compared to 93 for the Vance and Hines and 90 for the Harley.  Just to be fair, the Harley unit tested here was the entry level one and the Horsepower unit the priciest by quite a bit.  If you’re on a little bit of a budget, but want to get great bang for your buck the Vance and Hines comes in at $139.95 for the intake and you can re-use your cover.  Their rather splendid looking cover  comes in at just $50 and really does a good job of making the bike stand out.  If you’re like me and are itching to squeeze every ounce of performance you can out of your bike without having to shell out the really big bucks that an engine upgrade costs then I really do recommend the Horsepower unit.  They actually have two versions, so you can save a little if you go with their more basic one.

Did I go with the Horespower unit?

Well no I didn’t actually – but that’s because I’m in love with those forward facing bad-a$$ air intakes, like the Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather.  It’s a little pricey at $299 but the good thing is that it performs very well.  On a different Dyno than the other intakes, it came in second with 95 lbs of torque and first in horsepower.  I kept it on there for looks though – I just think it’s awesome looking.  But the fact that it’s near the top in terms of power certainly doesn’t hurt.

Forgetting about dyno sheets for a minute and talking about real world feedback all three intakes really make a heck of a difference.  I didn’t get to ride the Fat Bob with the Horsepower Intake but I rode a friend’s Street Bob and it felt really strong – as did the Heavy Breather that I did ride on my own bike.  The basic Harley air cleaner kit and the Vance and Hines kit both felt good, and again the Vance and Hines gets my cote for bang for the buck.  There were quite a few more upgrades done – we’ll talk about those in the next few weeks, but what really brought everything together was adding in a Power Vision by Dynojet and having Eric at Horsepower custom Dyno-Tune it.  I’ve used Eric and the team before on several bikes but this time he really outdid himself.  The difference was amazing and the bike ran cooler, smoother and more efficiently than before.

I chose the Power Vision over their Power Commander V for a couple of reasons.  First off the new Power Vision seems to be a lot more powerful than the PCV.  If I were to do the tune myself, which the PCV certainly makes easy, I’d probably go with that one.  Since I had the bike dyno tuned though I figured I’d go all out and get the Power Vision, which competes very well with Harley Davidson’s Super Tuner.  Whether you have a simple pipe, fuel manager and intake deal or you crack the motor open and get really busy a good dyno tune really gets things going.  The other key component I added in was Dynojet’s Autotune module.  This incredible product let’s me basically take Eric on the road with me wherever I go.  What I mean is that it learns from my riding style, environmental changes, etc, and auto-corrects the program.  Even better, if I add (or remove) any equipment it will learn from that too and get my map just right.  Dynojet states that you don’t even need to have a professional tuner work on your bike, but as far as I’m concerned the best starting point is working with a pro like Eric and letting the Autotune go from there.

Horsepower, Inc. is one of two (that I know about) Dynos in the area, with the other being at Precision Bikeworks.  I haven’t given them a chance yet as far as Dyno work goes, but I’ve heard good things. Either way dialing your bike in properly is a smart move and you’ll thank me for it if you do.

Next time we’ll talk about the exhaust upgrade and what an amazing improvement over stock it was in terms of both power and sound.  You guys voted for it – the Vance and Hines Big Radius 2 into 1.

The great things about all of the products I mention here today is that they are super easy to find locally.  Our sponsor, Precision Bikeworks/Triumph of Erie can get them, as well as many other places around town.

In the meantime be well and ride safe,

Rob

 

Posted in: Motorcycles, My bikes, Reviews

4 Responses to Making it mine…

  1. CYote says:

    Rob, you say that if you were to do the work yourself, you’d go with a Power Commander V. Then, for the Power Vision, you added an Autotune module. Sounds like for a DIY rider, it would be reasonable to look into getting the PC V and adding in something like an Autotune module. But, is that compatible with the PC V, or is it only recommended for other Dynojet products? And if it’s only for use with Dynojet, what would be the comparable add-on for the PC V?

    • admin says:

      Great observation. The great thing is that the Autotune module will also work with a Power Commander V – they are both made by Dynojet and the techs there do a great job of walking you through things. The Power Vision really isn’t too hard either, I just would want to really be able to take advantage of everything it can do.

  2. Alex says:

    As someone who doesn’t really have the technical knowledge, what would you recommend as the ONE upgrade under $500 an owner should make on a stock Harley?

    Keep up the good work!

    • admin says:

      $500? Hmm well I guess I would say a good pair of slip-on mufflers – Vance and Hines makes some pretty good, inexpensive ones for under $300 that you typically don’t require reprogramming. Precision Bikeworks can get them, and they will honor the 10% off for having a Harley or ABATE membership. The remaining $200+ I’d save toward getting a better air intake or improved airflow filter and improved fuel management that you need when you go that route. You can get a decent airflow filter for under $100 and the download should cost $169 at the local Harley Dealer. Anything beyond that and I would suggest a more sophisticated fuel management system like a Vance and Hines Fuelpak or Dynojet Power Commander. This all assumes you can do the labor yourself, otherwise that $500 is pretty much going to be the Slip-Ons. Make sure to check to see if they require mapping or can be installed as-is. Thanks and ride safe

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