Tuning Your Bike for the Best Performance


It doesn’t matter if you’re on a dirt bike, super-bike, adventure bike or even a cruiser, getting it to run perfectly is a must. Those who want to apply additional modifications would need it to run right so that any new additions work well and don’t cause even more trouble.

Luckily, a motorbike is easy to tune, but you need to know what to do before just diving in. The most common out of tune item on a bike would be the carburetor, followed by the ignition timing and finally the valve timing.

Most of the time, just the carb’s timing already solves most of your problems with idling and even some misfiring issues. If you’re sure the carb is clean, the jets are clear and they are the right size, you’re all good to go on following this guide to tune it right. If you’ve applied addition mods to the bike already, including a better air filter or had the head gas-flowed for example, you might need to replace the jets as it would be running lean. Remember, the more air the engine gets, the more petrol the mixture needs.

Before you begin the tuning below, it’s recommended to replace the spark plug as this ensures the bike runs well.

Tuning the Carb

To tune the carb, you’ll need to heat up the motor, which simply requires a 10 to 15 minute ride. When you get back, don’t turn off the bike. Look for both the air and fuel screws on the carb and be careful not to burn yourself on the motor.

The air screw commonly sits between the carb itself and the engine. It could be on the side or even at the bottom pointing downwards. The fuel screw would be on the side with a Philips head. If you’re working on a 2-stroke, the air-flow screw would commonly be situated away from the engine.

Turning the air screw clockwise would make it lean as more air comes in while turning it the other way makes it richer as the fuel in the air is higher than it should be. It’s the opposite with the fuel screw as a clockwise turn would make it richer as it allows more petrol and an anti-clockwise turn would make it leaner as it limits the amount of petrol.

To start tuning, use the fuel (idle) screw to increase the revs to around 3000 rpm, then use the air flow screw and turn the bike completely lean. It will decrease the RPM’s as you turn it, but make sure it doesn’t go too low and kill the engine.

You’ll find the bike runs, but with a quick look at the tachometer, you’ll find it’s not steady. The final step is to start turning the idle screw anti-clockwise, which is sure to increase the RPM’s once again. However, don’t turn it too fast (1/8th of a turn at a time). Once you get to a point where the tachometer is stable and around 1,100 RPM, you’re most likely at the perfect tuning position. Repeat the process if you need to or to simply ensure you’ll got it as good as it can be. A quick twist at the throttle would ensure you’re spot on as it responds quickly.

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