My tuning methodology

When setting up a bike to tune, I fit the bike with a "datalogger". This is a data recorder that will record and play back a ride depicted as the data the ECU is seeing. Things like ambient and engine temps, ambient and intake pressures, throttle position, timing, secondary position, and air / fuel ratio are capable of being stored and reviewed after the ride.

I also fit the exhaust with a wideband oxygen sensor (WB02) in the header, in front of the catalytic converters (pre-cat) to measure the engine's air / fuel ratio. This allows me to capture the a/f ratios real time and assign them to the exact cells in the fuel maps.

Of course I also make sure the bike is in a good state of tune with a good clean stock air filter, spark plugs, properly adjusted valves and tires properly inflated. Then it's time to start riding and datalogging.

When I ride and datalog, I can really only pick one thing per ride that I'm targeting, and concentrate on that. Sometimes it may be light throttle fuel economy, other times it might be full wide open throttle performance. Sometimes I'm looking to check air fuel ratios, other times it might be to get a particular “feel” from the throttle reaction to certain inputs or situations. I then return to the shop, download the file, and start to analyze the data.

Often I will slow the data down to really pick up on what the ECU is reacting to and how long the reaction takes. It was in this manner, at 1/10th speed, that I found that TPS sensors are all over the place as to when they notify the ECU that the throttle is being lifted off a closed throttle idle.

This is the information that led to my unique method of setting throttle cables to minimize lag time on the Concours14.. Without the ability to slow the datalog, this information would not have been exposed for me to find.

After carefully studying the datalog, I make whatever changes I think necessary to the file, and flash it into my ECU. I then go out for another ride and again, analyze the data, make whatever adjustments I deem necessary, and flash my ECU – again. I repeat this until I feel I have exhausted whatever gains I was looking for in whatever part of the tune I was working in.

I also have autotune capabilities and use it depending on the situation. Often times I'm manually inputting fueling corrections, and then analyzing the results on the next datalog. I use different air / fuel ratios depending on the engine load. In this manner the same tune can deliver incredible fuel economy AND power, depending on the throttle position, which of course is dictated by load.

You may have noticed that I haven't said much about using the dyno. I have a Dynojet dyno, fitted with the newest Dynojet program, Winpep 8RT and Wideband A/F meter. But using the dyno comes later on in the process for me, after I have datalogged and adjusted to real world riding conditions

Once I feel that my fuel tuning about done THEN I put the bike on the dyno. Because of the significant time I've spent riding and datalogging, I've insured the engine and drive train is well broken in, and we won't be comparing results from a new motorcycle that has high frictional losses to one that's fully broken in and producing more hp more than it did when new. In this way my horsepower gains don't look inflated, or better than reality.

I will also work on the timing maps while on the dyno. If I find a discrepancy, I will revert to what worked best while datalogging. This is because I have actually datalogged with the appropriate road force and wind load on the bike. Higher speeds with a large windshield will create a load a dyno cannot create, and I want that real world load when it comes time to build a SAFE timing map.

Many times, folks think the dyno is the be-all and end-all in tuning. I personally disagree. A dyno is like a yardstick; it's a method of measurement, hopefully consistent. But there are things you cannot quantify on a dyno, things like “feel”.

Maybe this is the reason the stock tune is so bad. Perhaps it was developed on a dyno, with little or no input from actual riding. Think of it this way... if you were drag racing, would you prefer to run a bike you tuned and peaked out on the track, or on a dyno. How about road racing, which more closely emulates street riding - would you prefer a dyno tune over a real world tune? We would prefer the track tuned bike, of course.

Because you have proven it's validity in real world conditions. You might start with a dyno tune, but if the track runs indicate changes are needed to improve the performance, you must follow that path. That's what I've done in building my flashes... real world performance and data wins out over strictly dyno tuning.

I hope this helps you understand the method and effort that goes into building the premier flashes for the c-14, and all my other Shoodaben Engineering flashes. As a 40+ year rider, I know what we want, and my flashes have proven to deliver it for years now. Constant attention to improvement and detail and a “never say can't” attitude drive me to produce the very best.

Thanks for your time, and I hope you have gained some insight into why you would want to choose Shoodaben Engineering flash tuning for your bike.

Steve