Performance engine building is not a task to be taken lightly. Not only does it involve utilizing advanced mechanical skills, but optimizing the performance of an ATV or motorcycle also involves making a substantial financial investment. Therefore, before delving into high-performance engine build, it is important to keep two key factors in mind.
Factor #1: Understanding the Purpose
The first step in performance engine building involves determining the purpose of the build. If your goal is to build the fastest machine possible for the local track, your plan will be different from someone who simply wants to add a bit of extra horsepower for weekend riding. To determine the purpose of your engine build, you need to consider the type of riding that you do, whether or not you plan to use your bike or ATV for racing and what you expect to get from your engine build. You also need to consider where you would like the RPM range to be when you ride your bike. Finally, you need to analyze your budget to determine how much you can invest in your high-performance engine build.
Factor #2: Determining How to Reach Your Goal
The steps you take toward building your engine will be dependent upon your purpose. Some common methods for adding horsepower and torque include:
• Compression: Increased compression increases horsepower and torque across the entire RPM range. Since compression increases pressure and heat, it should only be raised until just before the point of detonation.
• Camshafts: Camshafts dictate the type of power the engine will produce and where in the RPM range power will occur.
• Lift and Duration: Lift opens the valves further while duration holds them longer. Therefore, the two are most effective when used in combination.
• Titanium Valves: Titanium valves are strong and lightweight. Replacing steel valves with titanium valves is recommended for increased red line or faster revs.
• Ceramic Bearings and Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) Coatings: Ceramic bearings and DLC coatings help to minimize friction, which helps to find additional horsepower in the engine. Ceramic bearings are also available for front and rear wheel bearings.
• Head Porting: Head porting reshapes the intake and exhaust ports, which helps to fill the cylinder with air and fuel while maximizing the benefits of high compression builds, oversized valves and camshafts.
Obviously, some of these procedures are more difficult to complete than others. Head porting, for example, is a job that is typically best left to the professionals. By taking these steps to improve your engine’s performance, you will soon have the machine you have always desired.