Once upon a time tuning a motorcycle engine was an art performed by an exalted few. You could have a go yourself but staring through a hole in a piston would be the most likely outcome.
This was even more true with off-roaders whose fiddly carbs and tiny powerbands could be a recipe for disaster, but Yamaha have come to the rescue with their Power Tuner app for the latest YZ250F, YZ450F and WR450F.
MORE FROM MCN
The principle is quite simple. With a transmitter installed on the bike (just under the fairing on the left hand side), the bike transmits a Wi-Fi signal just like a router at home. With the app downloaded on your phone, you simply connect to your bike and the world is your oyster.
Unlike most tuning options on a modern superbike, which merely let you temper the nature of the power delivery, the Yamaha app lets you fiddle with everything. Ignition timing, injector timing, fuel delivery, throttle position against input, throttle response; the list is virtually endless.
All together there are over 16 adjustment points that can be made on screen, which shows a 3D render of your map like something out of Star Trek.
The changes can be made at different points throughout the rev range, too, so you could have low throttle sensitivity with a richer mixture down low for more control but as the revs increase you could sharpen up the response for increased power.
The throttle opening can be tuned in as little as 5% increments, while the revs can be tweaked in 500rpm bands. It’s like MotoGP technology for trail riders.
To many people this amount of ability to fiddle might sound like the recipe for disaster but Yamaha say its nigh-on impossible to destroy your bike using the app. It’s designed to be easy to use and to set you in the right direction.
Yamaha provide downloadable preset maps (such as Mud, Sand, Hardpack etc), which you can download and customise to your heart’s content.
Then, if you want to step it up a gear, there’s also the Race Log, which allows you to log times, suspension set-up and fuelling maps so you can compare them. The app also allows you to keep a track of your riding so you can stay on top of your maintenance schedule and set alerts for when, say, the oil needs changing.
It even gives live data feedback, so you can see the coolant temperature as you warm your bike up first thing so you know when its ready to ride. And to think some people still complain if a bike doesn’t have a kick start…