ECU Flashing or Tuning is the art and science of cracking the code that the factory installs in your motorcycle's brain and giving it an upgrade. Tweaking your ECU means removing things like low RPM power restrictions, closed loop fuel maps, error codes when changing parts, and a slew of other options. It enables you to take a lackluster motorcycle with twitchy throttle control and turn it into that smooth powerful road monster you expected.
First of all we make the physical changes to the bike – remove the lambda sensors and secondary air system, for example – for the dyno run. Then we will read the original map and save it, then load our map with all the configurations we want to use. This means it won’t have the top speed limiter or ignition restrictions in lower gears. I might re-map the secondary butterflies too to give better acceleration.
We use specialist software to get into the ECU which gives us a way of writing the original map back to the bike if something goes wrong. I don’t look at hexadecimal addresses and binary code, I use the software to convert all that to a chart which I can interpret. That way I know that the numbers I’m altering are safe.
Then the bike goes on the dyno and we monitor the fuelling throughout the rev range. Some of my work is to get more power, but a lot is to get rid of the bottom end snatch caused by manufacturers trying to hit emissions targets. To do a ZZR1400 takes about three hours and costs £275. When you compare that with the price of a Power Commander (over £300) plus fitting and setting up it’s no surprise we’re busy.