Avoid Weak Links

By Jan Knobbe 

Considering upgrading your motorcycle’s performance? Winter is a great time to do it since the weather here in the Midwest is cold and hazardous enough to keep most of us off the roads. It’s when we traditionally do a lot of motor builds. There’s more to it than just the motor though.

Other Components to Upgrade

When you add performance to your motor you need to consider upgrading other components to avoid leaving a weak link. Compensators, clutch baskets, clutch, transmission and drive belt are all components that are replaceable with high performance parts. How much horse power/torque (hp/tq) the motor is making will determine if these components need to be upgraded to avoid them becoming a weak link. Weak links can lead to the components breaking and that’s never good. If you are spending money to create more hp/tq, you want to make sure all necessary components are also upgraded as needed.

Factory vs. Aftermarket

For example, factory stock cast compensators are only good for up to about 90 horsepower.  Aftermarket compensators are available that can handle up to 160 horsepower or better. Your next component that could become a weak link is the cast aluminum clutch basket. There are billet clutch baskets available that can handle higher hp/tq. You should also be aware of factory clutch plates. These can be upgraded to aftermarket clutch plates that have extra plates to apply more friction. There are also clutch lock up devices that take up to double factory hp/tq without slippage.

Worth the Upgrade

Transmission breakage is happening on most M8s that have upgrades to the powertrain demonstrating this weak link. Typically 3rd and 4th gear breakage under severe torque applications. The fix for this is the Baker six speed Grudge Box.  It is a costly upgrade that is worth it as it will make your bike more dependable. 

Riding or Racing

The last weak link to address is the final drive belt. This only needs to be replaced with a chain drive under severe street riding/drag racing, when the motor is running a turbo, or a supercharger. The chain drive will make sure the bike is a dependable touring street bike with a lot of giddy up and go!

Ask for Advice

Here at Chariots of Fire Customs LLC we like educated consumers. Upgrading your motor is a big deal and you should make your decision to do so knowing the facts. Come see us this winter and we will help you decide on the best performance upgrades and determine what weak links to avoid.