If turbocharging doesn't set your heart racing, there's an alternative path to forced induction - supercharging. We saw a Kawasaki Z1000, one of the new ones, with a supercharger at a European bike meet and we thought, that is really cool. So a few months a I did bolt and started calling some people in England. We did already personalized the Yamaha FZ6 a lot, but the supercharger makes it unique.
Fundamentally, the principle behind how a supercharger increases power is the same as a turbo, a compressor forces air into the engine. However, with a supercharger the turbine is driven not by exhaust gas but via a belt from the crank. It also uses planetary gearbox to increase the turbine's speed. In theory at least, superchargers should produce more instantaneous power, because they don't have to wait for exhaust gases to build up. But, as it's a driven system, some of the total output is reduced through mechanical losses.
In reality though, both superchargers and turbos create boost, and boost creates power, which is what we're here for. So what's the result? The people in England had only once before created a supercharger set for a Yamaha FZ6, so they're not 100% confident that they could prepare it as a do-it-yourself kit. But they delivered as promised and we where impressed by the power, 178 horses at the rear wheel.
Everything's doubled on it, it was crazy. The acceleration simply twice as fast and the torque's unreal. It's always running, all the way from tickover it's there. Whenever you hit the throttle, it boosts. I was cruising down the motorway the other day, doing 130km/h in top, just wound the throttle open and soon hit 210km/h. It's more torque, really, than power.
So what does it take to give an Yamaha FZ6 more go than a Yamaha R1? The compression's been lowered from 12.2:1 to 10.2:1 to compensate for the increased boost, by using a ticker head gasket. Bikes don't like running anything more than with forced induction, they pink and detonate all over the place. But it still needs to run on super-Unleaded, and I have to use an octane booster to take the fuel to 99 RON. Also, the standard FX6 injectors wouldn't flow enough fuel even flat out so this uses ones off a Suzuki GSX1400, and you obviously need a Power Commander to control the fuel. I've got an uprated clutch with stronger springs to deal with the extra power. But the rest of the engine's standard, crank, pistons and rods.
The downside of supercharging your Yamaha FZ6 is that it would set you back for almost 400,000 Baht (without the motorcycle).