Supercharging a vlx600? - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 03-23-2007, 11:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Supercharging a vlx600?

Okay, this may be a totally stupid newbie question, but here goes:

Can a bike as small as the vlx600 be supercharged? If so, how might one go about finding a reasonably priced supercharger? If this is even possible, would it be preferrable? Someone told me it would be the equivalent of 150cc more displacement!

Thanks, in advance!
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Old 03-23-2007, 11:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I will be the first to jump in here with my ignorance...but WHY would you want to try this? Just go get a bigger bike. Price alone would justify getting a bigger bike.

But...onto your question...and let me state that I am NOT an expert on superchargers...but isn't a supercharger belt driven? How are you doing to rotate the supercharger? Maybe a turbo charger would be a better solution for you since it uses exhaust gases to spin the turbo.

But...with saying that, typically when you make an addition like this, you need to do internal motor work to change the compression ratio to a rating agreeable to use with the turbo. You also need to consider that the turbo will need oil and I doubt that the Shadow has enough capacity (either volume or flow) to provide a turbo with the necessary cooling/lubricant it requires.

I may be wrong...but I through it out there as food for thought. It IS an interesting thought if it can be accomplished.

Joe
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Old 03-23-2007, 11:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've messed around with turbos a bit on small car engines (in the 1L range). You could probably find one small enough to function on a VLX, but again, why?

You would have to, as a minimum:
Completely fabricate a custom intake and exhaust system
Provide an oil supply to the turbo (and you would have to solve the problem of consuming your small capacity of crankcase oil, since some does run out the exhaust thru the turbo bearings)
Rejet (okay, some people think if you change anything on the bike other than the tires or seat, you have to rejet, but in this case it's a must)
O-ring the heads so they can stand the higher combustion pressure (an intricate job for a machine shop)
And the biggie, you need camshafts with different lift and timing. And unless you're following in someone else's footsteps (in this case I suspect you're trailblazing) nobody can tell you just what numbers to use. Multiple trial and error attempts at multiple camshafts... smells like money to me. Plus you might have to brew up custom valve/stem assemblies to make it work.
And assuming you get this all to work and actually make horsepower, you're pretty soon to discover the mechanical limits of everything else on the bike, from the primary drive thru the clutch and chain and sprockets and tires and brakes and on and on.

Don't get me wrong, this kind of game is great fun, but it's expensive and frustrating and not going to get you much performance you can use.

Now here's an alternative: there's a doohickey called a "hypercharger," which is nothing more than a conversion of your air cleaner box to a ram air scoop with butterflies visible on the front that open when you twist the throttle. You could fab up something like that; it would be a fun project and might get you a bit of performance, but probably nothing you couldn't duplicate with standard aftermarket mods. But it would certainly be unique on a VLX!

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-23-2007, 12:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah! Actually, after I posted this question, I snooped around on this forum and found a reference to a hypercharger! I might need to look into that! The cost/frustration of installing a supercharger sounds way prohibitive!

As to why...the fact is, I just love my little vlx because of how small, light, and nimble it is! I have considered moving up to an 1100 (it seems that you don't get much more in terms of power-to-weight ratio by just moving up to a 750), but the thing is substantially heavier, and I'm a relatively new rider...don't want to lose control or get squished. I guess I'm just trying to get the advantages of a more powerful bike (I ride with guys who own v-rods, softtails, etc.) without the additional weight.

Thanks for your thoughtful and wise answers!
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Old 03-23-2007, 12:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drshap
I guess I'm just trying to get the advantages of a more powerful bike (I ride with guys who own v-rods, softtails, etc.)
Slower friends would be way cheaper than a faster bike.
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Old 03-23-2007, 12:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drshap
I guess I'm just trying to get the advantages of a more powerful bike (I ride with guys who own v-rods, softtails, etc.) without the additional weight.
Damn...I can't leave this alone...

Sorry if I offend you with this statement...but it sounds like you are just trying to keep up with the "Jone's" or "Smith's" (or whatever their names are ). LITERALLY!!!

You stated in your message (which I didn't copy over) that you are new to riding and uncomfortable controlling a heavier bike. This is a real concern...especially for someone who is new to riding. And, honestly, I applaud you for not jumping on a bike that is over-sized for your ability. One of the most common mistakes new riders make is riding outside their abilities. When I lead rides with people I don't know, I always tell them to ride within their own comfort level and not to worry if they can't take corners as fast as the more experienced riders. I also tell them that if they get separated from thr group because the group out-rides them, I will wait at the next turn for them. There is never any pressure to make a rider do anything they are not comfortable with.

Hopefully, you have this with your group. If not, then maybe instead of getting a different bike or hopping your current bike so you can stay up with the group...you need to find another group.

Just my "un-solicited" opinion on the matter.

Joe
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Once again, Spirit_1100 explains in measured tones what I was getting at with my sarcasm....
But yeah, what he said.
And besides, as you gain experience you'll discover that "keep-up-ability" is rather more a function of the rider than of the bike.
But never push your abilities, especially when tempted by a group.
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You guys are absolutely, positively right. I drool over the Sabres and Spirits on Cycletrader.com, and then slap myself in the face for even thinking about it at this point! When my kids were first learning to drive, I would never have considered putting them in a V-8 right out of driver's ed...why would I consider doing that with myself? Fortunately, my riding buds are very considerate, and usually put me second behind the lead guy. There's one guy who has only been riding as long as I have, and he ran out and bought a shiney red Ducati ST-3. He got a speeding ticket on the very first day...less than 24 hours after he wrote the check. I think I'll take it slow for a while.
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drshap
Yeah! Actually, after I posted this question, I snooped around on this forum and found a reference to a hypercharger! I might need to look into that!
Just a thought, but I wouldn't look very hard if I was you. The 'hypercharger' is nothing nore than a bolt on piece of chrome with a throttle activated butterfly. It just might give you a few more HP if you re-jet and open up the pipes but at the end of the day, a 600 vee twin is just that.

If you have to 'keep up' with your friends then as someone else said, perhaps you need some new friends. One of the reasons I choose solitary riding is that I don't have to compete or keep up. I go where I want at what speed I want.

Be your own man and enjoy the ride as you want, not as others whould have you enjoy it.

Respect

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Old 03-23-2007, 07:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Along with the other reasons posted...

A turbo would look absolutely silly on a VLX.
There's only one efficient mounting location and that's right where
the air box is.
Even a very small turbo would look funny sitting out on the side of the bike,
because there sure isn't room to put it under the frame.
Then, do you know how much heat a turbo expends?
Heat is what makes a turbo work... and the amount of heat one
radiates is unreal... you want that near your legs?

Other reason. Turbos are extremely hard to tune with carbureted engines.
That's why you didn't see turbos too much until fuel injection started becoming more popular.

As others said, oiling is a big problem. One other problem
is cooling the intake charge. I wouldn't dare put a turbo on
a VLX without an intercooler... and just where would you put it that
wouldn't look funny?

You 'could' do it without internal modifications, BUT you'd only be able
to run about 2lbs (maybe 3 at max) boost. That would probably give
you another 10 hp.
Seeing that just a turbo alone is gonna run you $600 or so,
is it really worth 10 hp?

If you want to wake that little VLX up, put some good pipes on it,
a free flowing filter, and rejet it.
You'd be VERY surprised how much an intake/exhaust/rejetted VLX will perform.
I ride with Harley guys all the time and I never have problems 'keeping up'.

Turbo's are one of the greatest power adders available.
They are not parasitic... they extra power they make is from
wasted heat from the engine.. However, it's inefficient to your wallet
and just flat out impractical in some applications.
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