Supercharged Motorcycle Vs. Turbocharged Motorcycle

The ultimate question: what’s better supercharger or turbo on a motorcycle?

supercharged 2006 yamaha r1

Here at Hooked On Sprockets, ive had a chance to play with both. Personally being semi old school, I prefer superchargers or well built big bore naturally aspirated engines more than I like turbos, but on the other hand, turbo charging at the moment is the best option for huge horsepower numbers, while superchargers lack the technology to surpass turbo systems for the time being.

For best results, for either system, you would need to build a motor than can handle the excessive pressures being exerted on it. You can, just bolt a setup on to a stock motor, but its more likely that that motor wont last very long, with the chances of blowing a head gasket, over-boosting, general parts failure, and over heating, its only a matter of time before you motor will blow itself up. Better off doing things the right way and building a chassis and motor that can handle the extra power.

For turbo systems, which are very common, the cost to build a decent kit is semi affordable, if you want crazy horsepower, the numbers go up. The turbo has a lot of great benefits, easy to build, easily changeable to upgrade to a bigger turbo for more power, and with the right fuel ratio, horsepower numbers can get into well over 1000rwhp. The power band isn’t the smoothest, due to having to build up pressure before the power surge hits. When the boost kicks in, hold on tight your gonna go for a ride. On the other hand if a bike isn’t tuned right, the bike becomes a peaky mess of horsepower and problems.

A supercharger system on the other hand is the exact opposite, not very affordable, hard to find a good, well built kit, and not easily upgraded, due to the fact that the superchargers on the market aren’t as compact as they would need to be to fit most bikes. So far for bikes, the highest horsepower numbers, i’ve even come across is in the 600rwhp range. Due to superchargers being mechanically driven by belt,s it limits how much can actually be produced, because of belt slippage and restrictions on the size of supercharger you can actually fit on a bike. The benefit though is worth every penny spent. Instead of having to build up pressure and wait for boost, you get it instantly. As soon as you grab throttle you have boost. No peaky mess. Full power all the way to redline. Affordable kits is not a word used to describe kits yet, not as many people know the benefits and not as many run superchargers leaving the cost for parts high because they are not mass produced.

I’ve ridden both the supercharged 06 r1 in the to pic and the turbo 05 r1 in the video, the supercharged bike ran 3psi boost on a stock motor and produced 180rwhp and 120ft. lbs. torque on the dyno. The turbo bike ran 260rwhp and 120 ft. lbs. torque running 10psi boost on a stock motor. Both bikes motors didn’t last, the supercharged bike blew head gaskets and the turbo bike melted pistons. So neither was built to last from the beginning. The turbo bike as you can see on the vid was a peaky mess of power, lifting the tire in all gears with it even being stretched 6″. The supercharged bike laid rubber down and took off instantly. The supercharged bike would have probably been just as effective if it wasn’t supercharged and just had a well built big bore motor, on the other hand a supercharged big bore motor would be even crazier.

Personally regardless of cost I lean towards the more manageable power of a supercharger, but I leave the debate open to others because it may not be the direction you want to go. Either way there’s no better rush than grabbing a hand full of boost.

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Posted in Reviews

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