Author Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?  (Read 3463 times)

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  • Offline matt-wt   gb

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    Offline matt-wt

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    Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    on: January 31, 2024, 12:31:15 am
    January 31, 2024, 12:31:15 am
    Hello All,

    New member here, recently (1 week ago) took delivery of a lovely 2021 Ice Grey XR from Cheltenham BMW. I’ve come from a 2022 CBR650R, gladly was able to gather some sense and go for a used one as I don’t use the bike often.

    Onto the topic in question, I’ve spent more hours than I would like to try to account for researching swapping the Headers out on these bikes even before I was actively looking to buy one.

    I’ve done a lot of reading through this forum and a lot was incredibly knowledgeable and useful, so I’ve signed up. I’ve been in and out of every website half a dozen times so this late night post is a last ditch attempt to try and get some experience shed on this job.

    Here fresh in 2024, I’m hoping to nudge and pluck out some experience from the last few years of the Gen 2 to see if a ‘good solution’ has been found that I haven’t seen?

    Intention is to buy Akra Headers, within the next 24 hours before the sale ends on them. I’ve spoken to insurance and BMW, both of which are satisfied. I’ve listened to one at a BMW dealer, extremely loud and I’m a bit on edge that it’ll be too loud but only one way to find out. I intend on fitting the stock end can onto the Headers.



    I gather that it is a necessity to tune the bikes due to them running lean, or have people since had no issues running them stock? Does it just affect ride ability? I note the bike is already very lumpy at town speeds when stock. It’s got a fresh 2 year warranty on it and I want to try and retain it, which is why I was looking more to a fuelling module if it needs adjustment but I can’t seem to find one for the Gen 2???? ECU flash is the last resort but I had a cost today for £750 and it just tips it over the edge of being reasonable. Has anybody found out for sure now whether the ECU has a wide enough band to compensate for low down rpm lean conditions?

    A number of people on You Tube seem to be running Headers on the stock tune and report no issues, but I don’t want to risk ‘long term damage’ if there is a risk.

    Thanks all in advance!! One of you may just sway me to hit the big noise button before the sale runs out, otherwise I’ll try and forget about it for a bit.  :027:

    Matthew.  :821:

  • Offline david_s   gb

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #1 on: January 31, 2024, 09:07:35 am
    January 31, 2024, 09:07:35 am
    Well firstly I would say that putting aftermarket headers on would probably void your warranty for anything engine related. No experience of this but I'd be surprised if it didn't.

    I'm in a very similar position to you, even down to the fact that I came from a 2022 CBR650R! I've gone for a Gen 1 and I'm very close to pulling the trigger on the Black Widow headers. My bike already has the BMW HP Akrapovic end can. My local bike garage said he's fitted loads of aftermarket headers to bikes, especially black widow, and usually they run fine afterwards without a remap. The service manager said he finds BMW especially seem to self adjust to the demands of the new exhaust better than others. It was only his opinion but he's been fixing bikes for 20+ years and owns a modified S1000RR so I gathered he knows what he's talking about.

    So I'll have them fitted and see how it runs, if it's not great I'll then have it remapped.

    On a side note, interesting you say your bike is lumpy low down, my gen 1 is smooth everywhere and I don't recall the gen 2 I test rode being anything but smooth either. Maybe have this checked out at BMW first?

  • Offline matt-wt   gb

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    Offline matt-wt

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #2 on: January 31, 2024, 09:26:13 am
    January 31, 2024, 09:26:13 am
    *Originally Posted by david_s [+]
    Well firstly I would say that putting aftermarket headers on would probably void your warranty for anything engine related. No experience of this but I'd be surprised if it didn't.

    I'm in a very similar position to you, even down to the fact that I came from a 2022 CBR650R! I've gone for a Gen 1 and I'm very close to pulling the trigger on the Black Widow headers. My bike already has the BMW HP Akrapovic end can. My local bike garage said he's fitted loads of aftermarket headers to bikes, especially black widow, and usually they run fine afterwards without a remap. The service manager said he finds BMW especially seem to self adjust to the demands of the new exhaust better than others. It was only his opinion but he's been fixing bikes for 20+ years and owns a modified S1000RR so I gathered he knows what he's talking about.

    So I'll have them fitted and see how it runs, if it's not great I'll then have it remapped.

    On a side note, interesting you say your bike is lumpy low down, my gen 1 is smooth everywhere and I don't recall the gen 2 I test rode being anything but smooth either. Maybe have this checked out at BMW first?

    Thanks for your response David, also welcome to the XR world  :007:

    Reference warranty, I spoke to BMW and they were very open to it saying they supply the part and even if I bought and fitted it myself it wouldn’t just write my warranty off they would only refuse an engine failure if it could be contributed to by the exhaust. They said they’ve fitted them and not tuned the engines but the Master Tech said it “may not run as well as it does now”, to get it running correctly they said you CAN have the fuelling adjusted but then the warranty would be void.

    I was looking at Black Widow considering they’re a lot cheaper but there is a video of one on YouTube and it sounded overly ‘raspy’ to me compared to all the others, so it put me off.

    I’ve noticed it overall with the way the engine runs compared to the silky smooth 650, the revs bounce around a little at idle (can watch it on the dash). I’ve mainly noticed when doing 20-30mph in 2nd/3rd gear that it’s quite lurchy and is ‘hunting’. The bike really doesn’t like these new 20mph zones, it rides like a pig in them.

    One thing I did forget to mention is I have fitted the servo eliminator which has given me a little more noise already, much improved but still not how it should be. Not sure if that would contribute to any rough running in anyone’s experience?

  • Offline david_s   gb

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #3 on: January 31, 2024, 10:16:20 am
    January 31, 2024, 10:16:20 am
    Yes I'll be having the Healtech ESE fitted when I have the headers installed. Lots of debate whether it needs it or not but for £45 it might as well be done.

    To be honest if I'm riding at 20mph I'll be in 1st gear and at 30mph I'll be in 2nd so I don't tend to run at really low revs but not noticed anything.

    Albeit again this is Gen 1 so would be slightly different but these 2 videos helped me decide that the Black Widow headers were right for me. It's an R not an XR but barely any difference and exactly the same engine, the top video shows them with the same end can than I have and the bottom (which sounds epic!) has a much shorter Akra end can. For the type of riding I do I think the bottom one would be too much and the top one still sounds great.




  • Offline the bartender   ca

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #4 on: January 31, 2024, 05:08:28 pm
    January 31, 2024, 05:08:28 pm
    *Originally Posted by matt-wt [+]
    I’ve mainly noticed when doing 20-30mph in 2nd/3rd gear that it’s quite lurchy and is ‘hunting’. The bike really doesn’t like these new 20mph zones, it rides like a pig in them.


    you're in the wrong gear......

  • Offline Winger   gb

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #5 on: February 02, 2024, 03:56:39 pm
    February 02, 2024, 03:56:39 pm
    The aftermarket exhaust system is only half the job anyway and when I say that,that’s both headers and end can,you will still need aftermarket fuelling,I’ve been both the like of fuel map change(Rexxer) on a K1200 but prefer the feel of a Power Commander,a PC deletes the effect the 02/lamba’s have but prefer the look of the bungs in the system, but regardless as every bike is different will still need a run up on a dyno to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,but which ever you’ll be able to ride in any gear you like with no lamba’s the fuelling will stop trying to diasappear up its’s own backside.

  • Offline matt-wt   gb

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #6 on: February 03, 2024, 01:20:51 pm
    February 03, 2024, 01:20:51 pm
    *Originally Posted by david_s [+]
    Yes I'll be having the Healtech ESE fitted when I have the headers installed. Lots of debate whether it needs it or not but for £45 it might as well be done.

    To be honest if I'm riding at 20mph I'll be in 1st gear and at 30mph I'll be in 2nd so I don't tend to run at really low revs but not noticed anything.

    Albeit again this is Gen 1 so would be slightly different but these 2 videos helped me decide that the Black Widow headers were right for me. It's an R not an XR but barely any difference and exactly the same engine, the top video shows them with the same end can than I have and the bottom (which sounds epic!) has a much shorter Akra end can. For the type of riding I do I think the bottom one would be too much and the top one still sounds great.





    Believe you definitely need it because if you were to unplug the valve without a module, the bike will assume worst case scenario that the valve isn’t open and will pull back power.

    It actually made quite a big difference with the stock exhaust even on my Gen 2!

  • Offline matt-wt   gb

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #7 on: February 03, 2024, 01:22:08 pm
    February 03, 2024, 01:22:08 pm
    *Originally Posted by the bartender [+]
    you're in the wrong gear......

    Well, you say that but without sitting in 1st gear with the bike whaling going through quiet towns I’m pretty stuck?

    I’d expect to be able to ride in 2nd or 3rd at 20-25mph (20mph being the new national limit in Wales  :013:).

  • Offline matt-wt   gb

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #8 on: February 03, 2024, 01:26:39 pm
    February 03, 2024, 01:26:39 pm
    *Originally Posted by Winger [+]
    The aftermarket exhaust system is only half the job anyway and when I say that,that’s both headers and end can,you will still need aftermarket fuelling,I’ve been both the like of fuel map change(Rexxer) on a K1200 but prefer the feel of a Power Commander,a PC deletes the effect the 02/lamba’s have but prefer the look of the bungs in the system, but regardless as every bike is different will still need a run up on a dyno to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,but which ever you’ll be able to ride in any gear you like with no lamba’s the fuelling will stop trying to diasappear up its’s own backside.

    In what way is it half a job? Are you suggesting that other mods are recommended or required at the same time? I see quite a few ‘improvements’ listed for this bike but didn’t think any more were required.

    I’ve spoken to Dynojet and they have nothing for the Gen 2 XR and don’t plan on developing anything. They said that the bike require quite a bit like additional/relocation of sensors and basically is more hassle than is worth?

    I’ve come across a company called BHP UK after chatting somebody who has their bike for sale with a map from them. From speaking to them they’re very knowledgeable and experienced with these engines. They offer custom maps for £449 on their dyno with a single time flash, or £499 you get a ‘flasher’ in the post, download your stock file and send it to them, they’ll modify the file to suit the mods you’ve fitted and then send the file back… you can use your flasher to install/remove the custom and stock file as many times as you like and they claim that it is undetectable by BMW if you put the stock map back on.

  • Offline david_s   gb

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    Re: Gen 2 Headers & Tunes - The Latest?
    Reply #9 on: February 03, 2024, 04:26:05 pm
    February 03, 2024, 04:26:05 pm
    *Originally Posted by matt-wt [+]
    Well, you say that but without sitting in 1st gear with the bike whaling going through quiet towns I’m pretty stuck?

    I’d expect to be able to ride in 2nd or 3rd at 20-25mph (20mph being the new national limit in Wales  :013:).

    Not on a big capacity motorbike mate, 20mph 1st gear, 30mph 2nd gear as a guide. You might think it's wailing but it's really not. You're talking about an engine that'll rev to 11k, not the 6-7k a standard car petrol engine will. The advantage to keeping in a lower gear is that the bike will be more responsive, not only acceleration but also engine braking where just rolling off the throttle will often do the trick instead of using the brakes.