Article and Photos By: Joe Trozzo
As you may recall, a few months ago I did some tech articles on the Super Tuner and the Thunder Max Auto Tuner. It’s now roughly 9000 miles later and here is my summary of the two products. I would like to remind you that this is just my opinion of each product and also I was looking for what I felt would be the simplest to use in your own garage without dyno tuning or outsourcing. Although a dyno was used to see how close our tuning was and to see how much horsepower and torque, we only made changes if we felt it was a must. I also kept a record on fuel mileage and I will give the averages. With that said, let’s get started.
We started with the Super tuner with Smart Tune. Remember, we did use the Smart Tune then took the bike to Gregg at GMS Racing to see our results. We found our bike was running lean in our lower RPM range and did not have a smooth flow of power from start to finish. Gregg decided we should start from scratch on this and away he went. He did 7 pulls and tweaked along the way. The first run we had 94 hp and 101 ft lbs of torque. By the 7th we had almost 98 hp and 104 ft lbs of torque, not too bad. I decided to head out on the road and see how she would be. I put on about 3500 miles and noticed that she was definitely running real good but had a couple bugs that could be worked out with a little more dyno time. That being said, I feel that this does not make this tuner user-friendly for the do-it-yourselfer, but is a great tool in the proper hands. As far as fuel mileage goes, I found the average to be around 30 to 34 m.p.g.
Next is the Thunder Max Auto Tuner. We gave Zippers’ Performance the motor specs and had them put a base map in before they shipped it out; pretty cool I think. Once you start out, you can actually feel the bike start to run better and after some miles, it improved even more. I put about 200 miles on the bike then hooked her back up to my laptop and went into the T Max Control Center, as it is called, and could then look at the Auto Tune Checkup. This shows you how many points are changed and will tell you if running the Auto Map is necessary or recommended. If so, just click on “Auto Run Map” and that will rewrite your base map with the learned changes. It will then put all map points back to zero, opening up the cells to learn more. Also, if you touch “Details” in this area, it will show how many points have changed and to what percent.
After this was done, we headed to Gregg again and put it the dyno. Gregg did the first run and it showed 93 hp and about 100 ft lbs of torque, not bad, I thought, for just riding it. Gregg told me to pay attention to our graphs as we went and we could see the Auto Tune smooth itself out. It really does change the air fuel on its own and it is cool to see. By pull number 7, we had 94 hp and 102 ft. lbs. of torque. Okay, it’s not as much as the Super Tuner results but we didn’t do any manual changes, this was all done on its own. Gregg said we could go in and do advance tuning if I wanted but I told him I didn’t want to do that just yet since I am testing this out for the home mechanic.
This is the TMax Control center screen. Here you find out about the changes to the fuel points and access the detail screen of this. You can access trouble codes, the RPM log and engine temperature log.
So with that, I headed back out on the road. Now with about 5500 miles on the Thunder Max, I am real happy with it. I have changed the map a couple times since then but still haven’t done any advance tuning on it yet. Zippers does have updates to their map library, so as long as you save your map you can try other ones and if you don’t like them, you can put your saved one back in. As far as fuel mileage goes, it was more consistent with 36 – 37 m.p.g. As for the Auto Tune, it was great from idle to wide open throttle. Out of the box, I feel the Zippers’ Thunder Max Auto Tune is more user-friendly, gets better gas mileage, and I also like the throttle response much better.
When you twist the grip it reacts immediately with no delay. Basically the Auto Tuner tunes to your riding style and riding conditions. Keep in mind the Super Tuner can be adjusted a lot further than I took it but it’s not for everyone to try. Also, once set, it can’t adjust itself. Both systems have the ability to be hooked up to a computer and a dyno for further tuning. But the point here was to see which was better without all that. So my vote goes to the Thunder Max. Keep your eyes open, I will have more on the Thunder Max itself in the near future since I have only touched the tip of the iceberg on this and have a lot more to learn and share with you all.