Engine flushes: Can you really get extra bhp out of a small bottle?
Always seeking to get extra welly out of his bikes, Jock McJock tries some liquid alchemy to make his old ‘Blade go just that little bit faster.
You have a bike that’s done a few years maybe. You want it to be reliable, you want it to perform as good as it can do, you want more horsepower, acceleration perhaps.
If you’re like me you’ll want it cheap. And why not, everything else is expensive. Want better tyres? That’s around £200 plus thanks. Want better suspension, that’s an open wallet thanks. Want more horsepower, well that can also be a wallet-emptying experience too.
But as they say, ‘the smart learn from their mistakes, the wise learn from others.’ So I spoke with Lee from Motoworks in Kent, my ever present advisor to all things helpful within my budget and asked him for something that would give my bike a bit of a pickup, a few months into the riding season. (Yes, I avoid winter these days, choosing the sofa, weight gain and MotoGP reruns instead during the colder, salty months).
“Try BG Powerpack 3,” was his suggestion. Never heard of it or them, I say. But BMRC seems to have had some good results with Powerbikes on the Beemsee dyno. “Worth a punt if a little cheap oomph is all you’re after,” Lee suggests.
I turn up on a frosty April morning, bleary eyed and chilled to the bone musing about my no winter riding policy, but thankful that Lee has opened up a bit early to sort me and the ‘Blade out before the onslaught of better customers turning up that fill his day.
Usual polite, “Alright choppah!!” from the ever unnaturally cheery Lee and quickly the bike is in the workshop on a stand, fuel tank topped up with BG 44K® Fuel System Cleaner, engine topped up with BG EPR® Engine Performance Restoration® Flush and running up to temperature again before a bit of a razz to run it through for a bit.
Next stage, dump the oil, take off the oil filter. Let it sit over a coffee and shared stories of how many women we’ve disappointed over the years and before long, well longer than necessary, the sump plug is back on, new filter back on and new oil poured in. Near the required amount, Lee adds BG Engine Performance Concentrate to the oil and then once settled tops up to the mark before re-checking everything is properly torqued up and cleaned down.
There we have it. The fuel system and engine have had a flush out. Kind of a liquid pull-through. So to speak. And a friction reducer added to the fresh oil. The claim is you can get an extra 5-12 bhp from this treatment.
Kit on, weather a bit warmer with the sun out, I head off to see if Lee is right (usually is), or I’ve spent £30 on something that is just a placebo pill in the shape of 3 bottles of mystery fluid.
Now I didn’t dyno the bike before or after like BMRC did, finding 12bhp in a 2009 R1 post BG POWERPACK 3 application, I wasn’t too fussed on figures, more on feel. However, I’ll cut to the chase and tell you, I’m impressed.
I could waffle on about my assometer telling me the bike has a slight bhp lift, or that the bike spins up through the revs more freely and the drive being noticeably improved. And that waffle would be full of honest views, with no scientific evidence to prove it. On that, I’ll have to ask you to trust the 30 plus years of racing and ragging bikes all over the place and normally being able to suss out the nuances of bike performance.
First off, there’s a very noticeable, mechanical difference. Clutchless shifts, I like em, been doing them for absolutely years. The Blade didn’t like them for some reason. So, a month ago I buy a Gilles gear linkage shaft support. Better shifts for sure, but only better with the clutch. I resigned myself to once again giving up on clutchless upshifts on this Blade, using the clutch each time, no drama.
But here I am, 5 miles maybe into the ride and I’m smiling in that ‘Lee is right again’ kind of smile and hell I must have had my foot under the gear lever when I roll off slightly for a car slowing down in the distance and next thing I know I’ve shifted from 3rd to 4th. No clutch. WTF is my first response!?! Yes, the gearbox feels far smoother, almost velvety, but an inadvertent clutchless shift after giving up on them, well that is something I didn’t see coming.
So I ride on, give the bike a bit of a zip through 4th, then part shut the throttle with a little pressure on the lever and sure enough in goes the gearchange, like plenty bikes before this one. Clutchless upshifts, downshifts with the clutch, all much smoother. Slippy, slippy inside that gearbox is how it feels. Revs rise ever so noticeably quicker, gears change ever so much easier, the bike drives up and down the rev range with less resistance.
In order to nullify the possibility that the fuel additive is artificially boosting the effects of the oil flush I ride til I’m near dry and then top up with Sainsbury’s plain old regular unleaded. Pleasingly, no drop off in performance.
The Blade is now feeling pretty damn healthy and bar some tyres that need changing and some roads that need some heating, it was one of those rides that make you feel like you spent £300 instead of £30.
They recommend you use this product every oil change. Of course they would. Will I? Damn right I will. If this product can give me that feeling of a refreshed engine, why wouldn’t it? Does it really need it every oil change? Well missing an application would be the way to find out but really, if I’m honest I’ll likely not miss out on it. Seems a waste of time and engine oil if I’m disappointed I didn’t do it and then have to drop the fresh stuff out in adding the PowerPack 3.
Give it a go. It’s worth the £30-ish. I’ll next be putting it into a fairly new BMW R1200GS LC and see if it makes the tractor feel any more like a Fireblade, or just a better feeling tractor.
Jock also recently tried a fuel additive, which you can read about here.
Get yourself sorted:
For the relatively small amounts of cash, these additives seem pretty good value. If you do your own servicing the BG system can be bought online at eBay.