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Plug-in power

By Michael Mihalevich

Dynojet Power Commander PC III USB

Dynojet Research, Inc.


What’s the first thing you do when you get a new Harley? Right, you put on a new set of pipes, so it sounds more like a Harley’s supposed to sound. That also usually gives it a little more “umph” over the stock Harley output. To go along with the freer flowing exhaust, you need to provide a freer flowing air intake. But you forgot something. You need something that makes sure that the right amount of fuel mixes with the correct proportion of air coming through that freer-flowing intake, to burn more efficiently in your engine, to eventually get that extra umph to where the rubber meets the road. That something you need is a Dynojet Power Commander.

So what is a Power Commander? Obviously, Dynojet can explain it best. “The Dynojet Power Commander plugs inline with your bike’s stock fuel injection system. It uses OEM (original equipment manufacturer) style connectors making installation easy and quick. The PCIII USB allows a full range of fuel adjustment, as much as plus or minus 100 percent over stock. Adjustments can be made either with a Windows-based computer or by using the faceplate-mounted button adjusters. No permanent changes are made to the bike’s system. Once the unit is removed the bike reverts to its stock settings.”

As far as I’m concerned, the Power Commander is a magic little black box that optimizes my Harley’s motor for best power and performance, which results in smoother power delivery and cooler operating temperatures. Cooler operating temperatures are especially apparent with Harley’s new 96″ engine. The smooth power delivery is readily apparent every time I twist the throttle.

Despite the fact that the Power Commander is a simple plug-and-play installation, I took my ’07 Road Glide to Blue Springs Harley-Davidson for professional installation. Dynojet outlines 12 steps for installation, where you basically unplug the wiring harness, plug in the Power Commander, zip-tie the unit in place, and install the O2 eliminators. Also, despite the fact that Power Commander offers more than 5,000 fuel mapping choices for more than 15 brands of motorcycles, I opted for custom mapping by the pros at Blue Springs Harley-Davidson.

Gary Smith, the Dynojet pro at Blue Springs, indicated that with the custom fuel mapping, they strive to optimize the bike’s driveability and performance. The driveability range is basically from 0 to 3,500 rpms, and the target air/fuel ratio is between 13.8:1 and 14.1:1. Dynojet’s economy range is between 13.5:1 and 13.8:1. Blue Springs H-D’s optimal performance air/fuel ratio is 13.3:1. Dynojet’s power range is between 12.8:1 and 13.2:1. For custom mapping, the air/fuel ratio is set every 250 rpms. The ratio between the 250 rpm increments is interpolated and blended by the Dynojet Dynamometer.

Dynojet claims that you could potentially experience a 10 percent increase in power and torque with the installation of a Power Commander. My dyno charts showed an increase from 69 hp to 73 hp, and maximum torque increased from 82 to 86 ft/lbs. Not quite a 10 percent increase, but the lines on the chart are incredibly smooth—no bumps or dips, just a steady upward curve.

Another benefit with a Power Commander on a Harley is a new feature they call “Rev X-tend.” According to Dynojet, “This will give you the ability to have an increased rev limit over stock without having to modify the bike’s ECM (electronic control module). No longer will you need to take the bike to the dealer to have the ECM reflashed in order to have the higher rev limit your bike needs with modified cams, heads, etc.” A minor detriment that Harley riders have noticed with a Power Commander installed is that start-up is not as instantaneous as stock. It takes an extra turn or two of the starter for the engine to fire.

You might question the $350 price tag, but look at it this way: You spent at least $14,000 for the Harley, $500 for the aftermarket slip-on exhaust, and $100 for the freer-flowing breather. You need the Power Commander to bring it all together to maximize the power and performance of your initial investment.

The Power Commander can be sophisticated and simple at the same time depending on the end user. It can be a plug-and-play or custom mapped to your own specific riding requirements. And if you decide to change Harleys, you can take your Power Commander with you and install it in your new ride.

I really like the Power Commander for the excitement of the smooth power delivery when I twist the throttle. My wife, as a passenger, likes it for the benefit of a cooler exhaust pipe next to her leg.

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