Power Commander for motorcycle performance

By: On: July 29th, 20100 Comments »Updated: October 14, 2012

Power Commander lcd screen for motorcyclesA Power Commander is an electronic module that is used for performance tuning of fuel injected motorcycles.  Having one on your fuel injected street bike is a must if you’re looking for increased performance.

You can install a Power Commander yourself since it plugs right in with your original electronic control unit (ECU).  The original ECU stays in tact and you can go back to using the original map program anytime.  A new display screen uses an SD card to store additional programs (maps) that you can switch to.

The ability to tune your fuel injection is needed if want to actually get the performance gains you paid for and expected when you added a high flow air filter, performance exhaust system or any other engine performance accessory or modification. Without a Power Commander, you are stuck with the factory “map” or fuel/ignition curves which are not adjustable and not optimized for your add-on performance accessories.

In the old days, some adjustments of the carburetors could squeeze out the power that high performance accessories promised.  In this modern era of electronic fuel injection, the engine performance is controlled by computer chips and firmware, which is not anything a typical motorcycle enthusiast could mess with.  This is why aftermarket electronic control modules such as the Power Commander were created and have become so popular today.

The frustrating thing about electronic engine control units is that they will simply compensate or automatically adjust to operate within factory parameters no matter what.  So, installing a high performance K&N air filter is great but you won’t get the intended performance gain from it without doing a little re-tuning of the fuel injection.  Same is true with custom exhaust systems, high flow air boxes, and other engine performance items.

The folks that make the Power Commander modules also make it easy for you to use.  They have a huge database of downloadable EFI map programs for all the popular makes and models of motorcycles, and to cover all sorts of modifications done to that specific motorcycle.  You can even select a “zero” or “factory” map program too.


The new Power Commander LCD display unit is weatherproof and can be mounted right on your motorcycle.  This cool accessory allows you to see real-time data, store multiple programs and switch between them.  You can even log data and make map adjustments on the fly.  If you are into performance tuning, this is the way to go.

The Power Commander plugs into your factory wiring harness in line with your factory electronic control unit.  Normally there is no need to cut or splice wires, so installation is easy.  If you disconnect the device, your bike is restored to the original factory settings, so there are no worries about being able to undo or go back.  This makes it nice for track days or running it down the drag strip then restoring original settings for daily riding.

Power Commander with LCD Display unitA Power Commander is used for altering the programmed electronic “brain” that determines the way your motorcycle runs.  It is used for controlling the fuel and ignition curves that make your engine perform.  Normally, the motorcycle manufacturer’s program is optimized for things like fuel efficiency, exhaust emissions  standards compliance, performance for typical street cruising rpm, and to function well with all the factory engine system components, including semi-restricted air intake flow, and semi-restrictive exhaust flow, etc.

The Power Commander III USB is really nice because it has buttons right on it that you can use to make adjustments with.  It also connects to your computer via a USB cable.  The street-approved version is the Power Commander III USB EX.  It has the same functionality, but is approved for street use.

Fuel Systems Tech BookPower Commanders are available for racing or for street (including California emissions approved models), and are available for a lot more than just Hondas and Harleys.

You can even get one for larger scooters too. If you want a professional to do the tuning and/or installation, there are authorized tuning centers located all over the USA and in countries world-wide.

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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