Honestly, I'm a Bit Disappointed With Stage I

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by Dr. Dolittle, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I had already installed Dobeck's GEN3 EJK fuel controller and was real happy with how it mainly cooled the bike down. Installed SE Street Performance Slip Ons and SE Stage I Air Cleaner Kit today and hopped on the bike for the test ride with great anticipation after adjusting the GEN3 for the full Stage I.

    I can't tell you how many posts I've read to the tune of "It feels like riding a new bike" and "this is how all Harleys should run" from folks who've done the Stage I. Well, to be honest, I didn't notice a whole lot of performance improvement.

    Now, to be fair, I went back and looked at the before and after HP and TQ charts in the P&A catalog and online and noticed that the main increase takes place above 3000 RPM. The couple times I really got on it and was in the 3000 to 4500 range it did feel better. But the rest of the time below 3000 RPM was a bit of a let down. I guess this is why so many riders complain of gas mileage going down after a Stage I - they tend to run it at higher RPM's to get the benefit of the additional HP and TQ available up there.

    Let me say that so far I'm thrilled with the SE slip ons - just what I was looking for - nice low rumble when idling and at cruise RPM, slightly louder when accelerating but not obnoxious at all.

    So.....to get any improvement in the sub 3000 RPM area I guess I'm looking at cams, right? I've always seen the cam posts and magazine articles and skipped right by them thinking I'd never need them. I know there are some HD SE cams and Andrews cams that address the low to mid RPM area. I'll do some research on that but let me finish with this question. Can someone like me with low to average mechanical ability handle a cam upgrade? Not counting the parts, what would the labor charge be to have someone else do it?

    Thanks for reading this long and rambling post!
  2. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

  3. hogrotten

    hogrotten Junior Member

    I'm with you Doc. I had that same experience with my bike and it wasn't until I put my 2 into 1 exhaust on that I felt I truly got my moneys worth. I understand that everyone has different prefferences, but when it came to a noticable difference frome one single change it was the 2 into 1.
    I'll add that I spent alot of time and $$$ trying different exhaust, and I tryed all the different styles (duals,stock with slip-ons,drag pipes) and while I did notice a difference in top end performance the other styles seemed to give up torque on the lower side. The long and short of it is I'm with ya on this one, maybe the exhaust change is something to look at I know personally the 2 into 1 is the best money I've spent on my bike to date.
  4. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member

    I have read in American Harley magazine tech section and the findings were very similar to what you have experienced Dr. Dolittle. The article stated that by doing a stage one with pipes and controller the upgrade is only noticed above 3000 rpm which is where most of us do not ride. This is a quote from article---- "An aftermarket air cleaner and a set of loud Harley pipes add 5 peak horsepower to a stock engine; 2 will be from the mufflers and 3 from the air cleaner. Note that while Screamin’ Eagle parts may add 3 horsepower, a downshift can deliver 10. A downshift stays tucked away until you need it and it hardly makes any noise at all." So cams are where the change can be made to increase performance in the normal riding range.
  5. walleye

    walleye Junior Member Contributor

    DITTO on this. The 2-1 pipes made my stage one more than the any other component hands down.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    I have to say that when I got my carbed Sporty. it had parts of the Stage I done already, just improperly. It would bog when accelerating and way too much fuel mixture everywhere. Only time it would run "fairly" cleanly was after a long warm up period in cool weather. That is why I visited this site a couple days later, to get a crisp throttle response back like I was used to on my metric bike. Rejetting, cleaning and adjusting the CV slide to stainless steel one in kit, adding 2 #4 washers while rebuilding the carb did the trick. No looking back now...she runs like a top! :D

    What I can say is that once I got the Stage I setup right, my fuel mileage went up to about 45 MPG....and yes it still is a bit rich, but the throttle response and fueling is so crisp it has that "cammy" rush I am used to. Or maybe I an using it more in the 2500, 3000 RPM range, I don't have a tach, but I really like that "sportbike" feel, much more torque, no need to "row the gearbox" to feel like I am riding something substantial. :newsmile025:
  7. Bud White

    Bud White Well-Known Member Retired Moderators

    getting rid of the stock epa cams really wakes um up
  8. Bait

    Bait Active Member

    With the Stage 1 on my 08 Fatboy I noticed some increase in accelaration but the most noticible difference was that it ran cooler and smoother; which made it worth the $.
  9. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Thanks everyone - I was afraid I was the only one that wasn't 100% thrilled with Stage I results. I'm glad I did it mainly for the cooler running engine and the better sound.

    I'm not a fan of the 2 into 1 look on a bagger so that's not an option for me. I'll have to consider the headers vs. cams issue - thanks Hobbit. Don't get me wrong, I love my bike and I'm very happy with how it rides right now. I'm not looking to enter any drag races anytime soon!

    Just doing the cams on a 2008 bike shouldn't be that big a deal, right? I watched TQ's slide show on his engine build so that gives me some confidence.

    Do the 2008 TC's have roller chain or gear driven cams?
  10. mnultra

    mnultra Active Member

    Somebody feel free to chime in on this one but I thought I had read somewhere that with the TBW bikes, the low RPM difference is not very noticable when compared to a cable controlled throttle bike when doing a stage 1. Something about the ECM and other stuff that is way over my head :D

    Just like you Doc, when I did mine, the biggest difference was the engine temp followed by the upper RPM performance.