Literbike Mods: Honda CBR1000RR Bazzaz Z-Fi System

The Bazzaz Performance software presents this screen for setting the traction control. The main array allows sensitivity for each throttle position and rpm increment to be adjusted between 0 and 10. On the left, a cut level for each throttle position can be set from 0 to 10. And on the bottom, the entire sensitivity map can be offset positive or negative in each gear.
The fuel injection can be tuned for each throttle position and rpm, and offset in each gear. Here, the self-mapping feature is being used to determine changes to the map based on the oxygen sensor readings.
The Z-AFM fuel-mapping device uses an oxygen sensor in the exhaust to monitor air/fuel ratio and then recommends changes to the fuel map based on the data.
These switches on the CBR's handlebar allow you to add or subtract traction control over the entire operating range, or switch between two completely different fuel and TC maps programmed into the Z-Fi.
The Bazzaz Performance Z-Bomb goes in-line with the CBR's throttle position sensor, tricking the ECU into thinking the throttle is not fully opening and bypassing the bike's top-end restriction.

We had some time recently to try out some aftermarket components for three of the Japanese literbikes-the Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, and Yamaha YZF-R1-to find out just how much improvement we could get with various bolt-on accessories. The following stories chronicle our experience with a handful of aftermarket items: the Bazzaz Z-Fi system, the Kawasaki race kit ECU, BST carbon fiber wheels, BrakeTech ceramic composite brakes, M4 full exhaust system, Galfer Superbike Wave rotors, and a Yoshimura R-77 3/4 slip-on exhaust for the Yamaha R1

Honda CBR 1000RR
Bazzaz Z-Fi System

Now that we've had a couple of years riding and testing various bikes with traction control, it's become obvious that this particular electronic aid is not the magic go-fast performance upgrade many riders wish for. While the safety benefits of traction control are clearly and immediately realized, turning faster lap times at the racetrack is not as simple as flicking a switch. In our track test of the Ducati 1098R Bayliss Replica LE last year ("Flag Bearer", Oct. '09), Kento recorded his fastest lap at Spring Mountain Motorsports Park with the Ducati's TC system turned off. And in our traction control shootout two years ago ("Red Rockets", Aug. '08), we realized that a lot of work is required to tailor a system to the needs of both the rider and the track.

The basic conundrum is this: If you add traction control to prevent or limit wheelspin in corners, you are also slowing the bike down exiting those corners. Finding the right balance-enough TC for traction, yet not too much to slow the bike down-is a tricky job. Our plan here is to experiment further with a traction control system in an effort to find that balance, using a proven setup along with GPS-based data acquisition to pin down the exact benefits and pitfalls. We've already got some time with Bazzaz Performance's Z-Fi system on a Honda CBR1000RR so we began by duplicating that setup and continuing where we left off.

Trackday rider and local club racer John Reeves rides a CBR1000RR, and we loaded him up with a complete Bazzaz setup: Z-Fi fuel control unit with quickshift and traction control ($1000), the Z-AFM air/fuel mapping kit ($350) and a handlebar switch for making adjustments on the track ($150). We also ordered up the company's Z-Bomb for the CBR ($150), which eliminates the U.S. model's horsepower limitations. To take further advantage of all these tuning options, we ordered an Akrapovic Evolution exhaust for the CBR. The hydroformed titanium pipe is a 4-into-2-into-1 arrangement with carbon fiber canister, mounted up easily enough and retails for $2226.

The Bazzaz system opens up a slew of opportunities for adjustments and fiddling. The fuel injection can be adjusted using the typical throttle position/rpm array. For the traction control, the Z-Fi provides a map, similar to the fuel control map, which allows you to program a throttle position/rpm array with a TC sensitivity number-0 for no traction control, 10 for maximum control. Additionally, for each throttle position you can program a number-also between 0 and 10-for how much power is cut when the TC activates. As delivered, both the sensitivity and cut levels are pre-programmed with level 5. To help with developing a traction control map, two switches mount to the CBR's handlebar. One is an 11-position rotary dial that allows the rider to add or subtract from the programmed TC map in one-step increments. The other is a toggle switch that selects between two complete fuel and TC maps.

Installation of the entire kit is straightforward enough, but a half-day affair. The Z-Fi unit taps into the bike's fuel injection, ignition and additional wiring connectors, and these connections are all accessed under the fuel tank and/or airbox. The quickshifter utilizes a pressure-sensitive switch that replaces the bike's shift linkage rod. The Z-Bomb installs in the throttle position sensor connections. The handlebar switch mounts to the left clip-on. And the air/fuel monitor takes its cue from an oxygen sensor that installs in the exhaust system-the Akrapovic exhaust conveniently has the necessary adaptor for the sensor. All these electronic devices mean a lot of wires running from the front of the bike to the rear, and a weight penalty of 2.5 pounds.

With the software installed and the Z-Fi unit connected to a laptop, a series of screens allows the various parameters to be changed. The quickshifter can be programmed with a different cut time in each gear. The Bazzaz Performance traction control works by detecting rises in engine rpm, and will intervene by cutting the ignition when rpm rises quicker than the system deems appropriate. The traction control sensitivity can be set using a throttle position/rpm array similar to that of the fuel injection map, with a number between 0 (none) and 10 (maximum) determining how quick the system is to intervene. How much power is cut when that happens is adjustable (likewise using a number between 0 and 10) for each throttle position, but not rpm. The system is delivered programmed with all the sensitivity and cut levels set to 5. The traction control can be adjusted while the bike is being ridden using the handlebar switch to add to or take away from the sensitivity map. Additionally, the entire sensitivity map can be trimmed for each gear position. Two complete fuel and TC maps can be programmed, with the toggle switch on the handlebar being used to switch between the two.

One nice aspect of the Z-Fi unit and software is that what you see on each of the tuning screens is what the unit is programmed with. If you change something on-screen, it automatically changes in the unit, so there is no chance of confusion. Flick the toggle switch on the handlebar, and you see the alternate fuel and TC maps immediately. Plenty of diagnostic features are included, so you can quickly see if something is not working as it should.

While the Z-AFM module is not a completely closed-loop system, it is but one mouse click away from being just that. Using the self-mapping feature is a matter of switching it on in the software and then riding the bike, either on the track or on the dyno. While the bike is being ridden, the unit constantly monitors the air/fuel ratio and determines how the fuel map should be changed for best results. Connecting the laptop after the ride shows a series of recommended changes, which you can then accept in whole or in part. With everything installed, we attended a track day and began experimenting. We used the self-mapping feature to map the Z-Fi unit for the Akrapovic exhaust; after one session on the bike we accepted the recommended changes for the fuel maps. The manual recommends a couple of iterations for best results, but a later run on our SuperFlow CycleDyn showed the full-throttle air/fuel ratio to be just about perfect afterward.

With the standard TC settings, it is immediately apparent that the standard map is just a starting point. With enough control dialed in on the handlebar switch to calm things in the corners on the track, the system noticeably cuts power on the straights. Common sense tells us that you want more traction control when the bike is in mid-corner with the throttle barely open, and less traction control when the bike is on the straight with the throttle wide open. We made some adjustments to reflect that, and saw some progress. We'll continue to experiment with the mapping and report back in a future issue with detailed results along with more modifications to the CBR1000RR.

For more information on the Bazzaz Z-Fi system, log onto www.bazzazperformance.com or call (909)597-8300. To find out more on the Akrapovic exhaust, log onto www.akrapovic.com -A.T.