The team at Bikes and Beard is back at it! After putting a bunch of Amazon bikes through Hell and back and answering the age-old question “can honey replace engine oil”, it’s now testing a new theory: can you supercharge a Harley-Davidson with a leaf blower?
After spending $4,600 to get his 2008 Harley-Davidson CVO Road King road ready, Sean of Bikes and Beard decided to take things a step further by adding a supercharger to the King’s Screamin’ Eagle. Forget all those fancy turbines you can buy from aftermarket parts suppliers—Sean got his (electric) supercharger from Home Depot.
After all, the concept of an anything-charger (turbo or super) is to force more air into the engine to create a higher air-to-fuel ratio and ultimately increase the output. A leaf blower is like a big fan. A supercharger is like a big fan. Potato-potato. Makes sense, right? At least it does to the Bikes and Beards guys.
The first thing they did before putting their theory to the test was to put the Harley on a dyno to get a reference point of how much power the bike produced in stock trim. The dyno test determined that the un-modified King produced 77 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque.
With those numbers in mind, they kicked things up by installing a forced-induction intake. Leaf blower or not, that air needs to get inside the engine and that’s exactly what the intake is there to do. They then proceed to modify the leaf blower itself to make it fit on the bike.
The steps included changing the exhaust tubing to make it fit the intake port and extending the electrical wiring to add the blower’s controls to the motorcycle’s handlebar. As for the motor, the guys simply attached it to the top of the fuel tank. The result is the weirdest-looking Harley we’ve seen in a long time.
So, how did that go? Cue the sad trombone: not that well. Sean tested the modified Harley on the road and it turned out that the leaf blower did nothing for the bike’s performance. Determined to make something work, he had the folks over at Trask Performance hook him up with a premium turbocharger kit instead. The whole plug-and-play leaf blower approach didn’t work so this was the next best thing.
It turns out that you can wring more power out of a Harley with a proper turbo kit and ECU remapping. Who would have thought? We don’t get new dyno numbers to compare the original ones with but Sean does a little 0-60 runs and pull off a respectable 4.19 seconds.
Moral of the story, if you want to turbocharge your bike, buy a turbocharger. As for the leaf blower, you’re better off, you know, blowing leaves with it.