MXA TEAM TESTED: TWISTED DEVELOPMENT 2020 KAWASAKI KX250 MAPPING
WHAT IS IT? Twisted Development specializes in optimizing electronic control unit (ECU) mapping to improve the performance of modern four-strokes. The OEM map settings are designed to be safe to use in a wide range of conditions for the average rider and to work with a wide range of fuels. Twisted Development reprograms the ECU’s characteristics to improve the bike’s performance for racing.
WHAT’S IT COST? $250.00 (using stock ECU), $945.95 ($699.95 Vortex ECU and $250 mapping).
CONTACT? www.td-racing.com or (951) 698-7222.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Twisted Development’s KX250 ECU mapping service.
(1) Goal. The goal in remapping an ECU isn’t just to gain horsepower. Depending on the brand and model, the amount of horsepower gained varies. Twisted’s goal when remapping an ECU is to create a free-revving and snappier power characteristic that allows the rider to use his bike’s power more efficiently. Optimizing the air/fuel ratio at each throttle position increases this performance. For the 2020 Kawasaki KX250, Twisted Development focused on increasing the power from the bottom through the midrange to help the bike get up to speed with less effort.
(2) Air/fuel ratio. Twisted Development ECU mapping enhances the air-to-fuel ratio (AFR) by finding the perfect stoichiometric mixture. The stoichiometric mixture is the exact ratio between air and flammable gas at which complete and perfect combustion occurs. Usually the ratio is around 13 parts air to 1 part fuel. Each blend of fuel has its own composition for where it wants to burn, and that’s why bikes need to be mapped for the specific fuel they’ll be using. Race gas burns at a different rate from pump gas; therefore, the ignition timing has to be adjusted for the specific fuel that’s being used.
(3) Stock ECU performance. Step one of our Twisted Development mapping test was to tweak the stock 2020 KX250 ECU. When comparing Twisted’s modified ECU mapping to the stock maps that came on the bike, there was an overall power increase across the board. It had a more free-revving power that could easily be felt from the saddle. The whole bike felt like it had been lightened considerably. It had stronger bottom and midrange power and reduced decompression braking. This allowed our test riders to get up to speed more easily coming out of corners. When we went back to the stock mapping, it felt like the bike was weighed down.
(4) Vortex ECU performance. Step two was to add a $699.95 Vortex ECU to our KX250. It came with a broader range of adjustment that allowed Twisted’s technicians to accomplish greater changes. With Twisted Development’s remapped Vortex ECU on our KX250, MXA test riders, who just got off the remapped stock ECU, immediately felt that the engine was more alive and considerably stronger coming out of corners. We played with the Vortex’s adjustments to get better throttle response and to meter in the proper amount of decompression braking for each test rider. We also determined the best amount of engine braking for each rider and track. Because the power was right there when we needed it, we could recover from mistakes more easily.
(5) Customization. Twisted Development has experience building ECU settings for everyone from Novices to Vets to Pros. They have a base setting for each bike that they start with, and depending on your skill level, where you typically ride and the other modifications that you have on your bike, they can design power characteristics with the ECU to meet your needs, even if you need it to be slower and easier to ride.
This is the future of tuning. It is the finishing touch of any hop-up program. With just a remap of our stock KX250’s ECU, Twisted Development enabled our test riders to cut quicker lap times due to the stronger powerband.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? No complaints.
MXA RATING: MXA thinks that any 2020 Kawasaki KX250 racer would be happy with Twisted’s $250 remap of the stock KX250 ECU. The more expensive reprogrammed Vortex ECU is best suited for aspiring AMA Pros or Loretta Lynn racers who want to push their KX250s to the outer limits.