MXA TEAM TESTED: VORTEX KX450F X10 ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT
WHAT IS IT? The Vortex X10 Electronic CONTROL Unit (ECU) is a preprogrammed, adjustable, replacement ECU for your fuel-injected bike.
WHAT’S IT COST? $779.95.
CONTACT? www.vortexcdi.com or (909) 947-0909.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Vortex’s X10 ECU.
(1) Ease of use. OEM remapping tools are piggyback systems that allow you to change the settings of the stock ECU by connecting it to a computer (Kawasaki/Honda/KTM) or a handheld device (Yamaha/Suzuki). The Vortex X10 is a replacement ECU with adjustable clickers. Installation is a breeze, and making adjustments requires only a small screwdriver.
(2) Ignition maps. There are 10 preprogrammed maps: best overall power, flat power, linear power 1, linear power 2, high-compression map 1, high-compression map 2, power map, RM-Z450 best overall map, standard map for hard terrain and standard map for soft terrain. Each map can be accessed by clicks on a 10-click adjuster. The preprogrammed maps are developed at the Vortex facility in Australia with dyno and pro test riders.
(3) Fuel maps. There are three clicks for fuel adjustment. They are divided into low, mid and high throttle openings. These openings roughly translate into pilot, needle and mainjet adjustments. Each fuel clicker has five settings in each direction (richer or leaner). One click equals approximately a 2.5 percent change.
(4) Software . Vortex’s remapping software is an extra option that is more powerful than the manufacturer’s EFI tuning tools. It provides the tuner with a large range of adjustability, including control of the rev limit. Vortex’s software maintains the OEM diagnostic codes. This tool allows serious engine tuners to make custom maps necessary for extensive engine mods.
(5) MXA test tip. To make adjustments, we fashioned a tiny, lightweight, portable screwdriver by pinching the end of a small paperclip. This allowed us to pullover, change maps, clip the tool back to our jersey sleeve and keep riding.
(6) Options. The X10 is available for the KX450F, CRF450, RM-Z450 and YZ450F, while the latest KTM 350SXF model is in development. There is also a two-position handlebar thumb switch that allows the rider to switch between the best overall map and any selected map on the fly. The switch costs $50.00 extra.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Be aware of two things: (1) The manufacturer’s programming tools and software are less expensive, and the Kawi tool has a neat data recording feature. (2) The Vortex connector isn’t impervious to water contamination when pressure washers are on the loose. Dielectric grease will help seal out the moisture.
Since most manufacturers offer tools that allow the rider to change fuel and ignition maps to a significant level already, the Vortex X10 ECU’s best feature is its ability to remember 10 different maps.