By Wade Thiel
Turbocharging has been a method for car companies to reach emissions standards for a while now. That technique seems to now be making its way into motorcycles. According to a report from Motorcycle News, Yamaha is looking to turbocharger its range of motorcycles in the future. Meeting emissions seems to be the reason why.
The publication points to a turbocharger patent filed three years ago by Yamaha. That patent in conjunction with ever-tightening emissions standards seem to point to a possibly turbocharged future for Yamaha motorcycles. Motorcycle News seems to think that the Euro 5 emissions standard will force Yamaha’s hand on forced induction.
To be clear, this shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a bad thing. Turbocharging an engine can add between 30 and 40 percent more power when done right. That means your MT-10 could make 200 hp instead of 155 hp. Still, there are some downsides to turbocharging, especially depending on the tune. Some turbocharged engines experience a significant lag in power delivery. Because the turbo has to spool up, the power often hits later in the rev range. Turbochargers are powered by an exhaust-driven turbine, so you often have to get some revs before it really kicks in.
Yamaha has built turbocharged engines before. In the 80s, the company had the XJ650 Turbo (pictured above). It was only made for a couple of years. I’d suspect that if Yamaha goes the Turbo route this time, it will stick with it for more than a couple of years.