“Supercharged Motorcycle” Innovation and Benefits for Chinese Motorcycle Industry
Dr. Konstantin E. Starodetko
Nextar Consult, Inc, Ottawa and CERG-IAIT, Minsk, Belarus
There are several problems with small motorcycle (moped, scooter) engines of 50cc-125cc displacement, and up to 200cc for special applications. Lack of engine power is the significant problem.
This article presents how to improve performance characteristics of a motorcycle by supplying a working cylinder with additional compressed air by air compressor (supercharger). Chinese motorcycles equipped with the superchargers become significantly more competitive on the world market.
The Chinese motorcycles with our superchargers can change American and European end-users attitude toward the newly introduced product.
Thus it moves from “Unfortunately the cheapest motorcycles are also the weakest ones on their acceleration” to a new perception like “Wow, these Chinese motorcycles are the world leaders in terms of their acceleration and still the most inexpensive ones”!
Engineering behind the Innovation
To provide motorcycle owners with new impressions. Motorcycles can and must give their owners the feeling of involvement in the highest achievements of the motorcycle industry.
We would like to provide each motorcycle owner with the possibility of finding his/her personal combination of excitement and control.
Our team has developed a compact and powerful mechanical device for motorcycles. The device, based on a belt-driven air compressor (supercharger), improves the performance of most common 50cc – 125cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine.
Having a bolt-on design, the supercharger kit increases an engine’s acceleration capabilities. Thus, a motorcycle can reach its maximum speed in half the time required before the supercharger was installed .
A Little History.
The world automotive industry produces a huge number of supercharging devices. Air compressor production technology that meets industrial standards is sophisticated and expensive.
Accordingly, the industry offers devices to supercharge mostly cars and trucks. Thus, the price of a small size supercharging unit for small engines usually exceeds $2,000.
For transportation like motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters, a price of a few thousand dollars for such a super/turbo-charging unit is far too much .
Simple and reliable supercharging system specifically for small engines that would be less expensive than existing analogues was set out to create. This task has been accomplished through several years of hard work.
The newly developed supercharging system for a 50cc – 125cc engine provides more than a 50% increase in power. Mass production of this supercharger guarantees affordable price of the supercharger and plug-and-play installation kit.
The supercharging system provides steady functioning induction to a small engine in any operation mode. This efficient mechanical control unit has no electronics, therefore its production is inexpensive. Also, our machine is suitable to supercharge any two-wheeler powered by 4-stroke 50cc – 125cc engine.
The drive supercharger was developed for the target engine and vehicle. A Rotor-Vane compressor of the required capacity was designed for increasing the air supply (up to 2 times) to an engine.
Our supercharger consists of 4 main units: (a) air compressor, (b) boost storage tank, (c) gas exchange unit, and (d) drive pulley.
Accordingly they fulfill the following function: (a) to pump and compresses air; (b) to accumulate preliminary supercharged air, to cool accumulated air, and to supply its necessary amount to an engine; (c) to provide optimized gas exchange process between the engine, compressor and boost storage tank; (d) to rotate the supercharger counterclockwise via a belt-drive .
Different supercharging system.
Unlike other automotive parts producers, we are going to manufacture not just a compressor but a supercharging system functionally optimized, complete and ready for installation.
Our supercharging system does not require any expensive adjustments or adaptation of the existing engine. Our supercharger, together with the selected engine, create a competent operating system.
The supercharger design makes it universal for a whole series of engines and motorcycles.
Ready for mass production Supercharger.
Several series of our supercharger were built and tested. All the tests conducted on our supercharger beta versions are more than satisfactory. These results have proved that we are on the right track with all our R&D works and motivated us to create the supercharger version ready for mass manufacturing.
In order to evaluate acquired data on acceleration dynamics, we have conducted numerous experiments. Most of them were done to generate acceleration and speed performance data on stock and supercharged models. The most common results are shown here.
As the diagram shows, the 50cc supercharged motorbike has an acceleration time of 8.5 seconds to reach 50 km/h speed. The stock model reaches the same speed in 14.5 seconds. Thus the time to reach maximum allowed speed for supercharged motorbike is less than that of the naturally aspirated stock motorbike by 40%. The target bike technical specification allows 50 km/h limit.
The appearance of our newly developed supercharger and mounting kit is clearly seen on the following pictures.
The supercharger drive (drive belt cover is off) layout is presented by the following 3D model
Two additional parts presented below are recommended for installation on the target engine exclusively
In addition to the drive belt housing and drive belt cover, the mounting kit includes the following parts:
- Pulley with drive belt
- Drive belt idler
- Other parts to mount the supercharger onto the motorcycle
General appearance of the supercharger and mounting kit are here:
Supercharger is installed on target engine Z50/AB27
Plug-and-play mounting kit is installed on the legendary 50cc Honda Monkey.
A reliable way to supercharge small engines was presented in our paper at a Worldwide Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) conference.
The scientific paper and presentation were appreciated very much by the conference participants and specifically by executives of numerous motorcycle OEM including the ones representing the Japan Big Motorcycle Four. Our publications and the following fruitful discussions are accepted as the project approval by the global automotive engineering community .
Brief Market Analysis
Brief analysis of motorcycle market in China.
China occupies 20% of the world motorcycle market by producing inexpensive (times below existing prices) vehicles. Simple copying of Japanese higher quality and expensive serial motorcycle models allowed Chinese motorcycle industry establish over 60 big OEM producing 250K to 2M Japanese clones annually.
Demand for Chinese motorcycles presently goes down by several times. The Chinese motorcycle industry crisis is indicated by the fact that all the OEM cut their production by as much as twice .
Crisis main reasons.
There are at our opinion several reasons for motorcycle industry stagnation and suffer in China.
- The general strategy based on low price is ineffective today.
- Chinese government policy to get somebody else technologies ready for implementation does not work anymore. Chinese business community appears not to realize a mandatory condition — implantation of any innovation requires its permanent adaptation, optimization, and improvement that in turn assumes R&D work throughout the entire lifecycle.
- Delivery of innovation implantation to a customer should be done in a proper way meaning efforts of all the process participants are fully paid, but this is in contradiction with the low price strategy.
Within “low cost and low price” strategy Chinese motorcycle industry appears to have the bankruptcy tendency. Demand for “Chinese motorcycle” brand goes down continuously.
Customers have already paid high price because of their niggardliness. Chinese motorcycles do not provide with proper vehicle dynamics like ones by other manufacturers (Japanese first of all).
Also Chinese motorcycles have no reliability in driving since breakages and failures happen routinely and at any time. Chinese motorcycles dealers are redirected since low price niche is filled mainly by used Japanese 2-wheelers.
Price of Japanese machine on secondary market is even higher than of the brand new Chinese one due to its dynamics and reliability.
Our innovation and the “China Motorcycle” re-branding idea.
Legendary Honda Monkey model Z50/AB27 is one of the most popular motorcycles among tuning fans, therefore it’s the target for supercharging.
Why Honda Monkey? Latest Honda Cub and Super Cub inherited many features of Honda Monkey, so our efforts on its supercharging is a preliminary step toward greater motorcycle market expansion with the kits for Cub and Super Cub.
Consumers are expected to begin seeking alternatives for a better riding experience, comfort, safety and performance; making scooters and cubs the first choice for ‘new riders.
Honda Cub occupies a huge niche of the motorcycle market — for details see our Market Evaluation Investigation , so by using supercharged engines many Honda Cub operators will be provided with new impressions while operating the accustomed vehicle.
“A knock-on-effect for the export market” should be expected since customers get new and better consumer characteristics on accustomed product.
At the same time motorcycles powered by a small supercharged engine are able to improve the standard of cubs through the technological ‘trickle down’ affect and they will have influenced other cub producing companies — this is pretty much every Chinese motorcycle manufacturer.
This is also a chance for rapid industry new standard development — Cub with supercharging that paves path to domination of Chinese companies on Cub market, where Japanese manufacturers traditionally dictate fashion and get main profit.
It’s noticed specifically upon new products come to market although they have no big difference in comparison to the existing ones. Supercharging implementation guarantees market repositioning for companies in China and greater sales of the improved product.
Our innovation technology helps to manufacture Chinese motorcycles that at least do not yield the Japanese ones in dynamics. Supercharger and mounting kit installation together with some engine units improvement is going to cost about a couple of hundreds dollars on each 2-wheeler. So Chinese motorcycle should be sold at higher price than their current EXW.
The increased price guarantees that Chinese motorcycle is still less expensive than the Japanese one. The low price strategy is in effect but at higher level since disadvantages of consumer properties are eliminated.
Readiness of Chinese manufacturers for re-branding.
Ten years ago when this innovation was in its embryonic state our Chinese partners barely could realize even an application for such a small device.
Naturally they are not ready for mass implementation of any supercharger for small engines but the market makes a big difference by pushing OEM to significant quality changes including essential works related to new and significant features of their motorcycles.
Just a couple of examples. One of the famous Chinese large motorcycle OEM after half a year of active contacts and exchange of views agreed to start negotiations on the possibility to become our licensee.
On the other hand contrary to this long period, the top executive of another well-known Chinese motorcycle OEM, who spent only two weeks studying the innovation, admitted needs to agree the idea with his dealers.
About two years ago Chinese OEM ignored our proposals simply because their lack of understanding the innovation essence in both aspects — engineering and marketing.
The reason is obvious — why should they look for something new since the low cost strategy provides planned profit, full employment and good accounting reports toward the CPC and government.
How to put the Re-branding idea to practice
2-wheelers produced by China competitors in Japan and Europe are purchased throughout their dealer networks in Europe and U.S.A. at the price exceeding China vehicle by $1,000 or more. What do customers pay extra for? We believe it’s because of the following:
- About 50% of the price (about $500) covers just the brand names of the competitors.
- The remaining 50% (again about $500) pays surpassing in terms of output technical characteristics.
Importance of technical surpass to consumers.
- About 80% of additional cost is spent on the output technical parameters surpass that mainly determined by higher engine power.
- The remaining 20% covers comfort and other toys like nice looking rubber or plastic on handles, buttons and other boards as well as leather seat, etc.
Why is additional power so important to consumers, so they are willing to pay extra $500 or more? The matter of fact is that additional power allows an operator feel much more confident about the vehicle and provides higher safety on the road.
Advantages of supercharged vehicle.
What are the advantages of getting 2-wheelers powered by modernized engine with supercharger on the market?
- The elimination of (technical) engine power gap, and as a result all the negative sensations of consumers during 2-wheeler exploitation.
- From market point of view the precedent is created since the first time in the industry Chinese supercharged 2-wheeler becomes a leader by some technical characteristics, and that in turn will provide a series of essential consumer properties.
- This precedent will allow taking over some part of market out of main competitors, manufacturers in Japan and Europe.
- It may provide additional profit that comes from the price difference between similar scooters made in China and Japan (or Europe), which makes from $500 on each vehicle.
How to advance the supercharged 2-wheelers of higher power to the market?
Since there is no mass production of 2-wheelers powered by small supercharged engines each modernized 2-wheeler can be named something like: «Cub Compressor», etc.
As an example let’s take German company Mercedes-Benz. When they started installation of mechanical compressor on some of their cars, like SLK230, they simply added the word “KOMPRESSOR” without running any expensive advertising campaigns. It was the first company installing superchargers on their cars and by now it sold hundreds of thousands cars powered by supercharged engines.
How high would be the cost of 2-wheeler powered by supercharged engine?
In our estimate the mass production of the modernized 2-wheeler increases cost by no more than a couple hundred dollars. At the same time retail price may be increased by five hundred dollars. Besides the supercharger and mounting kit installation the overall cost of the modernization should include the revision of some target engine parts and units related to the power increase.
These estimations are based on our connections and collaborations with European manufacturers and dealers primarily. In each OEM case joint estimation will provide more accurate results on profitability of our prospective collaboration.
Benefits of the innovation.
How and why Chinese Motorcycle industry benefits from the innovation?!
- Manufacturing of the supercharger for Chinese OEMs is the main goal of our team in China.
- Chinese motorcycles equipped with our superchargers become significantly competitive on the world market.
The Chinese motorcycle powered by supercharged engine can change American and European end-users attitude toward the newly introduced product.
Thus it moves from “Unfortunately the cheapest motorcycles are also the weakest ones on their acceleration” to a new perception like “Wow, these Chinese motorcycles are the world leaders on acceleration and still the most inexpensive ones!”
Supercharger value for Chinese OEM.
- The usage of our supercharger is the most effective and the cheapest means to increase the consumer features of Chinese motorcycles up to the level of currently the best world motorcycles like Honda, Yamaha, etc.
Our numerous experiments and tests, including road tests, have proved that Chinese motorcycles with our superchargers can provide the improved performance in many aspects.
- Chinese motorcycle with our supercharger on-the-board also means the higher profitability for its manufacturer.
- The increased margin from motorcycles export allows OEM to improve their product on several other directions, without further changing efforts for the suggested retail price. Such a world leader position creates very high reputation and respect and accordingly you should not wait for monetary benefits too long.
Higher image of Chinese motorcycle among American and European customers.
- Besides getting rid of their motorcycle weakness (unsatisfactory acceleration parameters) Chinese OEM can take over the world leadership toward this characteristic.
- Chinese OEM can make it because of acceptable low price for the world market. As an example, the price of the Peugeot motorcycle with a supercharger (Peugeot Jet force 125cc compressor) by about $1,000 is higher than the conventional one (naturally aspirated without any supercharging). Due to our supercharger Chinese OEM can reach the same vehicle features while the cost is 3 times lower.
- Continued improvements on other parameters of Chinese motorcycles should become very anticipated by the market. Therefore if Chinese OEMs make it without increasing the overall motorcycle cost there are would be no any barriers in consumers’ mind to buy Chinese motorcycles more frequently and to recommend those vehicles to all the people around, e.g. other prospective buyers.
Our advertising purposes
We are planning to make a few presentations to inform of our re-branding idea to manufacturers from the list of 60+ China motorcycle OEM. Our goal is to achieve cooperation, where we in our part will supply superchargers and mounting kits. We are looking for the partners capable to join us in our activity.
- Supercharged Motorcycle – how it works. A two minute video clip. The reference to our videoclip on the Chinese version of youtube
- //papers.sae.org/2013-32-9015/ JSAE Paper No 20139015. High Performance Characteristics of a Motorcycle Powered by a Four-Stroke Small 50cc-125cc Engine at the Expense of a Positive Displacement Air Compressor as a Supercharger
- //www.caam.org.cn/english/newslist/a104-1.html China Motorcycle Statistics portal.
- //www.linkedin.com/pulse/cubs-small-bikes-big-business-david-mcmullan-englishman-in-china- Cubs, small bikes-big business!
External reference to one-page pdf slide “Market Evaluation of Cubs and Super Cubs”: SuperchargedMotorcycle_Market.pdf.
About Nextar Consult, Inc
NCI is a Toronto-based small engineering company with qualified staff. It also works in close collaboration with members of CERG (Combustion Engine Research Group) – non-formal group of engineers, scientists and researchers under aegis of International Academy of Information Technologies (IAIT), Minsk, Belarus. Upon necessity NCI uses their scientific and engineering knowledge and experience.
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Scientific Head and Managing Director of the CERG-IAIT is Konstantin E. Starodetko, Ph.D.
Konstantin E. Starodetko, Ph.D.
Dr. Konstantin E. Starodetko earned his Master degree in Science in 1982 and Ph. D. degree in Engineering in 1991. He holds over 60 publications, including patents and innovations, while most of them are related to the advanced engine, power train and drive designs.
Dr. Konstantin E. Starodetko is an experienced entrepreneur with an extensive and successful history in developing high-tech starts in the engine technologies. Besides engineering expertise, Dr. K. Starodetko has extensive skills set encompassing business management, technology implementation, development of networking and enterprise application technologies.
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