How to Turbo a Carbureted Motorcycle

In the world of motorcycles, there’s a timeless allure to classic carbureted engines. These mechanical wonders, while lacking the complexity of modern fuel injection systems, have a charm that many enthusiasts find irresistible.

However, as technology advances and performance demands increase, riders may find themselves wondering how to extract more power from their beloved carbureted bikes. The answer lies in the realm of forced induction – turbocharging.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the art of turbocharging a carbureted motorcycle and unleash the hidden power within these vintage engines.

Understanding the Basics About Carbureted Motorcycle Turbo :

Turbocharging is a process of compressing the air that enters the engine, resulting in higher oxygen levels and better combustion, leading to increased horsepower and torque. While modern motorcycles mostly feature fuel injection systems, the process of turbocharging can also be applied to carbureted models with some modifications.

Essential Components:

Before diving into the turbocharging process, it’s crucial to gather the necessary components for the modification. Here’s a list of key items:

  1. Turbocharger: Select a suitable turbocharger that matches the engine’s size and intended power output. There are various options available in the market, each with distinct advantages and limitations.
  2. Intercooler: An intercooler is used to cool down the compressed air from the turbocharger before it enters the engine. This reduces the risk of detonation and improves overall efficiency.
  3. Carburetor: Depending on the motorcycle’s original carburetor, you may need to upgrade to a larger unit to accommodate the increased airflow demanded by the turbocharged setup.
  4. Exhaust System: An exhaust system designed for turbocharging is essential to route the exhaust gases efficiently to the turbocharger.
  5. Fuel System Upgrades: To handle the additional fueling demands, you might need to upgrade the fuel delivery system, such as installing larger jets or a fuel pump.
  6. Engine Internals: Depending on the desired power levels, reinforcing the engine internals may be necessary to handle the increased stress.

A Carbureted Motorcycle Turbo Installation Process:

  1. Research and Planning: Before beginning the project, research extensively to understand the specific needs of your motorcycle model and its engine. Seek guidance from experienced professionals and online forums dedicated to motorcycle modifications.
  2. Prepare the Bike: Ensure that your motorcycle is in excellent condition before embarking on the turbocharging journey. Fix any existing mechanical issues and perform necessary maintenance.
  3. Mounting the Turbo: Choose a suitable location for mounting the turbocharger. Ensure it has enough space and will receive adequate airflow. Fabricate or purchase a turbo manifold and exhaust components compatible with your motorcycle’s engine and frame.
  4. Intercooler Installation: Mount the intercooler in a location where it will receive sufficient airflow. Consider any necessary modifications to the bodywork or frame for a clean installation.
  5. Upgrading the Carburetor: Install a larger carburetor that can handle the increased airflow. Tune the carburetor to optimize fueling for the turbocharged setup.
  6. Fuel System Upgrades: Adjust the fuel delivery system to match the increased fuel demands. This may involve installing larger jets, a higher-flow fuel pump, and an adjustable fuel pressure regulator.
  7. Engine Reinforcement: For high-performance turbocharging applications, consider reinforcing the engine internals to ensure durability and reliability.
  8. Tuning and Testing: The most critical aspect of turbocharging a carbureted motorcycle is tuning. Invest in a quality aftermarket engine management system and have the bike professionally tuned on a dynamometer to optimize performance and reliability.

Motorcycle Turbo Kit

A motorcycle turbo kit can be a great way to improve your bike’s performance. But before you go out and buy one, there are a few things you need to know. First, a bit of background: turbos work by forcing more air into the engine’s cylinders, which allows for more powerful combustion and increased power output.

That’s why turbocharged engines are often found in high-performance cars. Now, onto motorcycles: most turbo kits on the market are designed for four-stroke engines, which are typically found on larger bikes like cruisers and touring models. Two-stroke engines, common in smaller bikes like sportbikes and dirt bikes, can also benefit from a turbocharger but they require some special considerations.

We’ll get into that later. Installing a motorcycle turbo kit is not a simple bolt-on affair; it generally requires some fabrication and welding skills. And because turbos increase engine temperatures, cooling upgrades are often necessary as well.

Assuming you have the required skills (or access to someone who does), the next step is choosing the right kit for your bike. There are many different kits on the market, so it’s important to do your research and select one that’s compatible with your bike and will meet your performance goals. Once you’ve done that, follow the instructions included with the kit carefully to ensure proper installation.

As we mentioned earlier, two-stroke engines require special consideration when installing a turbocharger due to their higher operating temperatures. If you have a two-stroke engine, make sure to select a kit specifically designed for that application; using a four-stroke kit will likely result in damage to your engine. Also be sure to pay close attention to the cooling system requirements when installing a turbo on a two-stroke; adding an aftermarket radiator or oil cooler may be necessary depending on the application.

Can You Turbo a Carbureted?

Turbocharging a carbureted engine is possible, but it’s not a simple bolt-on affair. In order to do it right, you’ll need to make some modifications to the engine itself and also to the carburetor. The first thing you’ll need to do is to install stronger piston rings in the engine.

This is because the increased pressure from the turbocharger will cause the pistons to expand more than they would normally, and stronger piston rings will help prevent them from expanding too much and damaging the engine. Next, you’ll need a different carburetor jetting kit specifically designed for turbocharged engines. This will ensure that your carburetor can supply enough fuel to the engine under boost conditions.

Finally, you’ll also need an aftermarket ignition system that can handle the increased spark energy required by a turbocharged engine. With all of these modifications in place, your carbureted engine should be able to safely handle turbocharging. Keep in mind, however, that this isn’t a project for beginners; if you’re not comfortable working on your own car’s engine, it’s best to leave this one to a professional mechanic.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Carburetor Motorcycle Turbo

How Can I Make My Carbureted Bike Faster?

There are a few ways to make your carbureted bike faster.

One way is to install a larger carburetor. This will allow more air and fuel to enter the engine, resulting in more power.

Another way is to install a performance air filter. This will help the engine breathe better and also make more power. Finally, you can also install a performance exhaust system.

This will help the engine expel exhaust gases faster and also make more power.

How Much Power Does a Turbo Add to a Motorcycle?

A turbocharger is an exhaust gas-driven air compressor that increases the power output of an internal combustion engine by compressing air that is entering the engine, thus increasing the amount of available oxygen. A motorcycle turbocharger typically adds about 5-10 horsepower to the engine’s power output.

Can You Add a Turbo to Any Motorcycle?

No, you cannot add a turbo to any motorcycle. Motorcycles are not designed to have turbos added to them and doing so could potentially damage the engine. Turbos work by forcing more air into the engine which can lead to higher temperatures and puts extra strain on the engine components.

If you are looking for ways to increase the power of your motorcycle, there are other options available such as upgrading the intake, exhaust or installing a power commander.


In conclusion, learning how to turbocharge a carbureted motorcycle is an exciting prospect for motorcycle enthusiasts seeking to unlock higher performance and power from their machines. While the process involves several technical challenges and careful modifications, the rewards can be significant in terms of enhanced speed and acceleration.

However, it is crucial to approach this endeavor with a deep understanding of both motorcycle mechanics and turbocharging systems to ensure safety and efficiency. As technology and expertise continue to evolve, enthusiasts will find more innovative methods to improve the performance of carbureted motorcycles, pushing the boundaries of what these classic engines can achieve on the open road.

Remember, seeking expert guidance and adhering to best practices will contribute to a successful and satisfying turbocharging experience for any carbureted motorcycle owner.