How To Supercharge Your Harley-Davidson - SUV VEHICLE

How To Supercharge Your Harley-Davidson 

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Summary

  • Kawasaki remains the sole supercharged motorcycle manufacturer, but Harley-Davidson enthusiasts love adding the chargers to their bikes.
  • Supercharging your Harley-Davidson can yield immense power gains and drag race victories against high-performance vehicles.
  • TTS Performance offers proven supercharger kits, like for the Fat Boy and Road King, eliminating the need for fabrication work.



On four wheels, superchargers are everywhere, but on two wheels, not so much. Kawasaki is the only manufacturer producing supercharged motorcycles, like the Ninja H2, H2 R, Z H2, and the H2 SX. But not everyone wants a cramped-up screamer. Some want supercharged power combined with American metal. And that’s where the idea of supercharging Harley-Davidsons comes to mind. While there were rumors of supercharged, production Harleys flying around, that’s only a daydream for now.

It’s better to take matters into your own hands and supercharge your Harley-Davidson yourself. Believe us, the result will be astonishing. By forcing more air and driving the blower with the crank instead of the exhaust (like a turbo), your bike will produce tremendous power without lag. It’s easier said than done, though, and the process needs quite a lot of work if you don’t have the right contacts or knowledge. Lucky for you, we at TopSpeed love taking on such topics and here, we’ll be telling you exactly what the title says. Time to imagine your Harley outrunning supercars and superbikes in a drag race, potentially setting a sub-10 second quarter-mile time!


In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from Harley-Davidson and other authoritative sources, including TTS Performance, Rotrex Shop, Web Bike World, Bikes and Beards, and Motorcycle Online.

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Installing A Supercharger On A Harley-Davidson

TTS Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Supercharged 3
TTS Performance

Alright, so superchargers produce explosive power, and it’s no-brainer you want to slap one on your Harley-Davidson, right? Not really. Installing a supercharger on a motorcycle is more difficult than doing so on a car. And if you have to ask if you can do it, the job is pretty much out of your wheelhouse. Installing a supercharger requires a workshop with specialized tools, knowledge of engine mapping, boost, fabrication, and much more.


The process begins with the fabrication of a drive system that will connect the engine crankshaft to the supercharger. In a car, it is easy to do by simply adding a belt pulley at the end of the generator, but on modern motorcycles, this must be done by connecting the flywheel to the impeller. For instance, the Ninja H2R does this with a system of gears that connects the flywheel/crankshaft to the supercharger.

Then, you have to ensure the crank end is completely oil-tight. The next step is to do inlet plumbing from the charger to the cylinder, upgrade the injectors or carbs, and figure out a way to install the supercharger without affecting your bike’s weight distribution or clearance. We don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of hard work.


If this is your project Harley-Davidson, and you can’t dedicate hours of your day to it, it could take you months (or years). Take this Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone, for example, which took Leo de Hollander (from the Netherlands) five years to finish! There are always some MacGyver options, though. Our brethren at Bikes and Beards tried one such method by slapping a literal leafblower on a bike, but that hardly worked. We’re not surprised.

Rotrex Shop: A Masterclass In Supercharging

Supercharged Harley-Davidson FXDR Detail
TTS Performance

Okay, we’ve established the process is hard, but you have a shop that can do it. What’s next? Picking up a suitable supercharger, and our recommendation is Rotrex. We often refer to the Kawasaki H2R as a ground-breaking motorcycle that uses a swanky planetary drive supercharger. But it may not be as innovative as you’d think.


Rotrex is a Copenhagen-based shop in the business of superchargers since the 70s. This shop first patented its supercharger drive back in 1996, and it is quite similar to that used by Kawasaki in its superbikes. The Rotrex superchargers use an advanced traction drive system that can greatly step up the impeller speed from the engine’s crankshaft. For example, a typical gear-driven impeller runs 5 times faster than the crankshaft (5.0:1 step-up ratio), but Rotrex’s blowers can be stepped up from 7.5:1 to 13.0:1 step-up ratio. Regular superchargers spool up to 60,000 RPM, but these advanced traction drive impellers can spool up to 125,000 RPM — that too without an intercooler!


Benefits Of A Rotrex Supercharger

There are a lot of nitty-gritty benefits that you get with such a drive, but the biggest one is adiabatic efficiency. In layman terms, it’s the blower’s ability to compress air without hiking air-charge temperature. A Roots-type supercharger is up to 50 percent efficient, a centrifugal supercharger is up to 65 percent efficient, but a Rotrex supercharger is up to 80 percent efficient.

With this, you don’t need to worry much about the air heating up too much and decreasing the combustion efficiency of your motorcycle. These superchargers also produce lower noise levels and are compact and flexible to install on your Harley-Davidson. This is what makes Rotrex superchargers the go-to blowers when you want to supercharge your Harley-Davidson (or any other motorcycle or car, for that matter).

Performance Kits Are A Smarter Option, Instead

TTS Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Supercharged 2
TTS Performance


Other than a DIY, you can still add a supercharger to your Harley-Davidson without all this hassle by opting for a performance kit. Many boost shops around the world offer supercharger kits for Harley-Davidson, like ProCharger, Tiger Racing, and GRM Performance. Our money, however, would go to TTS Performance, a UK-based boost shop. Yes, the folks behind the insane TTS SuperBusa that puts out 372 horsepower to the wheel!

Keep the flagship Peregrine Falcon aside, and you’ll see that its Harley-Davidson kits are also quite proven on the road and the dragstrip. For example, the TTS Performance Road King produces over 200 horsepower — 120 ponies more than a stock bike — with a quarter-mile time of 10.6 seconds at 128 MPH. Insane, isn’t it? The TTS Performance Fat Boy also belts out 232 horsepower and over 200 pound-feet! Both bikes use a Rotrex C30-94 supercharger. If you’re impressed, you’d be happy to know TTS Performance sells dedicated supercharger kits for both Harley-Davidson Softail and Touring bikes.


TTS Performance Kit Inclusions

  • Rotrex C30-94 counterclockwise supercharger
  • Inlet plenum
  • Intercooler
  • Injectors
  • Belts
  • All brackets, hoses, and ancillaries
  • TTS base engine map (will require a Powervision ECU)

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These kits are designed to fit your Harley-Davidson without you having to fabricate anything (except a few bits, depending on your specific model). TTS Performance also recommends other mods like forged pistons and steel head gaskets if you’re pushing the envelope of horsepower. With such a kit, you can push your Harley-Davidson to produce anywhere from 140 to 400 horsepower AT THE WHEEL!

Of course, the actual installation process varies from model to model, and while TTS Performance claims you can install the kit within four hours, we’d still recommend taking a day off.


The TL;DR version of the installation process is fairly simple. You start by taking off the engine case and installing the shaft pulley, followed by the TTS case. Then, you install the drive pulley, supercharger, and belts and adjust the tension. The next step is to install the intercooler and plenum chamber and finish off the plumbing. The last step is to add the new tune.

As easy as that sounds, if you’re supercharging your Harley-Davidson with a TTS Performance supercharger kit, we recommend you reach out to a decent mechanic, unless you are a grease monkey. In the latter case, wrench away, fellow two-wheeled primate. In any case, you should also consider upgrading your bike’s braking system, suspension, and tires to cope with the added horsepower. We’ve attached TTS’ installation video below for your perusal.


TTS Fat Boy Specifications

Engine Type

Milwaukee-Eight 114

Power Output

232 HP

Stock Power Output

94 HP

Torque Output

>200 LB-FT

Stock Torque Output

114 LB-FT

Supercharger Unit

Rotrex C30-94

Boost

16 pounds

(Specs sourced from Harley-Davidson and TTS Performance)

TTS Performance’s Video On Installing The Supercharger Kit

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