Ryan Harris: So what is the Raze Wingman Kit, and what does it do?
Nate King: The Wingman Kit is a replacement ECU with Raze’s software on it, and it's tuned specifically for snowbike use, down to the model you’re riding. It overcomes a lot a problems that we face putting a dirt bike in cold temps and deep snow. A stock, fuel-injected snowbike runs in a choke mode because they never get up to operating temperature. So it's basically in warm-up mode all the time, adding extra fuel. So Raze corrects that so the engine runs like it does normally on dirt, but in the cold and snow. Plus it adds like 11 horsepower. We’ve been riding snowbikes and testing products for six years now, and this is actually one of the best upgrades I’ve seen to run on a stock bike. Like, if I had a stock 450, that's the first thing I would consider.
RH: So it's the first thing you would do on a four-stroke snowbike?
NK: Yeah, by far. And it comes with a thermostat, which is one of the other first things you want to do on a four-stroke snowbike.
RH: So, you've had it on your KTM 450 all season. What do you feel it's doing on the snow?
NK: The bike heats up faster and it runs better right off the bat, because it's not over-fueled. It makes it so your oil doesn't fill with fuel because of the over-fueling when it's cold. It’s just a lot better for your bike, and your engine in that regard.
It's gonna run stronger all through the whole power curve, too. From first to fourth. We could pull taller gears in deep snow than stock bikes could, and that translates into more speed, more momentum and going farther before you run out of steam on a mountain.
RH: So, if I don't have something like this, why am I getting fuel in my oil? How does that happen?
NK: You’re getting fuel in your oil because your ECU senses that your coolant temperature is not reaching its set minimum temp for normal fueling. Fuel-injected bikes are made for use in warm weather and so hitting the normal operating temps are never a problem. The Wingman is programed to lower that set minimum operating temp and it actually cleans the fuel up on the bike until you get up to that operating temp. If you don't have that, your bike will in most cases never reach its optimum temp on it's own.
RH: So it’ll just run like it's still trying to warm up, add extra fuel like it has a choke on all the time?
NK: Yeah, you're just flushing gas through cylinder and you're washing past the rings and it's going into your oil and diluting your oil. You can run like that––guys have for years. But it’s not optimal and you’re sacrificing performance.
RH: You spent a lot of time last season on the snow and in trailers testing and tuning with the Raze guys as they developed this system. How was that?
NK: Those guys are meticulous. I was really impressed with how much time they spent with a laptop hooked up to it. They'd go up and make run after run after run and pass after pass and they would make sure the run was just perfect. Then they would come back and capture the data, send the information to their lab back in the MidWest and make necessary fuel map adjustments. Then go verify it or test it. The stuff that we wound up with when we installed the Wingman on my 450 was amazing.