Back when I was obsessed with finding ways to increase the horsepower of my bike, I stumbled across the concept of wrapping a motorcycle airbox with gold film.
Ridiculous! I thought – but after some researching and trying out, it made some sense.
Wrapping a motorcycle airbox has the potential to increase minor horsepower – about 3 to 5 at best. The idea is to insulate and reflect heat away from your airbox. Thus, keeping the airbox cooler and increasing horsepower because cooler air contains more oxygen.
Honestly, this is a hit or miss. I personally yielded some minor horsepower but not significant enough. That said, the price of wrapping is cheap and you can always unwrap it again – so it’s at least worth a try.
Let me explain more about air box wrapping and how it works exactly in this article.
Does Wrapping Motorcycle Airbox Really Increase Horsepower?
As I said, wrapping a motorcycle airbox can provide you with a minor increase in horsepower. From my experience, wrapping my airbox with a heat reflective film gave me some 3 to 5 horsepower on the dyno.
I did feel a little more power on the low RPM ranges (throttle response is more) but nothing significant at all on the higher RPM ranges.
If you are interested, you could also look into the motorcycle airbox mod where you drill some holes on your airbox to force more air intake.
Combine this with airbox wrap and you should see better results (more horsepower).
Though I don’t recommend drilling airboxes because it’s permanent and you could even cause damage. Read more about that here: Can I Drill Holes On My Motorcycle Airbox?
How Does Wrapping Motorcycle Airbox Work?
In theory, wrapping a motorcycle airbox keeps it insulated from heat. Which means the airbox is kept cool and air passing through it is cooled as well. This helps in increasing horsepower because cool air contains more oxygen that’s required for combustion.
Did you get all that? If not, Let’s wind back a little and discuss how a motorcycle engine works.
A motorcycle engine is a combustion engine – it ignites fuel in the combustion chamber to create an explosion that moves the wheels. This explosion uses up oxygen to exist. The bigger explosion you want, the more oxygen you will need.
Motorcycle engine receives fuel from the fuel tank and oxygen from the surrounding air through the airbox.
Cooler air is more dense – which means it contains more oxygen. So technically, if you keep your airbox cool by wrapping it with some insulation, then cooler air with more oxygen will enter the engine – allowing a bigger combustion and more horsepower.
To do this correctly, you will wrap your airbox in 2 layers of tape – DEI Insulation tape (silver color) to keep heat from transferring into the airbox.
And another DEI reflective layer (gold color) to reflect heat away from the surface of the airbox. Combine these layers together and you could drop about 45 degrees Fahrenheit in heat (that’s 5 degrees Celsius).
How To Wrap Motorcycle Airbox? (With Price)
Things and tools you need:
- DEI insulation tape ($18 / roll)
- DEI reflective tape ($20 / roll)
- Wet cloth
Try to get the DEI tapes that are wide. It’s easier for you to work with. Also, 1 tape each should be enough. A motorcycle airbox is not that large. The idea is to simply cut the tape and stick it around your airbox.
Steps to wrap motorcycle airbox:
- Remove airbox from motorcycle (see YouTube video below if you don’t know how)
- Clean airbox from dust by wiping with wet cloth
- Apply the DEI Insulation tape (silver) by cutting and pasting around airbox
- Apply the DEI reflective tape (gold)
- Install airbox back on the motorcycle
- Test drive and see improvement on lower RPM ranges
Overall process should take about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how familiar you are around the bike.
You can do everything yourself. I believe this mod is only worth it if you do it yourself. You don’t want to pay double or even triple the price and have someone do it for you. It’s really not that hard.
Everything totals up to about $40 and you should still have some leftover for a couple cans of beer!
This YouTube video shows you how to remove a motorcycle airbox.
This YouTube video shows you how to cut and wrap the reflective tape on your airbox.
Wrapping Motorcycle Airbox: My Recommendation
For a total of $40 and thirty minutes worth of work, I would say wrapping your airbox is worth a try. It’s relatively cheap for a potential gain of 3-5 horsepower.
Just keep your expectations in check and you should be quite happy with the result. You should at least feel some improvement in throttle response at low RPM ranges (beginning from 1000 RPM).
This mod is suitable when you are cruising at lower speed or even daily driving.
On the other note, if you are serious about gaining horsepower, then wrapping your motorcycle airbox will not do much. Instead, you have to look into more serious alternatives like a full system exhaust.
Or at least a performance pod air filter. Install them both plus a tune and you can even expect 15 horsepower gains. That’s a lot coming from a bike. Read my other articles linked below if you are interested in these.
Till then, happy modding!