OK, imagine this: You’ve ridden several hundred or maybe even several thousand miles to hit the grand-daddy of all motorcycle rallies, Sturgis. Your old stock 88 ran great-not a single hiccup the entire trip, although it could have used a little more juice a couple of times when passing those big rigs along the way. Now the rally’s almost over, and you’re dreading the long road home. What could make the trip home more enjoyable than breathing some new life into your old stocker with a freshly beefed-up 95ci motor producing upwards of 105 lb-ft of torque and 110 hp? That would probably make the ride home a little more exciting, huh? Hell, it might even encourage you to take the long way home!
So now you’re probably asking yourself, “How can I find a reputable shop in a town I don’t know that can build me a reliable 95-incher, won’t rip me off, and will still be around next year when I need a tuneup?” The answer is simple: Speed’s Performance Plus (SPP). Not only can Speed’s hop up your motor, change your oil, install new pipes, and much more, the company will do it for you at just about every major rally across the nation.
With a mobile workshop better equipped than many shops, SPP is on the road, towing its dyno room/engine-building room/machine shop/retail store/portable workstations/living quarters throughout the rally season. For the most part you’ll find Speed (Wayne, the owner of the company), along with his sons Jamie and Jason and the rest of the crew, set up in the same locations at each rally, banging out motor builds, installing parts, and tuning bikes. Whether you’re looking to have a Power Commander installed or want to take the stumble out of your ride, Speed and the boys have you covered.
Now, what about that 95-incher, you say? Well, SPP teamed up with Reggie Ronzello Sr. and Reggie Jr. of R&R; Cycles to develop a 95-inch kit for both carbureted and fuel-injected 88ci bikes. It took many hours of research and testing to compile a list of components that work well together, along with developing some of their own proprietary parts to come up with a kit that allowed the team at SPP to achieve 116 lb-ft of torque and 122 hp on one of the company’s own bikes.
One of the keys to what makes this such a high-performing kit is the R&R; cast cylinder heads. While you could save a couple of bucks by using your old heads as core deposits for a set of reworked Harley heads from R&R;, to really get big numbers your best bet is to go with the R&R; Vortex-flowed cast heads. Reggie Sr. told us the trick to making horsepower and torque isn’t only about stuffing as much air and fuel into the heads as possible; maintaining high velocity is equally important. The team at R&R; has spent a lot of time designing, testing, and studying the cross-sectional flow analysis on their heads, so they know the direction and velocity of air at any given point.
Proper headwork is all about design efficiency. All of the R&R; cast heads are CNC-ported. Reggie said that every cast head is different, and core shift (a variation of the size and direction of the core) takes place during the casting process. In the casting process the ports are undersized, so R&R; can CNC-port every head to get the proper amount of cfm (cubic feet per minute) and velocity for each head. The problem with most heads is that the intake port has a long arc radius at the top but a short bend (almost straight) at the bottom. That short bend at the bottom is such a tight radius that it’s difficult for the incoming air to bend around it, so the air ends up separating and ricocheting around, losing its velocity and ability to flow the entire valve. To solve this problem, most people will run larger valves to catch more air around the part of the valve that’s flowing, but that still doesn’t solve the problem of that short bend.
R&R;’s solution to the problem is the Vortex Generator, which has been around since the ’90s. The Vortex Generator is a raised section of the port floor that splits the air and bends it around the short bend. The Vortex Generator is able to do this because its design creates a longer short-turn radius, making it easier for the air to flow around the bend, thus increasing velocity and flowing the entire valve. Because this head design is so efficient and flows the entire valve, not just part of it, R&R; can run smaller ports and valves (1.94-inch intake and 1.625-inch exhaust valves) and still get the same cfm as those running larger ports and valves.
We had heard the SPP crew was going to be hanging out in the Phoenix area, taking care of a few errands before the Laughlin River Run. So we asked if they’d be interested in making a quick trip out to Southern California to install one of their 95 kits on one of our baggers. Then we’d put some break-in miles on the bike on the ride out to Laughlin and head over to the SPP setup in Bullhead City to have the bike tuned and dyno’d. The guys at SPP were more than happy to do the job. The base SSP Stage III 95 kit includes reworked H-D TC heads, cams with gear-drive setup, adjustable pushrods, ignition or Power Commander, bearings and gaskets, barrels, pistons, and rings and retails for about $3,214.