How To Choose The Right Motorcycle Air Filter

Paper, foam, cotton, flat, tubular, conical: How to choose it well?

Protect the engine by trapping impurities from the airflow

The thermal engine needs two main elements: fuel and oxygen to operate. Each must be as clean as possible in order to optimize combustion, efficiency and limit consumption or pollution. After the fuel filter, it is the turn of the air filter to sift. How to choose it well?

There are many air filters. About as many as there must be motorcycle models. Flat, tubular, conical… However, in this multitude, there are really only three types of filter elements: paper, cotton or foam and two types of filters: dry or wet.

As standard, on a road motorcycle, there is a so-called “paper” air filter. To be replaced approximately every 12 to 20,000 km (or every two services), it must also be cleaned in the meantime if you wish to make it last or in order to save money. That said, an air filter is not expensive (from 15 $ for an original) and it can be replaced easily.

Placed in the air box, just above the intake funnels, or connected directly to the intake pipes, the air filter brings the precious chemical element to the carburetors or the injection rail, which it supplies with fresh and “pure” oxygen. There it mixes with gasoline to form the explosive mixture ignited by the spark of the candle.

Motorcycle Air Filter

Air flow and flow are very important for the proper functioning of an engine. In case of mounting a more breathable air filter, also called high performance filter or racing filter and even more so if you have an adaptable exhaust, an update of the motorcycle injection programming can be considered . This is to optimize performance. As standard, the injection is able to manage combustion and the balance between its essential elements, but within a given range which does not always correspond to the best of what is possible to obtain, in particular for reasons of standard and certification.

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Symptoms of a clogged air filter

Does your motorcycle consume more than usual? Does it run out of breath during sharp accelerations? She grazes a little on the reminders and you find that she breathes badly? His lung may be clogged! First step: change the air filter or at least clean it. You should find peps and space out your visits to the pump.

The basic principle of the air filter

The same goes for the air filter as for the petrol filter or the oil filter: it is made up of a pleated substrate or of a foam of suitable shape whose role is to let the air while retaining impurities. The filter thus formed can be soaked in a specific oil that better retains impurities. This is the case for BMC or K&N cotton air filters. However, these oiled filters require maintenance.

Paper air filters

Air filter polyster racing
Motorcycle Air Filter – Paper filter

Price: from 15$ for an original, 10$ for adaptable. They are replaced at almost every service to have peace of mind. This type of filter clogs up more quickly because of its constitution. Ideal for an original motorcycle, it respects the standards and does not require any adjustment. It is cleaned all the more often as one evolves in a “polluted” environment. Pollen, dust, air pollution are all factors clogging the filter.

Foam air filters

Motorcycle Air Filter - Foam air filter
Motorcycle Air Filter – Foam air filter

Price: from 10$ for an adaptable, from 20$ to 40$ for a specific model. While primarily found on dirt bikes, where they are effective against sand, heavy water and mud, foam filter technology is also compatible with road bikes. It is possible to cut a generic filter to the desired shape or find foam filters embedded in a frame size of the air box. Foam filters can be oil-soaked or not. Be careful not to oil too much, otherwise the air could pass less.

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Cotton air filters

Motorcycle Air Filter - Cotton air filter
Motorcycle Air Filter – Cotton air filter

Price: from 50$, maintenance kit from 15$. Durable, almost permanent, more efficient and more sifting, to be cleaned more rarely than paper or foam filters, they do however need to be maintained to retain their initial properties. To do this, we use a specific kit containing a particularly irritating “ecological” cleaner. Rinsable with water, it comes with a spray lubricant. This gives a uniform red or green color to the treated cotton, certifying its renewed effectiveness.

Conclusion

There is no permanent solution when it comes to air filters. Over time, it becomes charged, clogs, loses its permeability and demands action on your part. Therefore, two choices are available to you: the peace of mind of a permanent filter, much more expensive but to be cleaned much more rarely than a classic paper filter (every three or four revisions) or an original type disposable filter, which it is replaced at each revision or every two revisions. If you drive a lot, if you want to give your engine more constant performance and better combustion, the high performance filter is a plus. Otherwise, the original filter is already a very good solution, moreover economical at the moment.

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