Performance Technic Tuesday: Why air filters weren’t made for SA

Performance Technic is the new technical facility in Kyalami, run by the same team behind the phenomenally successful Fire It Up and Bike Buyers. Every Tuesday they will be providing some technical knowhow that could make your biking life a better and easier one. Today, we look at air filters and why we need to be more careful in this country.

Sprint air filters highveld south africa Performance Technic

Living on the South African Highveld is tough going. We’re not talking about crime, the cost of living, the economy, the unpredictable political landscape or even that Rocomamas has removed their cheesecake from the menu. We are talking about the fact that we are a mile above sea-level. That’s 1600m. Let’s put that into perspective – we are higher above sea-level than Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Britain. Think about that.

Because of this, the air density is significantly lower than at the coast, meaning less air gets into our motors meaning less explosions and therefore they make less power. Around 17% less, actually. We have even had motorcycle engineers visit our land to sort out the fuel mapping at altitude on their latest models.

So naturally it would make sense to fit an aftermarket air-filter that will help reduce this deficit by allowing more air into the motor than the standard unit. Obviously, together with tuning from the likes of Dim Sport, this makes a huge difference, but there is a problem with this too. The Highveld, and much of the rest of South Africa, has another problem – dust. Our air is filthy.

Most overseas countries have a higher rainfall than our semi-arid climate, meaning the air gets a good cleaning more often, plus there is more grass, especially next to the roads. Our roads are surrounded by dirt, and traffic that runs over this dirt more than overseas means more dust is thrown into the air. More than that, the Highveld is littered with mine dumps, and a mild gust kicks up a huge amount of this fine yellow sand into the atmosphere. You can see it by the header exhausts on Highveld motorcycles – they are filthy. We sort of take it for granted that header pipes just get dirty, however our foreign brethren do not have this problem. If ever you travel abroad to Europe or the States, take a look at the headers on motorcycles and notice how spotless they are. 

Headers aren’t too much of a problem, but our sir-filters get a right beating, sapping power and even letting dirt into the motor. Local mechanics will notice that the shimming on our motorcycles need to be redone more than the workshop manual suggests, and this is purely down to the amount of dirt going through the motor. 

For this reason, we should be servicing our air-filters more often than other people. Also, the quality of filtration of many performance filters mean that even more dirt gets into our motors than the standard models, presenting us with a problem – do we install an aftermarket and get more power, or do we leave the standard one so that our motors last longer?

Sprint air filters highveld south africa Performance Technic new

There is a way to get both. Sprint Filters have been on the market for some time and help with both problems. Instead of cotton, which is the go to material for most air-filter companies, Sprint uses a special, multi-layered polyester that offers better filtration while allowing 20% better air flow. More so, they also make use of more folds, meaning a bigger service area and therefore yet more air-flow together with filtration. This means that they will help your motor breath better while not compromising on dust filtration.

There is another benefit to us, because they are also very easy to clean – you remove it from the airbox and then blow a jet of air through the filter in the opposite direction to the intended airflow. This removes dust that is stuck in the filter cleaning it out, allowing full air flow once more without dust penetrating the filter. Sprint also say that the their filters have a lifespan longer than that of the motorcycle itself, meaning they never need to be replaced.

Sounds good. Naturally, Performance Technic stock the full range of Sprint air filters.

Performance Technic Contacts:
Tel: 010 880 2849