Bazzaz Performance Z-Fi Traction Control Unit

December 25, 2008
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
Road Test Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

His insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

Bazzaz Performance Z-Fi TC unit.
Bazzaz Performance’s Z-Fi TC module retails for $999.95 and can me installed any modern Japanese sportbike.

What kind of tangible performance gains can you get for less than $1,000 these days? A $400 set of premium tires are  a worthwhile upgrade—only downside is that they’re only good for a couple thousand miles—maybe less. You’ll probably be able to fit an aftermarket exhaust for under a grand, but without the proper fuel mapping, it could sacrifice throttle response and everyday driveability. One thousand dollars – what to do?

We chose Bazzaz Performance’s new Z-Fi TC unit for use on a 2008 Yamaha YZF-R1. It combines fuel control (for up to 8 fuel-injectors), a quickshifter, and adjustable traction control into one integrated package.

The system consists of the electronic module (looks like an ECU), quickshifter switch, and a wiring harness. The entire setup is plug-and-play and is engineered to work in conjunction with the stock ECU and wiring. Installation took roughly three hours from start-to-finish, and required removal of the seat, fuel tank, airbox, both lower fairings, as well as lowering the radiator in order to access the spark plug coils.

Also installed was the optional $249.95 Traction Control Adjustment Switch. The 12-position dial switch, which we mounted on the handlebar, allows for on-the-fly TC adjustment. Additionally, an up/down toggle switch is included and enables selection between pre-programmed fuel maps, quickshift cut-times, or traction control maps.

Each module ships with a pre-built, model specific fuel map optimized for a slip-on muffler. A jumper in the wiring harness allows the user to switch back to the stock fuel map. However this switching process is simplified by the up/down toggle switch.

Another worthwhile option is the $349.95 Z-AFM Air Fuel Mapping Kit. The kit consists of an air-fuel sensor (for fitment on the exhaust) and an amplifier box that plugs into the any of the Z-Fi products.

Bazzaz s tracion control system isn t the unequivocal safety net we assumed it to be.
Unlike other fuel modules, Bazzaz Performance’s has the capability to control up to 8 fuel-injectors which improved throttle response on our 2008 Yamaha YZF-R1.

When installed, the Z-Fi system has the ability to map itself. Simply ride the motorcycle on the street, track, or dyno and the system computes optimum fueling for each 500 rpm increment and 10% of throttle position opening based on the user selected air-fuel ratio. The user can then store, modify, and apply suggested fueling data via Bazzaz Performance’s proprietary Z-Fi Mapper Software. Additionally, the straight forward software allows the user to modify both quickshift and traction control settings in every gear.

Although throttle response was never an issue on our stock R1, as we hit the streets, we were immediately impressed with the improved engine reaction when the grip was twisted. Not only that, but the powerband was smoothed out a bit and it felt like the bike had a bit stronger bottom-end power delivery—something that R1s are known to lack.

All it took was one wide-open gearshift for us to become believers in quickshifter technology. As opposed to using the clutch or letting off the gas to upshift, selecting the next gear is as simple as a light tap on the shift lever and bam you’re in the next gear. It allows for absolutely zero pauses in acceleration and makes the bike feel like it’s got one constant, never ending gear. Full-throttle acceleration becomes absolutely addictive and you’ll never want to ride a bike not equipped with it. Consider yourself officially jaded.

Arguably the most exciting feature of the Z-Fi TC unit is the T and the C. Unlike a wheel speed sensor equipped setup, this one is a rate-of-change system. Basically, the electronics have a specific engine acceleration value. If it detects an increase in that value (tire spin), then engine power is reduced by cutting the spark to one or more of the cylinders until the original acceleration value is met. The amount of engine power reduction, termed “cut”, is represented with a numeric value (1 the lowest, 10 the highest) and can be changed by the user.

Bazzaz Perfromance Z-Fi Mapper Traction Control screenshot.
Bazzaz Performance’s Z-Fi Mapper software allows the user to modify fuel, quickshifter, and traction control settings. The traction control screen is pictured above.

The system’s sensitivity can also be modified. There are 10 sensitivity values (0 being off, 1 being the lowest, and 10 the highest) that tell the computer how responsive it should be to sudden engine acceleration changes. It can be adjusted based on throttle position, engine rpm, and gear selection. And, with the addition of the handlebar mounted Traction Control Adjustment Switch, it can be switched while riding.

The Bazazz crew set our system with the recommended baseline setting of 5s for both the sensitivity and cut level. On the street, the first thing we noticed was the engine cutting out under hard acceleration when the tire was cold. In spite of this, the bike was still able to accelerate smoothly without any hiccups. We also noticed, the system helped keep the front wheel on the ground during aggressive acceleration in lower gears.

When the tire eventually warmed, it took some real work to get the system to activate during normal street riding. But at an elevated pace around the racetrack its benefits become quite apparent.

An optional 12-position Traction Control Adjustment Switch  includes up down map selection toggle  allows the rider to adjust traction control sensitivity on-the-fly. The map toggle enables the rider to choose between two different pre-programmed fuel  traction or quickshift maps.
An optional $249.95 12-position Traction Control Adjustment Switch (includes up/down map selection toggle) allows the rider to adjust traction control sensitivity on-the-fly.

Around Buttonwillow Raceway, aggressive throttle application mid-corner revealed that it was possible to kick yourself out of the seat, even with the TC set at maximum plus-5. So it’s not the unequivocal safety net we originally thought. It did, however, mellow out the power delivery when accelerating aggressively out of a corner. In fact, in some parts of the track it felt like it was slowing the bike too much.

We solved this by incrementally dialing down the TC setting via the handlebar mounted switch. Each level of adjustment gave a progressive change in both sensitivity and cut, and we eventually settled on either plus-1 or plus-2 as those settings didn’t feel like it inhibited drive out of the corner.

Overall we’re thrilled with Bazzaz’s engine management package. Without a doubt, it’s the best performance bang for the buck. Our R1 runs impeccably, accelerates way faster courtesy of the quickshifter, and has an new and exciting dynamic with the TC system. The only real drawback we found with the package is the amount of time it takes to dial-in the TC setting. With so many different settings and adjustments available, it makes the process of dialing in the ideal amount of TC an intensive process. Nonetheless, we feel with the extended seat time and the near infinite range of adjustability, this technology will enable us to go faster.