Both fuel injector and carburetor act as the fuel suppliers to the engine.
While carburetor mixes the air and fuel in it and supplies the mixture to the engine, fuel injector directly sprays the fuel into the engine. The amount of fuel supply differs too because of the different mechanisms used in these components.
Still, fuel injector vs carburetor – which is better in a motorcycle? Fuel injectors provide better performance due to their high power output, engine speed, fuel efficiency, and low emissions.
Carburetors, on the other hand, require minimum maintenance, easy to replace and are economical. If you want high performance, fuel injector is the best. And if you are tight budgeted, carburetor is the preferred option.
Before discussing the performance characteristics of fuel injector and carburetor, let us first understand how these components operate in a motorcycle.
Difference Between Carburetor vs Fuel Injector
In a Carburetor, the air and fuel gets mixed and then the mixture enters the engine from carburetor.
In a fuel injector, the air and fuel mixes only after coming into the engine wherein the fuel is sprayed into the engine by the fuel injector.
Carburetor works on mechanical linkages and components. The desired air-fuel ratio is manually set and the mechanical components control the air-fuel mixture basis the ratio set by the operator.
Fuel injector is controlled by an ECU (Electronic Control Unit) that determines the amount of fuel to be sprayed into the engine and in effect, the air-fuel ratio in the engine. The ratio is determined basis the data ECU has obtained from several sensors.
These sensors include throttle-position sensor, crank-shaft position sensor, cam-shaft position sensor etc. These sensors send information to the ECU continuously. And the ECU determines the ratio dynamically based on the engine load, speed, the riding conditions, engine temperature, throttle response etc. All these are automated and electronically controlled. The air-fuel ratio is not manually set and is dynamically operated by the ECU.
Performance Against Different Parameters
Now that we understand the difference in functioning of these two components, let us discuss their performance against different parameters. The parameters considered here are – fuel efficiency, engine performance, maintenance and repair, cold start, replacement, durability, emissions and cost.
Since carburetor mixes a definite amount of fuel to the air-fuel mixture based on its tuning, there is no dynamic ratio adjustments being done.
However, in the fuel injectors, ECU regularly changes the ratio by varying the amount of fuel entering the engine based on the information it receives from its sensors.
As a result, the fuel is managed in a far better way in fuel injection systems. And hence, the fuel efficiency is higher than the motorcycles with carburetors.
All things remaining same, the power output is better in the motorcycles with fuel injector systems when compared to the motorcycles with carburetors.
The higher output for the same rpm results in higher speed for the motorcycles with fuel injector system.
Maintenance And Repair
Carburetors operate on a mechanical system. Even the rider who is not a pro in bike repair, can do the maintenance, repair and tuning of the carburetor.
However, fuel injector is comparatively a new system. Add to it, the ECU components attached to it that controls the fuel spraying into the engine – complicate things further.
The injection system is much more complex and cannot be handled easily by an average motorcycle rider. The repair and maintenance needs to be carried out by the pros in the bike service centers.
So, for these reasons, carburetors are much easier for repairing and maintenance as compared to the fuel injectors.
In cold climate, carburetted motorcycles are extremely difficult to start. Even if you turn on the choke, the motorcycle will not start sometimes. Or most of the times.
This problem is far more prevalent in the carburetted engines and very low in fuel injected motorcycles. Cold start is not at all an issue in motorcycles with fuel injectors.
Carburetors do not contain any electronic components.
This disassociation with electronic components makes them easy to remove from the motorcycles and replace it with a new one. Whenever your carburetor is damaged, you can easily take it to your mechanic or DIY and replace with a new carburetor.
Fuel injectors, on the other hand, is ECU controlled and has many electronic components attached. This association with electronic components and the ECU makes the fuel injector a difficult component to replace in a motorcycle. Whenever your fuel injector is damaged you must have to take it to the motorcycle service center or an expert mechanic to replace the fuel injector with a new one.
While the replacement of fuel injectors may get easier with the passage of time, currently carburetors are far easier to remove from the motorcycle and replace it with a new one.
There is not much difference between a carburetor and a fuel injector in their longevity and durability. Both the components will last longer if you maintain the motorcycle with regular servicing.
Some people argue that fuel injectors don’t last long if the rider does not take care of the bike properly and rides without any preventive maintenance. However, the same argument holds true for carburetors as well. In fact, if you don’t maintain your bike well, it’s not just carburetors or fuel injectors, almost all the components are more vulnerable to damages.
Emissions like carbon mono-oxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbon and other greenhouse gases are harmful to the environment.
Government and the regulatory bodies are increasingly imposing restrictions on motorcycles with high carbon emissions. So, it is important for modern motorcycles to have the emissions released from the exhaust to be as low as possible.
Fuel injected motorcycles are hands down are far better than the carburetted motorcycles here. This is because the fuel injection motorcycles continuously change the air-fuel mixture to optimum levels based on the engine and riding parameters. As a result, there is less unnecessary burning of the fuel, which in turn leads to low emissions when compared to carburetted motorcycles.
Any components associated with the carburetor is of low cost when compared to the components on a fuel injector system. This cost disparity is simple because of the technology improvement in the fuel injectors that demands a higher cost of production.
So, if your aim is to get the cheap components by sacrificing other performance parameters, then carburetor system works best for you.
Total Vehicle Cost
Since fuel injectors are costlier when compared to carburetors, due to their high functioning and technology, the vehicle cost of fuel injection motorcycles is costlier as well.
All things remaining same, carburetor motorcycles are economical compared to the motorcycles with fuel injection systems.
Here is the summed-up performance of carburetor vs fuel injector in motorcycles for each of the value attributes discussed above.
|Maintenance and Repair
|Total Vehicle Cost
Bottom Line – Which One Should You Go For?
Fuel injectors are suited for you if you are looking for high performance in your motorcycle. Fuel injectors provide high power output, engine speed, fuel efficiency, and low emissions.
Carburetors on the other hand comes at a low cost, requiring minimum maintenance, easy replacement and are economical.
If you are aiming for high performance, fuel injector is the preferred alternative. And if you are tight budgeted you can opt for carburetors.