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Home > Tech Tips > Performance Tips

Quick Tip: Want a Quick 5 Hp On Your Harley? Adjust Your Throttle Cable Properly, Idiot

By Jason Van Wyhe

To some of you this will be the dumbest tech tip you will ever read. What idiot doesn't know that you have to make sure that the throttle cable is fully opening the carb? Well, from my experience, ABOUT 25% OF YOU ARE THOSE IDIOTS.

Maybe you replaced your carb out and never readjusted your cables. Maybe you put a set of apes on your bike and didn't setup the cables properly when you did. Or maybe it's never been right, or you just didn't know any better.

Whatever the reason, you have to make sure your cable is fully pulling open the carb, otherwise you can put all the cams, exhuast, ported heads, and big bore motors in that you want, and you still won't be reaching your potential.

In the picture above an S&S carb is shown, which is what I will talk about here. With the bike off, by hand turn the throttle linkage clockwise until it stops; this will show you how much it is SUPPOSED to open. Now hold the throttle wide open at the bars, and try to manually turn the linkage again clockwise with your other hand. If while wide open the linkage can still be turned, your cable(s) is out of adjustment, and you're not getting all the throttle you could. Also, make sure the cable isn't binding in the grip, or the liner in the cable is damaged and hanging things up. A little cable lube helps as well.

Now when adjusting your throttle cables, you want to make sure that you have just enough slack so that the cable motion is stopped by the stop inside the grip, and not the throttle body itself (or your break cables). Once you've got the cable adjusted properly with adjusters, make sure to turn the bars both ways to make sure it doesn't bind, and if you have a two-cable system, both the pull and push cables are adjusted properly.

Sometimes this varies brand by brand, but you get the idea. If you have model specific questions, of have cruise control, check your shop manual.

Performance is all about the little details, so don't overlook the simplest one!


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