ECUnleashed has delivered as promised

A little over a week ago I quickly sent the ECU of my 2006 Yamaha FZ1 out to California to a little company called ECUnleashed.

For those of you who like to read the ending first … as a quick review of ECUnleashed I offer you this:
Website = ok/poor
Service = good enough
Product = bike saving (I’ll explain later)
Price = $100 more than I would comfortably pay, however, I paid it so maybe their pricing structure is good too

Why did I describe the product as “bike saving”? As you may or may not know, the 2006 Yamaha FZ1 was the first year with the Electronic Fuel Injected (EFI) engine. This was Yamaha’s first attempt and mapping the engine to correctly while still adhering to EPA emission standards. Let’s just say that they, Yamaha, got it wrong. They got it terribly wrong.

The throttle was incredibly “snatchy” on both roll off and roll on. This made the bike very untrustworthy in corners, not to mention uncomfortable at low speeds in traffic or around town.

I installed an Fuel Cut Eliminator (FCE) by Ivan’s and that helped but didn’t completely resolve the issue. The FCE made enough of a difference to help me keep the bike another season, but as I gained in rider sophistication I found it still lacking. I could still not really trust the bike to not slide the rear tire out from under me upon roll on in a corner.

If you have read this blog you are aware that I fancy a Triumph Daytona 675R and that I have even listed my current FZ1 for sale several times. Well, this is largely due to the above throttle problems. I began to notice it more and more. It was sucking the enjoyment out of riding, which isn’t easy to do and when done is a total downer.

I don’t remember the first place I came across an article or, more likely, a forum post which mentioned the ECUnleashed re-mapping service, but I was instantly intrigued as I was becoming desperate.

After reading several posts on the Yamaha FZ1 OA forum and doing some additional research I reached out to the ‘local’ Connecticut dealer. Well, let’s just say that I was quite underwhelmed by their response and level of service. They said they didn’t have a file for an FZ1 and made no offer or mention of obtaining one.

After that disappointing interaction, I reached out to ECUnleashed directly asking them which dealer had an FZ1 map to which I could send my ECU. After a week and a half of silence, I reached out to them again asking if they were still in business. That question got a much better response. After some back and forth, they instructed me to send it to them in California.

Even though I was waiting on their response to some of my questions, I sent my ECU off anyway as the forecast showed rain for the next week. All in all I only missed two days of great riding weather but it was torture all the same. ECUnleashed was kind enough to foot the bill for the expedited return shipping.

After receiving the package I spent the next fifteen minutes hooking it back up to the bike.

  1. gathered tools
  2. disconnected battery (may not be necessary)
  3. connected ECU
  4. connected battery
  5. connected thing on top of the airbox
  6. turned the key

After the longest 5 seconds of my recent past there were no error codes or warning lights, which meant it was time to proceed to the next stage.

  1. tighten velocity stacks
  2. replace airbox cover
  3. start the bike

It started right up and idled nicely, and a bit higher than before the re-map (expected result). On to the final assembly stage.

  1. tighten airbox cover
  2. lower and tighten gas tank
  3. tighten fairings
  4. replace seats

After all that, I remembered that I neglected to replace a zip tie securing the dust flap. It is still in place but is not “secured” by the second zip tie. I’ll replace it the next time I open her up.

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning as I tried to pace myself while getting my gear on. After putting on all my gear I checked the tire pressure and proceeded down the driveway.

As soon as I left the driveway I could feel a significant difference, mostly reduced engine breaking, as I slowly drove past the neighborhood kids on their big wheels, the bike wasn’t fighting me like it normally is at slow speeds. Coming to the stop sign it was obvious that the engine braking had been dramatically reduced for the better.

It wouldn’t be until my first significant turn when I would be able to really tell if it had the desired effect. After my first turn I became outwardly excited and almost giddy as the throttle “snatch” did not raise it’s ugly head. I filled up the tank and was off into the Blue Hills hoping people wouldn’t get in front of me. I had one or two turns before catching up to a car. I was getting more excited with the smoothness of the throttle. I began to trust the bike more.

Advancing to my favorite little stretch I was able to ride a few more good fast turns. I have never had this much confidence in this bike.

ECUnleashed also claims to remove restrictions in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear and I can attest to this, but my main reason for buying the re-map was not for added power but for smoother controlled power, and after my short rider I am very pleased with the result.

I will be paying more attention in the coming weeks to give more detailed feedback. There is still significant engine breaking and a bit of an abrupt roll-on above 6k rpm, but that could be that no engine likes to rev that high without being fed a fair amount of gas.

Lastly, while on my ride, I came across another rider fully decked out head to toe in Ducati Corse gear riding a Ducati Corse 1198, with his buddy taking his photo. The photographer took a few of me as well, but it started to rain so I did not stop and inquire further. It would be fun to see how the photos turned out though, so if you happen to come across this post, drop me a line.

Thanks for reading and happy riding.

8 thoughts on “ECUnleashed has delivered as promised

  1. Thanks for the post. I too have an ’06 and I’m dealing with the same issues, including a hesitation and popping between shifts around 5-6K rpm. Anyway, just trying to figure out what I should do–FCE, Power Commander, ECU, or something else? I still don’t know. How has the ECU reflash been since this posting? Still satisfied? And how much do they charge for this? Thanks for your reply.

  2. Hi Randall,
    Thanks for reading.
    While the ECUnleashed is not 100% perfect it is so much better than stock plus the FCE. And the FCE is significantly better than just stock. That being said, I would spend the money on the FCE first but would purchase the ECUnleashed service.
    As for the power commander, I cannot speak from experience, but I know they that device is not able to access all the areas that a reflash can access. For example, it wouldn’t take away the restrictions in the lower gears.
    I do get some jerk when rolling-on the throttle above 5000 RPM, and when the engine is cold I can behave like a flooded carburetor if I crack the throttle open. But it is so much more pleasant and fun to ride. I am considering putting back in the FCE to see what happens, but I’m feeling like I’ve spent enough time under the tank for now.

    Here is a more recent post on my thinking of the ECUnleashed service.

    I think it boils down to this: It isn’t perfect, but it’s darn close.

    Hopefully that helps. Thanks for reading and happy riding.

  3. Hi Jeremy,

    I’ve had the ECUnleashed remap done recently and am very happy with it except for the flooded carburetor-like problem when winding it on with a cool engine (seems to be when under 70 degrees C).

    Just wondering if you raised this with ECUnleashed as to why the remap has caused this as I never had the problem before and you wouldn’t think it’d be something they’d deliberately introduce?

    Thanks for all your info on the remap by the way – it definitely influenced my decision to go this route rather than mucking around with FCE’s, PC’s and dyno tunes.

    Perth, Western Australia

  4. Hi Bryan,
    Thanks for the comment. I too have a bit of a bogged carburetor behavior when I open it wide.
    I haven’t brought this up with ECUnleashed but it might be worth it.
    Which year do you have?
    – Jeremy

  5. I have the 06 as well. I asked them about it, but the response was they need dyno data to be able to adjust the tune. Not bothered enough about it to go through with that – not when I can just let it warm up a little longer and have it running well. The remap is an awesome improvement otherwise.


  6. Pingback: Have I found the bike within? FZ1 Stock vs FCE vs ECUnleashed vs Both | jeremy​blanchard | blahg

  7. Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the post, it was an interesting read. I came across it looking for options for my ECU, then I saw that Ivan is also reflashing ECUs now and everyone over at FZ1OA is happy with the results and with the price. I’m waiting for mine to come back – in the post now.
    His flash doesn’t touch fueling and it requires a PC3/5 for which he will provide a map. He also gives a discount if you return the FCE (that’s a limited time thing). Maybe this is “the fix” which we’re all looking for.

  8. @adi
    Just back to post a ride report with Ivan’s reflash and PC3 map. It’s perfect! Very very smooth under all conditions now and more than enough power in gears 1-3. One less thing to complain about with this bike. It’s a huge improvement over the FCE/PC3/IM combination.

    Next is the suspension 🙂 Just ordered a Wilbers 641 3-way shock. Unfortunately it will never be the “perfect bike” with its small fuel tank, but I’m sure I’ll keep it for another few years.

    I’m curious to see if you manage to sell yours in the most recent post, or decide to keep it a bit longer.

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