This FAQ last updated: 25.11.2020
Q: When can I expect the 477cc upgrade to ship?
A: Since 4th of November our first batch of pistons is stuck in Indian customs (today: 25th). Depending on the test results and demand we will schedule the main production to be delivered by February 2021.
Q: What are the advantages of a bigger piston/increase in displacement?
A: Mainly these are:
- More displacement means more mixture can fill the larger cylinder and be burned.
- Larger bore size means larger area on the top of the piston, so the combustion pressure acts on a larger area, providing more “push”, resulting in increased torque.
- Larger piston area creates a harder “pull” on the intake system, increasing gas velocity in the intake port, making better use of it.
- Larger displacement, with the same cams and ports lowers the peak torque rpm and the peak hp rpm, approximately equal to the displacement increase, this giving more power at a lower range on the rpm band. 15% more displacement lowers the working power band by about 15%, or about 700 rpm.
- More power in the useful mid range, you don’t have to rev as high for power. You ride lower rpm before lugging.
- Larger bore size increases compression. Without being a higher compression piston by design, just by virtue that you are compressing a larger volume into the same size combustion chamber, you are getting a compression increase.
- Although larger size pistons could be heavier, this one is lighter thereby decreasing the reciprocating mass, and causing less stress on the rod and bearings which will add to engine life expectancy.
Q: Will the ca. 15% increase in displacement put undue load on other engine components?
A: It depends. Theoretically if you used it in “race mode” all the time then yes, but in normal travel mode the engine would be less stressed because you would reach cruise speed at lower rpm and there is no need to max out the engine quite as often. Remember there are companies like “Rollgate Classics” in the UK that make 666 and 700cc Bullet pistons, a 45% increase in displacement.
Q: Will the new 477cc sleeve fit into the engine body without widening it?
A: YES, that was the idea behind this upgrade, to keep it plug & play.
A bigger piston would need you to change the housing as well as the head which would make it way more expensive. We have made a 510cc version with the head/valves and body reworked and it stands 350% above the 477 in terms of costs. The 510cc is definitely NOT plug & play.
Q: Will overall reliability suffer from this upgrade?
A: Reliability in terms of life expectancy is very much a function of maintenance. The 410cc engine is very robust. Well maintained it should last well over 80.000km. The 477cc upgrade will not change that because with more power it is likely you won’t drive it at it’s limits quite so often.
Q: What total cost must I expect for a 477cc conversion?
A: That depends on you doing the work of changing cylinder and piston or if you outsource the work – then add 3 hours worth of money to the set price.
On top of the sales price there is shipping and possibly import tax, depending on your country’s laws.
Q: What is the difference between your kit and that from Hitchcock?
A: We drove both. In fact the Hitchcock piston was our initial motivation. It is a good upgrade, but as always, the better is the enemy of the good. Our set just delivers more.
Q: Is this a home made piston or from some other vehicle adapted to the Himalayan?
A: No, this piston is designed by an Italian engineer and is made by a specialized department working for Ducati in Italy. It is a professionally calibrated piece of engineering.
Q: Will the 477 big bore kit work with BS4? Since it is fuel injected, would I need to buy a Powertronic as well?
A: For this upgrade you will need some kind of EFI upgrade device, either the Power Commander or the Powertronic. There are other (cheaper) devices out there that allow fuel flow adjustments for EFI but we have not tried them on this upgrade.
Q: I have a BS3, do I need to change the carburetor configuration or the carb itself?
A: The standard issue carb of the Himalayan is identical to the one on the 500cc Bullet. So the upgrading to 477cc is no issue as such. We have not re-jetted and the 477cc engine runs fine. In one bike we have changed the main jet to 130 (from 125) but can not discern a difference to the one with the 125 jet.
Q: Will the 477cc bike use more fuel than the 410cc?
A: No, it will use less, given comparable driving conditions.
Q: Will you publish measurements, charts etc. on your setup?
A: We are currently searching for a Dyno facility near us that would allow us such measurements at reasonable costs. When and if we find one we will certainly make the results public.
Q: So the Italian piston is the expensive part. Why not manufacture one in India?
A: We have considered it. But making them one-by-one is almost as expensive in India as it is in Italy. Additionally there are considerable development costs too and finally Italian quality in the motorsport sector has a well deserved reputation, India not so much.
Q: Are you using the factory liner bored to 477cc or are you providing the cylinder with a new liner when upgrading to 477cc?
A: For this upgrade it is necessary to use a new sleeve that will however still fit into the engine body without any changes to the latter. I have seen Hitchcocks piston in OEM cylinders with very thin cylinder walls and it can be done, but not with the 477.
Q: Is this a cast or a forged piston?
A: It is a forged piston – If you do the liner/cylinder yourself it is important to inform the company that does the boring and honing about this fact as forged pistons need a bit more “breathing room” because they can expand under thermal load more than cast pistons. As a rule forged pistons are more sturdy and take abuse like overheating better than their cast siblings. A good explanation can be found here.
And a video explanation here:
Q: In your upgrade set do you provide everything I need for the upgrade or do I need special tools/other stuff to do it?
A: We provide everything except the tools. But the tools you need are very common and are all listed in the “How To Upgrade” video. We did it without even a torque wrench (if this is your first engine upgrade it may be a good idea to use one). There is one special tool for valve adjustment, you can order it from Hitchcocks if you can’t source it locally.
Q: Will this piston give me a greater top speed?
A: Yes and no. If you are heavier than most or ride with pillion and luggage it will because you likely never red-lined the engine in such a configuration. However, if you are a small lone driver – then no. The red-line RPM is the same. To change that you would have to change the number of teeth on either sprocket – You would want to add one tooth to the front or subtract three from the rear. Make sure the chain fits after that change. Hitchcock and others offer such sprockets. This upgrade was designed to have much more acceleration for take-over and operations at high elevations, not so much for more speed at the top end. But it can be done.
Q: Are there specific break-in rules I must follow?
A: Yes, there are. This piston should not be moved beyond 3000rpm for the first 500km. Then an oil change is needed and for the next 1500km 4000rpm should only be surpassed for take over . Due to the material the piston is made from it can take up to 4000km to reach full free running, up to this point top speed can be used for short moments but not sustained.
Q: My engine has run for over 30.000km, is there anything I should exchange/renew with the upgrade?
A: It is advisable to change the timing chain which is suggested at 30.000km or the older versions and at 50.000km for the newer ones.
Q: Does your piston come with any kind of warranty?
A: The warranty is limited to delivery failures or damaged delivery goods see here. This is a high performance upgrade, it requires you to handle your bike accordingly. E.g. we have no influence on how the break-in is done. For that reason we do not warranty the upgrade set as such. As unlikely as they are, failures could have any number of reasons outside our responsibility. BUT we do offer to sell anyone who bought an upgrade set from us and experiences a problem at any time a factory new 410cc cylinder+piston set for 100.- € plus shipping.
With further questions, ideas, or any kind of input please contact us.