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Carburetor was equipped for the petrol engine in 1872 by Siegfried Marcus. So simplistic design is still used in some of the lower capacity commuters.  Until then in 1980 fuel injections took over carburetor, first they were been equipped to performance motorcycle, later after decades, almost every premium motorcycle is equipped with FI (Fuel Injection) system. So while the good old school still swear for reliability, tune-ability, and serviceability of carburetor, newer believe that FI is better in every way.

But as far now, as per BS6 regulations, every upcoming 125cc and more will be mandatorily equipped with FI system. So is this change worthy? How exactly these systems work? How exactly are they different and what are there respective virtues and vices? Let's find out!

Carburetor System

The carburetor is a device that mixes air and fuel in the proper ratio in Internal Combustion engines for combustion. It works on Bernoulli's principle: as the speed of the flow increases, pressure decreases. In simple words, when air enters the carburetor from the air intake, it speeds up due to the narrowing of the internal walls of the carburetor. The air blowing perpendicular to the throttle valve (also called butterfly valve, linked to throttle cable which controls the intake of the mixture). When the throttle is opened the valve starts opening letting the air to enter into the inlet manifold of the engine (or combustion chamber). As the valve opens the fast-moving air pulls the fuel up the main jet from the fuel chamber. This works on the same principle because the fuel wants to travel from an area of high pressure to the area of low pressure. The fuel mixes with the air and heads into the engine. 

The whole process is mechanical and its performance depends on the amount of throttle pulled by the rider to let the air in and the position of the valve through which fuel is pulled up from the chamber. The air-fuel mixture is constant until it is changed by adjusting some screws. Let's take an example, if you are somewhere at sea level and you have adjusted your carburetor, you'll experience a drop in power if you ride at high altitude with same settings due to thin air and lack of oxygen. 

This is how carburetor work and most importantly they are long-lasting, simple, and affordable setup and is fully mechanical with no electronics and sensors coming into play. 

Fuel Injection (FI)

Unlike carburetor, FI system is complex setup of electronics and sensors. In carburetor fuel is pulled directly from the tank by gravity into the chamber, while in FI, pump does the work for fine-grained control over fuel flow. The FI sprays calculated spurts of fuel directly into the combustion chamber. The pressurised fuel is a very well atomised homogenous mist, allowing for very efficient and clean combustion. 

The FI system is totally controlled by ECU along with multiple sensors making complex calculations at very high frequency to deliver the best air-fuel mixture possible. Based on external parameters like temperature and pressure, calculating riders throttle response, and all other conditions, the ECU directs the injector to let in the right amount of juice into the chambers to facilitate the most efficient combustion and optimum power delivery. 

Considering both the systems, FI proves to be more efficient and accurate than a carburetor. But still, they have their distinct pros and cons over each other. 

Advantages of carburetors
  • Carburetors cost less, are simple in operation and easy to repair or replace
  • Carburetors allow the users to tune them to their requirements
  • Since carburetors are not integrated into the engines, they can be serviced or replaced without touching the engine
Disadvantages of carburetors
  • Not the most efficient systems, dated design
  • Most carburetors have a slight lag, which results in relatively slow throttle response
  • Certain components like diaphragm are relatively delicate and prone to damage
  • Air fuel mixture fluctuates, affecting engine smoothness
Advantages of fuel injection
  • Optimised air-fuel mixture and atomisation allows for cleaner, more efficient combustion
  • Sharper throttle response
  • Better fuel efficiency and marginally more power than carbureted systems
  • They are typically maintenance free and does not break down
Disadvantages of fuel injection
  • Substantially more expensive than carburetors
  • Cannot be repaired with simple tools, have to be replaced, which is expensive.
  • Cannot be customised, unless you go for custom ECU maps, which again is expensive.
So, what you think about both the systems and which would you prefer over other?
Let us know what you think by commenting down below.

#RideHard #RideSafe and stay tuned to The Bike Tales for more on two wheels.


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