Motorcycle ECU cover

What Are ECU In Motorcycles And What They Do?

ECU works in unison with the sensors mounted on the engine to control various crucial parameters
Ninja H2 ECU

ECU comes installed in premium bikes only

Electronics is taking over the world with lightning fast speed by replacing everything that works mechanically. While every commodity is becoming advanced in terms of how they work, motorcycles are no behind. The old conventional mechanism is now controlled smartly by microprocessor chips which make the internal process happen the way the chips have been programmed. One example of such smart system in our motorcycles is the ECU which stands for Engine Control Unit.

ECU in motorcycles plays a major role in controlling various crucial functions in the engine. ECU, since they are expensive to install, only come integrated into premium motorcycles and haven’t made their way in economical commuter bikes. Coming back to its function, they manage various engine operations among which the most prominent processes are mixing the air and fuel, controlling ignition timing and Idle speed control.

Initially, let’s have an overview how combustion systems run. Motorcycle engine sucks the fresh air from the vicinity which slips down into intake valves. After which, the fuel injection system leverages the fuel to mix with this air which in turn produces the energy for the motorcycle to run. As we know, the behaviour of a motorcycle engine may vary depending on the ambient temperature and humidity. We might have often experienced this in chilly winters and scorching summer. In premium motorcycles, ECU is implanted so that such environmental changes do not affect the powerplant and it keeps running the way it should.

ECU detects various parameters with the help of sensors connected to it. These are the parameters which can make an impact on the running of the engine. The most important aspect it controls is the air and fuel mixture. When the surrounding is cold, the engine requires more fuel to burn for running the combustion engine. So, depending on the temperature, this amount of needed fuel varies and ECU controls this. It senses how to fuel supply is optimum in the current condition and operates the actuators according. These actuators are those which control the fuel intake action. Thus, when the motorcycle is being started in cold weather condition, the ECU lets more fuel pass and when the gets enough warm, the fuel supply is again made back to normal.

Another function which is controlled by the ECU is the Idle speed of engine. When we turn the ignition and start the engine, the RPM level of an un-revved engine needs to be varied depending on how cold or warm the engine. For this, the ECU detects the crankshaft position with the help of sensors and accordingly, sets the idle speed of the motor. Moreover, the ECU also assists in controlling the speed of valve opening in the powerplant. When the engine runs fast, the valves opening and closing action is sped up and gets slow when the engine is running calmly.  Gathering the information from the sensors, ECU learns at an instant what should be the valve opening speed and performs the necessary action on it.

This is all about the working of ECU in motorcycles. This was an overview of the mechanism and if we delve deeper, there is more involved in terms of ECU. We will keep posting further information in the upcoming posts. Till then, stay tuned and have fun on your two wheels.

Also Read – Motorcycle Disc Maintenance Tips


Anuj Mishra

Born in Amravati, Anuj dreams to explore various serene locations on his motorcycle, first of India then around the world. Every motorcycle in this world enthrals him. The howling of sportbikes and thumping of cruisers is all he hears when awake as well as asleep.

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