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Trail Tech Cooling Fan

Is it possible to miss the smell of boiling coolant?  

by Martin Hackworth

Photos: Martin Hackworth, JR Hackworth, Trail Tech

Trail Tech Fan
Courtesy of Trail Tech

Trail Tech Fan
     We'll get right to the point. The Trail Tech Cooling Fan kit is the best we've ever used. It's deserving of all the accolades it's received across the industry. It really is that good. If you have a water-cooled bike with a cheap fan, or one without a fan at all, you need one of these.

     To start off, the TT fan kit is one very stout conglomeration of pieces. The fan, fan housing, attachment shroud, wiring harness and computer are all well-designed and well-made and will take even unreasonable abuse. I've crash-tested this setup on my Honda CRF450X extensively and will vouch for it's durability. I've even submerged the bike in a stream with the fan going full-tilt boogie, hydrolocking the engine, and the fan still worked when I got everything dried out and started a few hours later. That's plenty good enough for me.

     Installation of the fan kit is a breeze for most applications and may be accomplished by anyone with the ability to use simple tools in less than a half hour. Once in it's ready to ride without further thought. The computer does allow some changes in display, and the ability to set the temperature trigger point, but most will probably be happy with the factory settings.

     The ability to set the trigger point with this fan is actually a useful feature. On bikes like my 450X (which runs notoriously hot anywhere near idle), I set the computer to start the fan at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, a few degrees below the factory setting, and the bike stays very cool under almost any circumstance. I can now leave the bike running during summertime when I get off to open a gate, for instance, without worrying about it overheating. Long technical single track ascents have not posed a coolant issue for me with this fan in place.

     The best hard data that I can provide to support my high opinion of the Trail Tech Cooling Fan comes from last summer's Tour of Idaho, where, in seven days of gnarly trail, I rarely saw temperatures above 200 degrees Fahrenheit on my Trail Tech Voyager. The highest temperature I saw was 205 degrees Fahrenheit, and that only once - on a particularly long, slow climb on a brutally hot day. Even then, the bike never came close to boiling coolant. That's a first. In years past I've had to frequently stop and shut the bike off for a few minutes to allow it to cool down in some very slow conditions.  

     I've methodically tried all of the common tweaks to get my CRF450X to run cool at trail speeds. It has a Boyesen Supercooler water pump impeller, an IRP billet oil cooler, a left side Fluidyne Radiator, and it's tuned to run rich. Though all of these tweaks have helped, the Trail Tech fan has had the greatest single impact - and it's huge.

     The only thing you'll want to think about with the TT fan is that it does draw some power - 30 watts in the case of the Honda kit. At trail speeds this might tax bikes with lower output stators. The fan does have an automatic cut-off, but it will still drain the battery somewhat before shutting off if you have the trip point set too low and/or the bike is not running while the fan is running. Even with a 100-watt racing stator like I have, you'll want a beefy battery if you are running a lot at trail speeds where even the output of a high-output stator is low and expect the battery to start the bike every time after extended periods of use. 
Trail Tech Cooling Fan

$169.95 from Trail Tech (Trail Tech provided a unit for us to review at a discounted price.)

The Good: It works like gangbusters!
The Rad: 
Repeated cycling at trail speeds may be hard on some batteries. 
The Gnarly: 
You may actually miss the aroma of boiling coolant.

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