In the overall running of the motorcycles, air filters are very important. Because it is actually what is keeping the air entering inside your bike clean and particle free so that there is complete combustion and there is no way for the engine to get affected due to such particulate matter. This is the reason why air filters need to be used and kept clean all the times. But then again there are various kinds of air filters available to suit various kinds of needs for the bikes depending upon the intended use of the bikes and the conditions under which they will be running. Hence we are going to cover all the types of normal air filters available in the market today for motorcycles.
1. Foam Air Filters:
These are the filters that were used in the very beginning of times. Foam is a very dense material and hence can be used quite efficiently as an air filter and it does filter out air quite efficiently. Even today in many bikes like dirt bikes which have to handle a lot of dirt, foam air filters are used. The main reason being they are efficient and most importantly are washable and reusable. They do not cost a lot, but they are quite expensive compared to paper filters, but then again they are reusable by washing and hence are quite value for money in the long run. Some of them even come in an oiled variant so that they can work even better since the oil helps capturing more minute particles in it being sticky.
2. Paper Air Filters:
These are the cheapest and most easily available filters. Many of the modern bikes use this filter because it is cheap to get, easy for maintenance and can be disposed off after a certain amount of kilometers depending upon how dirty it has become. Maintenance of paper filters is very easy because all one needs to do is blow a little pressurized air on it to clear the dust caught in it. The problem with paper filters is that they are not really as efficient in very dirty conditions which could cause issues. Hence they are mostly used on commuters and on bikes which are meant to be used on the highways and regular roads and not for any of the off-roading bikes because the huge dirt particles would easily clog up the system and also some big particle could rupture the paper element and render the filter useless and end up harming the bike.
3. Cotton Air Filters:
These are by the far the best performers and the most expensive in the list. Cotton air filters are actually made of cotton fabric which is strong, breathing material and fine enough to filter the air really well. They are used in all the performance bikes because it allows for the best air filtration and that too at a very rapid rate which allows for better performance of the machines. Maintenance of these filters is not a tough task either since they are washable but one has to make sure not to scrub it. There are many air filter cleaning kits available today which could be used to clean the cotton air filters along with an additive kit to make sure they are cleaned properly and also the oily substance used to clean the filters makes sure that not even a single microscopic particle is let through except for clean particle free air.
So these are the main types of air filters. You can find others too in the market claiming high levels of filtration and improved performance but beware and do not fall for any of that since most of them use the same filters and/or combination of these filters to improve performance and efficiency and what not. But one has to remember that air filters are necessary and hence it is important to get them cleaned up at every service and not skimp out on it and replace them whenever necessary.
If you happen to use a paper filter then the ideal time to replace it would be every 10,000 kms. For foam filters, they should be replaced when they start developing bigger pores or scratches of scuffs on them after washing them. The same applies for cotton filters as well. But generally both cotton and foam filters last over 15,000-20,000 kms easily. So that should not be an issue and overall they do pay off in the long run as compared to paper filters.
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