MaptunerX touchscreen flash tuner likely a game changer
Every so often a new product comes around that makes you go “hmmm.”
The latest aftermarket product on the PWC market will likely have dealers going “sign me up.”
The recently launched MaptunerX from Riva Racing is not only unique due to its ease-of-use, but also with its ability to be a quick and efficient enhancement to a dealership’s bottom line.
Dave Bamdas, president and owner of Riva Motorsports and sister company Riva Racing, the PWC performance aftermarket business, shared news of the MaptunerX with the giddiness of a kid on Christmas morning. Words like “game changer” come to mind when discussing the industry’s newest performance upgrade.
For starters, MaptunerX ($400 retail) is a full-color, touchscreen handheld programmer and diagnostic tool. MaptunerX allows the user to flash Riva Performance tunes into the OEM ECU via the vehicle’s diagnostic port or ECU connector. The tuning license runs about $600 retail for most units.
The Riva Performance tunes have been developed through extensive dyno and water testing. Bamdas explains that the Riva tuning library includes tunes for bone stock PWC that deliver significant performance with no additional modifications. Riva also offers tunes that match their popular stage kits for those seeking higher levels of performance.
MaptunerX is not a piggyback controller — it is removed after programming to tune other vehicles, and the program remains in the ECU. MaptunerX has many other features with rapidly expanding capabilities.
“Multiple tunes can be stored in the MaptunerX memory that can be switched via the user,” Bamdas said. “You can also purchase additional tuning licenses to program additional vehicles with one device. One tuning license is required per vehicle.”
Among the MaptunerX features:
• Full color, touchscreen interface
• Access to Riva’s tuning library
• Powerful processor with super fast uploads
• Extra memory for multiple vehicles, tunes and features
• Program Riva Racing tunes into your factory ECU via the vehicle’s diagnostic port or ECU connector — no need to ship your ECU for service.
• Flash back to stock at any time
• Store multiple tunes on MaptunerX, which can be switched in minutes
• One MaptunerX can be used to program multiple vehicles (with purchase of additional tuning licenses)
• Rapidly expanding diagnostic and service functions coming soon
Many top watercraft racers and race teams currently use the Riva Racing MaptunerX. Recent racing achievements include a championship by Riva Team rider Cyrille Lemoine at the 2016 Karujet Offshore Championship in Guadeloupe. Lemoine was on board a Yamaha FX WaveRunner that was powered by Riva’s racing tune installed with a MaptunerX device.
The Dealer Opportunity
The Riva Racing MaptunerX appears to provide a fantastic profit opportunity for PWC dealers. Dealers can purchase one MaptunerX device and provide quick and easy tuning services for customers. Bamdas notes that there are strong dealer margins in the sale of each tuning license and many opportunities to sell associated performance parts. Even better, Riva makes it easy to provide these services through its clearly defined stage kit approach.
The Pompano Beach, Fla.-based company is known as a leader in PWC performance parts. Also, Riva Motorsports Superstore, the flagship and one of three South Florida dealership locations, has been a member of the Powersports Business Power 50 since the program’s inception in 2013. So it’s no surprise that Riva Racing, with its products sold at more than 1,300 dealerships worldwide, also is progressive in its approach to business. Riva Racing has a staff of 34 employees. A gentlemen’s agreement among the three OEMs that keep the craft from exceeding 65-67 mph is part of what inspires them to create products such as the MaptunerX.
“The MaptunerX is one of the most important products to hit the PWC aftermarket in quite some time,” Bamdas said. “It looks like an iPhone, and you plug the cable into the ECU to flash the performance tune that you seek.”
Alas, the MaptunerX flash tuner — without any of the Riva Stage tuning kits that include air filter and exhaust upgrades — has allowed some of the PWC to knock on the door of 80 mph. Prior to the launch of the MaptunerX, purchasing a new ECU in the range of $2,500 was the only way to achieve a similar performance upgrade. The latest advancement with the MaptunerX is in the $900 retail range, including the MaptunerX device and one tuning license.
Dealers who service PWC should to take a hard look at the MaptunerX. The dealership would purchase the MaptunerX device ($320 dealer pricing). The dealer would then sell the customer the tuning license from Riva Racing for each PWC tuned in addition to the programming service itself. Upon purchase of the tuning license for the consumer, the dealer receives a 10-digit code that allows access to the flash tune.
“It’s very easy to sell a reflash service when the customer’s machine comes in for service,” Bamdas said. “Offering the MaptunerX will certainly attract them to the dealership as well.”
The flash tuning of a customer’s ECU on bone stock PWC with the MaptunerX can lead to many more performance upgrades. It often leads to the customer becoming interested in Riva Stage 1, 2 or 3 kits.
“Dealer margin on the $600 tuning license is $150 for about 10 minutes of work,” Bamdas said. “And there are no additional charges for future tune changes once a license is purchased for a craft.”
Bamdas is confident the ease of use will win over dealers.“It’s like our introduction of the iPhone,” he said. “Now dealers can easily be tuners. We’ve already been doing beta testing with dealers and retail customers for several months, and dealers can do the whole program in a matter of 10-15 minutes.”
A product that has been two years in development with a Swedish tuning performance company is ready to take on the market.
“They were doing it with the automotive market, and we helped them develop the watercraft program and influenced the design of the hardware for the PWC market,” Bamdas said.
The Riva Racing development team took machines from all three brands to the water to develop the ECU performance calibrations.
“We have a world famous development staff and a full dyno center. We have full-time tech support ready to answer any questions and assist dealers. And of course, we have a very deep tuning library.”
In one recent case, a customer brought in a 2016 Waverunner FZR, a performance machine. A Riva service writer asked the customer if he wanted to go faster, and told him that for $600 the dealership could do a tune. “The MaptunerX put that customer at 76 mph with no additional parts. It’s a booming performance business which is now much more affordable,” Bamdas said.
The next time, the service writer could follow up by offering a Riva Stage 1 kit, which would provide even more speed. Alternatively, rental dealers whose craft currently exceed 50 mph, can purchase a less expensive tuning license to decrease the speed to, for example, a max of 44 mph for safety reasons.
“Our products are all race-proven,” Bamdas said. “If you’re a race guy, you’re going to want to do this. They show up at the lake, and they want to beat their buddies. This is a big deal for us and the watercraft industry.”
The fastest seller early in the launch? The flash for the Sea-Doo Spark that can push the unit to 110 hp.
“We lost about 75 percent of the PWC aftermarket industry players when things changed from 2-stroke to 4-stroke engines,” Bamdas said. “Riva and a few others have stuck with it. There’s really been nothing that’s been as revolutionary as this since the 4-stroke became king. It parallels what goes on in the automotive industry. And it’s simply an awesome profit opportunity for the dealers.”