Improved airflow is one of the key benefits of changing an air filter on a motorcycle. This increased airflow can help generate larger combustion and more horsepower. However, the increased airflow of an aftermarket air filter alone is not significant enough to get more power for your motorcycle. The air filter may not drastically improve performance, but it is still an essential component to maintain smoother engine combustion. Your FI (Fuel Injection) system will automatically adjust the mix, allowing for better particle removal.
To maximize the updated air filter, it may be useful to add a few other upgrades, especially to the exhaust and the ECU. After all, getting more horsepower is the result of a lot of teamwork between the different parts of your engine. As the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link, and this also applies to the engine of your motorcycle. If your bike is idling sharply and seems to have lost its performance advantage, the problem can be as simple as changing the air filter. Without clean air, your motorcycle will not reach its optimum performance levels.
Consider this: Light photons are much smaller than air molecules and when enough dirt has accumulated in the folds of a paper filter to obstruct even the passage of light, the filter is done. An engine is an air pump and can only inhale a limited amount of air, so unless you've done something to take advantage of a more free-flowing air filter, such as installing cams or a racing exhaust, and definitely adjust your fuel supply, you won't get any noticeable performance from dropping an air filter. The fabric layer (usually cotton or a handmade fiber) is more porous than paper and allows air to flow at a faster rate. Although light passes through paper, vision is not seen through paper as it does with high airflow filters. Another, often predominant, reason why riders install an aftermarket filter is to get more power from their engine. Sometimes, upgrading your bicycle's intake system using a free-flow air filter may require you to upgrade the ECU again to maximize performance gains and prevent premature wear and tear. While performance can't improve much with different air filters, it can certainly decrease if you don't maintain the filter well.
You see this style of filter material on off-road vehicles because oiled foam can hold a lot of dirt while flowing well, so they are suitable for very dusty environments where a paper filter would quickly clog up. If you want to get a few more miles from your standard air filter, you can clean it, but you'll struggle to get it back as good as new. When it comes to off-road driving, you'll value a filter that's easily removable, robust, and free-flowing. Depending on the model of your motorcycle, changing the air filter can be as easy as removing the seat and undoing some screws. A paper air cleaner would block after minimal use, restricting airflow, reducing power, and even possibly preventing the engine from running. This clean air is required in certain quantities to mix with the fuel to form an air-fuel mixture mixture. These filters are much thicker than standard filters and the porous holes in the foam are visibly large, which means maximum airflow, but the surface is covered with oil and, as air travels through the filter, particles are efficiently removed.
Complementing the air cleaner upgrade with a free-flow exhaust system helps the engine breathe much easier, which translates into even more benefits.