Industry First Piston Technology: Wiseco Powersports Product Highlights of 2017

October 31, 2017 / by Kevin Bailey

Take a look at some of the latest piston technology Wiseco brought to the Powersports market in 2017.

With dirt bikes, street bikes, snowmobiles, side by sides, and all other Powersports machines constantly evolving, it’s important to evolve piston technology along with them. When a new piston feature or design is tested and implemented in new model machines with successful results, Wiseco figures why not take that piston technology to older model favorites as well? Wiseco is proud to reflect on a year of offering 21st century piston technology.

Black Edition Pistons

Earlier this year, Black Edition pistons were introduced in the V-Twin market for Harley Davidsons. Black Edition pistons get their name from their unique black color on the piston crown, ring grooves, and under-crown. This color is the result of Wiseco’s proprietary ArmorX coating, which is mixed and applied in-house with an electrochemical process. ArmorX creates a shield for the crown and ring grooves that improves protection against extreme heat and detonation.

Wiseco Black Edition pistons featuring ArmorX and ArmorFit coatings.

Another industry first from the Black Edition line is ArmorFit skirt coating. This skirt coating is another proprietary Wiseco blend, and is also applied in-house. Without giving up any secrets, ArmorFit is a Moly based dry film that remains on the piston skirt for the life of the piston.

ArmorFit skirt coating self-adjusts to the cylinder bore.

ArmorFit is applied thicker than traditional piston skirt coatings, allowing the coating to adjust itself to the cylinder wall. Once the coating is adjusted, it will remain at the proper clearance during normal operation. As long as the correct Black Edition pistons are purchased for the corresponding bore size, worry of piston-to-wall clearance is a thing of the past. The coating also reduces friction, providing better wear resistance and quieter operation.

Wiseco Black Edition pistons are available for the following applications:

  • 2017 Milwaukee 8: 107, 114, 117, 124 ci
  • 1999 – 2017 Twin Cam 103, 106, 117 ci

Check out full details on the Black Edition pistons.

Snowmobile Pistons

New model year snowmobiles are some of the most technologically advanced machines to hit the snow. Ski Doo’s 850 E-TEC and Arctic Cat’s 800 CTEC are two examples of next level 2-stroke technology. These engines showcase technology such as highly efficient fuel injection and oil injection systems. Some even feature boost injectors, forged crankshafts, and revolutionary starting systems.

Wiseco's piston offerings for the new 850 E-TEC and 800 CTEC engine platforms feature Electra Coated crowns and rings grooves, and ArmorGlide skirt coating.

With the consistent increase in technology in 2-stroke snowmobile engines, Wiseco feels these feature rich engine platforms should get the feature rich pistons they deserve. Available for both the new 800 CTEC and 850 E-TEC engine platforms, Wiseco 2-stroke snowmobile pistons utilize Electra Coating and ArmorGlide skirt coating. The piston’s dome and ring grooves are Electra Coated, which provides protection against heat and detonation, reducing long term wear from engine operation. ArmorGlide is another one of Wiseco’s proprietary skirt coatings, which is applied to reduce friction from cylinder wall contact, as well as providing smoother and quieter operation.

Racer Elite


A key feature of the 4-stroke Racer Elite pistons is the asymmetrical skirt deisgn.

Earlier this year, Wiseco introduced the Racer Elite 4-stroke series pistons. The pistons were designed for the serious rider or racer looking for the best performing shelf piston they can find. The first key feature to note on these Racer Elite pistons is the asymmetrical skirt design. This is something seen before in the auto racing world, but not nearly as much in motocross. A piston with an asymmetrical skirt design has more skirt material on the side of the piston that experiences the most thrust load, and minimal skirt material on the non-thrust load side. This keeps contact with the cylinder wall minimal, as well as keeps the weight down. Topping this off is ArmorGlide skirt coating, ensuring friction is staying as low as possible.

Contrary to standard Wiseco forged pistons, the Racer Elite 4-stroke pistons are fully machined billet, allowing for the best weight optimization and the ability to machine the boxed under-crown structure with precision.

On top of the actual benefits, we never get tired of the beauty of billet machined pistons.

Another feature brought over from auto racing is the ultra flat piston ring and ring groove. The compression ring is lapped using a proprietary process to ensure complete flatness when pressing against the precision machined ring groove. This allows for a better ring seal. In testing, blow-by was reduced by almost 40% with this ring/ring groove process.

Complete with a DLC coated wrist pin, the Racer Elite 4-stroke piston’s combined features proved their worth during dyno testing, producing a 2.9 increase in horsepower on 450cc engine.

The following models have recently been added to the Racer Elite line up:

  • 2016-17 Honda CRF250R
  • 2017-18 Honda CRF450R
  • 2016-18 KTM 250 and 350 SX-F
  • 2013-18 KTM 450 SX-F
  • 2010-18 RMZ250
  • 2017-18 RMZ450
  • 2016-18 Yamaha YZ250F

Get the inside engineering scoop on Racer Elite pistons here.


A couple months after the Racer Elite piston series was introduced to the 4-stroke market, the 2-stroke Racer Elite pistons were released. These 2-stroke pistons bring a long-awaited advancement in 2-stroke race piston technology. To start, Wiseco forges these pistons out of a 2000 series alloy, instead of the more popular 4000 series. The 2000 series alloy offers more tensile strength, but does not hold up as well to the cylinder conditions of 2-strokes. To combat this, the pistons are coated with ArmorPlating, a Wiseco surface treatment covering the crown, ring groove, pin bore, and under-crown.

Wiseco 2-Stroke Racer Elite pistons feature ArmorPlating on the piston crown, ring groove, pin bore, and under-crown.

ArmorPlating protects against wear caused by heat and detonation. What’s even more unique, however, is that the coating itself evolves during operation. “What’s really unique about the ArmorPlating material is that it becomes harder under temperature from combustion. Every time the piston sees a flash combustion as it’s going up and down in the cylinder, the material is getting harder,” states Dave Sulecki, Product Manager for Wiseco.

ArmorFit skirt coating eliminates the need for A, B, C piston sizing.

Next up on the 2-stroke Racer Elite feature list is ArmorFit skirt coating. First seen on the Black Edition pistons, the coating adapts to the proper piston-to-wall clearance during initial operation, and remains at that clearance, reducing operating friction throughout the life of the piston. Of course, the correct piston size must be purchased for the corresponding bore size. A unique benefit of having ArmorFit on a 2-stroke piston is the ability to eliminate the need for A, B, C piston sizing.

“Thanks to ArmorFit, we’ve taken care of the need to buy the next bigger size piston. It has enough clearance for the smallest cylinder, adequate clearance for the largest cylinder, and everything in between. Provided your bore is in good shape and within tolerance of the A, B and C spec, our piston will drop right in. That’s a huge advantage,” comments Sulecki.

Read the full story on 2-Stroke Racer Elite

Pictured here is a 125cc 2-Stroke Racer Elite piston. Many models come with exhaust bridge lubrication holes pre-drilled.

The following models have recently been added to the 2-stroke Racer Elite line up:

  • Kawasaki KX85
  • KTM 125 SX
  • Suzuki RM125
  • Yamaha YZ250


The Yamaha YXZ1000R continues to be one of the most new and exciting UTV models, and it is one of few to challenge the Polaris RZR in performance and popularity. Much like the rest of the Powersports market, modifying UTVs for more power both for recreational and race use is picking up steam. People generally either go with a bump in compression or a turbo kit to obtain the power gains they’re looking for.

Wiseco YXZ1000R forged pistons are available for both high compression and turbo applications, and both feature ArmorGlide skirt coating.

Either way, Wiseco offers forged pistons for the YXZ1000R. High compression pistons can be purchased at a 13.0:1 compression ratio to increase power, but maintain natural aspiration. For those that decide to add boost, Wiseco also offers forged pistons in a 9.5:1 low compression format. Both styles feature ArmorGlide skirt coating to reduce friction and provide long term wear protection and quiet operation.

Even with all these exciting new piston lines, nothing can be taken from standard Wiseco forged pistons themselves. Every Wiseco forged piston has its own dedicated forging and in-house design, and will provide the increased strength and performance that comes from forging aluminum.

Choose your machine and see all Wiseco has to offer for it here!

Topics: NEWS, NEW PRODUCTS, featured, PISTONS 101, Powersports

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