Walking SEMA’s Halls With Bisi Ezerioha

“…and tomorrow I’m going to shoot Bisi and Dave walking around the show talking about turbos.”

I’d been in Vegas less than a day and I’d known Keiron for less than an hour and he’d already roped me into a style of article I’ve never done before with one of the most polarizing figures in the aftermarket tuning world.

Before I had a chance to put up any sort of objection, Dino’s eyes had lit up at the idea – or at least as much as they can light up behind his signature white glasses – cementing my fate. We weren’t at the card tables, but I had to use my best poker face regardless when I delivered my response. “Sure, that sounds good.”

Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5383

Two days later, with Paddy’s mantra of saying yes to adventure in the back of my mind, I stuffed any reservations I had about appearing in front of the lens in my bag and traded my camera for a pen and paper.

Finding Common Ground
Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5335

Having already met Bisi Ezerioha previously, Keiron provided the initial introduction and general plan, but it was on me to keep the conversation moving. Thankfully, in person Bisi is exactly the same as he presents through media: He’s very well spoken, easy going, and genuinely quite approachable.

Active in the community since the early 1990s Bisi is quite popular at an event like the SEMA Show. At no point did we make it more than 10-feet without someone stopping to ask Bisi a question, compliment his work, or pose for a photo opportunity.

Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5578

I haven’t been around many automotive celebrities, or celebrities in general, so it was a bit surreal watching this all unfold. Bisi however is a pro, and this is something he’s quite used to. But more importantly, he’s not jaded by the fact that he’s easy to pick out in a crowd. Fan or colleague, Bisi gave everyone the same level of attention and respect.

That’s no small feat, but one that goes a long way in portraying professionalism. Suffice to say you’re not going to get a cold shoulder from Mr. Ezerioha if you catch him in the wild.

Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5317

At this point I felt like I’d been around Bisi long enough to get an idea of his character, but I didn’t meet the real Bisi until we started talking about building cars. I have no problem admitting I was technically out of my league in this conversation – his job is building cars, mine is documenting them – but we were able to find common ground through our mutual enthusiasm for wheels and horsepower.

So What Excites A Man OF Science & Horsepower?
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The main goal of our SEMA Show walk-through was to see what parts and project excite someone like Bisi.

As an individual that’s never hid his scientific approach to modifying cars, Bisi often views things through a different lens than his peers; he’s always looking for ways to improve any system that exists in a car, be it a pre-existing one, or one he’s created. That’s what led him down the path of forced induction in the first place.

Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5281

Originally a devout student of the school of natural aspiration, Bisi didn’t build his first turbo car until 2009. And that car only became reality after he entered an engine shoot out with an NA build and lost. Loss isn’t something Bisi humbly accepts – see his current Civic Shuttle built for revenge – so he dove head-first into the land of turbos.

His first turbo build put down 725hp, which was 75hp over what he originally estimated. As a result he’s been hooked ever since.

So to circle back around to this chapter’s title – what excites Bisi most about turbos, turbo builds and turbo technology? In a word, efficiency.

This might sound a bit boring, efficiency in the world of performance, but it’s where Bisi feels reliable power comes from. Turbine efficiency, heat management, internal aerodynamics – manufacturers have come so far in these areas, but Bisi feels there’s still plenty left on the table.

Bisi is actually interested in small turbo technology as much as he is big turbo; particularly his interest lies in the advancements in compressor wheel design. Anytime Bisi noticed a company experimenting with vane design, vane count or even variable vane technology he took the time to hear what they had to say.

He was also quite intrigued at how OEM manufacturers were increasing turbo lifespan in smaller applications. With many OEMs turning to smaller displacement motors with turbochargers installed, they are naturally going to design turbos that last longer and put up with the abuse of neglectful car owners.

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Everyone wants highest performance for the lowest cost, but perhaps no one wants that more than OEM manufacturers. Bisi has had the chance to play with a few pre-release turbo vehicles and he says there’s lots of exciting power plants just around the corner.

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Outside of the turbos themselves, piping management was extremely important to Bisi. He’s experienced fitting failures in high-boost applications before and since then he’s moved away from gear-based clamps almost entirely. These days he uses Vibrant Performance clamps almost exclusively; they’re solid 6061 billet and hold pressures up to 800psi. Vibrant’s HD clamps also allow for up to 12 degrees of movement, meaning they’re less likely to fail under extreme conditions. As an added bonus they also look a treat.

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Finally, thermal management is also, a literal hot topic at the Bisimoto offices. On our way through the show we stopped by PTP Turbo Blankets to get the low down on their products.

As a fan of the scientific method, Bisi was particularly interested in the fact that PTP Blankets products have gone through independent heat management testing at Austin University where they have showed verified, unbiased gains. Will we see PTP Blankets in the next Bisi build? Time will tell…

Walking The Show
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With plenty of obligations at the SEMA Show, Bisi doesn’t get a chance to see much of it. However, when we asked him to show us a few of his favorite builds at the Las Vegas Convention Center this year it didn’t take him long to identify one car we had to look at.

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That car was the Ekanoo Racing Lexus RC F parked in the Precision Turbo booth. Capable of running the eighth mile in a blistering 4.10 seconds at 195mph, the stage four 481x V8-powered car runs two XPR 88mm Precision Turbos and makes over 3,000hp.

Bisi was as impressed with the car’s numbers as he was the packaging and presentation; the exterior is recognizable as a Lexus and under the fiberglass front end it was a mechanical beauty. “Very impressive” was a phrase said several times during our walk-around.

Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5372

Bisi revealed that he’s a man who values function over form at nearly every junction, but he appreciates those that manage to incorporate both in their builds. In that regard, it made sense that some of his other favorite builds included the 2JZ-powered S2000 in the Sparta Brakes booth and Chuckles Garage’s Pikes Peak Ford F1 truck in the Moton Suspension booth.

When we ended up at the HKS booth Bisi was quite impressed with their new turbos, particularly the models fit with their billet 18KX3RC compressor wheel.

Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5463

However, swinging back to piping management, when looking at their demo R35 GT-R he couldn’t help but notice a few areas where piping could have been run more efficiently.

He wasn’t trying to knock the legendary tuner by any means; Bisi’s brain just simply doesn’t stop looking for areas of improvement.

Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5546

Before parting ways I had to take Bisi to see one of my personal favorite vehicles of the show, the Corruptt Mustang. Somehow, he’d managed to make it to Thursday without anyone letting him know about the car. Having followed that build since the beginning it was a rare moment in the conversation where I (briefly) knew more about a build than Bisi did.

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Keiron did a great job of capturing his mix of confusion and intrigue at a twin turbo, Ferrari-powered ’67 Mustang. A car guy through and through. Bisi absolutely loved this build – once he was able to wrap his head properly around the lunacy.

About Criticism
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Prior to interviewing Bisi, I’d been made aware of the various levels of controversy and criticism around some of his builds, products, and claims, and I knew if I did this post without touching on that I would get lit up in the comment section. Walking up to someone I just met and saying “Hey, they internet says x, y and z about your business,” isn’t my preferred method, so to broach the subject tactfully I first asked Bisi about a build he brought to SEMA in 2014.

A white 911, with the turbo hanging out of the driver’s side rear bumper, it caused quite a stir. However, after the show it was never seen again provoking some to assert that the car never ran.

With this car in particular, Bisi openly admitted that while it ran he didn’t much like it when complete. Every day being a school day, sometimes you need to tear the page out and start again. The white Porsche in particular has a new plan of attack written, but hasn’t made its way back into the immediate Bisimoto schedule.

Bringing that car back out with a vengeance and getting back to his drag racing roots with his latest Civic Shuttle are however on his immediate radar when time permits.

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In regards to the allegations that his parts don’t out perform his competitors. Bisi says he stands behind his product, and that several records that have been broken and held with them, including his personal F-series drag car that ran a 9.2-second ET, a Leslie Durst’s B series that ran 9.7, or Jeremy Lookofsky that has ran 9.9, to name a few. These records, often set by others, do a better job of representing his product than the negative reviews of his critics.

Instead of focusing his efforts on the detractors, Bisi devotes his time and effort into improving his company’s offerings in both physical product and customer service. Satisfaction isn’t reached until every Bisimoto product is the best it can possibly be in terms of reliability, and performance.

Bisi Talks Turbos - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-5281

An ambitious goal, and a very thoughtful answer, but after hanging with him for an hour I honestly wouldn’t have expected anything less. Of course, if you still have lingering questions you’re more than welcome to contact Bisi directly on social media, or at an event.

Take my word for it, he’s extremely approachable and if he senses you’re coming from an area of genuine enthusiasm or curiosity he’ll have no problem giving you the time of day.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom

Photography by Keiron Berndt
Instagram: keiron_berndt



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Potato chips S2K. Sorry, couldnt hold it to myself :))


"He wasn’t trying to knock the legendary tuner by any means; Bisi’s brain just simply doesn’t stop looking for areas of improvement."

I hate how people feel the need to constantly say that kind of thing. Major manufacturers and a lot of "tuners" get it wrong all the time. In fact, there have been documented instances where aftermarket stuff robbed 80-100hp off of motors like the LS.

Just because it's HKS or Bisi or anyone else, doesn't mean it can't be improved! We're all simple humans trying to push the standard forward.


Hey Rick I get what you're saying but I was trying to avoid a situation where it could be interpreted that Bisi was criticising the work of HKS that then broke telephones down to Bisimoto says they're better than HKS.


Understandable. I think the sad reality is that companies like HKS are fading away in terms of pushing new territory and doing what they did in the 90s. A lot of private tuners are stepping up and doing really incredible work now that often rivals these guys.

LYFE vs HKS was a great example at the speed ring a few years back.


You gotta remember that HKS isn’t in the business of trying to build crazy fast one-off cars....though they tend to have crazy fast demo cars, that’s not their core business. They exist to sell high-quality, mass-produced parts that also happen to produce good power, especially given those parameters. These “out-of-the-blue” private tuners and small shops may build some cars that are faster than HKS in a given competition, but there’s no way their parts are made with the same level of industrial design, mechanical engineering, R&D, and just overall reliability and quality to still look good and work just as well 20-30+ years down the road...and THAT’S what HKS is about.


Eh, there's a lot of good stuff in the private sector that outperforms HKS and that's assuming HKS designs everything in house which they probably don't.

The entire goal of time attack is to run 1 lap as fast as possible with a motor that will literally explode after a few laps. If HKS wanted to prove their parts are high quality they would go endurance racing imo. There's probably little better about their equipment than any other modern company selling the same crap.


Well put Cynicalyricist!


"Capable of running the quarter mile in a blistering 4.10 seconds at 195mph"



Typo yes, that was a eigth number. Brain and hands don't always get along.


Great article and photos!
Just saw a Bisimoto hot wheels car at the grocery store last night I had to grab!


Regarding the controversy surrounding Bisi, I never saw too much of the "it doesn't perform that well" attacks, aside from the headers not making the gains they were claimed to on a stock motor. But who spends $1,000 on a header just to put it on a stock engine. I even frequently saw it bottle-necked by the stock exhaust... people just don't think. On built engines, it's fairly easy to find dyno graphs and video comparisons from people unrelated to Bisimoto proving that they perform at least as well as competitors in the same price range and their cheap knock-offs. But being a Honda enthusiast and part of the forum community when his headers were being released (namely for the H22 and F22A), what everyone was talking about was where the headers were made and the quality of their construction. Bisi would say they were built in-house, while people were supposedly digging up proof of them being made in China and not actually tailored and adjusted to suit each individual owner's engine modifications, as advertised. His Honda headers are of a two-piece, slip-join construction, and the pipes often didn't line up very well when you went to put the thing together. People would post photos of their headers online, and no matter how extreme the rest of their engine was built, the headers all appeared to be exactly the same. At least at the time (I don't hear of people on the forums buying his headers anymore to speak on conditions now), people were getting pretty angry with the customer service when they attempted to get their $1000 steel tubes fixed, when others with cheapo PLM headers were having no issues getting theirs to fit.

I can't speak from personal experience, though. At least not yet; I do still think about picking up his H22 header and having it converted from 4-1 to 4-2-1 to see if that steers the power band more towards street/canyon run/road course use rather than the drag racing it seems to be optimized for. Personally, the beautiful Formula 1-looking design and forum dyno graphs are enough to convince me to not care whether any of that other stuff is true. Between my intended customizations and disinterest in running a leak-prone slip-join on the street, a lot of it is irrelevant.


Generally speaking a 4-2-1 will give more midrange and a 4-1 will be better for flowing on the top end. Equal length headers are a must for scavenging purposes etc.

The real controversy I saw when I read the thread where Bisi and some guy were going at it was that Bisi did not address what type of filler he was using for the welds. As far as putting stock headers on a motor yeah that's pretty dumb.

People do forget engines are just air pumps. Lots of horsepower made in the cylinder head. Anyway, as one of the guys I know who used to build NASCAR engines used to say, "anyone can make power with turbos. Takes a real engine builder to make hp naturally aspirated."


Yeah, the mid-range theory is what I would be going for with the 4-2-1 conversion. I'm building an H22 all-motor. Nothing crazy, but I've done a decent amount of reading into header science; anti-reversion steps, long-tube vs short, etc. It is pretty cool how little things like those can make such a noticeable difference in the power band.

I don't hate on Bisi, either, but I can see how it can be annoying (if the rumors are indeed true, that is) when you're the type that likes to support small and local businesses.


Oh yeah exhaust tuning is a huge part of making power in a motor, but remember with NA builds it's all about moving that air. Cylinder head, porting, making sure air is unobstructed is all very important stuff. Cam timing and compression ratio as well.

Takes a lot of skill to make power without using turbos or superchargers. Copy that on Bisi. I don't know the guy personally and didn't get to inspect any of the cars were supposed parts failed so who knows. There's always two sides to any story. I've been in the biz long enough where I've seen everything...


I can't wait to see what Bisi is cooking up for the next show


Bisi "My 'custom' parts are actually made in China and my headers make the same power as an Ebay header" moto. Automotive media needs to stop promoting this con artist. The Honda community found out about this guy which is why he turned tail and ran to modifying Porsches to rip off a new demographic of (wealthier, presumably) suckers.


Any horsepower numbers to show proof? I've just heard of the guy so I have no opinion. I just like to see some numbers backing up what you say. I could easily say that my ebay headers ($150) on my BMW E30 show the same power as Supersprint headers ($1200) and people would believe me. Whether it's true or not. (I have no idea by the way)


It's all on Honda-tech, just have to search for it.


This article seems to have a lot of very similar photos. I just hit the data limit on my phone for this month so I guess that's why I noticed it… Anyway, interesting introduction to a guy I knew nothing about prior to reading the article. Thanks


I just looked at it again on a PC and I can see that some of the pictures are smaller than the others (they're all the same size on my phone).

The photos are composed with a lot of headroom, which is an interesting choice. Looking at the photographer's Instagram feed showed me that he likes to keep a lot of room at the bottom of his photos too. I'd be interested to know his inspiration for this composition style


The 'gallery' bits of the article make the photos appear smaller for various layouts.

If you click on them they're the same size. (hopefully at least)

As for editing style I'll let Keiron chime in there!


Did the last photo of the article appear once before?


It's possible a similar photo was in Bisi's recent spotlight


I wonder what he'd think of Audi's TT Concept car with the electronic turbocharger.