Thanks for the comment. Agree that the FI system is a replacement for the carb system, but it is not quite that simple. Principles are the same with regards to timing and fluid flow, but that is about it. WWII was a significant contributor to the carb/FI issue. Superchargers/turbos required for high altitude flying. Fighter plane engine systems had to be changed to allow for dogfighting antics. I'm also a fan of the tuning software specific to the ECU in question. Like to see what has been going on and what I can do to make things better, or not.
Carb engines requires RPM and fuel. Fuel is drawn into the air stream in the carb using Bernoulli's principle. The more RPM, the faster air is drawn into the engine intake manifold to be mixed with fuel for combustion. Simple actually.
Timing is used to have the fuel/air mixture drawn into the appropriate cylinder at the appropriate time for combustion. How basic can you get.
We can go further with a carb system. Change the OEM camshaft to change the timing of the cylinder valving, you can swap out the carb jets and do a as you say "caveman" approach. Shave the heads to reduce the volume of the cylinder(s) and increase the cylinder bore to get more compression, pistons as well. Can do this with an FI system, but you get to adjust the system much easier and faster to suit.
A lot can be done to mimic FI, Honda did this on the 1500. There are 5 engine circuits on the 1500 engine that operate the 1500 engine as if it were an FI engine.
FI and the ability to tune the engine depending on the FI system, reduces the guess work in engine tuning. Change the fuel injectors to ones that flow more or less fuel. Update the VE table to suit. Change up the engine cam shaft, adjust the spark, VE and AFR tables to suit. Add turbo boost as a project, have to do more tuning. The days of finding someone knowledgeable in old school engine tuning with carbs is quickly becoming a search in futility, unless you are the inquiring type that will delve into this.
Carbs are going to be a specialty item for vintage car/motorcycle owners alone. Carbs are the same as 8-track tape players, never coming back. First 8-track tape player we had had a small lever on the side that raised a wheel into the tape body to turn the tape, kind of neat. Carbureted engines cannot meet the environmental legislative requirements for emission standards without significant add-on components/parts. I read forum threads regarding carbs, carb tuning, timing - should I upgrade or not.
Carbs do not allow you to do the really interesting stuff. Change driving/riding modes on the fly. Engine and transmission changes are done automatically because of the ECU. Speciality modes using old school technology are case specific, and even area specific.
I submit that if you had two identical cars with similar HP engines, one with carbs the other with a tuneable FI system, and do similar changes to the engines to determine what performance improvements were achieved, the tuneable FI system would win hands down especially if time was a factor.
I will concede that if you have an FI system that you cannot tune, and you do make changes hoping for an engine improvement, it's a lot of guesswork, but in these cases - carb or FI, you try to stay as close to the OEM design specs as possible so you don't have any surprises.
You might have noticed I have a preference for an FI system, same as you do for the venerable carb system. I won't get any better fuel economy than a well tuned carb system. Power will be the same. What I do get is an easier way to tune the engine system for optimal performance. Learning curve is a bit steep, but well worth it.
Lots of vintage cars up here in Victoria, and whenever I follow one, I can tell whether it is a carb model and just how well it is tuned.
Getting back on track, fuel pressure is an interesting topic. carb engines need pressure just as much as an FI engine. We used to remove the mechanical fuel pumps back in the day for electric fuel pumps whenever we started upgrading an engine. Stock cars were routinely upgraded to electric fuel pumps. Had to be careful doing this because we could flood the engine easily depending on what we were doing.
One other comment I will make is that you mention MAF sensor(s), and TPS. Carbs do not use a TPS or MAF sensors, if so, only for ignition. I have mentioned in other posts that you can control ignition and fuel separately, or control ignition and fuel at the same time. You can adjust a TPS sensor to hopefully achieve an engine improvement, but nothing more. All other sensors are fixed and cannot be adjusted, only replaced. If you have a vehicle with injectors, you are now in the FI world with fuel and ignition - maybe the transmission as well, being controlled by an ECU, and carbs are becoming a fond memory that is going the way of the dodo bird.
I think I've strayed off topic a bit, but we must not loose sight of the topic. Fuel pressure is an integral component of an FI or a carb system. Honda fitted mechanical and electric low pressure fuel pumps on the GW carb models because of where the fuel tank is situated and the fact that at the lower fuel tank levels a fuel pump of sorts is required to successfully keep the carbs loaded with fuel for engine operation. There are lots of threads regarding fuel pumps for carb model GWs.
Most every car driven today is an FI model of sorts, EVs excluded. We get in the driver's seat, start the engine, put it in "D" for ditch and go. Never questioning that this won't happen. When something goes awry, into the shop hoping there are technicians capable of getting to the problem quickly without bleeding us dry of cash.
I'm not trying to second guess the Honda Gold Wing design team. It did a fantastic job with the FI system of the day. Fast forward some 38 years, technology has changed and there are owners such as myself that want to use this modern technology to improve (hopefully) the engine operation of our ride, as do others with their cars/trucks. Young gaffers and street racers have been on this band wagon for some time now.
It's back to work on the ECU project of which this topic is part of.