‘IT’S NOT THE FASTEST WAY TO LAP, BUT IT IS THE SAFEST’
I race a BMW S1000RR in the Thundersport GP1 championship with BMW race kit electronics fitted. But I also race a completely analogue GSX-R1100 in the Phillip Island Classic races.
The truth is I donõt ride with traction control any differently to how Iõve ridden since I first took to the track on a GSX-R750J back in 1988. You still have to know where to brake, when to let the brakes off, what line to pick and how much to lean overé and thatõs before youõve even thought about getting on the throttle and using electronics, or not.
But systems like traction control give you piece of mind to get that throttle open Ð itõs almost a placebo effect. Just seeing that TC light flashing makes you feel more confident.
For trackdays, the ZX-10R, 1299S and R1ÕS latest traction control sys- tems are good enough to lean on. Riding with the electronics turned on like this isnõt the fastest way around a track, but it is definitely the safest.
But for racing all traction control does is slow you down and itõs no more obvious when the guy in front is pulling away while your bike stutters on full throttle. So you turn it down more and more until youõre back to non-tc square one. Itõs why for racing you need specific TC set up for you, the bike and the ever changing conditions, with data engineers charged with the almost impossible task of setting the whole thing up.
Of course, in racing things have moved on. Forget traction control, power Ôsaturationõ is where itõs at now. Four-cylinder WSB and Motogp bikes (and even some BSB machines) drop cylinders as they turn into corners, numbing the power.
Depending on how the system is set-up, the rider only has to control the power of one, two or three cylinders when he gets on the gas. Once the bike is fully upright and full throttle all the cylinders chime in again and full power is restored.
Itõs only a matter of time before we see this on road bikes.
Ôforget traction control, power Ôsaturationõ is where itõs at nowõ
Neevsey doesn’t race his high-tech BMW any differently to his lowtech GSX-R1100