‘IT’S NOT THE FASTEST WAY TO LAP, BUT IT IS THE SAFEST’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Mcn Investigation - EX­PERT OPIN­ION MCN SE­NIOR ROAD TESTER MICHAEL NEEVES

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

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