Mas­ter your bike’s elec­tronic aids

How to make the most of trac­tion con­trol and the dif­fer­ent rid­ing modes

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - Michael Neeves MCN Chief Road Tester and Elite in­struc­tor at the Honda Ron Haslam Race School

Trac­tion con­trol myth #1

One of the big­gest myths is it makes you faster. In fact, the op­po­site is true. By its very na­ture TC cuts power when the rear wheel starts to slip, and that slows you down. It’s more a safety aid than a per­for­mance en­hancer.

Trac­tion con­trol myth #2

TC won’t stop you crash­ing. Give it too much throt­tle at full lean, es­pe­cially in the wet, on a slip­pery track, or on cold tyres and you can still low­side or high­side.

The per­fect TC set­ting

Use the min­i­mum amount of TC you can. The TC should only start work­ing when you’ve started to lift the bike out of a cor­ner and you’ve got the rear tyre start­ing to move un­der hard ac­cel­er­a­tion. You can then start us­ing it as a gauge – if the TC isn’t ac­ti­vat­ing, you’re not go­ing hard enough. Too much TC and it’ll hold you back too much out of cor­ners.

Crash-free brak­ing

Most ABS sys­tems kick-in far too early for track rid­ing, but the lat­est rac­ing ver­sions dis­able the rear ABS and al­low a de­gree of rear wheel lift. They al­low max­i­mum brak­ing force at the front and for you to slide the rear. In the wet ABS is a no-brainer.


Anti-wheelie sys­tems save you en­ergy on track. With­out an­ti­wheelie, you’ve got to climb over the front of the bike un­der hard ac­cel­er­a­tion and feather the throt­tle. The anti-wheelie con­trol on the ZX-10R, RSV4 and S1000RR is so good you can lean on it, but some sys­tems are too in­tru­sive and you’ll be faster by switch­ing it off al­to­gether.

Launch con­trol

On a Mo­togp bike you can hold the throt­tle, then dump the clutch, but most road bike sys­tems limit revs, activate the anti-wheelie, then click­off af­ter a cer­tain road speed. You’ll never make a bad start with launch con­trol, but you can of­ten beat it man­u­ally.

Quick shifters

As well as help­ing you slice through gears quickly at full throt­tle, a quick­shifter is re­ally good for short­shift­ing at high lean an­gles – it keeps the sus­pen­sion loaded and the bike much more sta­ble. Road bikes like the MV Agusta F4RR and new S1000RR now come with au­to­blip­pers as stan­dard, which saves you hav­ing to use the clutch on the way down through the gears, too.

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