Rider power modes

Fast Bikes - - TECH -

This set-up made its big de­but on the Suzuki GSX-R range in 2008, where Suzuki’s Drive Mode Se­lec­tor ap­peared. At the push of a but­ton, you could give your 1000 the power of a 750 or a 600. Hmmm. It was even less use­ful on the 600, which was hardly a power-heavy mon­ster to start with.

The prin­ci­ple varies – some older sys­tems just keep secondary throt­tle plates closed a bit to lop a load of power off ev­ery­where, with the aim to make a softer en­gine for novices and use in the wet. The bet­ter ones that are used on ride-by-wire bikes al­ter the shape of the throt­tle po­si­tion map, so you still get 100% throt­tle (even­tu­ally) when you want it, but 10% at the twist­grip (say) gives you 7% at the throt­tle bod­ies, 20% gives you 15% etc.

Of course, we reckon the best power mode se­lec­tor is your right wrist and with trac­tion con­trol sys­tems get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter, you’ve got the safety net there to guard against los­ing grip at the rear. On re­ally ag­gres­sive bikes (like the Pani­gale V4) we like the op­tion of a sharper throt­tle pro­file for track use, and softer ones for day-to-day road use.

A re­ally sen­si­tive hard-edged throt­tle can be a pain in traf­fic or when rid­ing with a pil­lion. But oth­er­wise, we’re say­ing no to power modes.

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