motorcycle traction control

Motorcycle traction control system working & riding modes explained

Why do you need motorcycle traction control system?

First of all, you can  find the traction control system mostly in cars. In motorcycles, still, the system is in its early stage of development. However, the motorcycle traction control system is available only in high-end motorcycles. It is steadily becoming popular in low-end motorcycle as it offers greater control and safety.

Ride Mode
Ride Mode

Brief introduction to motorcycle traction control:

The traction control system, in general, prevents the motorcycle from drifting. The system achieves this by controlling the power delivered to rear wheel. It simply controls the rotational speed of the rear wheel. This drastically reduces the chances of drifting.



There are two categories of traction control in motorcycles. The first category is reactive while second category is predictive. The name of the categories itself suggest its working. In the reactive type of motorcycle traction control, various components of the system wait until the spinning of wheel occurs and then make corrections.

In the predictive category of motorcycle traction control, ECU and various sensors read the data in real time and make changes before the wheel spins. The system continuously judges the probability and acts fast to avoid drifting of the motorcycle.



Different types of complex sensors and ECU functions are utilized so the wheel doesn’t simply loose traction. Some of the sensors utilized include Bank angle sensor, gyroscope, throttle position sensor, gear position sensor and speed sensor. In conclusion, different manufacturers use different combinations of all these components in order to achieve smooth traction control. Some systems are so efficient that the rider simply won’t notice anything while the traction control works in the background. The rider doesn’t lose control even during off-road corners.

How motorcycle traction control works?

motorcycle traction control Test
motorcycle traction control test

Modern day ECUs collect a lot of information, including gravitational forces and lean angles. All this information is processed in a matter of milliseconds. Various sensors keep updating raw data of the current position of the motorcycle.

Motorcycle traction control utilizes this data to control the power delivered to rear wheel. It can do so by simply stopping the fuel supply to the engine causing the cylinder/s to misfire. Although this is not a smooth method of traction control, but it is effective on race tracks. It has greater control on power delivery.

Secondly, it can be achieved by modern day ride by wire technology. In this, the system adjusts the throttle electronically. This system potentially limits the power even if you rev harder. So, it can also avoid the human error. Various pre-configured riding modes limit the throttle response.

Motorcycle Traction Control with Riding Modes:

The riding modes include Rain (maximum grip), Sports (few drifts with some amounts of slippage) and Street (smooth cruising with controllable speeds). Some manufactures like KTM are coming up with a new riding mode which is off road mode. In this mode, you will get a slightly more slip with greater; but controlled drift. You will have more fun riding off-road than ever before.

Finally, the motorcycle traction control works in combination of all above. Even though you have greater control on motorcycle, the riding experience also counts. You can simply rely on all these goodies, as such systems are designed to help you. However, you should not forget to improve your riding skill set.

Image Courtesy: KTM

Watch KTM off-road traction control system in action here:

Read on: How traction control system works in cars? >>

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