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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > Issue 327 > TRACTION CONTROL FRIEND OR FOE?


How it works, when it’s needed, and is it killing our skills?
No TC here on the 2006 Yamaha R1, but plenty of fresh lunch stains!
James Toseland was the last WSB champ’ to win sans TC…

Is there any motorcycle innovation that’s split opinion to the level traction-control has over recent years? Likely not, and with TC it’s often a case of the ‘have-nots’ giving the ‘haves’ grief for using rider aids. There’s little understanding of them if someone has never tried them (a good system, at least), and those that do are soon converted to the new-age technology. But never mind all that for the moment, let’s look at TC, what it is, how it works and where it comes from first, eh?

Simple TC

Traction-control systems reduce power when their sensors detect the rear wheel has already begun to lose traction. Basic road bike systems monitor the ABS sensors mounted on the wheels and if they sense that the rear wheel is accelerating faster than the front, the bike’s engine control unit is instructed to retard or cut the ignition. In addition, the throttle butterflies can be quickly closed on ride-by-wire equipped bikes. The traction-control system also needs information from other areas to be able to work effectively.

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Fast Bikes is home to the best sportsbike tests on the planet and is packed with new bike launches, technical insight, hardcore action, masterclasses, racing, reviews and loads more.