Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control explained

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When the embargo finally ended and we were able to bring you analysis of the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R without pissing off Kawasaki we told you the bike was significant not because of its unprecedentedly powerful engine — 197bhp — but because it brought a MotoGP-derived traction control system to the road. That’s a good thing since North American market ZX-10Rs will be 20bhp down. This video explains how Sport-Kawasaki TRaction Control, or S-KTRC, works.
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S-KTRC constantly monitors the separate speeds of the front and rear wheels, engine RPM, throttle position, acceleration and other factors, using those parameters to determine the best course of action. Where previous systems were slow to react — thereby allowing too much rear tire slippage — and harsh to respond — thereby slowing the bike down — S-KTRC recognizes that a small amount of slip delivers the best possible acceleration. Because it can react every five milliseconds, altering engine ignition to suit, the system can start working as slippage approached the optimal degree, then hold it precisely there as the bike continues to accelerate to the maximum potential of available grip.

The system is even designed to allow power wheelies while the bike continues to accelerate, but can cut in to handle abrupt, dangerous and slow wheelies that could cause you to lose speed or crash.

One thing S-KTRC doesn’t have is a lean sensor, a la the BMW S1000RR. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s a significant performance deficit for traction control systems or not.

It operates in three, rider-controlled modes designed to work everywhere from wet streets to dry tracks. A three-level power switch complements S-KTRC, allowing riders to alter power delivery to be appropriate for conditions.

S-KTRC is standard on the  $13,800 2011 ZX-10R, but the whizz-bang “Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System” is going to be a $1,000 option.

  • GuessWho

    It’s far from a good thing.
    TC isnt going to make me buy this bike. Id much rather have that extra 20bhp.
    Kawi better offer a ECU or whatever is need to get the HP back cause that’s the only thing keeping me from buying this bike.
    I got a fat envelope over here waiting to be handed over to my dealer. No HP. No sale.

  • Bikeralex

    Can a traction control system like this avoid low speed high siding accidents? Like the one on YouTube with the guy on a brand new GSX-R and matching gear, on the parking lot.

    Not saying such a thing has ever happened to me. Ever. I know it’s very noobie mistake, but it [b]can[/b] happen very fast and can be hard to save.

    Will be good when this will “trickle down” to entry-level bikes.

  • HaVoC

    It would be all gray if it that the HP was here in the states.But its not,So….Who gives a fuck! Wait another yr and see what the other 3 manufacturers do.But hopefully sombody figures something to get thet 20hp back and it wil be a diffrent ball game.

    • masonapostol

      I agree. The other 3 manufacturers all actually have MotoGP teams to develop MotoGP-inspired traction control systems, unlike Kawasaki which pulled out two years ago.

  • masonapostol

    So ABS is an extra $1,000, but Traction Control…excuse me S-KTRC is included in the base price? I, for one, would rather have the ABS. The way I ride, ABS is more likely to keep me rubber side down.

    Charging extra for ABS but including S-KTRC makes me think that Kawasaki is selling bikes for the track. If they are selling race bikes, they need to figure out a way to make that extra 20 hp easily accessible to their customers.

    • seanslides

      I’ll bet it comes back pretty quickly with a pipe and a tune.

  • KOTH

    HFL, time to revise your comparison chart.

    BTW, using lbs/hp is an easier number to talk about and compare than hp/lbs.

  • Rucuss54

    TC looks advanced, even with its neutered motor it should easily kill the other jap bikes.