Unlike previous electronic steering damper designs, this new Ohlins unit fitted to the otherwise-unchanged 2013 Kawasaki ZX-10R uses acceleration and deceleration data, in addition to speed, to inform damping rates. The idea here is simple — propensity for instability increases not just with speed, but with the rate that speed is changing too. Higher damping rates are needed just as much at 55mph as they are at 155, if the bike is accelerating or slowing rapidly. By adding that data to the algorithm, Ohlins and Kawasaki are able to keep steering effort low, while expanding safety to lower speeds. That added sophistication requires a dedicated ECU located under the tank cover and comes with a $300 price increase (likely due to exchange rates). Using data like this is made easier by the adoption of traction control, which already gathers the data from wheel speed sensors.

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