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Thread: The merits of traction control...

  1. #1
    Less is more.
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    The merits of traction control...

    I've been posting a lot lately, here's something else that I've been thinking about:

    I bought my most recent ride in large part because of the availability of traction control. I bought it about a month after a friend of mine crashed when she had to swerve onto some wet railroad tracks to avoid a car. As she described it the engine revved, the rear wheel spun, and she went sideways and high sided.

    I know that TC is typically used on motoGP bikes as a sort of artificial intelligence, allowing riders to pin the throttle on corner exits and accelerate at the most optimum pace.

    I have also read a little about how TC works, by retarding the ignition timing (which is a little opaque to me) and by shutting down fuel flow to cylinders (which is a little more obvious.)

    BMW offers ASC on the 1200's, and on the RR, but they don't offer it on the 800's or on the new scooters. My friends bike was a 250 incidentally.

    Wondering what people think of this issue. I'm sure there will be a lot of "I've gone 30 years without it" posts. My first real bike had ABS, and that probably effects the way I brake in many situations. I grew up driving Subaru's, and am pretty used to cars that automagically don't fish tail.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Registered User blur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuelh View Post
    I bought it about a month after a friend of mine crashed when she had to swerve onto some wet railroad tracks to avoid a car. As she described it the engine revved, the rear wheel spun, and she went sideways and high sided.
    I'm VERY SORRY your friend crashed. Her experience is why I advocate pulling in the clutch during a swerve.

    I bought my Adventure used. It has ASC. Personally (and this is a personal preference), I don't like it. If I wanna let the rear spin or loft the front, I don't want the bike telling me I can't.

    I guess I'm old school but to me, traction control is throttle control.

    Should it still be produced so that each owner can make the choice that's right for them? Absolutely.

  3. #3
    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
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    I am on the other end of that spectrum. I agree that when I 'want' to do those things, I want to be able to....but, when I don't want those things happening in suddenly changing situations that either I mis-diagnose or miss altogether, I really like the idea of ASC, especially for the less than pro rider. Just like the first ABS I ever had on a bike saved my bacon, the ASC has saved me at least once I know of. I don't know that it would have helped your friend, but it might have. I do agree that one should have the option, though, and for me it is the switch to turn it off when I want.
    Jim Douglas '00 K1200RS >135,000 miles my primary bike again,
    Gone: '09 K1300S sold @ 22k mi, '93 K1100RS traded @ 78k mi, '85 K100RS sold @ 44k mi
    '06 Kaw 650R track bike sold
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  4. #4
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    I had it on an 07 GSA...never liked it. When you need to whack the throttle open, you can't. Had a car come over a rise in hilly Branson a few years back doing twice the limit behind us in our lane.

    I tried to accelerate to get out of his way while in 2nd gear...it just stalled enough to make me turn it off as a feature.

    Now,a rain mode on a sportbike might make sense...but it's not something I'll order anytime soon.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
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  5. #5
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    It's standard now on most high end cars and there's talk DOT will make in mandatory. I've experienced it in action in a car and it's really cool. I had it retrofitted to my R1200RT. I went many years without the Internet and without an iPhone but think I also need them these days.
    Kent Christensen
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  6. #6
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    I think most MOA members would be indifferent to the merits of traction control.

    But don't get them going on ABS and/or linked braking.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  7. #7
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    Since learning to ride in the 1960s I've only had one episode where tc might have been useful- the first time I spun a tire on a wet manhole cover as a newb. BUT learning occured and I've never done it since. Situational awareness is what keeps one alive on a bike- no amount of gimmicks is a full substitute for engaged brains plus experience. OTOH, as part of a launch control system for the latest high hp devices it makes possible stuff that most riders couldn't do otherwise.

    On cars with tc plus asc, I've got mixed feelings. The cream of the crop from a performance viewpoint is the Nissan GTR- its very well developed system allows idiots to go very quickly by contantly protecting them from their own lack of skill- had enough track students with them to be all to familiar with its capabilities. These same folks will wreck easily in anything else because they push way beyond their own skill and expect the machine to bail them out without recognizing even a little bit that it is the computers saving their butt, not their own "talent". OTOH, if it keeps some soccer mom with her minivan alive to have to take care of her kids ...For myself, on a street car I don't care one way or another as long as its not intrusive on a peformance vehicle- regrettably ALL of the German ones are nannie nuisances and the passable ones are American or Japanese on select models only.

  8. #8
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    ASC should never activate unless your rear wheel is spinning or your front wheel is off the ground. Riding double up on my 2005 GS (without ASC) I had a couple of instances where steep roads at intersections had my front wheel off the ground when I really had plans for it steering the bike. It was quite easy to provoke the GS into first or second gear even riding solo.

    On my 2011 R1200R, the ASC seems to hold the bike in a nice shallow wheelie on heavy acceleration. Without ASC I doubt it would accelerate much faster since it would probably run the risk of a ground loop.

    In NH, the DOT has a quaint habit of painting reflective markings at intersections with a very slippery paint. Even my car spins its tires on these markings (OK, its a fairly fast car, and I might not hang around intersections very long but it does have very sticky tires and ASC) so I suspect that ASC might save a few motorcyclists from paint relatd crashes.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  9. #9
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    I'm a 100% street rider, and daily 2-wheel commuter. There are enough road hazards (metal plates, painted lines, oil drippings in the rain) that I'm happy to have ASC on board -- anything that might help keep me rubber side down when my reflexes aren't quick enough is very welcome, even with 35+ years of riding under my belt.

    As for the dirt side of the equation, I do not begin to have enough experience to know whether ASC is a good or bad thing in the dirt -- I would think not, as I would think you would want the ability to spin the rear wheel when desired. That said, if I had an R12GS I'd still want ASC -- you can always deliberately switch it off when you're ready to run off the asphault, but it's there for the 95+% of the miles most GS riders ride on pavement.

    As for wheelie control, same thing -- most of the time I want to be able to accelerate as hard as I want without worrying about whether the front wheel is going to start coming up and gather LEO attention -- I can always turn if off when I want to have some, um, "track only" fun. I will admit, however, that my view on the subject of wheelies may be a bit colored by the "discussion" I had one nice summer day in 1979 about my RD350's carrying the front wheel across an intersection ... totally by accident, of course ).
    Mark Neblett
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  10. #10
    rsbeemer 22600's Avatar
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    I must be old school or just old. I thought my throttle was TC.
    1978 R100rs MOA#22600 125cc Kymco
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

  11. #11
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Today's luxuries become tomorrows necessities, I think this started with indoor plumbing.
    I'm sure some hardcores made a good argument against that, too.
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  12. #12
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35634 View Post
    I'm sure some hardcores made a good argument against that, too.
    "You do what in your house? God, only animals crap where they live......."

    The sentiments of my uncle when my father installed indoor plumbing in their mother's house.
    Cave contents: 99 R11RS, 2013 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & DW744

  13. #13
    Registered User breyfogle's Avatar
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    Sure, there are benefits to TC. There are also benefits to training wheels, automatic transmission, ABS, airbags, a weather tight enclosure, GPS, etc, etc, but they all change what a "motorcycle" is all about. I don't think such changes are for the better.
    '89 K75S Original Owner
    '94 (Beta) R11RS, ( RIP 12-5-2010 courtesy of blind left turning cage driver ) ....

  14. #14
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    My grandfather

    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    "You do what in your house? God, only animals crap where they live......."

    The sentiments of my uncle when my father installed indoor plumbing in their mother's house.
    My grandfather was the same way. When my uncle came home from the Korean War, he decided to have a pump installed in the well. He also upgraded the wiring in the house. But his plan to install a bathroom in the house was vetoed by my grandfather. Uncle Jack ended up building a 12 x 24 brick bath house with a sheltered walkway to the house.
    Jerry Dockery
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    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  15. #15
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    TC on my Sequoia

    Quote Originally Posted by rsbeemer View Post
    I must be old school or just old. I thought my throttle was TC.
    It might be because it is first generation; but the traction control on my Sequoia is dangerous.

    Pull out from a side road and encounter a bit of sand and the TC will cut your power just when you need it to accelerate away from the car coming at you. I had to adjust my driving to never enter traffic if an amount of extra acceleration was needed.

    I understand the newer models work well; but I would have to drive one to see for myself.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

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