With S-KTRC, Kawasaki becomes the first Japanese manufacturer to deliver a race-bred traction-control system to the masses. As an evolution from what was learned on the MotoGP stage, Kawasaki points out that this traction-control system has been developed “to help riders push harder on the track by maximizing acceleration.”
Whereas the KTRC on the Concours 14 is designed primarily for safety, the S-KTRC helps reduce lap times by allowing a certain amount of slip before intervening. As long as “effective traction” is maintained, the TC will still allow power slides and wheelies.
Wheel-speed sensors are a key component of OEM TC systems, but S-KTRC does without an accelerometer (Ducati) or a gyro bank-angle input (BMW). The Kawi system (in development for five years) uses a Mitsubishi ECU to monitor engine speed, throttle position, acceleration rate and comparative wheel speeds to judge the bike’s slip angle, retarding ignition timing if the tires need to be reined back in. Data points are examined an incredible 200 times per second! By doing without accelerometer or bank-angle sensors, S-KTRC has no fixed maps, so the TC is able to adapt to modifications like exhaust systems or engine tweaks.
Kawasaki claims its TC system is so sophisticated that it can predict when traction conditions “are about to become unfavorable,” so it can engage mildly before slippage exceeds the range for optimal traction, minimizing harsh intervention.
Three levels of TC can be dialed in from handlebar switchgear, even while moving, and it can be switched off (while stopped) if you’re especially brave. Your chosen TC setting is stored in memory – like the Ronco Rotisserie, just set it and forget it!
The bottom of the new gauge pack has a 7-section bar-graph display showing the amount of TC intervention. Jeff Herzog, Kawasaki’s senior media relations coordinator and a former racer, said he saw only one bar light up during a full-throttle corner exit over a racetrack’s curb. “You’ll be amazed how often you’ll be able to use full throttle,” he says.