Traction Control Systems

There are a number of technological advancements and safety features on today’s motorcycles. One of the newer developments in motorcycle performance and safety is traction control. Traction control is known for its ability to help riders manage significant horsepower. It also enhances safety in poor driving conditions. Originally designed for high-powered vehicles, traction control is a feature that is increasingly expected on new motorcycles models.

What Is Traction Control?

Traction is essentially the grip that tires have on the road. When there are unfavorable conditions, such as wet or sandy roads, a car or motorcycle is more likely to lose tire grip. As a result, the vehicle is likely to lose control and experience an accident. Traction control is an electronic mechanism that limits how much power a motorcycle exerts at given times. As a result, motorcycle riders are less likely to experience wheel slipping while receiving added control during acceleration.

How Traction Control Works

Traction control is an electronic feature that uses the wheel-speed sensor system that is used by the motorcycle’s anti-lock brake system. The sensors are designed to measure differences in the rotation speed of the motorcycle’s wheels. By measuring rotation speeds, the system can determine if the wheels that are receiving power have lost their traction.

Regaining Traction

If one wheel spins faster than the other, the system automatically applies the brake to that wheel. This reduces the wheel’s speed and decreases wheel slip. Some traction control systems also reduce the amount of power being supplied to the slipping wheel. The process is carefully modulated to provide just enough action for the tire to regain traction without affecting other aspects of the motorcycle’s functioning.

Due to the fact that traction control systems can “piggyback” on anti-lock brake systems, the feature is commonplace in today’s motorcycles. Traction control systems are available on a wide variety of vehicles. They are designated using a series of names and acronyms. While each system may vary slightly in operation, all of these systems refer to the same type of mechanical process of detecting and preventing loss of traction while vehicles are on the road.

Traction control may be recognized as the following names:

  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Traction Control (TC)
  • Electronic Traction Control (ETC)
  • Dynamic Traction Control (DTC)
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)