Predictive race-type traction control: S-KTRC (Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control)

December 2, 2010

Kawasaki's predictive race-type traction control, helps riders push harder on the racetrack by maximising acceleration. The 2011 Ninja ZX-10R is the first model in Kawasaki's line-up to utilize the new technology. This highly sophisticated system is based on MotoGP racing technology. Unlike the KTRC system used on the Concours 14 ABS, which was designed to offer rider reassurance when traversing slippery surfaces, S-KTRC, which was designed to maximize forward motion, allows riding at the edge of traction. (Figure 1)

The quickest acceleration requires a certain amount of slip, so, in order to optimise traction, S-KTRC actually allows slip. The ideal slip ratio varies according to conditions. The system looks at a number of parameters to get an accurate real-time picture of what is going on: front and rear wheel speed (slippage), Δ engine rpm, Δ throttle position, Δ slippage, Δ acceleration, etc.

Using complex analysis, the system is able to predict when traction conditions are about to become unfavourable. By acting before slippage exceeds the range for optimal traction, drops in power can be minimised, resulting in ultra-smooth operation. (Figure 2)

The system is also able to distinguish between torque wheelies, which are smooth, and sudden wheelies, which can be dangerous. Torque wheelies are allowed as long as acceptable acceleration is maintained. Sudden wheelies trigger system intervention.

S-KTRC confirms conditions every 5 milliseconds and governs ignition, which allows extremely quick reaction. There are three available modes, which riders can set according to preference (and skill level). Each mode is able to accommodate a range of riding conditions. Of course, engine manageability is such that riders can opt to turn the system OFF without fear of making the bike uncontrollable. (Figure 3)

S-KTRC uses minimal hardware but complex software. Apart from the engine ECU, the system relies on only front and rear wheel speed sensors – which means minimal additional weight. A level meter on the instrument’s LCD lets the rider know when the system is operating.