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Kawasaki S-KTRC & KIBS explained


by Pascal Bastien ,

Other than the 197 advertized ponies, the on-board electronics on the new 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS exceed all expectations. Increasingly present on contemporary superbikes, the electronic riding aids already equipped on the Aprilia APRC, BMW S1000RR, MV Agusta F4 and of course the pioneering Ducati 1198 S help riders explore their limits while restraining the risk of wipe-outs no matter their level of experience.

Compared to existing systems, the new Moto GP race-bred technology developed by Kawasaki for the 2011 ZX-10R is quite simply diabolically efficient. A first go on the track is enough to instil absolute confidence and plaster a smile all over your face, like the marks the bike leaves behind on the pavement.

Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/

S-KTRC Sport Traction Control
Developed from lessons gleaned in Moto GP, Kawasaki’s perfected traction control system (S-KTRC) allows riders to outdo themselves by pushing the limits of rear traction. To do so, the system uses several parameters and evaluates conditions every 5 milliseconds: wheel speed, rpm, throttle position, gear position, clutch actuation, tire slippage, acceleration g-force and cornering angle. In fact, the system is so efficient it can predict when traction conditions will deteriorate.

A switch on the left handlebar allows you to choose between three modes: 3 (wet road and track), 2 (dry road) and 1 (dry track). There are also three injection mapping modes to choose from: Low (L), Middle (M) and Full Power (F). Note that the engine power modes and the S-KTRC can be adjusted separately. In Middle mode, performance varies according to throttle position. At less than 50% throttle opening, performance is equal to that in Low mode, while at over 50% opening, you get full power, but delivered in a more civilized fashion.

Contrary to the traction control featured on the Kawasaki Concours 1400 ABS, having been developed to kill throttle in case of rear slippage, the ZX-10R’s S-KTRC maximizes traction by reducing engine thrust, allowing the rider to push the machine’s traction limits for lighting quick corner exits.

The quickest acceleration on corner exit requires a certain amount of slip. That’s why the S-KTRC seems so efficient. It allows for some slipping by maintaining the ideal slip rate for the rear tire no matter the grip conditions. Every 5 milliseconds, the system evaluates several parameters to get a precise picture of the conditions in real time: treacherous surface, cold tire or overheating tire.

Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/
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