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Technology on a motorcycle - good or bad?

Posted by on in General Motorcycling
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Nowadays, it seems like every manufacturer is in a rush to bundle on as much technology on a motorcycle as possible. Where did this come from? Surely us, the buying bikers, didn't actually ask for it.

It seems that motorbike makers are now headlning a bike's technology as the big selling points and no longer that it might be actually be a joy to ride. No manufacturer seems to be avoiding this flight to technology. That many companies cannot be wrong so one would have to assume that  they have been looking at their sales reports and feedback and it is, in fact, these technologicaly advanced bikes that sell the most.

Of course, we can accept that new technology is essential to lower weight, increase normal performance and fall in line with emssions, etc, so we are really talking about technology that influences the riding of the bike fundamentally, as in, taking away control from the rider. Once cannot also argue against the use of LED lighting which is a great safety boon.

Let's take a look at perhaps the most technology laden motorcycle on the planet; the BMW S1000RR in its top trim.

Get a load of this:

  • Electromotive throttle actuator technology - . the throttle valves are electronically controlled
  • Dynamic Damping Control (or DDC for short) - traction, banking and damper feedback.
  • Shift Assistant Pro  - enables the rider to shift up and down without using the clutch - upshiftsm downshifts, autoblipper
  • Traction control (DTC)
  • 5 rider modes - rain, road, race, track and user
  • ABS
  • ASC
  • Digital instrumentation - lap times, total gear changes, etc
  • Anti-wheelie

The case FOR the use of all this technology is SAFETY. Always a bit difficult to argue against people making bikes safer for us but those AGAINST will come back with:

  • The Honda CBR 1000 RR Fireblade - just ABS and only then on order
  • The KTM RC8 1190 R
  • Bikes are dangerous. Period. Let riders feel exactly what is going on with a bike. Take electronic governance out of it.


Too much motorcycle technology on a moden sports bike? 


If you put on a cloak of sensibility then one understands that, in the cases above, they are actually there to help a rider when things go wrong, to save their life perhaps.

It will stop the front wheel sliding under you, stop the back wheel slidng out on you, stop you flying over the handlebars are abrupt braking, avoid headshake, avoid skidding, avoid jerky gearchanges upsetting the bike in a corner, leting you brake later, etc .

Where is the line though? When are We able to control the bike and not let it control us. What about if some of us actualy like wheelies! :)

What is the solution? To my mind, why don't they offer the bike in its purest, rawest form, not even with ABS and then have EVERYTHING as an option. That way, a rider can choose what he wants and doesn't want on his motorbike. Even better, the rider does not pay extra for things they will never use!

What are your thoughts?


Mature rider, a beginner to motorbiking after being a keen cager. Starting to learn the skills needed to survive fast street riding.
Am seeking out my next bike and sharing my journey with you.


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Guest Wednesday, 23 May 2018

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