The race to produce high performance, efficient and safe motorcycles pushes manufacturers to employ new technologies from industries such as motorsport and aerospace, as well as developing state of the art electrical systems to improve a rider’s performance and comfort.
The KTM Blog takes a look at some of those used by the Austrian manufacturer and breaks down the technical jargon behind them.
HILL HOLD CONTROL (HHC)
Imagine the scene… passenger on the back, fully loaded with luggage, wet winter gloves, adverse camber, then you have to stop on a hill while you wait to pull out onto the next road. This can be a stressful for most riders. Trying not to roll back, keep a solid footing and eventually pull off without stalling can be a real balancing act.
So, put simply, HHC is an electronic function that allows you to keep a solid footing by holding your bike stationary whilst on a hill, leaving you free to place both feet down and use the throttle without the awkward one finger on the brake lever too. When active, HHC uses the bike’s in-built sensors to detect incline, speed and use of brakes, then when needed automatically takes over the braking aspect of the controls until you are ready to pull away again. The rear brake is held on by the ABS system.
MOTOR SLIP REGULATION (MSR)
Traction control is a feature most are familiar with. Open the throttle too much or too early then the rear wheel will start to spin faster than the front, causing the bike to lose traction. Sensors detect the differences in speeds and warn the bikes ECU which then slows electronic fuel injection and power output to bring them back inline. So how does this relate to MOTOR SLIP REGULATION? Well, because it is the complete opposite process.
V-twin engines are known for their relatively high engine braking which under rapid downshifts or when abruptly closing or chopping the throttle can cause a difference of speed between the motor and the rear wheel. This creates a torque feedback, a set of opposing forces. The tire brakes traction with the surface and hops in the air momentarily potentially causing instability. A rider may describe this sensation as rear wheel “chattering”. A slipper clutch like the PASC system used on LC8 models alleviates most torque feedback, but on slippery surfaces MSR comes into action. The system opens the throttle slightly for the rider to bring the engine speed up to that required to equal the forces of the rear wheel, preventing any chatter and maintaining constant contact with the road. Any difference in wheel speeds is therefore avoided keeping the bike stable, and rider safe.
Engineers in the KTM R&D department face a difficult set of challenges daily. Develop engines with superior performance, with service lives and maintenance durations that improve cost of ownership, all whilst meeting the demands of heightened environmental awareness and legislation. This pushes them to analyze every aspect of efficiency inside a KTM’s beating heart, and there’s one force that cannot be avoided in a complex system of moving parts: friction. Friction losses in a vehicle can amount to 10 to 15% of an engine’s output so selection of the optimal materials is essential.
One solution is DLC coating, a technology used originally in helicopter transmissions and the pinnacles of motorsport. DLC stands for Diamond Like Carbon, it is a material coating that achieves properties of two other carbon-based materials, diamond and graphite. This makes it one of the toughest material coatings available today. Carbon molecules are applied as a film to metal parts replicating the structure of these materials. Diamond is extremely hard, and graphite is known for its low friction, so it is ideal for parts moving at high speeds in contact with one another, like the surface of the cam finger followers in an LC8’s valvetrain.
So why does this quickshifter deserve a plus? And how does it really work? A quickshifter is a device for clutchless gear shifts. An aftermarket kit is composed of a module that interferes with either the electronic fuel injection or ignition systems and a sensor built into the shift rod that detects pressure when shifting. When activated the device will slow down or cut off either system for a set time, reducing power and load on the transmission while the gear is engaged. Typically, as the devices are designed for racing, they are calibrated only for aggressive shifts at high RPMs.
Now this is where the KTM QUICKSHIFTER+ differs. Rather than building a sensor into the shift rod, two sensors are utilized in the transmission system itself – one on the selector shaft and the gear position sensor mounted on the shift drum. The benefit of this is accuracy and flexibility. The system can detect direction of change (up or down), when to interrupt fuel injection and slow ignition timing, which gear is being engaged and when to reinstate fuel supply. It can also open the throttle valve to speed up the engine, this achieves slick down changes, removing the need manually “blip” the throttle. So, for the KTM rider it certainly is a plus because it all equates to clutchless shifts, up and down the box, that responds to their riding – so the shift action is fast when needed, but buttery smooth at half-throttle.
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