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Electronics Dull Us?


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Alright so i was watching the Aragon Moto Gp and there was an incident early in the race - Marquez made contact with Pedrosa, snapping his traction control cable in the middle of a left turn.As Dani got on the gas ( in what looked like a very easy corner ), he highsided.

 

Now - Are they so used to getting on the throttle hard and knowing the TC will take care of it, that they have gone backwards as far as throttle control goes?

 

That was not the case in say Kenny Roberts' time....where they did about the same things with proper control.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhsNJg1NLFg

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Something to think about. He probably was completely unaware that TC had failed on the bike. The TC systems they run there are on another planet in terms of technical complexity. The TC system is probably aware of position on the track and a lot of other factors to give them the close to the exact limit of grip at any given moment. That level of advancement probably turns the throttle into more of an on off switch. They would not even run a system like that unless it gave them a huge competitive advantage. I don't think his "skill" had much to do with it at all. He was used to the bike operating in a certain manner and it changed instantly without notice.

 

The production bikes mere mortals like us ride are in a completely different world. TC systems have a long way to come to even come close to those systems. Most bikes only have a wheel sensor and have programming similar to (wheel spin = bad = dial back the power). On road bikes many riders can do a lot better than the TC systems just because they have no data on a lot of stuff going on with the bike and are programmed so conservatively.

 

I'm not a fan of the electronics at the moment but I want to keep an open mind about them. One day they may develop a balance between safety and rider feedback that's workable. Cars have come a long way in this regard. It's just a matter of time before we get that advancement on the bikes.

 

Speaking of cars my older Range Rover has an absolutely amazing TC system. In real time it can cut the throttle and even use the brakes on any of the 4 wheels. It's even able to redirect power in real time to wheels that have more traction. It's also completely invisible to me most of the time other than occasionally telling me it's saved my bacon on the center display. There's no way to turn it off and there's really no need to. I have done 4 wheel power slides in low range in thick Alabama mud at nearly full throttle with the TC system being smart enough to realize I was just being a hoon. It even got in on the fun by directing the power where it was having the best effect. The current models are even more advanced with a "Terrain Response System" that is supposed to be able to detect what kind of terrain your on and automatically configure the vehicle in real time.

 

When bikes get that advanced it's going to be quite amazing. Lets just hope they include an off switch and don't compromise the bikes manual ability to operate without the system.

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Also apparently the Honda's TC system is set so that if something fails, IE severed electrical line, it automatically defaults back to FULL POWER, so in this case I wouldn't say so much that Pedrosa's skills have been dulled, its more like someone went and switched his engine from a 600 to a 1000 between 2 corners and didn't tell him. he was most likely doing the exact same thing he does every time around that corner but the bike did something violently different.

 

There was a race I believe last season where Nicky Hayden's Ducati got "lost" on the track and its GPS system went haywire so all the fuel mapping and traction control settings, and possibly suspension settings were completely wrong for the positions he was on the track. He said in a press conference after the race that is was near impossible to ride and very dangerous.

 

Now as for the overall argument of if electronic aids make use better or worse riders, I'm pretty well in the make us worse camp. I'm also of the belief that Turn By Turn GPS is making everyone stupider by the day. They both have their place, but blindly relying on them makes you nothing more than a lemming IMO

 

 

 

Tyler

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Also apparently the Honda's TC system is set so that if something fails, IE severed electrical line, it automatically defaults back to FULL POWER, so in this case I wouldn't say so much that Pedrosa's skills have been dulled, its more like someone went and switched his engine from a 600 to a 1000 between 2 corners and didn't tell him. he was most likely doing the exact same thing he does every time around that corner but the bike did something violently different.

 

There was a race I believe last season where Nicky Hayden's Ducati got "lost" on the track and its GPS system went haywire so all the fuel mapping and traction control settings, and possibly suspension settings were completely wrong for the positions he was on the track. He said in a press conference after the race that is was near impossible to ride and very dangerous.

 

Now as for the overall argument of if electronic aids make use better or worse riders, I'm pretty well in the make us worse camp. I'm also of the belief that Turn By Turn GPS is making everyone stupider by the day. They both have their place, but blindly relying on them makes you nothing more than a lemming IMO

 

 

 

Tyler

 

The most advanced computer found on any of my motorcycles is the fuel injection system. At that only two of my bikes are injected. I get great satisfaction by doing it myself and don't want clever electronics to take away from my ability to learn. When I do something stupid I want the bike to TELL ME right away. Masking my mistake with electronics does not help me learn.

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Being a streetrider I think TC would spoil me in the long run, but still I'm curious to find out how hard I can actually roll on the gas in the wet and in cold weather without risking a crash... so I would like to have one but I want to be able to turn it off.... I want to learn, but not the hard way.

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Perhaps one thing that people don't often consider is that the electronics available on street bikes now (like the Aprilia RSV4) do have a very real and important benefit of allowing riders to access much more of the bikes performance in a safe and controllable manner. You don't need to buy some complicated aftermarket electronics package to get these benefits, you can have them on a street bike right now!

 

If you're not too sure about electronics I would just say that you should keep a very open mind. It's all about progression... And things have progressed to the point where electronics are here to stay. If you're following EICMA news, take note of how many new bikes are released without ABS. ;)

 

I used to be anti-electronics as well. TVR used to be my ideal car - no power steering, no electronics, a real "drivers car". Or so I thought!

I added Bazzaz Z-Fi TC to my K6 GSX-R mainly for the quickshift and I went with the TC just to try and future proof the bike a bit (it worked, I've still got it and no thoughts of selling it yet). As far as reducing rider feedback or somehow hiding your mistakes, I don't think anything could be further from the truth. TC is not a solution to poor throttle control, and it doesn't hide poor throttle inputs - I can promise you that! If I open the throttle near the edge of the tyre it will slip & slide. If I get too greedy with the throttle on corner exit, the rear will step out big time.

 

The near-highside only happened to me once so far, and I didn't crash. I'd like to think that's mostly because I did the right thing and didn't chop the throttle, but I'm sure the TC helped a little bit there as well. Sure, I could start thinking "oh no, maybe it was only the TC that stopped me from crashing, I'd better turn it off so I can learn to catch a highside myself!" But really I'm just glad that I didn't crash!! It doesn't matter if TC was 100% responsible for that - because that's exactly what it's supposed to do - help to stop you from crashing!

 

Given the performance of modern bikes I don't think that anyone really needs to worry that electronics might limit them somehow. The performance of those bikes are so far above the level of most riders that it's almost to the point where electronics are needed to actually reign them in and make them safe for people with moderate/high skills to ride.

 

Electronics dull us?

In my experience, I don't think so. I can remember when I was just new to riding and was on a track day, came into a corner faster than I had planned to and grabbed the front brake to slow myself down a bit. Picture it - turning into a corner and applying the front brake... what would happen? Well what happened was that I felt the front end shudder and I eased up on the brakes...

 

Now think about the same situation on a bike equipped with ABS. You're turning into the corner and applying the front brake - what do you think you would feel? It seems logical that you would get a very similar feeling from the front end - certainly you would receive feedback indicating that the bike was near the limit. The big difference is that I was probably very close to crashing. But on a bike with ABS you get the feedback, with the added safety margin. That's as good as you can hope from a bad situation!

 

Of course if you ride within your limits and operate the bike controls correctly you'll probably never even notice the electronics are there - but when they do operate you will definitely feel it.

 

Electronics = confidence

Another benefit that I've found is a nice confidence boost. Even though my TC is set to the low-mid range of intervention, the fact that I've got an added safety net has given me confidence to work my way forwards and extend my limits. The knowledge that the TC is there just sits in the back of my mind and I'm much more comfortable to explore things like edge grip, earlier throttle opening etc. And like I mentioned before, the setting I use does allow the rear to slide and even step out if the throttle is really misused, so it's not like the TC is stopping me from experiencing these things and feeling all the kinds of feedback that come with it.

 

Look at it like this - imagine you've on a motocross bike about to attempt a backflip into a foam pit. Yeah you could still seriously hurt yourself, if you really mess it up you could completely overshoot the pit and land on flat ground! But you're going to feel much more confident giving it a try into the foam rather than an actual jump, right? That's a bit of an extreme example to illustrate the benefit of confidence, but you get the point...

 

One of the great things about all these electronics aids is that they're fully adjustable. If you're riding on the street or just want to be very cautious you could turn them up to full. If you're confident in your abilities and just like the idea of some extra safety in case things go really bad, you can run your electronics on the lowest setting. Or just turn them off. No worries - use them however you want!

 

I am very happy to use a bike with electronics aids, give it a go & you might be surprised. :D

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I keep the electronics on, on the BMW, when I'm coaching, and I never notice the electronics stepping in - but I like having them there, in case I have a brain fart and make a stupid move - like slamming the throttle on too hard while leaned over. It hasn't happened yet, but it COULD, and I'd rather have the electronics save me than crash. I HAVE had the ABS kick in, once, when a rider suddenly turned across the track and right into my path. I grabbed a big handful of front brake and managed to miss him - WOW those things have a lot of stopping power! It felt perfectly in control under enormous braking load, not sure it would have gone so well without the ABS.

 

For racing I'm happier with the ABS turned off, because if you are at threshold braking and the ABS kicks in, it backs off the brake and it's not a particularly nice feeling to suddenly have less braking power than you expected!

 

Basically, if I am riding at the absolute max and want to get everything I can out of the bike I'd rather be in control completely (no electronics) or at least have them at minimum settings, but for everyday riding, especially if I am on an unfamiliar road or track and/or don't have 100% of my attention focused on my own riding (i.e. watching traffic, or another rider, or admiring the scenery), I like having the electronics there as a safety net. :)

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Basically, if I am riding at the absolute max and want to get everything I can out of the bike I'd rather be in control completely (no electronics) or at least have them at minimum settings, but for everyday riding, especially if I am on an unfamiliar road or track and/or don't have 100% of my attention focused on my own riding (i.e. watching traffic, or another rider, or admiring the scenery), I like having the electronics there as a safety net.

 

This is what just about every pro says.Well said HF!!

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For racing I'm happier with the ABS turned off, because if you are at threshold braking and the ABS kicks in, it backs off the brake and it's not a particularly nice feeling to suddenly have less braking power than you expected!

I remember Andy Ibbott retelling a story some years ago about the first time he went out on the S1000RR at a BMW launch for journos - the bike was a "wet" mode and when he came up to the braking zone after the straight, the ABS almost sent him into the sandtrap because it reduced the available braking power so much :blink:

He saved his bacon, completed the lap very quietly to return to the pits to politely ask the BMW techs to turn off the ABS totally and utterly.

Otherwise, I can only agree to have the systems there as a safety net. Just don't rely on it.
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So the question was "Do electronics dull us?". Reading over this thread has changed my opinion on this a bit. It all comes down to the way you utilize the electronics. If you depended on them by pinning the throttle constantly or being really aggressive on the brakes and letting the TC and ABS do their magic all the time over time you might get a bit rusty on a manual bike. Most people don't ride like this though (at least I hope!). For most of us the systems are there if we need them but are most of the time unused unless we make a mistake. I never actually thought about the racing issues with ABS though and have done a bit of reading about how ABS systems work on a low level. Fascinating stuff.

 

I had an experience on the track with a non ABS and TC bike where I bungled a gearshift and went way off line on a soaking wet surface and was almost certain I was going to crash. I somehow managed to make it through the turn but I was completely rattled trying to keep my SR's from taking over and crashing me. I had a similar experience on a bike with TC and ABS and the experience was less dramatic and took less energy. On the non ABS and TC bike afterwards I was so rattled that my pace suffered dramatically for the rest of the session. On the TC and ABS bike knowing the systems were there if I needed them again made it so I eventually put the experience mostly out of my mind after half a lap.

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Edited to show another point of view:

 

"I remember Andy Ibbott retelling a story some years ago about the first time he went out on the S1000RR at a BMW launch for journos - the bike was in "wet" mode and when he came up to the braking zone after the straight, he almost sent himself into the sandtrap because he didn't check the mode and available braking power was much less than he assumed :blink: "

 

 

An important lesson there (whether you believe the original or the edited version of the story)! Electronics are getting to the stage where different modes etc. will have fairly drastic affect on the bike. So you can't assume anything, if you're riding a new bike you've just got to be aware of all these things. If you jump on a bike with a quick-turn throttle and you're not expecting it, I imagine you could be in trouble as well. Electronics are just another control, same as the throttle or brakes. Learning how to use it correctly is going to become even more important. I say "use it" rather than "get used to it" because there's almost infinite adjustment between the TC/ABS/anti-wheelie/quick-shift/launch control and whatever other electronic aids are invented in the future. And now I guess you can add the 1290 Super Duke R supermoto/"back-it-in" mode into the mix!

 

If you depended on them by pinning the throttle constantly or being really aggressive on the brakes and letting the TC and ABS do their magic all the time over time you might get a bit rusty on a manual bike.

 

Interesting point there... While I've been reading this thread my mind has gone back to various reviews that speak of bikes as being "uncrashable", describing the TC by saying that you can open the throttle as much as you dare on corner exit and it won't set a wheel wrong.

 

Does anyone know if that's actually true of any bike/electronics system? Has anyone ridden a bike and tried this? My experience with a basic aftermarket system tells me that's a gross exaggeration... but now it's got me curious. I think I'll try turning up my TC to maximum on the next track day and see what I can notice. I do like a good experiment!

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The new Kawasaki ZX10, Bmw S1000RR and Aprilia RSV4 Packages may come close to being noob proof.They do their work without the rider noticing their work.

 

However, these are designed to measure and respond to changes every millisecond or so, which is way faster than the progress of a slide to a highside IMO.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Personally I really do not care for the electronic aids. Thus far TC and ABS systems in cars have put me in more danger than not having them would have.

Excluding test rides my knowledge of rider aids on bikes only apply to the schools S1000's. And there I have fired off that darn yellow light quite often. While going through lvl 3 this year most of my sessions were riding in "rain" mode. No big deal because it is more about body positioning than speed. I found the TC system to be entertainingly aggravating. After I noticed the engine bogging and the bike just not having any drive while exiting the turns regardless of how much throttle I added that warranted a sneak peak look at the dash, low and behold that darn little yellow light was shinning as bright as it could. No it wasn't flashing, just a solid light until the bike was almost stood upright then it would start to accelerate down the straight. And yes I have fired it off a few times in Sport mode too.

I am very gentle with the throttle when needed and I am not scared of it either.

I do believe that the rider/driver aids have their place but I just don't trust them, yet. And it really annoys me when that darn little yellow light starts flashing, as if it saying "Look at me, I'm doing my job". That is a distraction I can live without.

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Thus far TC and ABS systems in cars have put me in more danger than not having them would have.

 

I'm pretty surprised to hear that! What kind of situations put you in danger?

 

I think this comes back to the point that electronic aids are just another control that need to be used properly. You can't blame the TC for limiting your speed on corner exit, that's like getting mad at the bike because you have a limited top speed when you only twist the throttle to 80%! If the TC is limiting you, the solution is to change the setting, or just turn it off. The TC is not faulty in any way, it's acting exactly as it was designed to.

 

Strange that you don't trust the aids, it seems like they have been behaving predictably and remained constant for you (for example rain mode limiting your drive out of corners)? You can trust it to do the same thing, every single time. You can't really ask for more than that, can you?

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Thus far TC and ABS systems in cars have put me in more danger than not having them would have.

 

I'm pretty surprised to hear that! What kind of situations put you in danger?

 

I think this comes back to the point that electronic aids are just another control that need to be used properly. You can't blame the TC for limiting your speed on corner exit, that's like getting mad at the bike because you have a limited top speed when you only twist the throttle to 80%! If the TC is limiting you, the solution is to change the setting, or just turn it off. The TC is not faulty in any way, it's acting exactly as it was designed to.

 

Strange that you don't trust the aids, it seems like they have been behaving predictably and remained constant for you (for example rain mode limiting your drive out of corners)? You can trust it to do the same thing, every single time. You can't really ask for more than that, can you?

 

 

You can if you spend time and money on aftermarket programmable ones... heheheh

 

or get a S1000rr HP4

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Thus far TC and ABS systems in cars have put me in more danger than not having them would have.

 

I'm pretty surprised to hear that! What kind of situations put you in danger?

 

I think this comes back to the point that electronic aids are just another control that need to be used properly. You can't blame the TC for limiting your speed on corner exit, that's like getting mad at the bike because you have a limited top speed when you only twist the throttle to 80%! If the TC is limiting you, the solution is to change the setting, or just turn it off. The TC is not faulty in any way, it's acting exactly as it was designed to.

 

Strange that you don't trust the aids, it seems like they have been behaving predictably and remained constant for you (for example rain mode limiting your drive out of corners)? You can trust it to do the same thing, every single time. You can't really ask for more than that, can you?

 

 

Mugget, to answer your first question I'll start with my local area in which a lot of the intersections are rather "blind" so, when you must go you must go. The last thing I need is a TC system that is confused and limiting power to less than a Toyota Prius just because the car was not pointed in a straight line or even when pointed in a straight line. It is quite common for my TC to engage as low as 1500 RPM's. Now these are not situations where full throttle is needed or applied, maybe 15~20% throttle used. The same has applied when I have been the one to have to slow down. When you are expecting the car to slow and the ABS starts engaging for no reason would you think that cause concern?

 

Let's put this into a riding scenario. You are behind an unpredictable rider that swerves from one side of the track to the other for no apparent reason, almost stops going down the straights, almost crashes in every turn etc, etc, etc... Would it matter if others told you that he's ok and you should just trust him? Or would you prefer to stay as far away as possible?

 

If you go back and read my earlier comments about "rain mode" you should notice that I said it was entertainingly aggrevating. I never said that I was mad at the TC or anything else. You are aware that in some vechiles when you turn off the "electronic aids" they are never turned completly off, even when advertised to do so.

 

A little different riding scenario. You are behind a rider that is not riding as one would expect but they are predictable in every turn, straight and braking. You may follow them and enjoy the entertainment for a while then get aggrevated after they have delayed your progress, Yes?

 

For me it is more about the systems operating when not appropriate or expected.

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Thus far TC and ABS systems in cars have put me in more danger than not having them would have.

 

I'm pretty surprised to hear that! What kind of situations put you in danger?

 

I think this comes back to the point that electronic aids are just another control that need to be used properly. You can't blame the TC for limiting your speed on corner exit, that's like getting mad at the bike because you have a limited top speed when you only twist the throttle to 80%! If the TC is limiting you, the solution is to change the setting, or just turn it off. The TC is not faulty in any way, it's acting exactly as it was designed to.

 

Strange that you don't trust the aids, it seems like they have been behaving predictably and remained constant for you (for example rain mode limiting your drive out of corners)? You can trust it to do the same thing, every single time. You can't really ask for more than that, can you?

 

 

Mugget, to answer your first question I'll start with my local area in which a lot of the intersections are rather "blind" so, when you must go you must go. The last thing I need is a TC system that is confused and limiting power to less than a Toyota Prius just because the car was not pointed in a straight line or even when pointed in a straight line. It is quite common for my TC to engage as low as 1500 RPM's. Now these are not situations where full throttle is needed or applied, maybe 15~20% throttle used. The same has applied when I have been the one to have to slow down. When you are expecting the car to slow and the ABS starts engaging for no reason would you think that cause concern?

 

Let's put this into a riding scenario. You are behind an unpredictable rider that swerves from one side of the track to the other for no apparent reason, almost stops going down the straights, almost crashes in every turn etc, etc, etc... Would it matter if others told you that he's ok and you should just trust him? Or would you prefer to stay as far away as possible?

 

If you go back and read my earlier comments about "rain mode" you should notice that I said it was entertainingly aggrevating. I never said that I was mad at the TC or anything else. You are aware that in some vechiles when you turn off the "electronic aids" they are never turned completly off, even when advertised to do so.

 

A little different riding scenario. You are behind a rider that is not riding as one would expect but they are predictable in every turn, straight and braking. You may follow them and enjoy the entertainment for a while then get aggrevated after they have delayed your progress, Yes?

 

For me it is more about the systems operating when not appropriate or expected.

 

 

well then get a programmable one? TC... the stock ones are pretty much... tuned for maximum safety.

 

tunable race grade TC is getting cheaper by the moment~

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  • 1 month later...

Just getting back to this thread now... I missed the fact that you were talking about ABS & TC in cars, but I'm still surprised!!

 

Interesting to hear your thoughts on electronics in cars, but IMO you can't compare that to bikes. (What car exactly are you talking about anyway?)

 

I know that you say the S1000RR rain mode made you mad, I said that it's "like being mad..." I think my point is still valid. Or maybe we just crossed wires and are both talking about different things. :) And the fact that the electronic aids on some bikes can never be completely turned off - that's something to consider when buying the bike, I think of it as similar to when other things have become standard on bikes - you either have a choice to accept the change, or hold out and keep riding older bikes.

 

I get what you're saying about systems operating when not expected, but are there any bikes that actually behave like that?? I've not heard of them.

The other part of it is that perhaps people just need to get used to the electronics and accept that bikes with those aids will ride differently. The same as you'd expect a different riding experience when jumping from a sportsbike to a cruiser, the same could be true when going from a "traditional" bike to one with electronic aids?

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Mugget; lets get mad straightened out first, :D It took me a few minutes before I realized that you were talking "crazy" while I was thinking "KILL" it's all OK now.You, unfortunately still have to abide by the "Kings English" where as I try to demolish it every day :lol::D:ph34r::wub:

 

Interesting to hear your thoughts on electronics in cars, but IMO you can't compare that to bikes. (What car exactly are you talking about anyway?)

Pick any car within the reach of us mere mortals.

I get what you're saying about systems operating when not expected, but are there any bikes that actually behave like that?? I've not heard of them.

Well here recently another forum member was riding on a slick road and applied the brakes to slow down for a left hand turn, speed was slow, less than 40 kph. the the ABS applied and then FAILED causing an Off. This all happened in less than 2 seconds.

Are you willing to take those kind of risk?

BTW: I have almost finished repairing the pannier that took the brunt of impact. If work would just let me......

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