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2011 Superbikes with traction control

Super sports car with control electronics in the test

Content of

As soon as possible – nothing else matters. To achieve this, the manufacturers have packed a lot of electronics into their 1000cc super athletes. But do it really quickly?

M.ut! Much of this is needed now. With a lot of pressure on the front wheel, it was straight through the downhill chicane.

Now, in this endlessly long left curve, the exit of which cannot be seen, the PS test procedure says: "Tension the cock in a fully inclined position." But not prudent as usual, as common sense and the hospital avoidance mode always whisper. No! Immediately full pipe, stop, cup or hospital-like. You want to close your eyes, say thank you to mom again for everything…

But if you don’t dare, you won’t win, and we finally want to know what the electronics in the current top superbikes are really capable of. What does the hobby racer get out of it, what can the professional do with it?
That’s why we have them Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC, the BMW S 1000 RR, the Ducati 1198 and the Kawasaki ZX-10R carted to Aragón to take them by the horns with professional racer Arne Tode.

The idea: At two key points we want to charge without traction control and then with activated TC, measure the top speed and record the section time. Above all, we should find out what is going on in the head.

Aprilia APRC SE


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Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE.

Initially, the original tires remain on, which does not seem to be a headache for the professional, but more of a headache for the hobby racer. Is the highsider threatening or not? Fortunately, Aprilia’s V4 burner comes on sporty Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP.

The motor with its powerful acceleration and the somewhat hard throttle response quickly causes small slips on the rear wheel in the sharp corners without TC. Coupled with the frantic search for the ideal line on the new course, this is pure stress for the hobby driver. Although the excellent handling and the good chassis make up for the Aprilia with a lot of driving pleasure, the lap time of 2.13.501 minutes speaks volumes. In the test-critical sections one and two, the professional takes a full 2.18 seconds from the hobby pilot alone.

The recording after the Aprilia sessions of both drivers brings to light an astonishing fact: the professional is faster without, the hobby racer with traction control. "The Aprilia’s radical racing concept allows me to maneuver like on a Moto2 machine", Arne Tode explains this phenomenon. "With the very well coordinated anti-hopping clutch, I can use the engine braking torque perfectly, brake it precisely and start the motorcycle. At the exit of the curve I use the wheel spin for propulsion. In addition, the V4’s easily usable power range, the good feedback, the wide limit range – perfect."

Tode still likes the traction control of the Aprilia RSV4 APRC, even if – depending on the level – it regulates too early for him at one corner or too late at the other. An observation that the hobby driver does not make. At level 4, the electronics regulate early and are easy on the nerves. Trust builds up relatively quickly. Level 3 can soon be saved.

The degree of control that can be adjusted with the thumb or forefinger while driving is very good. A bench when tire grip decreases. "The overall electronics package is at a very high level," says Tode, which the hobby racer can only confirm, because the separately adjustable wheelie control lets the bike rise and regulate only a few fingers when accelerating relentlessly over the top of the home straight extremely fine. There is also an impeccable gearshift.

The test on the Bridgestone Battlax Racing R 10, chosen as a standard tire, confirms the result of the series tire – only with faster lap and section times. The professional doesn’t necessarily need the TC, the hobby driver is faster. Attention: Those who change tires on the Aprilia must officially have the new tire for accurate intervention of the TC "calibrate", so adapt the electronics to it. To do this, roll a few meters through the paddock with the program activated. However, when calibrated or not, guinea pig Tode found no difference in control behavior.

BMW S 1000 RR


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BMW S 1000 RR.

With the BMW S 1000 RR, too, the phenomenon continues that the professional roasts the amateur vigorously but anachronistically. The numbers: Without Bayern-TC, death takes 12.04 seconds for the 458 meters in section one. With TC he needs six hundredths more. The amateur pilot drives the same route without a TC in 13.02 seconds. With traction control in race mode 12.69 seconds – within the normal range. Later in the more radical slick mode it is at least 12.58 seconds. The good tenth could be a matter of the head – the traction control did not regulate anything.

In general, feeling is such a thing. Tode, who already drove out the lap times in Almeria in the test in issue 2/2011, is certain that the electronics of the Bmw S 1000 RR tested in Aragón intervene much more finely, and that the performance is slowed down almost imperceptibly via the ignition and the amount of fuel. When asked by PS, Bmw stated that there had been no electronics update for the latest machines.

There was definitely no improvement in the wheelie control of the BMW. While it is deactivated in slick mode and lets the front wheel rise a lot with the hobby pilot, it regulates so early and brutally in race mode that it shakes the pilot tremendously. Even for Tode the main point of criticism of the BMW concept. "The slick mode is a real professional tool with its fine control electronics and the also very good anti-hopping clutch. But you should know what you are doing."

Without traction control, the BMW is a real beast with its brutal performance. So if you are not entirely sure of your business, it would be better not to press the switch-off button on the TC – unless you like to dance on the volcano or are content with well-behaved laps. From the TC function alone, the race fashion is highly recommended for normal users. In any case, paired with the automatic gearshift, the lap times can be slowly rasped down. It was noticeable, however, that the automatic gearshift took a little longer to change the upper gears at high speeds.

The ABS is also of great value for the amateur pilot. This clearly regulates insensitive right fingers. The fact that the fork in Aragón rattled into the left at the end of the back straight until the brake was released cannot be blamed on the ABS, and this appeared for the first time in the PS tests on an S 1000 RR.

Ducati 1198


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Ducati 1198.

The red from Bologna starts with a clear handicap. A little history lesson: with the 1098 R, Ducati was the first manufacturer to pass on its great racing know-how in electronics to customers. That was in 2008. The system at that time was only approved for the racetrack and required the racing exhaust system supplied. The first series-produced traction control functioned exclusively with an interrupted ignition. With this, unburned fuel flowed into the exhaust. The catalytic converters installed on the production bike because of the exhaust emission standards would be included "drowned". In 2009, the 1198 S came with the system that is still installed today, which regulates in two steps. If the sensors detect different speeds on the front and rear wheels, the ignition timing is shifted first. If that is not enough, the fuel is cut off via injection. Eight levels are available for the degree of control.

Since this year Ducati has also been equipping the standard version of the superbike with this TC. A clear indication that a kind of sell-off is taking place and that a new, significantly further developed system in the supersport top model can be expected in 2012. For us, the 1198 thus offered the opportunity to demonstrate the enormous development in the electronics sector.

And how does this technique work in the 1198? Unfortunately not at all with us. To aid our test, Ducati had released a brand new 1198. Unfortunately, we only discovered in Aragón that the connection to the control unit of the TC was not working. "An isolated case", says the importer from Cologne.

Kawasaki ZX 10-R


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Kawasaki ZX 10-R.

The youngest among the electronic weapons is the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. In contrast to Aprilia and Bmw, Kawa relies less on sensors than on stored parameters. The wheel speed, the position of the throttle valve, the gear engaged, the engine speed and the position of the crankshaft are compared every five milliseconds. If an actual value deviates from the stored value, the electronics intervene via the ignition.

With this, Tode broke through the previously shown phenomenon. Especially on the R 10 tire he was faster with the Kawasaki’s traction control than without it. In section one it was 17, in the short section two six hundredths.

The question of which motorcycle completed the sections fastest says little about the control quality of the electronics, since both the power delivery and the gear ratio play a very important role in the section time. And here the Kawa clearly loses out, because it has an extremely long gear ratio, especially in the first two gears, and also shows a clear performance deficit compared to the BMW under 11,000 rpm.

This also causes problems for the hobby racer, who loses momentum and speed after scurrying through the chicanes much more slowly. Nevertheless, after a few laps, the ZX-10R achieved almost identical lap times as the BMW and Aprilia. Why? On the one hand, the Kawa has creamy handling and unmatched braking stability. Plus, it felt right on the R10 front tire "run in" to let a stunner. But the big thing was the electronics of the ZX-10R. "The calculator is great", is dead excited. "With the original Bridgestone BT 016 tire, the intervention of the TC is clearly noticeable, as the tire slips very quickly when properly handled. On the other hand, on the supersport tire there is absolutely no sign of the rules. Only a look into the cockpit reveals that the electronics are intervening based on the deflection of the bar."

The wheelie control, which, by the way, cannot be described as a rollover preventer, works wonderfully because it is very subtle. The ZX-10R electronics interlock so well that the best possible propulsion is achieved. "Confidence in the control technology comes very quickly. This is how I can explain the fast section times", means death. For the professional, the gradation could be a bit finer, because apart from the race mode level 3, the other two modes can only be used for rain riding or pure beginners. For the hobby driver, however, this manageable gradation offers a very simple and yet highly functional system: Level 3 pure – "full pipe" goes.

Like the Bmw S 1000 RR, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is also equipped with an ABS. The premiere was also successful here. The blocking preventer regulates very late. The impulses are minimal. Only the ability to adjust the brake as a whole is somewhat indifferent and the pressure point moves with increasing temperature.

Conclusion / PS judgment


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BMW S 1000 RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC, Ducati 1198.

The electronics of the new Kawasaki ZX-10R are convincing as a complete package. But there remains a drawback compared to the BMW S 1000 RR and ultimately also the Aprilia: With such a sophisticated technology, an automatic gearshift is actually part of the standard equipment. Kawasaki doesn’t even have such a part in its accessories range. And so the professional as the hobby pilot struggles on the high-tech racer with the wobbly gear in old-school style.

The sections have been completed, the weaker self overcome again and again, the right wrist has moved noticeably more decisively against previous habits. The result is actually three quite different characters in the superbike electronic systems.

All in all, the Aprilia is a real racing bike with the right equipment. The easy-to-adjust traction control gives the professional and other cracks enough options to work with the rear wheel, while the anti-wheelie control works perfectly. In addition there is the automatic gearshift and even a launch control for perfect starts. A race ABS is still missing.

The BMW also has a great package that caters to really fast pilots with the slick mode. For amateur pilots, the wheelie control in race mode should work as smoothly as the traction control itself. The ABS offers a good braking school for amateur pilots.

Kawasaki’s electronics are already very mature and offer incredible potential for this motorcycle. Everything interlocks neatly, the TC, the wheelie control, the ABS. But no automatic switch? This does not work this way.

At Ducati we forgive the faux pas and are now just waiting for the next generation. In any case, the bar is extremely high.

In conclusion, skeptics of control systems are right. Anyone who grows up with traction control can probably never learn Arne’s style. "But before I shave my bones on the way to the fastest lap, I prefer to drive with traction control", so deaths. "I also have my head free for what makes really fast: the fastest line, the right line of sight, the right braking point. Thumbs up for this electronics."


PS rating

Max. Points Aprilia Bmw Ducati Kawasaki Total 250 204 211 169 204 placement 2. 1. 4th. 2.

1. BMW S 1000 RR
Yes, the BMW again! But she scores well in all categories, including our special ranking "electronics". There, however, their rough wheelie control costs points. And a small flaw in the automatic gearshift.

2. Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC
A few small things were not quite as convincing with this copy as in PS 2/2011 in Almeria. In the "electronics"-The missing ABS cost the decisive points for victory.

3. Kawasaki ZX-10R

A corresponding gearshift, and the Kawa would have moved even closer to the BMW. There were deductions for the transmission, as well as for the translation. The electronics are absolutely convincing.

4. Ducati 1198

Ducatisti shake their heads, but what can you do if the electronics don’t work. If you subtract these points from the others, the Duc is fully involved. We are looking forward to 2012.

Racetrack set-up


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ABS and traction control can be deactivated on the Bmw using a push button.

 Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC   BMW S 1000 RR  Ducati 1198  Kawasaki ZX-10R fork        
Spring base  8 revs. Preloaded  4 rings visible  4 rings visible  24 K on
Pressure level  14 K on  Position 9  0.25 U open  5, 5 U on
Rebound  5 K on  Position 8  9 K on  1.5 U
level  3 rings visible  2 rings visible  4 rings visible  2 rings visible Strut         stat. neg. travel  12 mm  10 mm  2 mm  15 mm
Pressure level high  –  Position 4  –  0.25 U
Low compression  9 K on  Position 7  2 U open  0.25 U
Rebound  8 K on  Position 9  14 K on  0.25 on
level  default  default  default  default Tire / tire pressure         Bridgestone Battlax Racing R 10 front: 120/70 ZR 17 (pressure: 1.8 bar cold),
rear 190/55 ZR 17 (pressure: 1.2 – 1.6 bar cold) 

All damping settings counted from completely closed, static negative spring deflection standing vertically without driver, U = revolutions, K = clicks

Technical specifications


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The BMW wins the group test ahead of Aprilia and Kawasaki.

Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE

drive 
Four-cylinder 65-degree V-engine, four valves / cylinder, 132 kW (180 PS) at 12,500 / min *, 115 Nm at 10,000 / min *, 1000 cm³, bore / stroke: 78.0 / 52, 3 mm, compression ratio: 13.0: 1, ignition / injection system, 48 mm throttle valves, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath anti-hopping clutch, six-speed gearbox, G-Kat

landing gear 
Light alloy bridge frame, steering head angle: 65.5 degrees, caster: 105 mm, wheelbase: 1420 mm. Up-side-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 43 mm, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Central spring strut with deflection, adjustable in spring base, length, rebound and compression stage, spring travel front / rear: 120/130 mm

Wheels and brakes 

Forged light alloy wheels, 3.50 x 17 "/ 6.00 x 17", front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 190/55 ZR 17. -Test tires: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP. 320 mm double disc brake with four-piston fixed callipers at the front, 220 mm single disc with two-piston fixed calliper at the rear

measurements and weight 
Length / width / height: 2050/750/1130 mm, seat / handlebar height: 845/865 mm, handlebar width: 665 mm, 204 kg fully fueled, v./h .: 50.5 / 49.5%

Rear wheel power in last gear 
120.5 kW (164 PS) at 269 km / h

consumption 
Fuel type: Super unleaded. Average test consumption: n / a, tank capacity: 17 liters, range: n / a.

Base price 
22 490 Euro (plus VAT)

BMW S 1000 RR

drive 
Four-cylinder in-line engine, four valves / cylinder, 142 kW (193 hp) at 13,000 / min *, 112 Nm at 9750 / min *, 999 cm³, bore / stroke: 80.0 / 52.3 mm, compression ratio: 13, 0: 1, ignition / injection system, 48 mm throttle valves, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath anti-hopping clutch, six-speed gearbox, G-Kat, chain,

landing gear 
Light alloy bridge frame, steering head angle: 66.1 degrees, caster: 96 mm, wheelbase: 1432 mm, upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 48 mm, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Central spring strut with deflection, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression level (high / low). Suspension travel front / rear: 120/130 mm

Wheels and brakes 
Cast light alloy wheels, 3.50 x 17 "/ 6.00 x 17", front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 190/55 ZR 17, test tires: Dunlop D 211 GP Racer in "M" and "E", 320 mm -Double disc brake with four-piston fixed calipers at the front, 220 mm single disc with single-piston floating caliper at the rear, ABS

measurements and weight 
Length / width / height: 2080/785/1110 mm, seat / handlebar height: 810/865 mm, handlebar width: 660 mm, 208 kg fully fueled, v./h .: 52.0 / 48.0%

Rear wheel power in last gear 
137.5 kW (187 hp) at 282 km / h

consumption 
Fuel type: Super unleaded. Average test consumption: 8.6 liters / 100 km, tank capacity 17.5 liters, range: 203 km

Base price 
15,800 euros (plus VAT, special paint 475 euros, shift assistant 360 euros, Race ABS + DTC 1220 euros)

Duacti 1198

drive 
Two-cylinder 90-degree V-engine, four valves / cylinder, 125 kW (170 PS) at 9750 / min *, 131 Nm at 8000 / min *, 1198 cm³, bore / stroke: 106.0 / 67.9 mm, Compression ratio: 12.7: 1, ignition / injection system, 64 mm throttle valves, hydraulically operated multi-plate dry anti-hopping clutch, six-speed gearbox, G-Kat

landing gear 
Steel tubular space frame, steering head angle: 65.5 degrees, caster: 97 mm, wheelbase: 1430 mm, upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 43 mm, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Central spring strut with deflection, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Suspension travel front / rear: 127/127 mm

Wheels and brakes 
Forged light-alloy wheels, 3.50 x 17 "/ 6.00 x 17", front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 190/55 ZR 17, test tires: Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa, 330 mm double disc brakes with four-piston fixed calipers at the front, 245 -mm single disc with two-piston fixed caliper at the rear

measurements and weight 
Length / width / height: 2080/810/1100 mm, seat / handlebar height: 810/860 mm, handlebar width: 675 mm, 197 kg with a full tank, v./h .: 49.9 / 50.1%

Rear wheel power in last gear 
116 kW (158 PS) at 264 km / h

consumption
 
Fuel type: Super unleaded. Average test consumption: n / a, tank capacity 18 liters, range: n / a.

Base price 
22 690 Euro (plus VAT)


Kawasaki ZX-10R

drive 
Four-cylinder in-line engine, four valves / cylinder, 147 kW (200 PS) at 13,000 / min *, 112 Nm at 11,500 / min *, 998 cm³, bore / stroke: 76.0 / 55.0 mm, compression ratio: 13, 0: 1, ignition / injection system, 47 mm throttle valves, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath anti-hopping clutch, six-speed gearbox, G-Kat, chain,

landing gear 
Light alloy bridge frame, steering head angle: 65.0 degrees, caster: 107 mm, wheelbase: 1425 mm, upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression level. Central spring strut with deflection, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression level (high / low). Suspension travel front / rear: 120/140 mm

Wheels and brakes 
Light alloy cast wheels, 3.50 x 17 "/ 6.00 x 17", front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 190/55 ZR 17, test tires: Dunlop D 211 GP Racer in "M" and "E", 310 mm -Double disc brake with four-piston fixed calipers at the front, 220 mm single disc with single-piston floating caliper at the rear

measurements and weight 
Length / width / height: 2130/900/1130 mm, seat / handlebar height: 810/850 mm, handlebar width: 655 mm, 200 kg fully fueled, v./h .: 51.5 / 48.5%

Rear wheel power in last gear

134.5 kW (183 PS) at 283 km / h

consumption
 
Fuel type: Super unleaded. Average test consumption: 8.3 liters / 100 km, tank capacity 17.0 liters, range: 205 km

Base price 
15 495 Euro (plus VAT)

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