Stability control for bikes

Car-style anti-crash tech in production for 2014

KTM'S 2014-spec 1190 Adventure and Adventure R will be the first production bikes to benefit from Bosch’s new ‘MSC’ Motorcycle Stability Control system which takes the ideas of traction control, combined brake systems and anti-lock to the next logical stage.

The main target is making the systems work in corners as well as in a straight line. Sensors make note of the bike’s lean angle and pitch, altering the ABS to suit. In corners, when braking tends to make the bike sit up and go straight on, the system alters the front-to-rear brake distribution to help prevent that and provide stability even when banked over.

It also limits the maximum braking levels available during cornering and juggles amount of front and rear brake force in an effort to prevent lowsides caused by excess braking in corners – something that conventional ABS can’t prevent, even if it stops the wheels from actually locking up.

The combined braking system is also said to ensure optimum braking at all times, balancing the front and rear even when the rider – through a mistake or sheer cack-handedness – uses just the front or rear brake.

On top of all that, there’s a traction control system that controls the torque reaching the rear wheel, a wheelie ‘mitigation’ system that stops the front wheel lifting ‘uncontrollably’ (let’s wait to see how well it allows it to lift ‘controllably’) and a stoppie-stopping function that cuts front brake force when the back wheel shows signs of lift-off.

It’s all the work of computers and sensors that tweak the system 100s of times every second and constantly calculates the maximum possible braking levels.

Bosch is keen to point out that, clever though it is, the system isn’t magic – the laws of physics still apply and somebody somewhere will no doubt still manage to crash by braking too hard at the wrong time. But the system should make it much more difficult to do.

Visordown is in Germany to ride the stability control-equipped 1190 Adventure.

What are your thoughts? Do systems like this take something away from the experience of riding or, by simply preventing accidents that otherwise might be inescapable, are they an invaluable life saver that should be adopted across the board?