The rise of electronic rider aids has come to consumer-level dirt bikes, with Husqvarna now offering traction control on all of its four-stroke motocross motorcycles for the 2017 model year.
Traction control on dirt bikes isn’t a new concept, with racing machines featuring the technology for almost a decade now (in some form or another, and depsite what the rules say), but Husqvarna’s foray into the use of electronics marks a new era for consumer dirt bikes.
As we see already in the on-road segments, traction control and other electronics are proving themselves to be the new horsepower. Their introduction into the off-road realm was all but assured (and started with the 2015 Kawasaki KX450F), and now that day has seemingly come for the masses.
Adding traction control to a motocross bike is no easy task though, as the prevailing off-road style sees riders steering much more with the rear tire – breaking it loose and slipping it through the dirt to make time.
The trick then is to make sure off-road traction control system still allow this technique for riders, while minimizing time lost through wheel-spin, or preventing the chassis from over-rotating from the direction intended while on the throttle.
Thus, it will be interesting to see how Husqvarna’s system operates on its four-stroke production machines.
According to Husqvarna’s press release, the Keihin engine management system (EMS) monitors the throttle input and the engine RPM speed to detect wheel-spin, and then reduces the power to the engine (presumably by cutting spark) to offer maximum grip.
No doubt, this traction control system being offered is a derivative of what has been developed and honed in racing applications, but as we have seen in the street segments, that is not always a direct translation.
Expect to see other, more sophisticated systems debut as the years roll by, such as launch control (already on some models), wheelie control, and other advanced pieces that require an inertial movement unit (IMU).