The Ride-By-Wire Throttle Control


The biggest compliment I can pay the ride-by-wire system is that it goes unnoticed most of the time.

Ride-by-wire systems work by removing the physical connection between the throttle twist-grip and the throttle plates – allowing the ECU to over-ride any 'unacceptable' rider inputs. The throttle is actually connected (by wires) to a sensor that measures throttle position. The ECU then processes this signal and uses a geared electro-motor to actually move the throttle plates.

Most motorcycle manufacturers have spent a long time finding the limits of what the engine and chassis are capable of handling at any point in the rev-range of every motorcycle model, and set this in the motorcycle's ECU. It's the same idea used on aircraft. If the pilot or rider asks for something that's unachievable or dangerous, the system simply delivers a refined version of the input. In most cases, this predominantly means controlling the power delivery, and most ride-by-wire systems have 3 or more riding modes to choose from: sport, touring and rain.
These maps giver you different levels of throttle-desensitization. Meaning when you've got the throttle open, say, 10% the ECU may actually open the throttle 4% and it sort of lags behind, so any sharp, nervous movements of you hand are delivered as smooth blips to the engine. Above 80% throttle position, the relationship is most of the time 1:1 in all modes., meaning if you've got throttle open 83%, the throttle plates will be open the same amount. We can to see more ride-by-wire systems on modern motorcycles soon...
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