By now you must have all heard that KTM will provide Ride by wire or Throttle by Wire in their upcoming Duke 390. Bikes in the lower range seldom see this feature but demand for electronic wizardry and rider aids have pushed more manufacturers to try them out.
The Ride by wire technology has many advantages and some limitations, which will be talked in this post.
What is Ride By Wire?
Ride-By-Wire is a very misleading term as the whole technology in essence removes the wire. Throttle valve of convention motorcycles is in direct connection with the throttle control via a cable. So the rider is in full control of his valve but optimum level of performance and efficiency is seldom reached. For example, during hard throttle the butterfly valve open up to pass large amount of air on to the combustion chamber causing momentary stall of the bike. Poor combustion, lower fuel efficiency and bad ride will be the result, especially if you are going all out.
Ride-by-wire eliminates this problem by making the entire process electronic (obviously). The throttle control is linked to a transponder unit, which converts the ‘mechanical’ throttle action in to a relative ‘electrical’ signal. This signal is send to the ECU, which in turn actuates the valve in an optimum level based on the amount of throttle received. This removes abrupt opening of the valve (as with conventional bikes) and makes the ride smooth as well as efficient
Advantages of Ride by Wire
Apart form the above said advantages, Ride-By-Wire enables motorcycles to be equipped with sophisticated technologies like cruise control, traction control and different ride modes.
Here are some of the advantages
-Improved feature (like cruise control) integration
Disadvantages of Ride by Wire
Specificities of Ride by wire mean that sometimes the feedback or feel from the throttle is reduced. This will be especially noticeable for the seasoned riders.
The technology costs more to implement and maintenance will require specialised technicians.
What does this mean for the 2017 Duke 390?
Ride by wire future proofs the new KTM 390. While complex features like ride modes and cruise control may not be provided initially, if KTM feels like they want to implement them on future updates it will be much easier with RBW on board. More features and better efficiency as a result of RWB will improve their potential customer base as well.
On the other hand, implementation of Ride by wire will increase price of the motorcycle. It will also be difficult to get your bike repaired in local workshops due to complexities involved.