How smart is your motorcycle ?

December 6, 2011 by

Traction control, ABS, quick-shifter, tiptronic semi-automatic transmission, tire pressure sensors, daptive headlights, and electronic suspension are some of the technology fitted on BMW motorcycles…and just when we think there is nothing more to be added, BMW surprises us with another innovation.
Dynamic Damping Control DDC, or in other words Active Suspension….the system has been around for some time and has been used on a lot of cars, but never on a motorcycle. Because the way motorcycle suspension works is a lot more complicated than a car suspension, so the innovation is not in inventing the system but is in adapting it to motorcycles.
The smart suspension will react automatically -on-the-fly- to braking, accelerating, and cornering while taking into account road surfaces and your riding style to make sure you’ve got the perfect suspension setting at all times.

The system takes its data from the bike’s ECU, ABS sensors, spring travel sensors at the forks and shock and from tilt and roll sensors.

Here are a few examples of the adjustments the bike can make:

When the rider gets hard on the gas, the bike automatically activates stronger damping at the rear shock to prevent squat and wheelie effects and help get the power down more effectively. Likewise, as the rider brakes, the front forks receive increased damping to help combat nose-dive and keep the bike stable and ready for corner entry. Damping in these situation is added in proportion to the acceleration and deceleration forces the bike is experiencing, and the added damping is removed as soon as the acceleration or braking conditions disappear.

As a bike leans over, the suspension is gradually firmed up relative to the bike’s lean angle, and this effect loosens off as you approach vertical again. This one seems a little counter-intuitive given that under heavy lean angles, the wheels need to move further than usual to compensate for bumps – but where smooth roads are concerned, this will certainly be a helpful feature.

The bike will also recognize bumpy terrain, be it potholes, ruts, rail crossings and the like. When the front wheel suspension travel sensors detect a bumpy section of road, both front and rear suspension will immediately loosen off to provide the smoothest ride possible over the obstruction.