Ask MO Anything: How Do Different Tires Affect My ABS and Traction Control?

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By John Burns

Dear MOby,

Does changing tires or wheel size on a bike that has IMU-based lean-sensitive ABS/TC performance alter the calculations or algorithms that are coded? I can understand ABS working okay because it’s monitoring wheel speed via the ABS rings, but unsure how the leaning TC would work.

As examples:

1) Say a bike comes with 50-50 tires and the owner installs full on knobbies, or the reverse, 100% pavement tires. Those tires will provide significantly different grip characteristics on both pavement and dirt. How does the logic compensate for that? Or does the rider need to change the ABS/TC intervention level (if it can be changed), such that (for example) a Level 3 with 50-50 tires would equal a level 6 with dedicated street rubber, and level 1 with knobbies (the actual numbers are unimportant, just used for illustration)?

2) A bike that comes with a 21/18-inch wheelset that the owner changes for a 19/17-in wheelset. Like others, I did this with a KTM 990 Dakar. I liked the bike better on most surfaces more with the 19/17, and saved the 21/18 for dual sport/adventure events where the terrain was really off road. I know the 990 did not have an IMU; my observation is that that bike’s regular ABS worked the same. But folks do this with 1190s, and some even have installed 17/17-in wheelsets on 1190s.

Trying to get a grip,
Walter Barlow

Dear Walter,

As a guy whose only computer training involved punch cards circa 1980, I hate questions like this one. Let’s ask some experts, first of all KTM North America‘s Tom Moen, who tells us:

“All the electronics technologies vary in the different systems; Walter’s 990 was a simple but effective ABS system that measured the wheel sensor speed differences between front and rear wheels. On that bike, the wheel sizes did …read more

Source:: Ask MO Anything: How Do Different Tires Affect My ABS and Traction Control?


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