While not nearly as important a safety feature as I consider ABS brakes, traction control is definitely something I consider a big plus to have on your motorcycle. You may run into some bikers or opinions online that cast ABS and traction control as “cheating,” “not for the purist,” or “unnecessary.” Don’t let your ego get the best of you on this point, this is about safety, and that’s always worth it. Traction control is just another convenient feature that helps keep you right-side up when you’re on two wheels.
Traction control is simply a mechanism where power will be reduced or cut from the rear wheel when slippage occurs. On pretty much all bikes it can easily be toggled off while riding, if you go on a dirt road or off-road altogether where there is going to undoubtedly going to be rear tire slippage. I have triggered traction control many times on my various bikes. I have always been happy it was there when it did so. Would I have crashed otherwise? Probably not, but perhaps one of the time I would have. It’s hard to know.
Do I really need traction control on a bike with lesser displacement (lower power)
While it’s definitely even more important to opt for traction control on very powerful bikes, since spinning the rear wheel is more likely with more power, I would opt for it on any bike I’m riding. Even with lower displacement bikes, while it may be unlikely you break the wheel loose on straight acceleration, there are certain riding conditions in which it is still rather likely. For instance, when you’re coming out a turn while still leaning, and you roll on the gas, there is more of a chance of a break out of the rear wheel since some percentage of the tire traction is being used to maintain the turn angle, there is less traction to support the power from acceleration. Add in some small amount of sand or dirt on the road in the right place, there is even more chance you could break the wheel out. Oh, and I didn’t even mention water or rain! All of this is to say there are going to be those edge cases, when the right circumstances meet and maybe your rear tire starts to spin. Maybe one of those times, the difference between high siding and riding away safely is your traction control.
Experience has taught me the value of ABS and traction control
I have gone down multiple times while on a motorcycle, thankfully I suffered no permanent injuries. I have not gone down for about 8 years now, and during that time put in more and more miles on my bike. Perhaps part of the better driving record is making sure the bikes I ride most often are outfitted with ABS and Traction Control.