Launch Control Mode
In motocross racing, getting a good start is critical. A few tenths of a second can make the difference between getting the holeshot or not. In slippery conditions, getting the maximum drive from a motocrosser requires precise control of the both the clutch and throttle.
Launch Control Mode helps riders get a good start by complementing high-level technique with engine management. Featured on a mass-production motocrosser for the first time on Kawasaki’s KX450F, the system activates a separate engine map designed to get a more efficient start off the line. The system is designed to the same specifications as that used by our factory racers competing in the AMA Supercross and Motocross championships.
Launch Control Mode is activated simply by pressing the button on the handlebar. The Launch Control map slightly retards ignition timing to help tame the engine’s strong torque and reduce wheel spin off the start. Launch Control Mode is only active in the first two gears off the start, disengaging and returning to the standard engine map automatically once the rider shifts into 3rd gear. The system gives riders a great advantage when lining up at the gate and puts them in a better position to win.
Dual Throttle Valves
Late-model sport bikes often use large-bore throttle bodies to generate high levels of power. However, with large diameter throttles, when a rider suddenly opens the throttle, the unrestricted torque response is anything but gentle and often more than the rider can handle. Dual throttle valve technology was designed to tame engine response while contributing to performance.
On fuel-injected models, throttle bodies generally have only one throttle valve per cylinder. On models with dual throttle valves, there are two throttle valves per cylinder: in addition to the main valves, which are physically linked to the throttle grip and controlled by the rider, a second set of valves, opened and closed by the ECU, precisely regulates intake airflow to ensure a natural, linear response. With the air passing through the throttle bodies becoming smoother, combustion efficiency in improved and power is increased.
Like other Kawasaki engine management technology, Dual Throttle Valves were designed with the philosophy of “following the rider’s intention, while providing natural-feeling support.” They are featured on many Kawasaki models.
Kawasaki’s KX250F was the first mass-production motocrosser to feature Dual Injectors. One injector is located downstream of the throttle valve, where injectors are located on standard FI systems, and a second is located upstream of the throttle valve, close to the airbox. The two injectors split their roles: operating at different rpm ranges, they ensure both smooth, instant response at low-rpm and high peak power at high-rpm.
For cases that call for low-rpm operation like instantaneous acceleration off the start and precise control when cornering, primary operation falls to the downstream injector. Because it is positioned close to the combustion chamber, sprayed fuel can be supplied to the engine quickly, resulting in sharp response. Conversely, when high power is the priority, primary operation switches to the upstream injector, which focuses on high-rpm applications. Its location farther away from the combustion chamber means that the fuel has a longer travel time. This allows more time for the fuel particles and air to mix, as well as allowing the mixture to cool and condense. This means that when more power is needed, the cylinder can be filled with a greater quantity of high-quality mixture.
Assist & Slipper Clutch
Based on feedback from racing activities, the Assist & Slipper Clutch uses two types of cams (an assist cam and a slipper cam) to either drive the clutch hub and operating plate together or apart.
Under normal operation, the assist cam functions as a self-servo mechanism, pulling the clutch hub and operating plate together to compress the clutch plates. This allows the total clutch spring load to be reduced, resulting in a lighter clutch lever feel when operating the clutch.
When excessive engine braking occurs – as a result of quick downshifts (or an accidental downshift) – the slipper cam comes into play, forcing the clutch hub and operating plate apart. This relieves pressure on the clutch plates to reduce back-torque and help prevent the rear tyre from hopping and skidding.
When accelerating on a slippery surface, it is easy for rear wheel spin (i.e. when the rear wheel turns faster than the front wheel) to occur. KTRC was designed to prevent wheel spin that could otherwise cause the loss of control of the bike. Like ABS prevents wheels from locking up when braking, this Kawasaki-original traction control system prevents the rear tyre from slipping. Knowing that the system will intervene to prevent sudden wheel spin when, for example, the pavement comes to an abrupt end when touring, is a great source of reassurance for riders.
KTRC uses wheel speed sensors to monitor front and rear wheel speed. When it detects wheel spin, engine power is reduced to allow rear wheel grip to be regained. KTRC also enables helps the rear wheel regain traction in situations where grip is lost temporarily, like when riding over a wet manhole cover.
KTRC uses 3-way control, governing ignition timing, fuel volume and (via the sub-throttle valves) intake air volume. This 3-way control is what enables the system to be so smooth, resulting in a very natural feeling.
It is technologically possible for traction control systems to recover from loss of grip due to wheel spin without the rider ever realising that they had slipped. However, KTRC lets riders know when road conditions are slippery by purposely delaying intervention for an instant. Firstly, communicating an accurate picture of current road conditions and what the bike is doing, and secondly, ensuring that systems provide support for riders – this is the philosophy that drives development of Kawasaki technology.
KIBS: Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System
Kawasaki developed KIBS to take into account the particular handling characteristics of supersport motorcycles, ensuring highly efficient braking with minimal intrusion during hard sport riding. It is the first mass-production brake system to link the ABS ECU (Electronic Control Unit) and engine ECU.
In addition front and rear wheel speed, KIBS monitors front brake caliper hydraulic pressure, throttle position, engine speed, clutch actuation and gear position. This diverse information is analysed to determine the ideal front brake hydraulic pressure. Through precise control, the large drops in hydraulic pressure seen on standard ABS systems can be avoided. Additionally, the tendency on supersport models for the rear wheel to lift under heavy braking can be suppressed and rear brake controllability can be maintained when downshifting.
Power modes offer riders an easily selectable choice between Full and Low Power. While Full Power is unrestricted, in Low Power mode maximum power is limited to approximately 75-80% of Full. Response is also milder in Low Power mode. Riders may opt to use Low Power mode for rainy conditions or city riding, and Full Power when sport riding.
Available on the Ninja ZX-14R / ZZR1400, Versys 1000 and other key models, when combined with the 3-mode KTRC (+ OFF) traction control system, Power Mode selection offers a total of eight combinations (KTRC: Mode 1/2/3+OFF x Power Mode: Full/Low) to suit a wide range of riding situations. For example, an experienced rider enjoying sport riding on dry pavement might choose Full Power and Mode 1. On a wet or slippery surface, choosing Low Power and Mode 3 would yield the lowest chance of incurring wheel spin, and with the milder throttle response would offer a high level of riding safety.
Drawing on the know-how and technology possessed by the KHI Group, Kawasaki’s supercharged engine delivers high engine output while maintaining a compact design. The key to achieving this incredible performance lies in the engine’s supercharger – a motorcycle-specific unit designed completely in-house with technology from Kawasaki’s Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company and Corporate Technology Division.
One of the greatest benefits of designing the supercharger in-house and tailoring its design to match the engine’s characteristics was that engineers were able to achieve high-efficiency operation over a wide range of conditions – something that would not have been possible by simply dropping in or trying to adapt an aftermarket automotive supercharger.
The importance of high efficiency in a supercharger is that, as the air is compressed, power-robbing heat gain is minimal. And while many superchargers are able to offer high-efficiency operation in a very limited range of conditions, Kawasaki’s supercharger offers high efficiency over a wide range of pressure ratios and flow rates – meaning over a wide range of engine speeds and vehicle speeds. This wide range of efficient operation (similar to having a wide power band) easily translates to strong acceleration. The supercharger’s high efficiency and minimal heat gain also meant that an intercooler was unnecessary, greatly saving weight and space, and enabling the engine’s compact design.
Kawasaki Engine Brake Control
The Kawasaki Engine Brake Control system allows riders to select the amount of engine braking they prefer. When the system is activated, the engine braking effect is reduced, providing less interference when riding on the circuit.
Electronic Throttle Valves
Kawasaki’s fully electronic throttle actuation system enables the ECU to control the volume of both the fuel (via fuel injectors) and the air (via throttle valves) delivered to the engine. Ideal fuel injection and throttle valve position results in smooth, natural engine response and the ideal engine output. The system also makes a significant contribution to reduced emissions.
Electronic throttle valves also enable more precise control of electronic engine management systems like S-KTRC and KTRC, and allow the implementation of electronic systems like KLCM, Kawasaki Engine Brake Control, and Cruise Control.
Kawasaki’s high-quality original paint has a highly reflective, glasslike metal appearance. Its debut on the 2015 Ninja H2 and Ninja H2R marked its first use on a mass-production vehicle in either the automotive or motorcycle industries.
In the shade the paint has the appearance of its base coat colour, but once in the sunlight its highly reflective surface takes on the appearance of the surrounding scenery. The stark difference in the way the paint appears in the light and the shade emphasises the sculpted shape of the bodywork on which it is applied.
The highly reflective surface is created by inducing a silver mirror reaction (a chemical reaction between a solution of silver ions and a reducing agent) that forms a layer of pure silver (Ag). This Ag layer is what creates the paint’s glasslike metal appearance. Compared to candy paints, which use aluminium flakes to generate a sparkling effect, the Ag layer appears as a uniform metallic surface.
In the shade the Ag layer is translucent, allowing the base coat colour to show through. This gives the paint a deep, three-dimensional quality.
While the multiple layers of paint on typical mass-production models are done by robot painters, for this silver-mirror paint each layer – from primer to clear coat – is carefully finished by the hands of Kawasaki craftsmen to ensure a flawless, lustrous surface.
IMU – Enhanced Chassis Orientation Awareness
The strength of Kawasaki’s cutting-edge electronics has always been the highly sophisticated programming that, using minimal hardware, gives the ECU an accurate real-time picture of what the chassis is doing. Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modelling program makes skilful use of the magic formula tyre model as it examines changes in multiple parameters, enabling it to take into account changing road and tyre conditions.
The addition of an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) enables inertia along 6 DOF (degrees of freedom) to be monitored. Acceleration along longitudinal, transverse and vertical axes, plus roll rate and pitch rate are measured. The yaw rate is calculated by the ECU. This additional feedback contributes to an even clearer real-time picture of chassis orientation, enabling even more precise management for control at the limit.
With the addition of the IMU and the latest evolution of Kawasaki’s advanced modelling software, Kawasaki’s electronic engine and chassis management technology takes the step to the next level – changing from setting-type and reaction-type systems to feedback-type systems – to deliver even greater levels of riding excitement.
KQS: Kawasaki Quick Shifter
Designed to help riders maximize their acceleration on the circuit by enabling clutchless upshifts with the throttle fully open, KQS detects that the shift lever has been actuated and sends a signal to the ECU to cut ignition so that the next gear can be engaged without having to use the clutch. For some models, when a race kit ECU is used, clutchless downshifts are also possible.