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On most new motorcycle launch stories we have carried, for example the new KTM Duke 390 showcased at EICMA or the MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR, we have mentioned a term called 'ride-by-wire' technology under the features sub-title.
Most enthusiasts would understand what ride-by-wire means, but there are also some who would the technology is all about. So here's a detailed look at what's ride-by-wire, how it works, and what are the advantages of having such a system.
What is ride-by-wire technology?Ride-by-wire technology eliminates any mechanical linkage/ connection between the accelerator and the throttle. Physical linkage is replaced by sensors connected by wires, that decide how much air fuel mixture should enter the motorcycle's engine.
Who came up with ride-by-wire technology?
Yamaha pioneered the ride-by-wire technology on a motorcycle first — the 2006 YZF-R6. The YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle was part of the upgrade by the Japanese manufacturer, which also featured a new engine management control.
Why ride-by-wire technology?Ride-by-wire technology was used on large capacity motorcycles by manufacturers that were designed to be used on race tracks. Now, the technology is found on smaller capacity road-legal motorcycles too.
One of the main aspects of using the ride-by-wire technology is that motorcycle manufacturers can stick to stringent emission norms, while still being able to make high displacement motorcycles. The bigger the displacement, higher the emission and ride-by-wire technology keeps emission under check since air-fuel mixture can be fine-tuned.
How does ride-by-wire technology work?Earlier, motorcycles with carburetors had a direct cable that connected the accelerator to the slider in the carburetor. More the twist, higher the slider would open, resulting in more air fuel mixture entering the engine. Fine tuning to keep emission under control was very difficult.
With ride-by-wire technology, sensors detect the position of the accelerator and the actuators help change the position of the throttle, letting in air-fuel mixture. The movement of the throttle changes air supply to the engine.
The throttle position sensors then relay a message to the ECM, and based on that, the ECM decides how much air-fuel mixture has to be injected into the engine. This results in the engine receiving the correct amount of air-fuel mixture at any given situation.
What are the advantages of ride-by-wire technology?As pointed out earlier, the engine receives the right amount of fuel and air, which is the primary advantage. Other advantages include integrating different ride modes (Sport, Tour, Rain) like big displacement motorcycles, and also equipping motorcycles with cruise control. All this is possible because throttle response is predictable.