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.