Traction control is becoming common on high-powered superbikes, but for those that weren’t so equipped from the factory, there are several aftermarket systems available. Based in the UK, Competition Systems has spent years working with the TAS Suzuki Superbike team to develop its Nemesis traction-control system for racers and track-day riders. Further refinement and tire testing was performed by the company’s U.S. distributor, Boulder Motorsports in Colorado.
Boulder Motorsports’ and Competition Systems’ primary focus is Ducatis, so the first batch of systems, released last October, was designed for use on the Italian manufacturer’s late-model Superbikes. The $2350 Nemesis kit appears surprisingly simple in its padded case. There’s a trigger disc for the front hub, a pickup sensor, TC pod display, handlebar switch, wiring harness and machined-aluminum electronics module wrapped in carbon fiber.
Escaping the Rocky Mountain winter, the Boulder Motorsports crew came to Southern California to attend a track day at the Streets of Willow, providing us with an opportunity to experience the Nemesis system firsthand. It takes faith and trust to test a traction-control system, especially when the electronics are mounted to a 165-horsepower 1198. Thankfully, the Nemesis is up to the task.
The traction-control pod displays real-time system activity. Blue and green buttons on the
Like most systems, the Nemesis compares front and rear-wheel speeds, but the user interface and power-management strategy are totally different from the DTC system offered on top-of-the-line Ducatis. While highly functional, DTC tends to produce a stuttering feeling when active. The Nemesis system is entirely transparent. Highly refined slip maps and a three-stage response ensure that electronic intervention is smooth and precise. In fact, it worked so well that I was totally unaware of it working until sub- sequent analysis of the onboard data showed that the system was highly active exiting the Streets’ infamous Bowl banked corner and the bumpy skid pad.
Although rain limited our testing time, I did have the chance to cycle through the various maps using the buttons mounted on the left handlebar. Even when turned up to Level 9 there was no stutterjust smooth acceleration. Although the damp conditions made my test nerve-wracking, they were perfect for experimenting with traction. After just a few laps, I was thinking they should have named the system the Sentinel!
The Nemesis system uses ignition retard on both cylinders, a “soft” cut on one cylinder an
So, why would a Ducati owner choose the Nemesis system over DTC? Boulder’s Brian Sharp explains: DTC doesn’t really work if you change tires because it’s calibrated for the stock rubber, and although it has nine maps, you have to come to a stop to switch them. With the Nemesis you can download maps for any tire and it’s possible to change maps on the fly, plus the virtual front wheel-speed sensor lets you carry power wheelies.
We’re eager to see Competition Systems expand its Nemesis range. The company should have a kit for the KTM RC8 by the time you read this, so applications for more mainstream bikes shouldn’t be far off.
|Competition Systems Nemesis Traction Control |
|Price: $2350 |
|Contact: Boulder Motorsports |
|Verdict 5 out of 5 stars |
|The only drawback is its high price. |