Best Motorcycle Technology Of 2015

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Technology of the Year Winner: Motorcycle Tuning Apps

It used to be commonplace to expect to see technology seen in Grand Prix racing bikes and/or World Superbikes trickle down to road-going production models within a decade’s time. Now, with OEMs like Yamaha, Aprilia, BMW and Ducati all having some way to view or alter bike parameters from a cell phone or tablet app, we’re seeing racing tech fast-track its way onto the bikes mere mortals like us can purchase, in less than half that time. Maybe the coolest part of this technological tour-de-force is the capabilities the manufacturers place in our hands, allowing changes to be made almost instantly, all from a few button or touchscreen presses.

2015 Yamaha YZF-R1/YZF-R1M First Ride Review + Video

We won’t get into all the technical details the different manufacturers offer in their apps, but instead we’ll highlight two features we think are changing the game: Aprilia’s traction control and Yamaha’s Y-TRAC app. What makes Aprilia’s traction control so unique, even among the advanced field of modern day sportbikes, is the user’s ability to adjust TC and wheelie control settings depending on where you are on a racetrack. The app uses your phone’s GPS to pinpoint where you are, and what turn is coming next. Then, it can dial more or less TC and/or WC based on your input. That’s just one of the many capabilities of Aprilia’s V4-MP.

2016 Aprilia RSV4 First Ride Review + Video

On the Yamaha side, its R1M also features a GPS unit, which tracks where you are and where you’ve been on track. The rider then has the ability to download their ride data through the Y-TRAC app, which overlays this info on top of a track map, allowing the rider to see which of the many rider aids they activated, the duration of activation and where it occurred, among many other things. From there, the rider has the ability to press some buttons on the app, change any number of parameters, and those changes can then be uploaded back to the bike, ready to try during your next session. It almost signals an end to finding the right wrench and dealing with the potential for bloody knuckles. Almost.

Honorable Mention: Auto-Blipping Downshifters

When you’re trying to hustle as quickly as you can around a racetrack, the last thing you want is to botch a downshift and ruin your lap time. It’s easily done, too, considering the fine balancing act required to pull the clutch, bang a downshift (or two… or three), throttle blip and release the clutch again while disrupting the rear tire as little as possible. That’s why we’re thrilled Ducati and BMW have introduced auto-blipping downshifters to their flagship sportbikes, eliminating the need to use the clutch or time a perfectly matched twist of the right grip.

2015 Ducati 1299 Panigale First Ride Review + Video

Now all one has to do when slowing for a corner is simply push (or pull, depending on your shift pattern) the shift lever for a downshift and the 1299 Panigale or S1000RR will do the rest, including execute a perfect rev match, every time. By now we’re used to bikes with quickshifters for rowing up through the gears without using the clutch (or momentary rolling off the throttle), and we’re glad to see that gear changes in the other direction are becoming equally as simple as well. Best of 2015 Categories

Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

More by Troy Siahaan

Join the conversation
3 of 11 comments
  • John B John B on Aug 06, 2015

    Technological innovation is everywhere in motorcycling. I am sure this was a difficult decision. Anyone have thoughts about the best non-technical innovation in motorcycling for 2015? Have we reached the point where all innovation is technical innovation?

    • Ducati Kid Ducati Kid on Aug 09, 2015


      GREAT Question!


      An entry level, lightweight motorcycle that includes AM (Automatic-Manual) Clutch-Gearbox operation, C-ABS, Day and Night Illumination with Multiple Terrain ESC.

      Recall, CONTROL permits Motorcycle SAFETY no matter conditions or talent.

      This for ALL Global motorcycling aspirants - at an affordable price!

  • DickRuble DickRuble on Aug 08, 2015

    They should combine the aprilia app with the downshifting technology and some automatic shifting based on position on the racetrack and all you'll have to do would be to climb aboard and hang on tight while the motorcycle does the rest.