You’ve got a long motorcycle touring trip planned out, a trip of a lifetime and you’re thinking 🤔 I wonder if motorcycle’s come with cruise control to help give your hand some relief for those long stretches of road.
So do motorcycles come with cruise control? Most motorcycles do not have cruise control, however, some specific touring motorcycles do come with cruise control. However even those who offer it, you might not want to use.
In this blog post, we will explore why most motorcyclists choose not to use cruise control and what if any of the benefits cruise control would offer to motorcycling.
What percentage of motorcycles offer cruise control?
It is hard to tell for certain how many motorcycles offer cruise control, but most estimates place the number somewhere between 30% and 45%. One of those reasons for this lack may be that motorcycles are often designed with a specific need in mind. For instance, touring bikes are more likely to have cruise control because they can cover long distances without stopping or slowing down.
Why don’t most motorcycle riders use or care about cruise control?
The main reason that most motorcyclists do not use or want to use cruise control is because of the way it affects motorcycle riding and safety, as well as the experience of riding a bike. For one thing, using this function would limit your ability to accelerate going up incidences of hills.
Furthermore, cruise control is not compatible with braking or pulling the clutch in a manual transmission motorcycle. In fact, according to riders who have experimented with this feature on their bikes and found that it led them into accidents due to how they were unable to brake as expected when coming off of an incline because they had been relying on the cruise control to do the heavy lifting for them.
As well, one of the main attractions that many riders enjoy about riding motorcycles is feeling in tune with their bike and its surroundings while out on a ride. Using this feature would remove some of these sensations from the experience as they rely solely on it rather than trusting themselves and being aware of their surroundings.
But I really want cruise control. What are my options?
If you really feel like you need cruise control, you’ve got two options; get it installed on your current motorcycle or buy a new bike with cruise control.
Buying a new motorcycle with cruise control
But if you insist on buying a touring motorcycle with cruise control there are a few options available for you including the KTM 1290 Super Adventure and BMW R 1200 GS but it would be wise to do your research before settling on a motorcycle that has cruise control given how controversial they can be.
Installing cruise control on your current motorcycle
Cruise control can be installed on any motorcycle, but it would not make sense if you have manual transmission as the rider will need to shift gears manually. In addition, cruise control could interfere with safety features such as ABS and TC (Traction Control). So be careful when choosing your motorcycle for cruise control installation.
Is it expensive to install cruise control on my motorcycle?
It is not expensive to install cruise control on your motorcycle. The cost of the installation will depend largely on how much custom work needs to be done with respect to mounting points for the throttle and brake levers, as well as wiring harnesses that need to be modified or replaced. A typical installation usually costs between $600-1500 depending upon what needs to be changed in order for it to work properly (mounting point modifications, etc.).
How does cruise control work on a motorcycle? Is it the same as a car?
Cruise control on a motorcycle is different than in car because the rider has more direct input to how it operates. The cruise control feature can be set by using an electronic device that plugs into the bike’s standard OBD-II port which then communicates with other aspects of its electronics such as throttle and gearbox pressure sensor, engine RPM (from crank position sensors) or brake force from ABS systems and others.
In summary, whilst some motorcycles may have cruise control as an option, it is not a good idea. The installation can be very expensive and the safety features of a motorcycle such as ABS will be compromised. I think at a fundamental level, we need to understand that motorcycles and cars are just different vehicles and should be treated as such. We shouldn’t be trying to add in-car features into a motorcycle. Think of airbags, on a car, it’s a great idea, less so on a motorcycle.