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ADV NewsHonda Jump Control System In The Works

Honda Jump Control System In The Works

New off-road rider aid technology targets controlled flight.

Published on 04.26.2023

Catching some air on a dirt bike is a right of passage. It can be absolutely thrilling, or if unplanned or mishandled, terrifying. Add panic, and fun turns to disaster with a twitch of a brake lever. Add the heft of an adventure bike and it’s even more important to know exactly what you’re doing. Interestingly, Honda has just filed patent documents to protect technology that could do all the calculating for you. 

Called Jump Control, the system, still in development, would be able to adjust chassis behavior on the (literal) fly by using a variety of existing technologies, combined with some new tricks. 

Honda Jump Control System
The system is illustrated on a CRF450 Rally Bike, pointing to rally-racing as one of its potential uses where riders face endless miles of sky-high dunes.

First there was ABS of course, and we’re all used to traction control by now, too, which originally responded to wheel spin, but now employs sophisticated gyroscopic lean and inertia sensors that so smart systems can address any potential loss of traction well before it happens.


Thanks to these newer, more intricate technologies that interpret lean angle, speed, braking force and even suspension travel when problem solving, we’ve seen ever-more sophisticated rider aides come on the market, including wheelie control, slide assist, engine braking control and launch control. And while these high tech rider aids are most often seen on high-end road bikes, things like Hill Hold/Hill Start Control use the same technology to make life easier for adventure bike riders.

Honda’s proposed Jump Control would be pointed at off-road use, of course, and the drawings included with the patent application feature the system on a CRF450 Rally. The idea is to not only help riders feel their way into the execution of jumps but to also provide a safer way to do so. 

How will it work? All those high tech computerized sensors would work in concert with a completely new bit of equipment in the form of a front pointed camera. The camera’s computer would see launch-worthy slope approaching, measure its dimensions, confer with inertia sensors and initiate throttle and or rear brake actions so that the system can devise an appropriate flight plan that includes a predetermined limit on distance.

Honda Jump Control System
The system has 3 different levels of intervention: Mode A nixes any jumping; Mode B controls the flight for a level, two-wheel landing; Mode C allows more speed and elevation of the front wheel targeting a rear wheel landing.

Once airborne, wheel speed and suspension travel sensors let the system know the bike is in flight, while computer-aided throttle and rear brake adjustments can further control the attitude of the chassis. 

As with most rider aids, Honda’s Jump Control system would feature dialable “levels” of intervention. Mode A would completely nix any lofting whatsoever by automatically decreasing throttle and even applying brakes as necessary to keep the bike planted on terra firma.

Mode B would allow for controlled flight, with the intention of the bike landing evenly on both wheels. As you’re approaching a jump, the system would make adjustments to speed with the intention of limiting airtime to the prescribed distance, while rear brake would be added to keep the nose from gaining too much height upon launch.

Honda Jump Control System

The most advanced Mode, C, would allow more speed on entry and orchestrate landings like the pros, with just the right bump of throttle added on take off to loft the nose and maintain an angle so that the rear wheel touches down first on landing.

In Cycle World’s report on Honda’s new Jump Control system it was speculated that there would likely be sub-menus, too, as with traction and slide control systems, allowing the target flight distances to be modified.

Pretty wild, right? No doubt this system would be a confidence builder for riders newer to off-road riding but it might also serve veterans by conserving mental and physical energy during days-long rides. And while some of us might bristle at the thought of even more technology invalidating hard-earned skills, there can be no argument that making motorcycles safer is a legitimate goal. Even the best riders make dumb mistakes, and that makes a smart motorcycle good insurance. 

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

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