Media Reviews

KAOKO Throttle Control

Kaoko Throttle Control Review
by Rick K. for
The Kaoko Throttle Control is a friction device to hold throttle position on a motorcycle.
This can help alleviate cramps and pain on long-distance "superslab" rides.
It replaces the standard handlebar end weight or end cap.
The Kaoko Throttle Control installs easily and the manufacturer has versions for many different motorcycles.
It's more intuitive and easier to use than most of the inexpensive plastic throttle holders we've tried.
Also, the Kaoko device is unobtrusive and made to match the handlebar end weight or end cap for each specific brand and model.
We have reviewed a couple of different throttle controls on webBikeWorld in the past.
For example, the aptly-named Motorcycle Cruise Control (review) is claimed to be "the only model-specific, plug and play, fully electronic, after-market motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle cruise control and ATV speed limiter kits in the world".
It is a true cruise control because it maintains a constant speed when the bike is traveling up and down hills.
A throttle control is different and usually a friction-based device that holds the throttle in one position. It must be adjusted on hills and the friction must be overcome to reduce throttle down to idle speed.
Installing a true cruise control system is not for the faint-of-heart and it's probably best to buy an optional cruise control system with the motorcycle, if possible.
But, few motorcycles have a cruise control as an option, thus the relative popularity of friction-based and other types devices, from rubber O-rings to palm rests to friction clamps.
I have a "Throttle Rocker" (review) hiding in a storage cabinet drawer somewhere in the garage, and I used it quite often with my BMW K75 about 10 years ago. It does not hold the throttle but it can help relax the right hand on the throttle grip, which helps.
There are several similar devices to be found, including the Cramp Buster and BrakeAway, both of which were included in the Throttle Rocker review referenced above. And don't forget the popular GoCruise Throttle Control (review), which was reviewed in 2011.
As an aside, I recently purchased another GoCruise for the BMW C 650 GT scooter (blog) but it disappeared before I had a chance to try it. I laid it on the seat and took off on the scooter...and that was that. I ordered another and quickly installed it before I lost it too!
The Kaoko Throttle Control kit with nylon thrust washer.
The thrust washer fits over a shoulder machined into the metal throttle control housing.
The Kaoko Throttle Control replaces the original equipment handlebar end cap.
Here's the monster T55 bolt fitted by BMW that holds the end cap on the BMW C 650 GT scooter.
The Kaoko Throttle Control
Kaoko has been making throttle controls for many years. I'm not sure what the word "Kaoko" means; in American slang, Kaoko is sometimes used to describe something that is "really nice or perfect". Kaoko Cruise Controls is based in South Africa, so I'm wondering if the company was named for the Kaokoveld, a region of Namibia? Although the distance between the two is better than 2,000 kilometers...
The Kaoko Throttle Control is a beautifully made device. The company makes throttle controls for many different motorcycle brands and models and this one is machined from metal (I assume steel) and appears to have some type of PVD or anodized coating. By the way, probably one of the better-known competitors to the Kaoko product is the Throttlemeister Cruise Control (review).
I approached Kaoko about making a throttle control for the new BMW C-series scooters and -- in a big surprise to me -- they popped one out very quickly. You're looking at what is the first Kaoko Throttle Control for the BMW scooter, but the production versions should be ready to go by time you read this.
Each Kaoko Throttle Control is designed specifically for a make and model of motorcycle. It replaces the original equipment handlebar end cap or bar end weight, so it's made to look like an OE fitment and integrates very nicely with the stock handlebar appearance with little indication that there's anything different, unless you notice the castellated friction nut.
The installation is a simple plug-and-play; that is, unscrew the OE end cap, bolt on the Kaoko device and you're ready to go.
On the BMW scooter, the handlebar end cap is attached with -- get this -- a T55 Torx bolt. If you didn't know there was such a thing as a size T55, join the club -- I never saw a Torx fastener as big as this until the BMW scooter came along. No wonder this scooter weighs as much as a Harley (and only gets 48 MPG)!
I had to borrow Chris' 3/8" T55 socket to install it. But the upside is that discovering BMW uses a T55 gave me an excuse to buy my own monster set of Torx sockets. Now I'm ready, considering that the C-series scooters are apparently put together almost completely with Torx fasteners. More on that in my Torx Bits and Driver Sets review...
Why a Kaoko Throttle Control?
Is it difficult to justify spending around $120.00 on a throttle control? The answer is maybe yes and maybe no and it depends on your farkle-it-up perspective.
But, you're asking the wrong guy. Remember me? I'm the guy who spent 18 bucks each ($18 x 4 = $72.00 plus postage, plus the cost of the diode kit!) for LED tower bulbs (review) that replaced, oh, about $4.00 worth of 1156 incandescents on the Suzuki DR650. Obviously, a nut case.
Yes, the Kaoko device will cost maybe 7 to 10 times more than a GoCruise or Cramp Buster. But the Kaoko Throttle Control is in a different league altogether from those very pedestrian devices.
I can also say that I have never been able to get used to the GoCruise type of friction throttle control. Oh, it works -- more or less -- but it takes more fussing to engage and disengage and is definitely clumsier in use. And I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to do when it comes to throttle control is to be fussing and guessing.
It takes no time at all to get used to the Kaoko Throttle Control and it's actually both a pleasure to use and very intuitive, besides looking great. Roll on the throttle with the outer edge of your hand covering the castellated nut on the Kaoko device and the throttle position is held. Roll off while covering the Kaoko and it disengages.
The manufacturer says it can not lock and we have not been able to get it to do so. You can always roll back the throttle, even without covering the Kaoko, and the throttle will turn. It's also very easy to make multiple small adjustments one way or another on the throttle if necessary with the Kaoko engaged, and the throttle will hold position.
So there's not really a good justification for spending the money, other than to say if you like nicely designed, beautifully machined objects that work as intended and make life easier, than you've come to the right place.
(L) Inserting the Kaoko Throttle Control. (R) T55 Torx 3/8" drive socket.
Installing the Kaoko Throttle Control
Apparently, the instructions for installation are the same for just about every bike. Unfasten the end cap on the right-side handlebar and remove the OE cap and bolt, then insert the Kaoko Throttle Control and bolt it in.
Also, there is a nylon thrust washer that goes between the castellated locking nut and the end of the throttle, as you can see in the photo on the left just above. It is designed to fit over a machined shoulder on the inside of the Kaoko Throttle Control, which keeps the washer centered and correctly located.
The nut turns slightly and it has a small Allen set screw that can be used to increase friction if/after the nut becomes loose over time. Some owners have said that they use the set screw to lock the nut down towards the outside to keep it out of the way when they're riding off-road, but I don't really see where that is necessary.
To set up the Kaoko device, turn the nut until it just starts to touch the throttle hand grip or tube. Use the throttle normally and you'll never know the Kaoko is there. If you want to set the throttle position, move the outer edge of your hand out to just cover the castellated friction nut. As you roll on the throttle, the nut turns and creates enough friction against the throttle to hold it in place.
Even with the Kaoko engaged, you can always roll back on the throttle to get back to idle; the company says it can not lock the throttle. Of course, with any type of device like this, you must be aware and know what you're doing.
But to disengage the Kaoko, cover the nut with the outer edge of your hand. As you roll the throttle forward, the nut turns and disengages, and the throttle snaps back as normal.
It's actually very intuitive and works faster and easier in reality than it seems when I describe it. And that's the genius of the design actually; it's intuitive and natural, versus the "stick" type throttle locks that take finger fiddling and a look down to set. Once you've tried the Kaoko a couple of times, you don't have to look down at it -- just move your hand and it sets.
Note the head of the bolt on this BMW is nearly as big as the handlebar diameter!
Here's a quick video we took in the garage that illustrates how the Kaoko Throttle Control works. Again, it's easier to use on the road than it is to explain it in the garage, but the recent 18-degree F weather, along with snow, ice and salted roads, has pretty much put a halt to any two-wheeled adventures for the time being.
The Kaoko Throttle Control is easy to install and easy and intuitive to use. I have tried several different friction-based throttle locks or controls, and I find this one makes me feel much more comfortable and without the nervousness that I get when using the other types. That, and the nicely integrated design, makes this the friction-based throttle control of choice.