by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
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!
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...
[UPDATE: From the Kaoko website: "The Kaokoveld, one of the last remaining true wildernesses areas on earth, was the inspiration for the company’s name."]
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...
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 incandescent bulbs 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.
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.
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 photos.
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 machined castellated nut that looks like a big gear has a small Allen set screw (grub screw) that can be used to increase friction if/after the Kaoko 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, turn the machined ring until it just starts to touch the throttle hand grip or tube. It pushes the thrust washer against the throttle tube, just touching it.
Use the throttle normally and you'll never know the Kaoko is there. If you want to use the Kaoko to set the throttle position, move the outer edge of your hand out to just cover the castellated friction ring and the throttle simultaneously.
As you roll on the throttle, the ring also turns and it moves closer to the throttle tube (it has a left-handed thread) to create enough friction against the throttle tube 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 the Kaoko can not lock the throttle open, probably because the nylon thrust washer has enough lubricity to allow the throttle tube to move if you overcome the friction.
Of course, with any type of device like this, you must be aware and know what you're doing.
Once the Kaoko throttle lock is engaged, you can make adjustments to the throttle, either up or down, and the throttle will stay in place at the final setting.
To disengage the Kaoko, cover the ring with the outer edge of your hand as you cover the throttle with the rest of your hand. As you roll the throttle forward, the nut turns and disengages, moving away from the throttle tube and ending the friction and the throttle then reacts 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.
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.
UPDATE: I also installed a Kaoko throttle lock on the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS.
From "C.N." (March 2014): "Installed this on my BMW F800GS when I bought it two years ago and absolutely love it. There are however a couple of things I think a potential customer needs to know about its long term use:
1) Your Kaoko Throttle Control will eventually begin to bind a little/turn a little less easy. This is normal and can be remedied by removing, disassembling and cleaning the throttle control and the disk between the handle and the control. Very simple maintenance and no problem.
2) The small screw grub screw in the rotating plastic operation handle as well as the main bulk of the throttle control is made of steel and both will rust (the grub screw right away and the bar end of the throttle control as soon as you wear through the paint). At the price level of this product that really isn't acceptable and is something that the manufacturer should consider changing!"
From "M.M." (May 2013): "Greetings from Alaska, I installed a Kaoko throttle lock on my 2010 Ducati Multistrada. The fit and finish are great and compared to the Throttlemeister on my wife's BMW it is less obtrusive but works just as well. It's just right for the Ducati. Install was simple and it functions as advertised. I am pleased with its performance and highly recommend it."
From "M.E." (February 2013): "I’ve had a Kaoko cruise control on my (BMW R)1200RT for 5 years now. In all that time I’ve never needed to give it a thought, it just does the job.
Do watch out though if you turn your heated grips on after engaging the throttle lock, due to expansion of the grip it can tighten up quite a bit! My review of the Kaoko."