It's just a passing gimmick IMHO.
On sports bikes there was a fear of political backlash to the powerful engine outputs they were achieving with their latest models so they fitted what they called “switchable mapping” where the rider can select from a range of settings via a switch on the handle bar. Thus, you have a setting for “wet weather” so the rider would not kill himself winding on 190 bhp in second gear out of a round-about! Other settings are for “track” for obvious “political” reasons. All's they do is adjust the ignition timing but mostly the fuel injection sequence to degrade the engine performance in some way. Sometimes they can change the response of the secondary 'flies if fitted too.
To be fair, these have now evolved into semi-useful traction control and will evolve further into anti-lock braking which the EU fascists are seeking to make mandatory for all bikes and should be resisted (or better still – leave the EU
Some bikes are equipped with knock sensors which act as a proxy to detect the octane rating of the fuel under the conditions under which the engine is operating and can adjust the ignition timing accordingly therefore, intrinsically “switch the mapping” whilst others with EFI will adjust the injection parameters also.
A well designed EFI such as BMW's parallel twins' can run very efficiently (I haven't studied how they do this) but all bikes today are designed to meet legislative emission requirements as their “first state of tune”. Their EFI's will always attempt to achieve “stoich” or stoichiometric ratio
which is the optimum for emissions (obliged by legislation) and theoretical combustion efficiency. However, this is seldom the optimum state of tune for either maximum power or maximum fuel economy and a good EFI will have sufficient sensors and software to enable both – except for the emissions requirements getting in the way all the time!
The biggest obstacle to the happy medium is the OEM's choosing to fit (for cost reasons) narrow-band lambda sensors in the exhaust stream. These are only capable of detecting rich or lean and act more like a switch than a sensor. Wide-band sensors are available which can enable a far more subtle EFI response and will produce perfect fuelling under all conditions, can run your engine to the extremes of lean (and therefore fuel economy) as well as “best power” and response.
To get to this happy sate you will have to junk your standard ECU and learn about after market ECU's (cheaper too than OEM's). You can tune your engine how you like, tune each cylinder individually, tune for a different map for each gear, tune on the fly from your mobile phone if you wish so there really is no requirement whatsoever for “switchable mapping”.
MegaSquirt is the way to go; it's all open source and the latest MicroSquit is designed especially for bikes and other small engines and I'm hoping to find one under my Christmas tree in a few weeks
Incidentally, the hated EU is proposing legislation which will make it illegal for all but “official” technicians to open up or otherwise modify your engine and also to compel official technicians (i.e. your “official” dealer) to report you to the authorities for prosecution for doing so under pain of two years imprisonment. Luckily the hated EU is about to implode and leave us all the