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BMW Removes Clutch in Bikes with Automated Shift Assistant

BMW has taken the bike world by storm by launching the Automated Shift Assistant. After working on it for five years, BMW showed it to the world last week. What is it all about, and is it the next big thing? Let's talk about all that ahead:

What is it?

The Automates Shift Assistant will serve as a progression for the brand's current BMW Motorrad shift assistant pro. It makes use of two actuators that help automate the clutch and gear shifts in the Bike's six-speed transmission. The gear shifts are made according to the instructions from the Transmission Control Unit, which adjusts the gear shifting parameters according to the riding style and the rider’s mood. This makes the whole ride quality even more dynamic and fun. They claim that the starting, stopping, and maneuvering are a breeze since there is no need to control the clutch manually. They have also claimed that the automated shift assistant creates an even more direct link to the powerful boxer engine, as precise clutch control makes it even easier to control riding enjoyment using the throttle grip and gearshift lever.

The Two Modes

The Bike offers modes with this system that you can adjust with a button on the left-hand switch block. The 'M' mode gives you control with the manual shifts at your left foot in the conventional style, just without the clutch. If you don't shift even when the revs are too low, the system will automatically go to a lower gear. 

With the 'D' (Dynamic) mode, you can go completely automatic gear shifting. BMW claims that it lets you get perfectly executed automated gear changes with smooth interruption of traction, which results in efficient motorcycle acceleration and increased riding stability. When you want to upshift, it avoids all the jolt that we characterize with conventional manual transmission systems. 

What are the Pros? 

The system has a set of pros associated with it. These include eliminating the need for the rider to operate the clutch, Flexible and convenient gear changes for more riding pleasure, a choice of manual or automatic gear changes, Adaptive gear shifts according to the rider's dynamic preferences in D mode, and elimination of the possibility of engine stalling during gear shifts. But for the cons, we will have to wait and see…

The Models that get it

BMW has kept a tight lip on which models will be available with the ASA. That being said, the BMW Motorrad website shows the boxer flat-twin engine in a cutaway diagram. The company directly referenced this engine in the information it released. We also don't have information on the price and availability. 

TopGear Magazine May 2024