BMW Automated Shift Assist Announced

BMW Motorrad is set to move into the automatic gearbox sector, as its Automated Shift Assist system is unveiled

BMW Automated Shift Assist

Automatic gearboxes on motorcycles seem to be getting a bit more popular (with bike makers, anyway) as BMW joins Honda with its own take on the technology.

The system, called Automated Shift Assist (ASA) was revealed at a launch event in Munich this week, and it looks to run alongside the German brand’s conventional gearbox models, not to replace them.

The system is said to "Simplify your ride", and uses an automated clutch and shifting mechanism, without, BMW claims, ‘sacrificing the emotionally important dynamics of shifting’.

ASA works thanks to two electromechanical actuators that automate the clutch and gearshift of the six-speed transmission, meaning there is no need clutch lever. Like Honda’s DCT system, you pull away like a scooter by twisting the throttle and the clutch is automatically actuated once you come to a stop again. The rider's shift request is transmitted to the control unit via a gearshift lever sensor, which is actuated by the gear lever. Additional sensors gauge the revs of the transmission input shaft and the clutch position. This data is fed to the Transmission Control Unit (TCU), which, along with the bike’s ECU, decides on how much clutch pressure to apply to enable the shift to take place.

The system uses two shifting modes, ‘M’ and ‘D’. In M modes, the rider still moves the gear lever and decides when they want the bike to shift either up or down. Dropping the bike into the D mode will mean the up and downshifts are automatically chosen for you by the gearbox's electrical control unit.

One of the benefits of the system, BMW claims, is a reduction in ‘shift shock’, which can be felt as the thump in your back when upshifting conventionally with a quickshifter-equipped motorcycle. Something BMW says will help to reduce the ‘risk of helmet contact between rider and passenger.’ This statement doesn’t confirm which bikes the system will be landing on, but it at least points to the Bavarian brand’s large-capacity adventure tourers as the model BMW has in mind. It’s fairly safe to assume that more high-performance bikes, such as the M 1000 RR, will remain with a conventional gearbox and shifter.