BMW motorcycles

BMW Introduces Clutchless Automated Shift Assistant (ASA) for Boxer Engine

BMW Introduces Clutchless Automated Shift Assistant (ASA) for Boxer Engine

Prepare yourself for better comfort and feel on two wheels as the motorcycling technology is advancing quite rapidly. BMW Motorrad has just launched a groundbreaking technology, known as the Automated Shift Assistant (ASA), for their renowned boxer-engine motorcycles.

This revolutionary design eliminates the clutch lever and its use altogether, providing riders with a completely new level of riding experience. Continue reading this article to learn everything about BMW’s latest clutchless automatic transmission technology.

1. BMW Debuts Clutchless Automatic Transmission for Boxer Engine

1.1 Shifting Gears Just Got Easier

While the conventional quick shifters installed on motorcycles only make it possible to facilitate clutchless gearshifting, BMW’s ASA goes a step further. It incorporates two intelligent electronic actuators: one is designed to contain clutch operation while the other is designed to manage gear shifting.

Both these actuators work in complete synchronization to execute all the shifting roles, leaving you with the responsibility of managing the motorcycle steering and controlling the accelerator.

1.2 Two Modes to Match Your Ride Style

ASA has a specific goal of addressing your individual riding preferences through two distinct modes. It shifts gear for you in the same manner as a fully automatic transmission by shifting to the ‘D’ mode.

This is particularly beneficial for leisure rides on open roads and riding in stop-and-go traffic. Get on the bike, twist the throttle, and go with no concern of having to shift gears with the clutch in between.

Being a modern-day motorcyclist, we all wish for something a bit different once in a while. To switch to the traditional riding style, press the button to change to “M” mode where the gears are shifted manually. This is where the conventional foot shifter is used as normal.

However, the ASA will look after the clutch and gear shifts without the need for any manual clutching. It is perfect for those riders who want to have the feel of manual transmission without the need to engage the clutch lever.

1.3 The Drive ‘D’ Mode (Automatic)

BMW has incorporated a complex electronic actuator that links with an engine control unit (ECU) that automates the upshifting and downshifting processes.

The ECU installed plays the key role in determining when to upshift and downshift depending on multiple factors including throttle, speed, and engine’s working. The signal is carried through the complex wiring system. The electronically-controlled actuator, on the other hand, automates the process by bypassing the gearshift assembly and activating the gear change automatically.

1.4 The Manual ‘M’ Mode

The Manual ‘M’ mode incorporated in the BMW’s automatic transmission technology makes the system work according to the rider’s input which is not dependent on the ECU. It works like a quickshifter. The quickshifter allows fast and smooth gear shifting without the need to engage the clutch. You will find the same foot-controlled shifter in the BMW models equipped with the ASA technology.

The ‘M’ mode doesn’t eliminate the ECU from the system. Instead, it uses the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) to send information to the ECU which causes the gear change.

The Manual ‘M’ Mode
Photo Credit: BMW Motorcycles

Two possibilities can arise while shifting gears in the ‘M’ mode. It will be implemented directly if the speed and rev range is within the sweet spot and demands a gear change.

However, what if the rider’s input to shift the gear is not according to the data and conditions pre-installed in the ECU? This is where the BMW’s ASA shines as it still ensures a smooth gear change.

1.5 Beyond Convenience: Enhanced Performance and Fuel Efficiency

It is important to understand that ASA goes beyond the issue of comfort alone. This system has an electronic controller that governs the operation of the bike. It also decides which gear is most suitable for a given ride. This translates into a state-of-the-art ride feel. The ASA also helps the engine remain in the sweet spot for power and torque delivery, resulting in better fuel consumption.

1.6 Useful for New Riders

When learning how to ride a motorcycle, newcomers usually face a problem with the clutch as one of the hardest things to learn. ASA helps to get rid of this problem completely, so beginners can dedicate time to learning:

  • How to control the throttle
  • How to apply brakes
  • How to maneuver

This can make the machine much more approachable for newcomers.

2. Analyzing the BMW’s ASA and Honda’s DCT

This news of the arrival of BMW’s latest clutchless ASA technology has certainly gained a lot of attention in the motorcycling world of automatic transmissions. Honda has been active for quite a long time with the already-established Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) technology.

2.1 Tried and Tested: Honda’s DCT Vs. BMW ASA

One of the best and most successful examples of the automatic transmission model is Honda’s DCT. Available on various motorcycles for many years, the DCT technology has earned a solid fan base.

What users love about the DCT includes:

  • The smooth gear shiting
  • The multiple riding modes
  • The riding ease and comfort

Being already in the market for years, Honda’s DCT holds quite a strong position in the market. It has allowed the company to understand the tendencies and gaps and make changes accordingly.

2.2 More Refined: Honda’s DCT Vs. BMW ASA

As a new entrant, ASA can be slightly more sophisticated than Honda’s DCT and tackle any problems observed throughout the years. In contrast, Honda already has solid experience with DCT, as it has been in operation for several years and installed in different models. ASA is a relatively new entrant and it needs to prove its reliability.

2.3 Ease of Use: Honda’s DCT Vs. BMW ASA

It remains to be seen whether BMW’s ASA can create a niche of its own. There are good chances that this technology can be successful in the market. ASA arrives with strong points and those are the concepts of simplicity and ease of usability.

ASA features an electro-hydraulic clutch control system, working in conjunction with gear selection, whereas DCT employs two distinct clutches for gear shifting.

If you want a motorcycle that you can ride without much effort and is also quite comfortable. In that case, BMW’s automated shift assistant takes the lead. Nevertheless, if one wants high levels of adjustable ride quality, DCT still has no competition.

2.4 The Competition: Honda’s DCT Vs. BMW ASA

The competition is apparent between ASA and DCT and it will be beneficial to riders in the long run. Each technology has unique benefits, and the availability of both automatic and manual modes takes motorcycle engineering to new levels. It is an indication of new and improved features in the future, something that will be more in line with what a rider wants.

3. Benefits and Drawbacks of BMW’s Automated Shift Assistant (ASA)

Benefits and Drawbacks of BMW’s Automated Shift Assistant (ASA)
Benefits Drawbacks
Enables smooth operation Increase in the overall weight
Effortless riding experience Increases complexity
Eliminates the use of clutch lever Increases the cost of the motorbike
Good for beginners Increases the maintenance cost
Makes riding easy Service intervals increase as well
Allows switching to the manual mode
Electromechanical system for automated clutch regulation

4. The Future of Motorcycle Technology

Though BMW hasn’t yet revealed which of the boxer models are to be fitted with ASA first, its adoption is indicative of a new chapter in the evolution of motorcycles. This innovative system puts BMW at a competitive edge by providing the motorcycle industry with an advanced riding experience. The technology also allows the experience to be customized to the needs of both the professional rider and the beginner.

However, despite the changing nature of motorcycles to comply with modern requirements, there are still a large number of riders who prefer the classic appeal of their bike. For a motorcycle to fit into the American motorcycling culture, it should include a saddlebag , fairing , sissy bas , backrest , tank bag , and backpack . You can easily find these add-ons on Viking Bags ’ online store.

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