2024 BMW Announces Automated Shift Assistance System ASA: A Game-Changer for Motorcycles

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BMW Announces Automated Shift Assistance System

BMW announced some interesting news with their new ASA, or automated shift assistance system, which effectively opens up automatic motorcycle.

You got to think, with it being their best seller, this is realistically going to come to the R1300 GS within the next year or so. So how does it work and is it any good?

How it works

Now, Basically, they say it works with a pair of electronic actuators, one operating on the clutch and the other one operating on the Gearbox.

So what this means is that you don’t actually have a clutch lever on these bikes. And basically, the electronics will take care of all the clutch work for you.

So it pretty much operates like a twist and go. No need to hold in the clutch when you come to a stop.

And also, there’s no need to dip the clutch on shifts either.

There is, however, still a shifter peg down by your left foot, and you can either run the bike in a M mode, which I assume is manual, and that means you can do the shift yourself.

But given that you’ve got the electronic clutch always on the go, it will effectively operate like a quick shifter, so no need to touch the clutch.

And they say it’s actually super slick. The other option is a D mode or drive mode, one hopes.

And this means that the bike will take care of the shifts on your behalf, so it’s basically operating like automatic.

Now, like I say, up and down the box, whether you’re in manual or drive, they’re saying it’s really smooth and it eliminates any jolts on shifts.

And also the shift behavior is actually tied into the riding mode.

So you guess that in dynamic, for example, it’s going to hold on to the gears a little bit longer to get you into the upper part of the rev range.

And then also if you’re in rain, for example, it’ll be smoother and more cautious with the clutch.

Then on top of all that, the intention is to tie in with some of their more advanced rider rates, like active cruise control and front collision warnings, which are powered by a front-facing radar on bikes like the R1250 RT and the R1300 GS.

That’s looking for traffic in front and whether you need to slow down or you can speed up.

And so this system will presumably knock down the gears as you decelerate owing to the radar or even go up through the box if you start to accelerate as the road opens up and becomes clear.

Now, they don’t, in the press release, specifically call out any single bike, but they do mention a couple of times the Boxer Twin.

So with the GS being, like I say, their biggest seller, it’s got to be a clear target for this tech, especially in a road and touring-focused spec.

You’d imagine as well the R1250 RT, or maybe when it’s updated to the R1300 RT, will suit this quite nicely, and maybe even to some extent, the R1250 R and R1250 RS.


So what does this compare to? Well, I think Honda have to have been a big inspiration with this.

They’ve run their dual clutch transmission or DCT on many of their bikes for many years now and it does pretty much the same.

You can either run it in an automatic mode or you can run it in manual and control it through buttons on the switch gear or opt for the accessory shifter peg, which is more like an electronic shifter peg that emulates those buttons.

Really quite similar, no clutch on those bikes either. And where the DCT might still have a bit of an advantage is in terms of the smoothness.

It basically has two sets of gears, first, third, and fifth, and second, fourth, and sixth.

And the two clutch is, hence the name dual clutch, seamlessly move between those two boxes so that you basically get this continuous blend of power.

And it really does feel like smooth and luxurious. Whether BMW can get it quite as smooth as that remains to be seen.

But the thing with DCT is it does cost about a grand on some of their bikes versus the manual version because it’s pretty complex and also it adds about 10 kilograms of weight.

So you’ve got to imagine that BMW have gone down this route. To save on weight, keep it simple and also, hopefully, bring the cost down a bit as well.

In a way, it’s a little bit like a halfway house between the full DCT system and Honda’s own budget alternative, which is their e-Clutch, which is new for 2024.

You can get this on the CB 650 R naked and the CBR 650 RR sports bike. And it’s pretty much just the clutch part of this system that’s been announced by BMW.

So it will automatically do the clutch on your behalf. You can actually take control and fall back on the clutch lever.

It’s still there, but it doesn’t do the Gearbox thing. It doesn’t have an actuator on the Gearbox, and you still have to do that manually.

And I think it’s just 100 quid more than the standard version of those two bikes I mentioned, or certainly somewhere around that price.

So, yeah, much more affordable, easier to fit to different bikes, but not as comprehensive and transformative in terms of the riding experience as something like DCT.

Who Want It

this BMW sits right in the middle. Interestingly, some other manufacturers have been talking about tech like this recently.

There was a copyright a couple of weeks back where Yamaha showed some designs for this thing, two electronic actuators, one on the Gearbox and one on the clutch on their CP2 parallel twins.

So the MT07, R7 sports bike, Teneri 700 adventure bike, Tracer 7, sports tourer, and XSR 700 retro.

They might be a little bit peeved. The BMW have absolutely beaten them to it here. But again, that’s focusing on the more affordable side of this tech with that line of bikes.

And then also when we spoke to MV Augusta recently about their Enduro Velocce adventure bike.

It hasn’t launched with it, but they did mention a very similar idea a couple of years back with regards to it having actuators on the clutch and Gearbox.

So it seems like a lot of companies are looking at this tech and trying to push it forward.

The weird thing is I’ve rarely spoken to any biker who says that they would love the clutch to be out of the equation.

Is it realistically something that people are actually looking for? Certainly not from the comments on this channel.

The less tech, the better for the majority of people, I think, in terms of the bikes they ride.

But there must be an audience out there or a potential customer base to make it worthwhile because so many manufacturers are looking to get into it.

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