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stop running (unless you turn it off) so when you come to a stop the system will have automatically changed down to first and be ready to go again.
While it’s rare that I agree with a company’s marketing bumf in its entirety, the DCT technology does genuinely offer seamless gear changes. So much so that you cannot fail to be impressed by the advanced engineering behind it (see boxout, page 42). Off-road when there are plenty of things going on, I didn’t even know the system had changed gear for me. This is helped massively by the linear power delivery of the 998cc parallel-twin motor, which offers predictable power delivery throughout the rev range.
There was one particularly gnarly downhill section of the loop we were riding: Rutted from 4-wheel drives’ tyre tracks, it was crazily slippery and steep enough that if you made a mistake, you wouldn’t stop rolling until you got to the bottom. It was a prime situation for wanting to pull in the clutch and control speed purely on the brakes. Initially nervous onboard the DCT, I made the descent control- ling speed using the brakes, but with no option to think about the clutch. As I got towards the bottom I found the confidence to let off the brakes, rely on engine braking and allow the speed to increase. My worry was that the increase in velocity would trigger the DCT to change up a gear, therefore negating the engine braking effect. But with the previously mentioned Gravel button activated the bike knew I was going downhill so hung on to the gear to give the desired engine braking effect.
Ascents are the same. The easy throttle control and electronics make sure all available grip is exploited and the Gravel setting means that the bike won’t automatically change gear half way up, robbing you of momentum.
Both models operate the same traction control settings. It’s a three-stage system that can be adjusted with the flick of a switch located where the passing light traditionally sits. By holding the switch momentarily the traction control can be turned off completely – a welcome piece of simplicity that means you don’t have to scroll your way through complicated menu windows.
The DCT comes with two basic modes. Drive is aimed at general road use and gives a smooth ride while minimising gear changes. There is also a sport mode, which has three options within it that determine throttle response and how much it lets the bike rev during gear changes. The DCT bikes also come with easy-to-use buttons that allow you to change gear manually at whatever revs you like.