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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.

DCT en­gine brak­ing… it’s an act of faith This lot’s go­ing to take hours to clean off DCT is a bril­liant con­fi­dence booster The dash is com­pre­hen­sive and clear 998cc twin has plenty of off-road poke No clutch, but there is a hand­brake lever ABS is de

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