What are au­to­blip­pers?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

An­swered by Mick Boas­man, Bike Sport De­vel­op­ments Rider aids such as trac­tion con­trol mean that ex­it­ing a cor­ner has be­come eas­ier. But brak­ing hard and turn­ing into a cor­ner can still be pretty fraught, which is where au­to­blip­pers come in.

When you are slow­ing down for a cor­ner, the rear wheel is putting pres­sure through the back of the gear­box dogs. Auto-blip­pers are sim­i­lar to quick­shifters in that they re­lease the pres­sure on gear dogs by cut­ting the ig­ni­tion, al­low­ing a smooth down­shift when a gear­link­age sen­sor de­tects pres­sure from the rider’s boot.

Be­fore this the blip­per will be sens­ing the bike’s speed, gear and rpm, as they will all de­ter­mine the length of the ‘blip’. If you are at 14,500rpm you are go­ing to need a big­ger blip, at low revs it could only be 65 mil­lisec­onds, 10 mil­lisec­onds faster than a typ­i­cal up­shift ig­ni­tion­cut. Some set­ups of­fer a ‘dou­ble­blip’ op­tion for cer­tain sce­nar­ios, the first to re­lease the gear, then an­other to keep the revs high to match the new ra­tio. A blip­per can get this data from the ECU, as in the case of the Du­cati 1299 or ZX-10R, while af­ter­mar­ket sys­tems like our Blip-box may use the CAN bus. Au­to­blip­pers can re­ally only be ap­plied to bikes with ride-by-wire where the throt­tles can be elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled.

The ob­vi­ous ad­van­tage on a race­track is that you haven’t got any man­ual clutch ac­tion un­set­tling the bike as the rear wheel’s drag pulls the back out of line. So you can keep your left-hand fin­gers wrapped around the clip-on and con­cen­trate on brak­ing and grab­bing the right gear deep into the cor­ner for max­i­mum ac­cel­er­a­tion on the way out. But while they are great for rac­ers, you have to be a lit­tle bit care­ful on the road.

Away from the in­ten­sity of the track, prob­lems start when road rid­ers try and use the auto-blip­per fa­cil­ity to drop a gear for a quick over­take as they are trundling along be­hind a lorry. The blip­per doesn’t ac­ti­vate be­cause the bike isn’t de­cel­er­at­ing, so the rider stamps on the lever, po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing the gear­box, or be­cause the bike is al­ready at low revs, the blip will make it lurch for­wards. Use the clutch lever in those sit­u­a­tions, be­cause this au­to­mat­i­cally turns off the blip­per.

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