TECH WATCH Q
What are autoblippers?
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.