Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

‘The rear brake comes on enough to stop the bike rolling back­wards’

Q What’s all this hill start as­sist?

KTM and BMW both have ver­sions of an in-built ‘hand­brake’ for hill starts. The KTM ver­sion is known as Hill Hold Con­trol, or HHC for short. There is an In­er­tial Mea­sure­ment Unit which de­tects the gra­di­ent and whether the bike is at a stand­still.

If the bike is sta­tion­ary the ABS con­trol mod­ule ini­ti­ates HHC and the rear brake comes on enough to stop the bike rolling back­wards. If the rider uses the brake them­selves, and then re­leases it prior to mov­ing off, the HHC will main­tain brake pres­sure for five sec­onds, or un­til the bike starts to edge for­wards.

The nec­es­sary me­chan­ics and elec­tron­ics are al­ready on board – the fea­ture only needs to be en­abled by soft­ware at a KTM deal­er­ship.

BMW’S ver­sion is called Hill Start Con­trol and is ac­ti­vated by the rider ‘pulling firmly’ on the brake lever. This ac­ti­vates the sys­tem and pres­sure is built up in the rear brake sys­tem to keep the ma­chine at a stand­still on a gra­di­ent. The hold­ing pres­sure built up in the brake sys­tem de­pends on the steep­ness of the gra­di­ent. At this point a hold­ing sym­bol ap­pears in the mul­ti­func­tion dis­play. If you se­lect first or sec­ond, dial in some revs and let the clutch out it will start to dis­en­gage as it feels the drive. Pulling the brake lever again also de­ac­ti­vates the func­tion.

Although hill starts are a skill all of us have mas­tered, the sys­tem is a wel­come bonus on a heav­ily loaded tour­ing ma­chine.

No more hold­ing the bike on the rear brake pedal for hills

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