‘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