THE QUESTION Taking the fear out of gears
Which mode makes the most sense? ‘As expected, Sport mode is the most fun, and ideal for country roads’
I feel I should be wearing a white coat and not a leather jacket with all the scientific testing I’ve been doing. Well, I say scientific testing with my tongue slightly in cheek – what I’m trying to work out is which of the Honda X-ADV’S gear modes is right for me.
Unlike other auto gearboxes, Honda’s DCT can work automatically or be manually controlled with paddle shifters on the left handlebar. The first bike I rode with this system was the Honda NC700X in 2011 and then I wasn’t quite so inquisitive, so never really ventured out of Drive mode.
Six years on, I’m a much more competent and confident rider, so keen to get the best from the X-ADV. With this in mind I’ve spent the last month using each mode in isolation.
In Drive mode, gear changes are swift, by 40mph I’m in sixth. It holds the gears far longer than expected when slowing. Annoyingly, below 10mph, it has a habit of unexpectedly dropping into first gear, which unsettles the bike.
As expected, Sport Mode’s fun and ideal on country roads. If I give a sharp twist of the throttle it will hold each gear longer, rev more between changes and doesn’t get up to sixth until I’ve settled at my top speed.
Manual mode is strange, I found I forgot to go up the box, which made the engine protest. Having said that, once I got my head back into me being in control it was fun. There is an inconsistency when I drop down the gearbox. Sometimes there’s an automatic override, if I don’t change down quickly enough the DCT does it for me, which isn’t great.
I was interested to find there was just 3mpg difference between the modes. As expected, Sport was least economical, but still delivered 67.5mpg, which won’t make a massive difference to my pocket.
With all the facts gathered, I reckon each mode has its place, but I’m stuck on Sport from now on.
Drive mode is fine in town, but drops unexpectedly into first gear below 10mph
Ali selects yet another gear mode
ALISON SILCOX Office Manager Been riding for 13 years and over 20 as pillion. Height 5ft 10in Weight 72kg