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’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - ali­son.sil­cox@mo­tor­cy­cle­

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

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