Brian Gillen

Chief En­gi­neer, MV Agusta takes us through the in­no­va­tive Smart Clutch Sys­tem (SCS)

Bike India - - COVER STORY -

The ba­sis (of the SCS) is the Rek­luse EXP sys­tem, a unique ex­pand­ing clutch disk. We con­tacted Rek­luse two years ago. They were us­ing it in off-road ap­pli­ca­tions, their main fo­cus is anti-stalling in some­thing like hard en­duro – Erzberg and events like that. We were look­ing at dif­fer­ent sys­tems like dual clutch, CVT, and hav­ing known about Rek­luse we said, ‘Let’s talk to these guys and see whether they’re in­ter­ested in do­ing some­thing with us.’ And they were.

Their (Rek­luse) ex­pe­ri­ence was dif­fer­ent to what we needed so the con­cept was great but we needed to spend a lot of de­vel­op­ment time in order to get some­thing that was right for us. We worked re­ally closely with them, in Idaho and Varese, to get the right kind of feel be­cause we didn’t just want an auto clutch, we wanted per­for­mance. We de­signed a com­pletely new clutch cen­tre hub and pres­sure plate, the cen­tre hub rid­ing on 12 steel pins with DLC plat­ing.

There are two parts to the Smart Clutch Sys­tem – the me­chan­i­cal part and the elec­tron­ics. The me­chan­i­cal part is the core of it, but the elec­tron­ics are vi­tal. We’ve taken what was a me­chan­i­cal sys­tem, the ex­pand­ing clutch disk from Rek­luse, and turned it into a me­chan­i­cal-elec­tronic sys­tem, con­trol­ling it based on ve­hi­cle speed, rpm and gear po­si­tion, plus what the rider re­quests with the throt­tle.

We think the sys­tem gives a def­i­nite ad­van­tage, es­pe­cially for some­one who rides in the city. Not hav­ing to use the clutch man­u­ally leaves your brain, your com­put­ing power, that much more free to pay at­ten­tion to what’s go­ing on around you, with­out try­ing to match rpm and throt­tle and clutch and what’s go­ing on with the bike. It’s one of those things, like an auto-blip­per, where you don’t re­alise what an ad­van­tage it is un­til you try it.

It’s an easy idea but once you get into the de­vel­op­ment of it, and all the dif­fer­ent con­di­tions and man­u­fac­tur­ing tol­er­ances, it has to be very ro­bust. And at MV Agusta we look at ev­ery­thing from a per­for­mance stand­point. It’s no good hav­ing a great gadget that adds 10kg of weight. To earn a place on our bikes some­thing has to be com­pact and light, and give a per­for­mance ad­van­tage.

I think we’ll see the sys­tem used on more mod­els in the fu­ture, and sooner rather than later. The more we get this onto our prod­ucts, the more the price will come down. And we won’t stop there. A hand gear-change (us­ing but­tons like Honda’s DCT sys­tem) is easy to use and can let you con­trol the bike bet­ter. Al­ready there are pro­to­types run­ning around like that.

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