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What is Hill Hold and Vehicle Hold Control? | Gassit Garage

For a lot of riders, the difference between enjoying a day on the bike and not is a simple matter of confidence.

Far too many people,usually the shorter folk among us, purchase a motorcycle based on how they feel on it when they’re stopped, which is crazy — we buy bikes to ride, not to sit on stationary while waiting at traffic lights.

Bosch’s latest roll-out of electrickery aims to take the stress out of stops and starts, especially on inclines, thereby making the memory of your day on the bike shine brighter. Or, as Bosch’s Dr Dirk Hoheisel said at its EICMA unveiling: “We’re using software to make riding a motorcycle more relaxed.”

With a couple of clever algorithms, Bosch is taking the difficulty out of stopping and starting on hills.

And software is really all it is. By stopping and thinking about the ability of its most advanced antilock braking system (ABS) and writing a bit of extra code into the control unit, Bosch has enabled a couple of very handy functions that, realistically, have been there all along. In what is being referred to as “value-added ABS functionality”, a couple of newly written algorithms have enabled the addition of Hill Hold Control, electronic hill-start assistance and more recently, Vehicle Hold Control, essentially an electrohydraulic parking brake.

And while we’ve seen the firm’s Hill Hold Control on a few large-capacity bikes these last 12 months, it’s the Vehicle Hold Control which is making its debut on a raft of 2016 models.

Here’s how Bosch is using these functions to make more motorcycles accessible to more people.

Bosch Hill Hold Vehicle Hold Control

Hill Hold Control (HHC)

You’ve applied the brake to stop on a steep incline. While you’ve got one eye on the impatient tin-top driver in your mirror and the other on the traffic lights to make sure you get this big heavy bike away in a clean and tidy manner, the control unit has already done the work for you.

The unit’s longitudinal acceleration sensor has realised you’re stopped on a hill and it has memorised the pressure you’ve applied to the front brake lever and/or the rear brake pedal. As you release the brake to take up the couple-of-hundred-kilo slack with the drive chain, HHC will leave the brakes applied at the same rate for one second longer after you’ve released them.

This means you won’t roll backwards in the short moment between releasing the brakes and feeding out the clutch and, more importantly for a lot of people, you won’t experience the high anxiety associated with such manoeuvres.

Vehicle Hold Control (VHC)

VHC is the obvious next step from HHC. There must have been a fairly major forehead slap when, 12 months after the release of HHC, someone inside the hallowed hallways of Bosch said: “Let’s make it work for longer, and on downhills, too.”

Pull up on a hill, either facing up or down, and the bike’s newly coded sensors have already recognised where you are. Apply either or both the brakes again once you’ve stopped and, like the HHC, it memorises the pressure, but this time it’ll hold only the rear brake on for 10 seconds. The system will work on a flat surface, too.

This means you can sit up, scratch your leg, zip up your right-hand jacket pocket, or any of those other right-handed things you previously had to do while balanced on only your left leg. As you approach the 10-second mark, you’ll receive a visual warning on the dash before the brakes are slowly released. Alternatively, engage a gear, ride away and the VHC will immediately deactivate.