HONDA MOTOR Co. Ltd. has developed a fully automatic dual clutch transmission for large-displacement sport bikes. It's a technology the OEM says delivers fuel economy equal to or better than a conventional manual transmission.
Honda says the new dual clutch transmission is outfitted with electronic control technology that provides smooth, seamless gear changes. It's also equipped with three operating modes, two full-auto modes (D-mode for regular operation and S-mode for sporty riding); and a 6-speed manual mode, which delivers the same shift feel as a manual transmission.
Similar to the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) used on the Porsche 911 last year, the new Honda transmission features a configuration in which independent clutches are employed for the odd gears (first, third and fifth) and the even gears (second, fourth and sixth), respectively. The two clutches operate alternately to effect gear changes. For example, when changing from first to second gear, the computer detects the up-shift and engages second gear, then releases the first-gear clutch while engaging the second-gear clutch to achieve a seamless gear change.
Honda says a new VFR equipped with the transmission will be released in North America and Europe in 2010, and says it intends to gradually expand the deployment of the new transmission to more and more of its large-displacement sport bikes in the future.
—Submitted by Guido Ebert