Motorcycles with Auto Transmission – Part 1

Shifting gears on motorcycle has been always a problem. At least for some of us. But now in 21th century we finally have a solution for it – motorcycles with automatic gearboxes. Ever heard about those? Probably. But do you know how good they can be?

Bad shifting is a reason for big part of motorcycle accidents, that’s why you must know how to shift gears perfectly and especially when to do so.

Learning about efficient shifting is long and difficult process, it requires at least some regular training. And that’s why new automatic motorcycles are certainly worth a look, if you are thinking about buying a new bike.

Such machines could be really pleasant and useful not just for beginners, but even for seasoned bikers. Also women and people that may have limited physical abilities will love automatic motorcycles for the ease of use.

One of the well known automatic motorcycle manufacturers is Ridley. They are located in US, and mostly produce choppers, just like Harley Davidson. First full year of production was 1999. But US bikes are not common in India, so let’s look at the more popular brand like Honda. They decided to implement this innovation back then in early 2000’s, and upgraded Ridley’s system. Now they have several great bike models with automatic transmission.

Honda DN-01

One of them is Honda DN-01. This bike has unusual and has very original styling feats, probably unseen before. Front section of the bike reminds a “shark”, and the overall profile is really low. The 680cc OHC V-twin provides us with great power and torque in every situation imaginable.

In addition it is equipped with ABS and 3-piston calipers, which have exceptional stopping power. But all that isn’t so special compared to extraordinary transmission (HFT) – it is fully automatic with several driving modes, just like in a modern car! There is a “D” mode for a stepless automatic drive, an “S” mode for sporty and fast riding and finally an “M” mode for a manual gear changing, only without a clutch to worry about!

The HFT has proven itself as one of the most user-friendly transmissions ever developed. It is smooth, practical and incredibly precise.

You can ride this bike how you want to – with convenience of the automatic gearbox or with the thrilling sport ride with manual.

Honda VFR1200F

Another technological wonder is Honda VFR1200F (Available in India!). And it’s a beast. 1237cc Liquid-cooled 76° V-4 engine transfer enormous power to the wheels. In addition, this new Honda has deadly looks – the design is very innovational and eye-catching.

And the rear suspension is so high-tech and advanced that you don’t really understand how it was installed on this bike. And of course the main feat is transmission (however, it comes with traditional gearbox as well). It has dual clutch system and 6-speed automatic gearbox with 2 modes and a manual mode.

But dual clutch system isn’t a very difficult invention. It was around for many years – used in the racing cars and in such mass production cars like Ford Focus. But the problem was that no one could create such small dual-clutch system, which would fit in the street bike. However, Honda engineers managed it.

With such transmission this bike doesn’t suffer from any power loss when changing gears. It is absolutely perfect system, which shifts in optimal time. There is no professional rider, who can shift better on manual, than this automatic transmission does. It is truly a magical gearbox that provides riders with speed, smoothness and reliability.

Honda SH150i

And have a look at one of Honda’s commuter bikes – SH150i. Well, it’s a scooter, but it is quite powerful and very practical machine. In big cities it would be a perfect choice – compact, swift and easily maneuverable.

And of course it has automatic gearbox, which is a great thing in the high-traffic areas. You can relax and drive with comfort, without changing gears back and forth every minute. V-matic transmission provides riders with seamless shifting and good performance.

That’s all for now. In the next part we will cover some additional information about automatic motorcycles, and also we will have a look at the more affordable models.

Now Published: Part 2 – How does Auto Transmission Work + Review of 3 Automatic 2 Wheelers.

– Aleks