Last time we covered some general info about automatic motorcycles (link to part 1), and also reviewed few motorcycle models. Now let’s see how the automatic transmission works, so we will have better understanding of this sophisticated technology. Also we will provide 2 short reviews on most affordable automatic motorcycles in India. And one detailed review about an automatic bike.
Just like manual transmission, automatic allows engine to work in the comfortable range, while providing great variety of speeds. If motorcycles or cars didn’t have a transmission, people would be limited to only one gear ratio. Could you imagine riding your bike only using 3rd speed? It is impossible.
The key difference between two type of transmissions are set of gears. Manual transmission uses different sets to achieve different gear ratio and automatic uses the same gears that can produce different gear ratios. The device that makes it possible is called planetary gearset.
This gearset has 3 main components: the sun gear, the planet gears with its carrier and the ring gears. Don’t ask me why they have so strange names, I don’t know either. Basically, it has gears with 72, 30 and 36 teeth, and by connecting them in different order and position transmission provides us with different gear rations. But this very difficult process can’t be described in few sentences, if you really want to get in-depth understanding of it, visit this site.
And a video about automatic transmission (how it’s made)
While it’s about car transmissions, keep in mind that bikes and cars share same transmission construction and principle; only big difference is in sizes.
Now let’s look at the bikes available for India, for reasonable prices.
First is a scooter, called Kinetic Blaze. It is European scooter model, with interesting looks and really powerful engine, which outputs whole 11.6bhp! And that’s from puny 165cc engine.
This scooter features advanced suspension technology, electric start, and of course electric transmission.
It is relatively simple, but very reliable and convenient transmission. It makes riding through high populated/traffic areas easy and enjoyable. Also, Kinetic Blaze has quite large wheels for a scooter – 12”, with fat rubber. And on top of that fuel efficiency might reach 45kmpl, if you are a decent driver. The price you would pay for this machine is around Rs. ~55,000, for ex showroom.
Suzuki Access 125
Another affordable moto-scooter would be Suzuki Access. It is equipped with 125cc engine with reasonable power output of 8.6bhp. Looks of this moto-scooter are a bit disappointing, because very small wheels give it a “childish feel”. However, styling itself is not bad.
But the great thing about this scooter, that it has wide and comfortable seat, and of course decent automatic transmission. And the fuel economy of the Suzuki Access boggles the mind! On the highways it gives up to 65kmpl! In the high traffic conditions results are around 55kmpl. And the price is very low, around Rs. 40.000, again, for ex-showroom.
Aprilia Mana 850
And finally a real powerful automatic bike, not a scooter… Unfortunately, it isn’t manufactured in India, so if you want one badly, you will need to import it. It is Aprilia Mana 850. And it’s a brilliant bike for sure. Looks are striking, and quite resembling to Ducati bikes.
But it’s not very surprising since the both manufacturers are from Italy. The bike really has a fantastic design, every single detail looks so damn good, and the overall profile is very aggressive. It looks, feels and handles like extremely good sports bike, and it is equipped with innovational automatic transmission.
It features seven ratios in manual mode and three engine mode mappings in automatic – Touring, Sport and Rain. And in addition it has dozens of other fantastic features. The downside is of course the price, which is around $10,000 And that’s a lot, especially if you want to import it.
That’s all for now. Keep in touch, part 3 will be coming as well. We will cover pros and cons of automatic transmission and some other info as well.