2009 Erion Racing Honda CPeris

A report has emerged that Honda is in the midst of developing a DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) gearbox that is suitable for use in sportsbikes. According to visordown, Honda DCT engineer Kosaku Takahashi said efforts were on-going to develop DCT technology for use in high-performance motorcycles.

Several bikes in Honda’s range use DCT gearboxes – either standard or as an option – including the NC, CT and VFR series bikes, as well as the NM4 Vultus and Integra super-scooters. A new addition to the DCT stable is the 2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin dual-purpose bike, which was recently previewed in adventure form.

DCT, or for that matter, other transmission options, have not found wide-spread adoption in sports and racing bikes because of the larger size and weight of the gearbox. Due to the use of its dual clutches, a DCT gearbox will add about 10 kg to the weight of a bike.

2014 Honda CTX Technology.

2014 Honda CTX Technology.

A Honda bike equipped with DCT will come with three transmission modes, selected by a rocker switch on the right handlebar pod. ‘D’ performs like the automatic transmission most people are familiar with when driving cars, just twist the throttle and go.

Selecting ‘S’ shortens the time between changes in gear ratios, giving the bike a little more “get-up-and-go”. Putting the selector switch to ‘M’ lets the rider shift gears manually using a pair of switches on the left handlebar pod.

While some might say DCT gearboxes turn motorcycles into glorified scooters, Honda seems to have a different opinion, from the point of performance. Takahashi explained that if two bikes with identical weight raced – one with a traditional cassette-type gearbox and the other equipped with DCT, the DCT bike would be faster due to the almost seamless shifting and constant power transmission to the drive-train.

This makes both up-shifts and down-shifts smoother, and eliminates the ‘jerk’ that comes with clumsy operation of the clutch and gear shifting in normal motorcycles. In the case of Honda’s DCT bike models, there is even the option of a foot shifter, in the standard position, that lets riders change gear in manual mode in the usual way.

Takahashi was reticent about any details on how far along Honda was in developing a sportsbike with DCT, or whether such a machine would enter the performance motorcycle market, where riders tend to be too hung up on pure horsepower figures rather than how that power can be safely controlled and used.

What do you think? Is there a place for a future sportsbike that delivers its engine power smoothly and seamlessly? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.