A Honda engineer has told international media that the company is working to make its DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) technology suitable for sports bikes. Currently, the DCT is available on the NC750X, VFR1200F and Africa Twin but Honda will soon feature it on their sports models.
Dual clutch transmission is a motorcycle transmission that automates clutch and shift operation while retaining the essential structure and direct acceleration feel of a manual transmission. Moreover, DCT offers acceleration and shifting while minimizing the power gaps that occur during shifting with a manual transmission.
As the name suggests, dual clutch transmission features two clutches: one for off-the-line acceleration and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears, and one for 2nd, 4th and 6th gears. The use of this technology in a motorcycle is a world’s first.
The main barriers to making DCT a viable option on sports bikes are size and weight; because the DCT gearbox uses two clutches, it’s wider and heavier than a more conventional powertrain. In its current form, it adds 10kg to the weight of the NC750X and Africa Twin, but Honda DCT engineer Kosaku Takahashi said that Honda is working to overcome this.
Mr Takahashi also went on to say that if Honda raced the same two bikes of identical weight against each other, with one using a traditional gearbox and one using DCT, the DCT bike would be faster because of how seamless it is and the fact that it would eliminate loss of drive during gear changes.
He also claimed that even in MotoGP, a DCT-equipped RC213V would be faster than the equivalent weight bike with a seamless-shift gearbox. Mr Takahashi stopped short of disclosing how much progress he and his team had made with creating a DCT transmission that is workable in Honda’s sports bike platforms.