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Honda Dual Clutch Transmission - Click above to enlarge

When Honda's upcoming VFR1200 hits the American and European markets in 2010, the new sports tourer will be equipped with the first dual clutch transmission designed for the two-wheeled market. Like the highly-regarded DSG transmissions from Volkswagen and Audi, two separate clutches inside the gearbox act on the even gears (two, four and six) and the odd gears (one, three and five).

Honda promises both improved performance and efficiency from the dual clutch design. Three operating modes can be selected from the gearbox: D-Mode when regular automatic operation is desired, S-Mode for sportier performance and a fully manual mode that works just like a traditional six-speed sequential manual gearbox.

Though the transmission will debut on the new VFR, Honda says the technology can be applied to existing engines and platforms already in Honda sportbike lineup. We can't say for sure what "traditional markets" Honda is referring to, but we're thinking there's a decent chance a dual clutch box could soon make an appearance in the CBR line. Hit the jump for the press release.

[Source: Honda]



PRESS RELEASE:

Honda Announces the New Dual Clutch Transmission for Use in Large-displacement Sport Bikes - a World's First


September 8, 2009-Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has developed the Dual Clutch Transmission, the world's first* fully automatic motorcycle dual-clutch transmission for large-displacement sport bikes. The new transmission provides riders with a sporty riding experience, combined with easy operation and superior transmission efficiency, which delivers fuel economy equal to or better than a conventional manual transmission. The new VFR large-displacement sport bike equipped with the new transmission will be released in Europe and North America in 2010, with sales to commence in Japan at a later date.

This world's first motorcycle dual clutch transmission** features a light, compact design that allows it to be combined with existing engines without substantial layout modification. Further, the new transmission delivers the precise acceleration control which riders require thanks to electronic control technology that helps ensure smooth, seamless gear changes. In order to respond to rider demands in a broad range of situations, the transmission is equipped with three operating modes, including 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. Honda intends to gradually expand the deployment of the new transmission to more and more of its large-displacement motorcycles, particularly sports models destined for use in traditional large motorcycle markets.

Honda will continue to deliver motorcycles that match the needs of society and users' lifestyles, spreading the joy of riding and mobility.

* According to Honda survey
** Patents pending: 100

Key Features

The new transmission features a dual clutch transmission configuration in which independent clutches are employed for the odd gears (1st, 3rd, 5th) and even gears (2nd, 4th, 6th), respectively. The two clutches operate alternately to effect gear changes. For example, when changing from 1st to 2nd gear, the computer detects the up-shift and engages 2nd gear, then releases the 1st-gear clutch while engaging the 2nd-gear clutch to achieve a seamless gear change. While some existing dual-clutch transmissions are bulky, the new system employs original technologies such as dual input shafts, an innovative in-line clutch design, and concentration of hydraulic circuitry beneath the engine cover to achieve a compact design. Compactness and lightness is further enhanced through the use of a simple shift mechanism design based on that of a conventional motorcycle shift drum. Optimised shift scheduling achieves fuel economy equal to or better than that of a fully manual transmission, enabling Dual Clutch Transmission to deliver both sporty riding and environmental performance combined
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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I guess even motorcycle riders want a transmission that can shift faster than they can.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Can it really shift that much faster than the regular sport bike tranny? I mean, lift your toe too high on any CBR and you're in the next gear, clutch or not. I figure it's just going to add weight, but we'll see.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The new BMW S1000R has the right idea ... a standard-equipment quick-shifter on an otherwise ordinary gearbox, combined with electronic engine management to make the shift seamless. Roadracers and dragracers have been doing it that way (aftermarket) for years. I don't see the purpose of the extra complication in the dual-clutch mechanism except to allow people to ride a motorcycle who shouldn't be on one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think that it is over-engineering for nothing. First, it's not good an automatic transmission in a motorcycle, it can cause easilly an accident in a curve with a sudden transmission shift that you didn't expect, it change suddenly the rythme of the motorcycle while a motorcycle driver have to choose and control speed carrefully and intinctivelly to maintain equilibrum in a curve. I think it will be best a manual 6 speeds transmission without a clutch lever.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Double clutch transmission do not shift gears. They transition gears-the next gear takes up drive before the previous gear is decoupled.

        I bet the new VFR has throttle by wire, and does it have shaft drive?
        So the computer can match the throttle braking when downshifting, and can make sure that power is applied smoothly when upshifting.

        Seeing as the Goldwing uses a 5 speed transmission, this would have been a nice upgrade there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Extra complexity is not looked upon kindly by motorcyclists because many of us like to do their own maintenance. In addition to being terrible traditionalist ;P

      If there's a noticeable benefit in performance such as was the case with the advent of EFI (had more to do with emission regulations though) or electronic ignition, people are usually willing to embrace change however grudgingly, but I'm pretty sure that this is going to stay a niche application.