Honda developing dual clutch motorcycle transmission

Dailies -


Honda_DSG_1.jpgAlong with confirming production of the 2010 Honda V4, the company announced that it is developing a dual clutch transmission for use in its motorcycles. Currently called the Next Generation Transmission, it supposedly delivers faster, smoother, more efficient shifts that create less of a disruption in the power delivery. To your layperson’s eyes, this looks identical to Audi’s DSG transmission, widely considered the best automated manual in the world.>

While we typically prefer shifting gears ourselves, both Grant and I
have spent a good deal of time with the DSG transmission in the Audi
R8. We find it unobtrusive, fast and intuitive to use.

Honda hasn’t said which models the transmission will be used on, nor
when it will enter production. An educated guess would place it in that
2010 V4 model; not just because the two announcements share a press
release, but because that bike is likely to be a high-specification
motorcycle that places an emphasis on new technology enabling peerless
on-road performance rather than simply following parameters laid down
by international race classes.

Honda’s presentation describing the transmission is in the gallery.
Check it out and see if you can learn anything more from it than we


  • Benpi

    Someone please explain to me how this is better than a sequential transmission already in every motorcycle? Sure, you can do away with the clutch entirely, and yes, this fits in nicely with their DN-01, but a single clutch, sequential transmission is both simple and effective. This is really more important than fuel injecting their dead crusier line, or god forbid, building something the people want? I feel like I’m old and bitter, maybe I’m the only one.

    • Wes

      The advantage the DSG offers over sequential is the ability to operate automatically. That it can do this without being bigger, weighing more or shifting slower is what makes it special.

      Do we want one? No. But motorcycle companies seem to be convinced that there is a market for them. Witness the FJR1300 with the push buttons, the DN-01, the Aprilia Mana etc. I guess they think there’s a buyer out there who wants a bike, but is put off by the idea of being forced to shift gear themselves. How many car drivers in this country never learn how to operate a manual transmission car?

      If Honda can afford to equip a sports tourer with only one transmission, why not one that appeals to people that do want to shift and those who don’t? The DSG transmission works equally well in either application.

  • JR

    Come on guys… of course “we” (the people reading Hell for Leather) don’t want an automatic…. but there are lots of people who just can’t learn how to shift a regular motorcycle transmission. We’ve all tried to teach that one buddy to ride, and he/she just couldn’t do it.

    I bet there is a market. We’ll see if they can make it inexpensive enough.

  • duckpats

    Of course there is a market, ej: the honda goldwing, its not a sport motorcycle and a DSG would making even more comfortable to ride. It would also be good for city bikes, if you have to be all day on the city and your bike is not an scooter you’ll end up very tired.

    But for sport bikes, it will add a weight that its not necessary because traditional gear shifting its already fast and it gives total control over the gear to the rider.

  • Benpi

    I’m concerned more about the influx of people, who can’t properly drive a car, into the motorcycle world. The counter to my argument is of course that it takes more concentration to ride a sequential motorcycle rather than a DSG, but not having to shift will open up the ability to use their free hand to chat on the phone. I don’t think the market is all that big yet, the JF1300A’s sit around on the floor, and people try to trade them in, or get rid of them a lot more often than the regular old transmission model.

  • Kipp

    The Audi R8 doesn’t have a DSG gearbox. Audi uses its “r-tronic” single clutch sequential manual gearbox instead of its “s-tronic” (which is exactly the same as VW’s DSG) presumably because the DSG is not yet strong enough to handle the r8′s power.

  • Gary

    The double clutch transmission is widely used in Formula 1 racing. With no interruption in the the drive, shifts do not lose time. So as you shift out of one gear the next clutch is driving before the previous gear is released. Shifting in corners has always been a bad idea on motorcycles, now you can continue shifting to get the optimal drive out. It’s not necessarily automatic, but manual shifts take an eternity comparatively

  • Erik

    If it allows for quick shifts under full throttle acceleration (like a quick-shifter kit) while providing robust down shift functionality (like a race slipper clutch) I’d certainly be interested, provided it doesn’t add considerable weight.

  • Pogi

    Sorry, but the Audi R8 doesn’t have a double-clutch transmission!

  • The CyberPoet

    I can’t imagine that servicing it would be anything but a bear, and that like the VTec system on the current VFR’s (which would have been better served with 50 cc more displacement instead), it’s a triumph of engineering that really doesn’t have real-world merit that outweighs the penalties (cost, weight, complexity) for 99% of current riders.
    The only technical benefit would theoretically be potentially a longer clutch life (since each clutch-pack only sees half the duty cycles), and the ability to intentionally make the clutch plates used for 1st gear thicker to offset accelerated wear by those who intentionally slide the clutch…

  • Robin

    Where can I get this presentation?