Honda celebrates 10 years of DCT
Gear shifting is the cornerstone of motorcyclism: many simply adore motorcycles precisely because of the clear connection of the right hand with the engine, and through the gears with the wheel and the road. And others hate this feature of motorcycle ergonomics – unnecessary movements with the left arm and leg distract from the road situation, and the nature of motorcycle engines, especially older models, forces them to resort to large displacements in order to shift less due to the wide torque shelf. In addition, with some health restrictions, unnecessary movements are simply impossible or extremely uncomfortable.
Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)
This is where the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) comes in. On motorcycles equipped with this system, there is no need to squeeze the clutch handle or flip the gear tab with the left foot. At the same time, the box itself is very reminiscent of an ordinary manual one, only the gear selection is carried out not manually, but with the help of a special actuator controlled by electronics, and in the automotive world such systems are called shortly and succinctly: “robot”…
In cars, robots and other automatic transmission options have taken root for a long time, but on motorcycles they are still unpopular. Apart from electric motorcycles, only a few of Honda’s vehicles are equipped with robotic boxes, and in 2020 the company is celebrating DCT’s 10th anniversary on its motorcycles.
Yes Yes! Believe it or not, DCT is already 10 years old! The first model to be fitted with such a gearbox was the Honda VFR1200F, at the time the flagship sports touring V4. First of all, the model hit the European market, and only then it appeared in America, and despite the initial prejudices, the machine gun on the motorcycle was well received by the public.
So good that it has appeared on no less than ten motorcycle models over this decade, including two ATVs and two buggy models. While some motorcyclists turn up their noses at the gun, others provide an ever-increasing demand: about half of the models sold for which this option is available are sold with DCT (45% Africa Twin, 52% NC750X and 67% Gold Wings), and only More than 140,000 Honda motorcycles with automatic transmission were sold in Europe in 2019. What’s more, Honda’s current line of DCT-equipped models even includes the Integra maxiscooter and the very special X-ADV motorcycle / scooter / SUV crossover model.
To celebrate a decade of technology, Honda is publishing an interview with DCT chief engineer Dai Arai, who revealed that the technology, officially unveiled in 2010, had been in development several years earlier and the process was not very smooth.
Each step in the development of the first DCT for the VFR1200F was challenging. No one has done this before us, and problems arose both in hardware and in algorithms, ” he said.
Since then, the system has evolved significantly, going through six upgrade stages.
One of the first important steps was to return to Automatic mode after switching manually with the buttons on the steering wheel, – said the engineer. -Then we improved the misfire on the downshift to better match the RPMs for the smoothest shifting possible. Then we introduced Adaptive Clutch Capability Control, a system for controlling the slippage of the clutch when the throttle starts opening or closing.
What’s next for us with the Honda DCT? Although Mr. Arai did not reveal the technical details of the next versions of the DCT, he did mention that he hopes to see bikes with this system at the Dakar Rally.