For some riders, the thought of an automatic transmission is paramount to sacrilege. However, with electric bikes becoming more readily available, as well as some newer riders not being outright familiar or comfortable with manual shifting, automatic transmission options are becoming more and more popular on some types of motorcycles.
For example, some commuter-style motorcycles are leaning towards automatic transmissions due to the very nature of city traffic being very stop/start. Interestingly, the area that has seen the most influence of having an automatic transmission is the sector that is furthest from the city, namely that of adventure motorcycles.
The idea of having an automatic (or, more properly, a semi-automatic dual-clutch transmission) on an adventure bike is mostly for comfort on long-distance adventure rides. Crossing a rocky path in California with having to shift multiple times and balancing the clutch on some obstacles can be challenging for newer riders or even experienced ones that may have or had some injury that makes shifting difficult. In this case, having the automatic transmission take care of it allows these riders to enjoy their day out without having to worry.
Aprilia does not make any automatic motorcycles for 2021. They do, however, manufacture scooters such as the Aprilia SR 50 that are fully automatic.
BMW does not make any automatic motorcycles for 2021. However, their C 650 GT maxi-scooter could almost qualify as a motorcycle due to its power and touring style seat position. The only thing disqualifying it is the step through front section that designates it as a scooter.
Ducati does not make any automatic motorcycles for the 2021 model year.
2021 Harley-Davidson Livewire
The 2021 Livewire is Harley-Davidson‘s first fully electric motorcycle, originally released in 2020. With a range of between 100 to 150 miles on a charge, it easily manages in-city riding for commutes or simply a Sunday ride. With 105 equivalent HP and 86 lbs-ft of torque, the Livewire does have some serious get-up-and-go, and slots neatly into Harley’s lineup as a sports cruiser.
Due to how the permanent magnet electric motor works, there is really only one gear. However, the bike does have an “automatic” transmission, allowing the rider to shift between neutral, drive, and reverse. To give it more of a feel of a normal bike, the motor will use any off-throttle time as regenerative, meaning it will use the spin of the motor to recharge the battery ever so slightly, giving a feeling of engine braking.
2021 Gold Wing/Gold Wing Tour
The 2021 Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour from Honda share the same base chassis, engine, and Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). With a 1.8-liter engine producing nearly 100 HP, attached to the 7-speed DCT on both bikes, the only real difference is in the equipment that can be had on either model.
The 2021 Gold Wing comes with a navigation system, iOS, and Android Auto connectivity, stability control, and standard pannier lockers. The Gold Wing Tour upgrades upon that with a pillion backrest, electronically adjustable suspension, the addition of fog lights, improved rear suspension for pillion comfort, and a saddlebag USB port for powering pillion communications or electronics equipment.
2021 Africa Twin DCT
The 2021 Africa Twin DCT is Honda’s big push to get more people both onto bikes, and also going adventuring with them. With a 1,084cc parallel-twin engine that gives it 101 HP and plenty of grunt, one can also optionally get a 6-speed DCT transmission option to handle the shifting while the rider focuses on navigating rocky or rough trails. The Africa Twin DCT also comes with suspension front and back that have been derived from Honda’s many motorcycles that have run in the Dakar and Safari rallies, giving the bike proper pedigree for true offroading excitement.
2021 Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT
While the regular Africa Twin DCT is a superb offroading motorcycle, the Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT quite literally shoves every bit of technology that Honda has into the bike. Over the base model, the Adventure Sports DCT gets stability control, cornering ABS, rear lift control, anti-wheelie detection, cruise control, Honda Traction Control (HTC), and a six-axis inertial measurement unit that works with the DCT to provide DCT Cornering Detection. This prevents the transmission from shifting if it detects enough lean and countersteering to indicate a turn, keeping the bike stable.
Added on top of that are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, an improved TFT screen, and a higher windscreen, and you have a bike that is almost ready to roll up to the start of the Dakar rally without much extra work needed.
2021 NC750X DCT ABS
The 2021 NC750X is a particularly interesting bike for Honda. It is half a daily commuter, half an adventure bike. This is a motorcycle that can effortlessly move from one application to the other, and remain stress-free while doing so.
With a reliable 745cc parallel-twin engine, the NC750X puts out just over 51 HP, but makes up for it with plenty of low-end grunt to get the bike moving. As well, with the adventure application in mind, that low-end torque is perfect for getting over small obstacles without sending you plummeting from the seat. Add on the optional DCT, and the bike also gains ABS. With a gearbox that you can either shift with your thumb or let the control computer take care of, your ride can be even more stress-free and more about enjoying the road.
2021 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS
The 2021 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS is a bit of a strange mix of being an automatic transmission bike, while technically not being one. This is because of the use of a centrifugal force clutch, while the rider still needs to request gears up and down with their left foot. The catch is that the clutch needs to be spinning fast enough that if the gear selector moves and requests a gear, the clutch will momentarily disengage to allow the next gear to slot in. This then slows the clutch’s spin, bringing it back into contact.
Being a semi-automatic transmission, it technically does qualify for this list. The biggest part of the judgment call regarding this was the question: “Does it have a clutch lever?” The Super Cub C125 ABS does not, and therefore qualifies.
2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS
Just like its road-going brother, the Super Cub, the 2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS is both technically an automatic transmission bike, while not being one. The same centrifugal clutch is used in the Trail 125, with the rider needing to request gears up and down. The major difference between the two is that the clutch in the Trail 125 does not need as much spin to allow for it to disengage, as trail and adventure bikes sometimes need to dip lower into the engine rev range to get hill climbing or mud-crossing power.
Otherwise, the Trail 125, which is itself a highly anticipated and much celebrated return of the Trail moniker to Honda’s lineup, is a great little weekend bike for getting off the road and a little lost down a forest trail!
Indian does not make any automatic motorcycles for the 2021 model year.
Kawasaki does not make any automatic motorcycles for the 2021 model year. There are rumors abound that there will be an electric version of the Ninja H2, and the Kawasaki Endeavor electric bike is slated to have a DCT when/if the bike makes it to market.
KTM does not make any automatic motorcycles for the 2021 model year that are not strictly off-road bikes, including their SX-E electric off-road bike.
Royal Enfield does not make any automatic motorcycles for the 2021 model year
Suzuki does not make any automatic motorcycles for the 2021 model year. However, patents have been filed for a new style of Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) for the higher end of the model range. These transmissions may go on such bikes as the Hayabusa or the GSX-R1000.
Yamaha does not make any automatic transmission motorcycles for the 2021 model year. The previous year 2020 Yamaha FJR1300AS may still be available as inventory stock at some Yamaha dealers. As well, Yahama does have a maxi-scooter model known as the XMAX that may be considered as a motorcycle because it is not fully step through, although it is designated and registered as a scooter in North American registries.