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Innovation Station: Honda’s Anti-Stalling, Hydraulic “Safety Clutch” Patent

Honda files new patent for Clutch-By-Wire System

We have all heard the phrase “better safe than sorry.” But is that phrase really true for the moto world?

Honda thinks so – and they’ve logged quite a few hours in the lab. 

According to a report from AutoCarIndia, the Japanese manufacturer has filed a patent for a new clutch-by-wire system for motorcycles. 

The concept is simple: Create a new, smart hydraulic control unit that can engage the clutch based on the information coming from multiple parts of the bike, such as vehicle speed, engine rpm, and throttle opening. 

Honda files new patent for Clutch-By-Wire System

The hydraulic pressure of the control unit is used to engage the clutch plates rather than disengage, creating a system that will safely disconnect the transmission from the engine in the event of a failure. 

Since there will be no connection between the lever and the clutch, the pressure has the potential of being far lighter than traditional clutches. 

For those dubious as to the novelty of a super-light clutch, Honda plans on keeping the pressure relatively close to home with a “reactive force generation device” that combats the action of the lever, mimicking the current systems today. 

Honda files new patent for Clutch-By-Wire System

Clever, but is it really necessary?

The report states that while this clutch could set groundbreaking precedents for motorcycle safety, the price would not come cheap – and with the clutch this large and in charge, some would argue that there’s a lot to go wrong. 

Perks include adding this system to different riding aids, such as launch control and quick shifter, and the potential to transition to a fully automatic bike…eventually.

There’s a lot to be sifted through for Honda until then – but the future is now, and they’re not slowing down. (if you’re curious about their ideas for a semi-automatic shifter, head over to this article at WebBikeWorld)

Stay tuned for updates, and check out MotorBikeWriter for more news on recent moto patents.

  1. Seriously? This is what heappens when you let automotive engineers design motorcycles… they simply don’t get it.

    Increasing complexity and cost will be but another nail in the coffin of recreational (read North American/EU) motorcycling. Insurance and safetycrat (Zero Vision, autonomous vehicle) agendas are already driving away new, young riders.

    I was over to Port Dover yesterday, beautiful weather. A literal couple handfuls of bikes, where a decade ago there would have been many hundreds. Race attendances in Ontario (pre-covid) had dropped from standing-room-only in the 1980s to not much more than family/friends/crew. Only part of the blame rests with the CMA/CMIC/CSBK/RACE/SOAR jurisdictional pissing match, the endless “if we change the rules/classes they will come” formula attracts ever fewer fans. That means ever fewer sponsors and less TV/internet exposure.

    Somehow, a stall-proof clutch ain’t gonna fix that mess, even a little bit. Non-riders won’t be attracted to learn to ride, and skilled, established riders (the kind the industry SHOULD be fighting to retain) don’t need such interventionist nonsense.

    Right up there with airbag technology that attaches the rider to the bike. Nonsense.

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