New Honda Patent Shows New Semi-Auto Clutch System


1979 Honda Trail 90

Bang Your Own Gears Without Worrying about the Clutch

Honda has experimented quite a lot with semi-automatic and automatic transmissions throughout the years. There’s a semi-auto on some of its Mini Moto models and there’s the DCT set up on some of its larger bikes, like the Africa Twin. The company also had the old Hondamatics back in the day. Now recent patent drawings have appeared that show a new semi-auto system, according to RideApart.

The publication spotted a patent from Honda that would allow riders to shift their own gears with a typical foot shifter, but there was no manual clutch. Instead, the bike would have a computerized “smart clutch” according to the patent. It’s similar to a quick shifter, but there’s no need or ability to use a clutch at all. When you toe the shifter, power is cut and the next gear selected and then power resumes. 

The old Hondamatic motorcycles had a two-speed transmission similar to this, but it was not implemented very well. This new transmission would have six cogs and be less complicated than the DCT transmission Honda currently offers. It’s unclear if this will make it to production, but I kinda hope it does and it’s offered as an option on some bikes. Not everyone is going to want it, but it could be very useful in heavy traffic situations while still allowing you to select the right gear when you want it. 

1 Comment

  1. Phil
    May 28, 2020
    Reply

    Sounds almost exactly like Yamaha’s computer-controlled clutch that they’ve used on the FJR1300-AE for well over a decade. My shifter lever (and a thumb-toggle) are basically just buttons that tell the computer to kick in a shift – there’s no direct linkage from lever to transmission.

    How’s this different from what Yamaha’s done?

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