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While the majority of motorcycles still feature a clutch and manual transmission, automatic motorcycles are growing in popularity. And, with more electric bikes coming to market, automatic motorcycles may some day become the norm rather than the exception.
When it comes to two-wheel machines, automatic transmissions are most commonly found on scooters.
However, automatic or semi-automatic motorcycle transmissions have actually been around for a while. Today, the technology is only getting better.
While an automatic transmission may stray away from the machine’s roots, it can make for a smoother, more efficient ride, and make the bike easier to learn and operate for new riders.
What is an automatic motorcycle?
An automatic motorcycle is one that doesn’t require the use of a clutch lever to shift gears.
Depending on the type of transmission and type of bike, an automatic motorcycle will either:
- Simply require twist-and-go operation of the throttle.
- Shifting with a foot lever only.
- Automatic shifting via an onboard computer.
Types of Automatic Motorcycle Transmissions
The main types of automatic motorcycle transmissions include:
- Centrifugal Clutch.
- Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
- Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).
- Electric motorcycle engines.
Depending on the bike, these types of clutches will give you either a semi-automatic or fully automatic motorcycle.
A semi-automatic motorcycle still requires the rider to shift gears with the foot lever. Depending on the bike, you may have to shift through a full gear range or select between two gear positions.
A fully-automatic motorcycle does the shifting for you, typically through an on-board computer system.
Examples of Modern Automatic Motorcycles
Some examples of the best automatic motorcycles include:
- Aprilia Mana 850 GT
- Harley Davidson LiveWire (electric)
- Honda Africa Twin DCT
- Honda CTX700 DCT
- Honda Gold Wing DCT
- Honda NC750X
- Honda NM4
- Honda Super Cub
- Zero Motorcycles (electric)