There is perhaps nothing more hated or loved in motorcycling than an automatic transmission. Since Honda introduced its Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT), which isn’t an real automatic, motorcyclists have been squawking their opinions about it.
One of the rites of passage into the motorcycling club has always been mastering the controls and becoming proficient with the machine, which is obviously a lot more of an acquired skill than with a car. So to many, Honda’s DCT has poseur written all over it. Also, the question is often raised if DCT is a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.
No matter you opinion, the fact is that DCT is a marvel of technical engineering and functions incredible well. Is it for everyone? Not even close. But for those who perhaps want to take the ‘complication’ out of riding a motorcycle, DCT can do just that. And the system has been refined a lot since its introduction on the Honda VFR1200F. What those critics have to remember is that like their car brethren, Honda’s motorcycle DCT can be whatever you want it to be, whatever you want it to be that. Want to cruise to the coffeer shop in urban traffic? Leave it in Auto mode and let it function like a scooter’s CVT. Want total control on road or off? Switch to Manual mode and Sport mapping and take the bull by the horns. Can’t get over the fact that there isn’t a foot shifter? Purchase the accessory from the Honda BigWing dealer and toe away.
When riding gravel roads, the Honda DCT isn’t that much unlike a manual transmission when in manual mode. And the fact that you really can’t stall it makes it act like a Rekluse automatic clutch. Our only complaint off road is the fact that you lose the clutch control dirt riders are so used to when unweighting the front for a root or rock. In an effort to offer a feeling of more direct drive off road, Honda has outfitted the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin with the G button on the dash. Just press this and in every mode it offers more direct clutch take-up with less ‘slop.’