A Yamaha patent for a seamless transmission suggests more racing tech for your street bike
The seamless transmission is the motorcycle performance utopia. This time-saving system has been exclusive to the realm of racing, until now that is. If Yamaha has its way, it might now make its way out in the world and onto the road, starting possibly with the Yamaha R1.
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A few years ago, Honda became the first maker to use a seamless transmission. Some production sportbikes are already equipped with a watered down version of the system that eliminates the need to pull the clutch lever in for upshifts. However, these real-life applications still disconnect the drive during shifting and, in most cases, downshifts still require the use of the clutch. A real seamless transmission takes it a few steps further: it virtually eliminates the neutral point between gears in both up and downshifts. This means that the engine powers through the gearshifts without interruption, or "taking a breath" between gears.
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Yamaha's constant mesh type transmission patent involves a ratchet mechanism that momentarily engages two gears at the same time, which ensures a smooth transition with minimal loss of power. The savvies curious to know the technical details can check out the full patent available online.
The design has been fitted to the R1 which leads us to believe that the company is working on a road-friendly—and hopefully affordable—version of the technology. In a competition setting, the seamless transmission equates to saving precious tenths of seconds. On the road, it makes for an uber smooth gearchange and a quirky clutchless experience. Unless you are timing your laps, this type of transmission has very little purpose on the road, aside from making you feel like a MotoGP professional.
There is no say whether Yamaha's seamless transmission will make its way into the showrooms and when it could happen, but it's interesting to know that the maker is considering the option as a potential next step in its lineup evolution.