We always knew it would work, this Dual Clutch Transmission thing. It's a Honda, after all, and when it comes to engineering, Honda doesn't do duff. But that doesn't mean all the questions are answered, and the two big ones are, do you want it? And will we get it on sport bikes? Here's what it's like to ride the 2010 Honda VFR1200F DCT.
Editor's Note: We asked England's premier motorcycle reviewer, Kevin Ash, to tell us what he thought of Honda's DCT technology. Kevin is held in such high regard in England that each and every Visordown staffer proudly sports a tattoo of his face on their right buttocks. You can read his full Honda VFR1200F DCT review on his website.

Car drivers want Dual Clutch Transmissions because those with manuals

don't like waving their arms and legs about to find new ratios and the

changes are slow. Those with conventional auto boxes are putting up with

slushiness and reduced efficiency. A dual clutch system gives them the

efficiency of a manual (well, closer to it than a torque converter) with

super-rapid cog-swops and the option of paddle controlled manual or

full automatic - finger wiggling in place of limb waving, much easier.

Changing gears on bikes though really isn't too tough. Wiggle your left

toes and that's it. Upchanges, and even going the other way if you're

good, can be done without wiggling your left fingers, leaving the

clutch's prime duty as getting you off the line and a favored tool for

airing the front wheel when necessary (like, there's a fit bird on the


Honda's DCT is novel and it's different, but given time you might start

to wonder if the $1,500  you've added to the already hefty $15,999 price

was really money well spent. Normal gearchanging wasn't so bad was it?

And for a lot less you could have the same ultra-quick gearchanges with

an ignition kill quickshift from the aftermarket. Get over the initial

curiosity and you'll pine for a clutch lever, especially as DCT takes

away the option of feathering the power with your left hand in very

tight manoeuvres - full lock turns on the throttle alone aren't easy!

As for sport bikes, no way. Glue a second clutch on the end of the

first, add two hefty hydraulic pumps to operate each and you've just

bolted 22lbs onto a bike that already has more than enough avoir dupois.

So maybe here on Shamu it's not noticed, but on a superbike - let alone

a supersport 600 - that's like pulling a plug lead off. And worse, the

extra mass is rotating with the crank, so the engine response is dulled.

It's a good couple of inches wider than the stock VFR engine too, which

on a lean-happy Fireblade might cause some Tarmac interface problems.

Finally, as you're always riding with one of the clutches lifted and

slipping, transmission efficiency's reduced and even bigger losses are

incurred through the energy sapped by those hydraulic pumps. It's like

the drag you get when you switch on your car's air conditioning.

Brilliantly executed, but mostly relevant to amputees.

-- Kevin Ash

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