Although Honda doesn’t yet have a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) in any of its cars, it has just introduced the first-ever device of
that type on one of its motorcycles. The VFR1200F is powered by a 170-hp, 1237-cc V-4 and features an optional, fully electronic, multimode DCT ($1500).
The Honda transmission follows automotive practice, with two clutches and two shafts—one turning within the other, each responsible for half of the six gears. But the constant-mesh, dog-engagement system—selected here by a motorized shift drum—is typical of motorcycles.
There are two automatic programs (normal and sport) and a fully manual operation that takes commands from triggers at the left-hand bar. There is no clutch lever to pull. “Normal” heads for sixth gear with true environmental zeal, while “sport” allows the revs to rise much higher. The manual mode will hold any gear until the rev limiter steps in somewhere beyond 10,000 rpm.
If not quite as seamless as some car versions, the Honda DCT works well, adding a new dimension to what is already a very good bike. With the DCT, the VFR1200F sells for $17,499.