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Dual Clutch Transmission...

Captain Jim

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I see there is a thread here for the Honda NC750X DCT, but thought I'd start this thread for those who have any DCT model and for those who are "DCT curious." I was intrigued by the Honda Rebel 1100 DCT when that bike was released last year. I tried one (test sit only) at a dealer, and it wasn't a good fit for my old bones. I tried the NC750X DCT, and it was too tall. That led me to search out a CTX700 DCT, no longer being made, but there are some good used offerings out there. I found a pristine model with the fairing and other nice accessories. For my 30" inseam and titanium hip, the CTX is easy to toss a leg over, and (more importantly) is a comfortable ride for me. I have the OEM seat, a Corbin low seat, and added floorboards. That rider "triangle" is a good fit for me.

On to the Dual Clutch Transmission: this is something I was interested to try, after 9 happy years of riding scooters (a Honda PCX and 2 Vespa GTSs). The scoots taught me (after decades of riding motorcycles) that I am just fine with the riding experience, without the need to manually shift. What I didn't expect from the DCT: how efficient it is. Truly, so much more than "an automatic" motorcycle. Drive mode is a bit sedate, but I use it when just tooling around. Sport mode shifts similar to how I would ride a manual transmission. And, of course, there is full Manual mode, where you change gears with paddle shifters on the left grip. You can also use those paddles to up or down shift at any time in Drive or Sport modes. It shifts faster than I can, never misses a shift, never stalls, downshifts as you come to a stop. You feel the shifts, and can change the amount of engine braking by your choice of Drive or Sport.

Less than 4 weeks with the CTX, and I am completely sold on the DCT. Is it "the future" of motorcycling? Probably not. Is it MY future of motorcycling? Absolutely. Riding in traffic - no need to constantly be working your left hand and foot. Ride it like a big scooter. Want to eat up miles on the highway? You're in top gear anyway so it doesn't matter whether you shift manually or via DCT. Tearing through the twisties - put it in Manual mode and the rider selects the gear, just like any manual transmission. Or put it in Sport mode and you can still up or down shift via the paddle shifters as you see a tight curve coming up.

The newer models with DCT (Rebel 1100, Africa Twin, NC750X, Goldwing) have even more modes and refinements. In the meantime, this CTX with DCT is doing all I ask of it. For me, it has been the best parts of riding a motorcycle AND a scooter. Well, if it had more native storage like most scoots, but a top case takes care of that.

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Shinyribs

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With everyone being crazy about quickshifters these days, I think the thumb paddle shifters make more sense to me. I've not ridden one of these transmissions yet, but I am curious to see what it's like.
 

cabanza

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DCT is awesome! But I think it's best fitted to certain bikes like cruisers and touring bikes (or ADV scooters).
 

Captain Jim

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With everyone being crazy about quickshifters these days, I think the thumb paddle shifters make more sense to me. I've not ridden one of these transmissions yet, but I am curious to see what it's like.

DCT is awesome! But I think it's best fitted to certain bikes like cruisers and touring bikes (or ADV scooters).
I think there are people out there who don't understand what DCT is all about. Before buying the CTX, I watched video reviews where some said the performance of the bike is underwhelming and complained about the rapid upshifts in Drive mode, getting to 6th gear before 40 mph. If you are just loping along in traffic, that is a non-issue. I find I use Drive mode more than I thought I would after first riding the bike. Sport mode is more performance oriented, but it's a mid-size bike with a long stroke and decent torque that red lines at 6500... it is surprisingly more like a Harley in that respect... it does the low rev cruising better than you'd expect from a 700cc bike.

Cabanza is aware that I appreciate what a good CVT scooter brings to the riding experience. The DCT expands on that for me, with the ability to downshift at any time to accelerate (just push that minus paddle shifter)... the ease of the scooter with the stronger performance of a motorcycle. For those who want the feel of the shift as opposed to the smoothness of a CVT, the DCT offers that; but the shift is impressively fast and smooth.

My take on it is: if you just put it in Drive or Sport mode and ride it like an automatic motorcycle, it handles that with no fuss (and how many of the reviewers rode the bike). But that isn't what DCT is all about - switch between the modes and add in the ability to downshift at any time with the paddle shifters, and you also have the "control" (for lack of a better word) that people like with the manual transmission. Give your left hand and foot a rest as you come to a stop or have to move slow (relative term) in traffic or on a road with a lot of stop lights or stop signs.

For me, DCT is functional and adds to the riding experience. I can see where it isn't for everyone and certainly not for every bike. But it is another interesting option.
 

Shinyribs

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I haven't heard it mentioned directly, but I'm sure you'd know. I assume if you're riding in manual mode and have to stop suddenly, I assume the gearbox will automatically shift down to first?

No way I'd ever give up a clutch on a dirt bike but, for a street bike, I think DCT makes a whole lot of sense. I was stuck in traffic a few weeks ago when an accident had a section of road closed down. My FZ 09 has the smoothest clutch I've ever seen and it's a pretty light pull. It pulls away effortlessly with no throttle. As easy as it is to ride, I still thought about how dang nice a dct wouldn't been that day. It was not a lot of fun creeping forward 20' every 30 seconds for about an hour.
 
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Captain Jim

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I haven't heard it mentioned directly, but I'm sure you'd know. I assume if you're riding in manual mode and have to stop suddenly, I assume the gearbox will automatically shift down to first?

No way I'd ever give up a clutch on a dirt bike but, for a street bike, I think DCT makes a whole lot of sense. I was stuck in traffic a few weeks ago when an accident had a section of road closed down. My FZ 09 has the smoothest clutch I've ever seen and it's a pretty light pull. It pulls away effortlessly with no throttle. As easy as it is to ride, I still thought about how dang nice a dct wouldn't been that day. It was not a lot of fun creeping forward 20' every 30 seconds for about an hour.

Yes, the DCT will downshift in Manual mode as you slow down. Once down to 1st gear and you take off again, you will have to shift up with the paddle shifter. The DCT will not let you downshift if it will over-rev the engine. My experience thus far has been that I really don't use Manual much. If you are running down a twisty road and concerned the bike may shift up or down in a tight curve, that would be the time to switch to Manual. Otherwise, Drive or Sport works fine, with the "as necessary" manual downshift.

In that "creeping traffic" situation, you will be delighted with the DCT. And when the traffic clears and you can wind things up again, you will still be delighted with the DCT. And, by "you," I mean: me. Your mileage may vary.
 

klaviator

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No way I'd ever give up a clutch on a dirt bike but, for a street bike, I think DCT makes a whole lot of sense. I was stuck in traffic a few weeks ago when an accident had a section of road closed down. My FZ 09 has the smoothest clutch I've ever seen and it's a pretty light pull. It pulls away effortlessly with no throttle. As easy as it is to ride, I still thought about how dang nice a dct wouldn't been that day. It was not a lot of fun creeping forward 20' every 30 seconds for about an hour.
Last year I got stuck in stop and go traffic for over 30 minutes with three friends on motorcycles. I was on a scooter. After creeping along for what seemed like forever they all wished they were on scooters. One of them asked about my scooter not having a clutch. Scooters as well as DCT bikes do have clutches. Its just that they are automatic and there is no clutch lever.

As for dirt bikes. a lot of people put Rekluse clutches on their dirt bikes.

A DCT has the advantages of a full automatic like a CVT and adventages of a manual tranny. A DCT is expensive and requires a certain amount of electric power so we probably won't see DCTs on small bikes and scooters. I think will will see more DCTs in midsize and large bikes.
 

Mr Pou

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I have a Goldwing Tour DCT, and like it a lot, it fits the luxury nature of the bike. When momma is on the back, I just leave it in TOUR mode, and it short shifts and gets into 6th and 7th gears quickly and surfs the bountiful low end torque[1] of the 1833cc six cyliner. When in TOUR and using average acceleration, I get upper 40's mpg, which I think is prett good for a fully loaded 800#+ bike two up. When I'm out by myself, I put it in SPORT, and it pretty much shifts just as I would in the twisties. The Honda engineeers have done an admirable job with this latest DCT, just as they have done a fantastic job on the ride/handling of the suspension.

Do I want DTC on my BMW GS? Nope, the manual fits that bike.


[1]
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cabanza

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Honda Europe advertising for DCT. What's interesting is how many bikes are displayed at the end of the video. I wish we'd get them all.

 

Captain Jim

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Honda Europe advertising for DCT. What's interesting is how many bikes are displayed at the end of the video. I wish we'd get them all.


How many bikes are you gonna buy? ;-) Well, considering it is you, that may be enough to get Honda to give the US more of those bikes. (LOL)

We all know the US is a different market from the rest of the world. While DCT makes a lot of sense to me, it isn't going to be the choice for a lot of US riders. Some "traditional views" are hard to overcome. In the US currently, you can get the NC750X, Honda Rebel 1100, Africa Twin, and the Goldwing (various models) with DCT. That covers a lot of bike options: ADV, Cruiser, and Touring. Other non-current models are available on the used market. As Klaviator said: because of the complexity, cost, weight, and electrical, it is going to be a while (if ever) before you see DCT on smaller displacement bikes. After first looking into DCT, I could see how it could make for a great riding experience. After riding with it for this first month, I am firmly convinced of the practical application. Added bonus: it is a fun technology in actual use.
 

cabanza

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How many bikes are you gonna buy? ;-) Well, considering it is you, that may be enough to get Honda to give the US more of those bikes. (LOL)

We all know the US is a different market from the rest of the world. While DCT makes a lot of sense to me, it isn't going to be the choice for a lot of US riders. Some "traditional views" are hard to overcome. In the US currently, you can get the NC750X, Honda Rebel 1100, Africa Twin, and the Goldwing (various models) with DCT. That covers a lot of bike options: ADV, Cruiser, and Touring. Other non-current models are available on the used market. As Klaviator said: because of the complexity, cost, weight, and electrical, it is going to be a while (if ever) before you see DCT on smaller displacement bikes. After first looking into DCT, I could see how it could make for a great riding experience. After riding with it for this first month, I am firmly convinced of the practical application. Added bonus: it is a fun technology in actual use.
How many bikes do I need? I'm not sure... There's this guy I follow who said it just right: "I know there is always another bike to be had." I think he just bought a CTX DCT too. :lol3
 

Captain Jim

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Out for breakfast - met our daughter and son-in-law at the restaurant. A delightful 67º when we left, pushing 90º when we got back, just before noon. No, this isn't a weather report. At the risk of sounding like even more of a geezer, we rode along the parkways by Sun City (divided 4 lane, light traffic, lots of greenery), north to the Lake Pleasant area, then west and south on the Loop 303, then onto some side roads for a change of scenery.

While the riding was enjoyable (good to be riding), I find myself entertained by the Dual Clutch Transmission. It's like there's a guy in there who knows how I like to ride, making the shifts at just the right time. The only time I found myself using the manual paddle shifters was the occasional downshift for the engine braking as we came up to a stop light. This thing is impressive.

How many bikes do I need? I'm not sure... There's this guy I follow who said it just right: "I know there is always another bike to be had." I think he just bought a CTX DCT too. :lol3

Sounds like this guy has a good attitude. He's probably quite dashing, as well... you know, based on how you talk about him.
 

Captain Jim

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Riding the CTX in the desert...

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The more time I spend with the DCT, the better I like it. I am using Drive mode more often than I expected, occasionally manually shifting down a gear for engine braking or to pass. When I first rode it, Drive mode seemed to really short-shift it, but with in town driving, I don't even notice it. Sport mode for riding through the curves. Even Drive mode can get up and go if you drop a gear and twist the throttle more - the transmission knows to hold the shifts for better acceleration. As I become more accustomed to the DCT, it seems to be more intuitive. I read that you need to spend time with it to appreciate how it works with your riding style - yep, so true.
 

Captain Jim

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Back home in the Tropical Tip of Texas. I took the CTX out for a ride this morning - I stopped at the SPI Convention Center, where they have a large parking lot that is great for practicing low speed maneuvers; you can use the lines on the parking spaces to gauge distance. With some practice, using trail braking (like you would on a scooter), I got it down to a full U-turn in two typical parking spaces. Some have expressed a concern that slow speed maneuvering with the DCT is tougher because you can't use the friction zone of the clutch like on a manual transmission - a bit of rear brake as you use the throttle takes care of that.


CTXlogo.jpg
 

Captain Jim

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Out on the CTX this morning, in the Tropical Tip. I shot some video during the ride...



Mostly about riding in the area, but some discussion of the DCT and using trail braking for low speed maneuvering.
 

Captain Jim

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Two months now with the CTX with Dual Clutch Transmission. I continue to be impressed with the capability of the bike. I have ridden some with it in Manual mode, but still using Drive or Sport modes far more often. If you need to move out in Drive mode, say when going 40 mph in 6th gear, two flicks of the thumb and a handful of throttle gets right with the program. The bike responds differently, depending on throttle input - pretty much like any rider would. A section of where I find myself riding (to get anywhere) has a 25 mph speed limit. If I have the bike in Sport mode, that seems to be the speed where it "hunts" between 2nd and 3rd gears... a click to Drive mode settles that to 4th gear and a low RPM. In our local neighborhood, the speed limit for just over a mile is 15 mph; Drive mode wants to hunt between 2nd and 3rd, but Sport mode will hold it steady in 2nd gear. You find the best mode for the use.

What can't DCT do? It can't anticipate the conditions ahead, whether that might be slower traffic, a tight curve, or gravel in the road. With a manual transmission, you do the thinking and put the bike in the gear you think will be appropriate for the conditions. If you just leave the bike to its own devices, it may not be in or go to the gear you want. Solution: use the paddle shifters (some call them trigger shifters) to put the transmission where you want it. The bike may handle the shifting for you, but you still have to ride aware and give it input as necessary.

I mentioned trail braking in an earlier post to give you more control in slow speed maneuvering. It works; in the parking lot or setting up for a curve. Don't grab for the front brake in those situations, though; rear brake is the answer. It's takes the place of using the friction zone with a manual only bike.

One of my favorite parts of the DCT (besides no left hand cramps): the smooth forward motion as you pull away from a stop. I quit counting after 250,000 miles on motorcycles, so I think I am OK with that whole clutch/throttle operation on a manual bike. With the DCT, every time I pull away from a stop is like my best handling of a manual clutch. This gets important as I'm loading bikes into our cargo trailer... the response with the throttle is more immediate with the DCT than even with the CVT on a scooter - so easy to modulate.

The CTX is no longer made, so it is a previous generation of the DCT compared to Honda's current offerings. I have no hands-on experience with new versioons, but I would expect the latest DCT to be even better. Combined with the throttle by wire, the DCT offers more mode options (like 3 Sport modes on the Africa Twin), a Rain mode, User mode, and traction control.
 

Mr Pou

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The bike responds differently, depending on throttle input -
Indeed, the bike (Goldwing Tour DCT) has adaptive learning and monitors throttle and brake operation. Nice and smooth on the throttle and brakes? It short shifts, keeps revs low, and maximizes economy. Start snapping the throttle open and closed quickly, using the brakes hard, etc., and it quickly starts to hold gears longer, keeping the revs up and maximizing engine braking into corners and drive out of corners.

It's kinda fun, once you learn how the system works, you can get it to behave in the manner you want just by how you treat throttle and brake inputs. It's kind of fascinating actually.
 

Amos Malone

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I tested the DCT in a NC700 when it first came out. Came away impressed but didn't make the jump. I remember there being some issues on the early bikes after some tens of thousand miles. Honda being Honda I assume that by now it's bulletproof. NC750X DCT is on my list of bike to be on look out for when I decide to renew the examples in my stable.

I can just imagine the complaints from some when they realize they cannot slip the clutch. :lol3
 

Captain Jim

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I tested the DCT in a NC700 when it first came out. Came away impressed but didn't make the jump. I remember there being some issues on the early bikes after some tens of thousand miles. Honda being Honda I assume that by now it's bulletproof. NC750X DCT is on my list of bike to be on look out for when I decide to renew the examples in my stable.

I can just imagine the complaints from some when they realize they cannot slip the clutch. :lol3
You can't slip the clutch, but you can use trail braking to achieve the same results... well, except for heating up your clutch. ;-)
 

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