Why can’t motorcycles be automatic?

Would you buy an automatic motorcycle if it was available? Would an automatic motorcycle help with commuting in a city?

Honda made an automatic motorcycle in the seventies. The Hondamatic was on a 400 cc engine. There are automatic motorbikes available today; HondaCTX 700 auto shifted, so the notion that automatic motorcycles are not available is surprising.

Why are there no automatic motorcycles?

There are! Honda makes an auto transmission motorcycle and has done so for decades. Other automatic bikes are from the US, such as the Ridley auto glide.

However, when automatic motorcycles are available, there is no evidence that anyone wants to buy them. Sales figures are stagnant to a great extent, and motorcycle sales are more robust with conventional gearboxes.

Most motorcycle companies work on the commercial aspect of what sells and what does not, which makes sense. This is why we don’t see automatic gearboxes fitted to motorcycles even though the technology is there to do so.

With EV motorcycles coming more to the forefront of the industry, we can only expect the gearbox to be phased out completely.

Can a motorcycle be automatic?

Yes, the technology is available to make automatic motorcycles. Honda has dabbled with automatic transmission since the seventies.

Motorcycle riders are purists at heart and want the whole experience of riding a motorcycle which includes shifting gears with your left foot.

Why are all motorcycles manual?

The demand for automatic motorcycles is not apparent, so motorcycle manufacturers are not prepared to fill an abstract void and lose money.

The manual motorcycle has always been the real motorcycle that has been in demand from buyers.

There is no evidence to suggest that automatic motorcycles would entice more buyers to ride motorcycles. Empirical evidence shows the opposite. Riders prefer to use a manual motorcycle.

DCT dual-clutch transmissions will become more popular for bigger bikes like the Goldwing. The DCT is effectively an auto transmission that you can select to drive, and there is no other rider input for gear changes. The motorcycle does it all for you.

Are automatic motorcycles better than manual?

It’s subjective! There will always be the need for manual transmission motorcycles. You can never imagine the day when a sports bike will have an auto transmission.

However, the DCT is an excellent option if you are looking for a relaxing ride. It takes a little time to get used to, like when cornering, your instincts tell you you should be doing something, but the motorcycle is doing everything for you.

Are all-electric motorcycles automatic?

Electric motorcycles are different as they don’t require a gearbox. The motor can wind up and down to meet the required speed without gear changes.

This is why electric motorcycles are enormously quick like their car counterparts.

So, for your electric motorcycle, it will be a case of on or off and hopefully drive and park, but the manual shift will be gone forever if we ever change solely to EV motorcycles.