2. Automatic Transmissions


One of Honda’s goals with its Dual Clutch Transmission was to flatten one barrier to entering motorcycling – the need to be able to operate a clutch and shift gears. Unfortunately, the VFR1200F it launched that automatic gearbox in came out in 2009, the worst possible timing, right upon the heels of a huge global recession, and not exactly the right bike for drawing in new riders either. Since then, Honda has graced its NC700s with the DCT option, as well as the new Africa Twin and a couple others; there’s even a bespoke DCT website. We’re not sure how many new riders DCT has pulled in, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it winds up being a bunch as word gets out and the economy improves. A bike that shifts itself or lets you do it with paddles is a pretty convenient way to get around. The Aprilia Mana is a hoot in its own right.

No-Shift Shootout: 2014 Aprilia Mana GT vs. BMW C600 Sport vs. Honda NC700 DCT

I don’t think motorcycles you shift yourself will ever become as scarce as cars with stickshifts, but as motorcycles sprout more and more modern appendages that require your on-the-fly attention, automatic shifting becomes more and more attractive.