Yamaha Joins the Automated Manual Transmission Club

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Expect Y-AMT on the MT-09 and other sporty streetbikes

Yamaha announced a new automatic transmission system, joining the list of manufacturers introducing some form of electronic gear shifting technology following Honda, BMW, and KTM. The Yamaha Automated Manual Transmission (Y-AMT) system allows for quick shifting without the need for a manual clutch lever, with Yamaha claiming more consistently faster and precise shifting than the latest quickshifters currently available.

Y-AMT isn’t Yamaha’s first foray into automatic shifting. The FJR1300 introduced the Yamaha Chip Controlled Shift (YCC-S) system, which uses hydraulics to manipulate the clutch. Y-AMT uses two electric actuators, one to handle the clutch and the other for actual shifting. Yamaha says the physical components for the Y-AMT weighs 2.8 kg, or about 6.2 pounds, and can be installed on a motorcycle without increasing the width of the engine. The actual clutch and gearbox are otherwise identical to the regular manual transmission versions.

Motorcycle.com can confirm that Yamaha has registered a new “MTN890-S” model with the code “RN88” in Australia that is identical to the regular MT-09 (i.e. MTN890 and RN87) except it weighs 3 kg more, which lines up with Yamaha’s claim of Y-AMT weighing 2.8 kg. The accompanying photo, shown here, is distinctly lacking a clutch lever. The Australian filing also shows the MTN890-S with a sample vehicle identification number with an “R” in the tenth position, which indicates it as a 2024 model.

So far, each manufacturer introducing a similar system has taken a slightly different approach to the technology. The two European brands, for example, are introducing it first on adventure bikes, namely the BMW R 1300 GS and GS Adventure, and what we expect to be a KTM 1390 Super Adventure. Yamaha is taking a similar approach to Honda, introducing the technology first on a sportier road model. Where Honda is equipping its E-Clutch on the CBR650R and CB650R, the handlebars and switchgear shown in Yamaha’s illustrations suggest Y-AMT will debut on the MT-09, though we should expect it will eventually be available on a range of models.

Where KTM and Honda are keeping a clutch lever and foot shifter on their respective automatic models, Yamaha is following BMW in not having a traditional clutch or shifter control. Instead, Y-AMT will offer both a fully-automatic AT mode or an MT manual shift mode with small “see-saw” levers on the left switchgear. A thumb-controlled minus lever below the left grip activates downshifts, while an index finger-controlled plus lever in front activates upshifts. Even in AT mode, riders will always have the option to step in and manually shift gears as needed.

The right switchgear has a mode button that allows riders to switch between automatic and manual modes. In fully automatic AT mode, riders can choose between two different modes. In “D” mode, shifting is optimized for commuting or long-distance riding, maintaining a low engine speed. Switching to “D+” mode adopts a sportier algorithm, with shifts coming higher in the rev range. Y-AMT works in conjunction with Yamaha’s ride-by-wire throttle control system, switchable ride modes, and cruise control functions.

Explaining its choice of controls, Yamaha says using just finger-activated switches allows riders to focus their attention on body position, lean angle, throttle control and brake application. For example, not having to shift with their left foot allows riders to keep their boots on the footpeg, allowing them to maintain weight distribution through the pegs when cornering.

Yamaha didn’t say when Y-AMT will debut on production models, but the Australian filing suggests it will be announced shortly on a new MT-09 variant.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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2 of 4 comments
  • Andrew Walters Andrew Walters on Jun 30, 2024

    I think automatic transmissions will attract more people into motorcycling, and manual transmission may eventually die out just as they have in automobiles. Automatic transmissions are particularly advantageous in city commutes and anywhere else frequent shifting is required. And, to be honest, as I get older and my joints get stiffer the idea of an automatic motorcycle gets more and more appealing. So, it may also be that automatics will keep older riders on motorcycles longer.

  • SomeRandomPerson SomeRandomPerson on Jul 01, 2024

    I enjoy manually slipping clutch into gears.