Do Motorcycles Come In Automatic? Yes [Pros Vs Cons]

black and red sports bike parked on green grass field during daytime

Yes. Motorcycles come in two basic types: manual and automatic. Manual motorcycles require the rider to shift thru the gears manually. An automatic bike is considered an auto-clutch, also referred to as a “twist and go” ride.

It all started with the desire to build a machine that was fast and could also be used for everyday commuting. The concept of an automatic transmission isn’t new. It’s been around since the middle part of the 1970s. Back then, most riders were used to a manual motorcycle, so the concept of a bike with automatic transmission was not accepted.

Motorcycles were thought to be too complicated for the average rider. The idea was to make a motorcycle that would be a pleasure to ride, easy to use, and affordable to maintain.

So, to make it easier to understand the idea, the name “twist and go” concept was formed. 

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The Hondamatic

The Hondamatic was introduced to the United States in 1976 via the CB750A, the “A” referring to automatic. In essence, this is a two-speed transmission that houses a torque converter, typical of an automatic transmission. The transmission, however, did not automatically change gears. The rider has to activate it via a foot-controlled hydraulic valve/selector. There were other versions of the Hondamatic  – 400, 450, and 750 cc. (Source: Wikipedia)

Development of Automatic Transmission

The motorcycle was not considered a vehicle that the masses could take up. It was just too cumbersome. Understandably, when you’re a new rider, balancing a heavy machine and fiddling with the transmission to move forward was a limiting factor and discouraging for many. Hence, the transmission from manual to semi-automatic to a fully automatic twist-and-go ride was a natural progression for manufacturers. 

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This innovation opened the door to a new market, which eventually expanded to various designs and models that have persisted today. Automatic transmissions are the standard on most scooters, and they have become the steady milking cow of motorcycle companies. 

Although motorcycles started in Germany, today, the most significant motorcycle riding population is in Asia (specifically Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, and India). Along with many other countries,  these six are the biggest market for automatic scooters and motorcycles. 

group of people riding a motorcycle

Manual Transmission Versus Automatic Transmission

There is no contest that nothing feels like a motorcycle with a manual transmission when we talk about motorcycle riding. Its biggest advantage? You have full control of the power of your bike.

However, to most urban commuters who have to deal with stop-and-go traffic every day, automatic transmission motorcycles and scooters are a joy to ride. You don’t have to worry about up or downshifting whether you’re in the city or on a long road trip, which leaves you with nothing but a truly relaxing ride. 

What Type of Rider Prefers Automatic Motorcycles?

Not surprisingly, the younger generation. The reason? Convenience, affordability, and fuel efficiency. 

Furthermore, automatic transmission motorcycles opened the door to customers who would otherwise not be able to ride a bike – people who have certain disabilities, tourists/vacationers who want to enjoy the beauty of nature, and every rider in the city who wants to focus on commuting safely, quickly, and affordably. Here, I am referring to scooters.

What Motorcycle Models Come with Automatic Transmission?

Here is a shortlist of motorcycles with automatic transmission:

  • 2022 Honda NT1100
  • Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission)
  • Honda Africa Twin ES DCT
  • Honda Rebel 1100 DCT 
  • NC750 X DCT
  • MV Augusta Turismo Veloce 798cc
  • Honda CTX700 DCT
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So, which is better, manual or automatic?

Think about the kind of ride you need to do and consider your riding skills. Suppose you’re a beginner who needs to be able to go from point A to point B in a comfortable, fast, fuel-efficient, and affordable way. In that case, an automatic motorcycle or scooter is a perfect choice for you. 

However, if you are an experienced rider who wants to push the envelope of your motorcycle’s performance, and you have the skills to do so. Then, you should consider a manual transmission motorcycle. 

The reason? To push the envelope of your motorcycle’s performance, you need to go to the next level. This means you need to increase the power output of your bike. The manual transmission allows you to do that. 

If you’re not a skilled rider or want to have a ride that feels like a car, you should opt for a motorcycle with automatic transmission. 

What to consider when buying an automatic motorcycle or scooter

You need to consider a few things when purchasing a motorcycle with an automatic transmission. 

The first consideration is the budget. The cost of a motorcycle with an automatic transmission is generally higher than a motorcycle with a manual transmission. In contrast, scooters are way more affordable than either a manual or automatic transmission motorcycle, effectively making them a wise investment for the everyday commuter.

Second, power and torque. A motorcycle with automatic transmission will have lower power and torque than a manual transmission. The reason? Automatic transmission motorcycles are designed to be efficient. 

Third, riding style. The majority of automatic motorcycles are designed to have a relaxed riding position. This is why most automatic motorcycles are best for beginners, the elderly, or anyone with a bad back. 

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Conclusion

The world of motorcycles has come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, there are many innovations in the motorcycle world. That is why, if you want to be a part of this revolution, there is no better moment than now to enter the world of automatic motorcycles.

We hope you enjoyed this article on automatic motorcycles. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.