Motorcycles with semi-automatic gearboxes are finally finding acceptance in the market after decades of failure.
With its DCT system installed, Honda has already sold more than 200,000 motorcycles throughout Europe. KTM is getting ready to join the fray with an automated version of its 1301 cc two-cylinder LC8 engine.
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S/R and the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT already come equipped with the LC8, and the company is currently working on new versions of both models for 2024 or 2025.
While the Honda Dual Clutch Transmission is complicated and inconvenient, requiring electronic and hydraulic systems to work and preventing the use of the clutch and shift lever in a fully conventional manner, KTM’s design is significantly less complicated.
It uses a centrifugal clutch similar to the SCS (Smart Clutch System) offered by MV Agusta to start the engine and transmission, engaging when revs rise significantly above idle to enable starting and stopping without the clutch lever.
When in motion, a quick up and down shift system and a “blipper” system mean that gear changes can be made without disengaging the clutch. While it doesn’t provide the smoothest shifts possible, a Dual Clutch Transmission does offer advantages in terms of cost and weight.
Although the KTM system can, like the MV Agusta’s, be used in conjunction with a conventional foot-operated manual gear lever, the design is really intended to be used in conjunction with an electric actuator (marked “27” in the drawings) that moves the gear cylinder. This can be controlled by the electronic components of the bike, allowing adjustments to be made fully automatically or using buttons on the handlebars.
There is no way for a rider to unintentionally try to start the bike without disengaging the parking lock since the parking lock is managed by the shift cylinder. The parking lock cannot be kept engaged when a gear is chosen due to the way the pawl is made.