The Life Changing Magic Of DCT
Remember when you were learning to ride and thought you’d never get your left hand, right hand and left foot to work together?
Imagine a biking genie appeared and said they could make you shift gears more quickly and more smoothly than is humanly possible.
Well if you’d said yes, the genie would have a Honda jacket on and you would be using DCT.
What is Honda DCT?
DCT stands for Dual Clutch Transmission. It’s a manual transmission but instead of just one clutch there are two: one for the odd gears and one for the even. Both sets keep spinning and when, say, you are in second gear, first and third are waiting ready to go. The DCT computer has no problem operating the two clutches to seamlessly swap between gears.
To fine tune the system, Honda took their expert riders out and wired their bikes to laptops. They measured the revs, timing, speed, everything. All that detail was committed to the DCT’s brain, with the result that DCT shifts like the best riders in the world. If not better.
Is Honda DCT any good?
When it changes, there is no loss of drive, weight shift, squat or dive. Shifts are seamless and buttery smooth. There is even a story that DCT was originally so seamless that you couldn’t even tell it was shifting. Honda had to put some shock back into the system so you can feel the gear shifts. It’s a smoother operator than Sade (there’s a reference for all the 50-somethings).
Since it was first introduced in 2010 DCT has been perfected and now 45% of the Africa Twins, 52% of the NC750Xs and 67% of the Gold Wings sold across Europe have DCT.
How do I use DCT?
You can use it how you want, there are two main modes:
- Full Auto
- Full auto has four options
In STANDARD riding mode, the DCT shift pattern offers a balance between high-gear, low-speed cruising and low-gear, full-throttle excitement.
RAIN selects higher gears more quickly for a super-smooth ride.
SPORT delivers higher-rpm and lower gears, holds onto revs for longer before upshifts, and downshifting at higher rpms for more engine braking effect.
The USER option also allows the rider to adapt any of the three DCT shift patterns as they want.
Additionally Africa Twin and X - Adv models have the GRAVEL option. This enables throttle snap to say, lift the front wheel over an obstacle. The clutch slip duration is reduced, it becomes more sudden, giving the same effect as dumping the clutch.
One thing that isn’t often mentioned is that even in full auto using the paddle shifters will change the gears, it’s full auto but you’re in control. Handy for engine braking when things get steep.
In manual you can use the left paddle shifters for completely manual control. It will obey your every shift whim but sportingly won’t let you blow the engine.
The DCT stays in gear, even at 0mph both clutches are still spinning, so don’t blip the throttle unless you are in neutral (select N on the thumbshifter).
As you are always in neutral when you stop, DCT bikes have a manual rear handbrake (that is independent of the foot brake) so you can safely put the anchors on when you need to park on a slope.
But why would I want DCT?
Do you ride in stop-start traffic?
With no clutch, slow moving traffic is so much less tiring.
Do you worry about stalling or hill starts?
It can’t stall, there’s no feathering the clutch when you start or on hill starts.
Do you want to be first away from the lights?
You cannot beat a DCT bike off the lights - there is not a moment’s delay between twisting the throttle and moving forward.
Don’t ride that much and a bit nervous?
DCT means the whole throttle - clutch - shift dance is a thing of the past. Get on and enjoy the ride.
Do you ride (muddy) trails?
DCT is always in gear, right down to 1mph. So you can focus on your speed and line instead of panicking to find the right gear up in a slippery or steep section. And if you need to walk the bike to clear a particularly technical or slippery section, you use the throttle at 1% to keep load on the back wheel and walk on by.
Do you do long journeys?
DCT means that you can eat the miles and pay more attention to what’s going on and enjoying the journey.
DCT is even more inclusive. If you are injured or unable to operate a clutch or shifter (one of our team had a badly twisted ankle) then DCT means you can still ride.
Is Honda DCT reliable?
In fact because the DCT system is so efficient, there is less wear on the transmission, no bad shifts or burnt clutches make for a happy gearbox.
There must be some disadvantages?
There is one... if your battery dies on you, you cannot bumpstart a DCT bike. So keep a battery jump-starter pack with you if you are going on an epic adventure .
Also remember that you still need a full manual licence to ride a DCT-equipped motorbike so you can’t ride one legally if you only have an automatic license.
Which models have DCT?
and of course, the legendary Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour.
One last thing from DCT’s Chief Engineer:
DCT frees your mind to ride more safely
When asked, Dai Arai said: "The biggest thing for me is how much brain 'bandwidth' it frees up to use on what is most enjoyable about riding – cornering, looking for the right lines, timing your braking and acceleration."
DCT leaves you feeling mentally and physically better. It’s one less thing to worry about, leaving you to pay more attention to what’s around you to safely enjoy the ride.
Call us today and try DCT for yourself. It’s life changing.