Motorcycle Transmissions: A Closer Look at the Various Types of Gear Configurations on Motorcycles

Understanding the inner workings of a motorcycle might seem easier than attempting to comprehend a more complex vehicle, but that does not necessarily mean that it is not difficult. Motorcycles come in all shapes and sizes, and as such, have different forms of transmissions. It is fairly uncommon to find a motorcycle that is not manual, but automatic and semi-automatic transmissions do exist for motorcycles. Here is what you need to know about each type.

Automatic Motorcycle Transmission
Because this is the least popular category for motorcycle transmission, it would be intuitive to assume that the motorcycles found with automatic transmission differ greatly from those with manual. Motorcycles that have automatic transmissions are often labelled scooters, though certain sports bikes have customised automatic processes. Automatic gears for motorcycles are often referred to as a twist-and-go system, which has the ability to shift through the range of gears without a noticeable indicator. Even with the automatic system, motorcycles typically have a clutch. The clutch functions to aid the engine when the vehicle is idling or when the motorcycle is being manually reversed.

Semi-Automatic Motorcycle Transmission
This type of transmission is known for facilitating the act of manual gear change without the need for a clutch. With motorcycles, the semi-automatic transmission involves the use of a traditional gear change feature without a manual clutch operation being necessary. The use of a torque converter renders a traditional clutch redundant, but some semi-automatic motorcycles employ the use of a duel clutch type to improve the smoothness of the ride and keep drivers from redlining the engine.

Manual Motorcycle Transmission
When it comes to motorcycles, manual transmission is the go-to. Typically, the average manual motorcycle will have a sequential gearbox, with five or six gears to shift into. The foot level that serves as the clutch for manual transmissions on a motorcycle enables the rider to shift gears in order. Usually the first and second gear can be achieved immediately from a neutral position, but upwards of the second gear, each shift must be made in ascending order. That means there is no direct access to specific gears, which is otherwise standard for manual transmission. Motorcycles also do not have the H pattern gearshift that is common amongst manual vehicles because the design of the gearbox would be to the detriment of the motorcycle itself.

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