We’ve talked a lot about all of the different engines being used or developed for use in motor vehicles but we haven’t really said anything about transmissions. Not a glamorous subject but necessary if you want to move. Bikers all understand or are at least familiar with manual transmissions since that’s what bikes have. Very basic and straight forward. Automatics tend to be the province of cars except Honda had a brief fling some years back. A newer technology, CVT or continuously variable transmissions, are used in some scooters these days and a number of cars. Now comes the dual clutch transmission.
The manual transmission, if taken apart is not hard to grasp and it’s easy to see how the clutch and pressure plate work as well. Almost anyone can fix one with a little patience and time.
Automatics are a different story. I remember watching a very long and detailed explanation of how automatics work from torque converter to valve body, ring, planetary and sun gears, the whole works. I remember taking a long sip from an adult beverage and I think momentarily I had it, then I blinked and “Poof!” it was gone.
A CVT is easier, a belt or chain and variable pulleys keep the engine in the heart of its rev range. OK, got that.
Now, dual clutch transmissions. Autoweek says they’re the coming thing and since the small car area is where they are focused, motorcycles might see them in the future, maybe not, but the technology is interesting anyway. Their article talks all about them but cleverly never mentions how they actually work. So I did a little digging and I’m still not sure. It looks like one clutch is used for odd gears, the other for even gears and you essentially powershift from one gear to the next without any interruption of drive. Static diagrams of complex moving mechanisms always leave me wanting more so I’ll have to look at this a little longer but keep this on your radar screen, it’s coming.