Motorcycle riding is an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable hobby with a distinct feeling that can’t be recreated with anything else. However, there is one problem that new motorcycle riders face—the steep learning curve required to learn how to ride a manual transmission motorcycle. This may leave you wondering if motorcycles can be automatic? We have researched this topic to get you all the answers you need to get on the road.
There are automatic transmission motorcycles, but not as many as manual transmission motorcycles. Automatic transmission motorcycles have been rapidly growing in popularity due to the ease of use, and the ability to cruise on the motorcycle without having to worry about things associated with a manual transmission, such as stalling and redlining.
The intimidation that manual transmissions have on potential new riders have created a shockingly low amount of new motorcyclists. The dynamic automatic gear shifts have introduced a different motorcycle riding experience, with many people switching over from manual transmission motorcycles. To learn more about the future of automatic motorcycles, we will take a deep dive into how these motorcycles work and the different types of automatic transmission motorcycles.
Everything you Need to Know about Automatic Motorcycles
Shifting wrong on a manual transmission has played a large part in the number of motorcycle accidents that occur annually. Automatic transmission motorcycles are the solution to this problem. With an automatic bike, you can skip the challenging process of learning how to shift correctly and efficiently. An automatic transmission motorcycle uses a compact gearbox that can handle the powerful torque of a motorcycle’s engine to switch gears effortlessly for the rider. There are a variety of different types of automatic motorcycles on the market today that all play a different role for your needs.
Automatic motorcycles can be categorized into three main categories:
- Sports Bike
- Touring Motorcycle
- Electric Motorcycle
When you are looking to purchase an automatic sports bike, you are looking for a bike that accelerates quickly, has a high top-speed, and is easily maneuverable. Performance is on the mind of every motorcyclist looking for a sports bike to purchase. Sports bikes typically aren’t the best choice if you are looking for a motorcycle that you will use daily, this is because these types of bikes do not emphasize comfort and safety. Sports bikes are best for those looking for a fast weekend motorcycle to get their adrenaline fix.
Touring automatic motorcycles are for those looking for a daily bike and a motorcycle that can go long distances with comfort. These motorcycles are heavier than a sports bike and place emphasis on being a smooth and comfortable ride. The seats on a touring motorcycle are comfortable for the rider, and there are storage compartments that allow the rider to store items for long rides. While the performance of a touring bike won’t match a sports bike, automatic transmission touring bikes still can produce adequate power.
The last and most recent addition to automatic motorcycles is the electric motorcycle. The electric motorcycle has just recently started to gain traction in the motorcycle industry, attracting a new type of motorcyclist. The electric motors of these bikes require no shifting and can quickly accelerate due to having no delay that gas-powered engines have. These environment and budget-conscious bikes are the perfect picks for a rider who wants a smooth and powerful ride. Another benefit of choosing an electric bike is not having to refuel with gasoline and being able to charge your bike before using it again.
Why Do Most Motorcycles Have Manual Transmissions?
Most motorcycles are equipped with manual transmissions due to a few reasons.
Weight of the Gearbox
The first reason is the sheer weight of an automatic transmission gearbox added to the frame of the motorcycle. Motorcycles are loved because they are agile and easily maneuverable with a lightweight frame with only a few key components. When you add a bulky automatic transmission gearbox, you are adding more weight to the motorcycle’s structure, making it more sluggish and harder to maneuver. However, bikes with automatic transmission have become lighter as motorcycle brands find new and innovative ways to reduce the weight of these gearboxes.
The second reason why most motorcycles have manual transmissions is the speed advantage that manual transmissions have over automatic. People ride motorcycles because of their power and quick acceleration. Manual transmissions generally beat automatic transmissions in the quickness of their acceleration. High-tech automatic transmissions are starting to win in this category with exact gear shifts that a human user could not replicate.
More Expensive Bike
The final reason why most motorcycles have manual transmissions is due to the high costs of buying an automatic transmission bike. The more advanced technology in the automatic transmission bikes calls for a significantly higher price tag that scares away many potential motorcyclists looking to buy one. As automatic transmission motorcycles become more common, the price tag will start to drop as companies find ways to produce them for less.
What Motorcycle Brands Make Automatic Motorcycles?
Honda has been a leading pioneer of the automatic motorcycle with their first creation of the “Hondamatic” motorcycle in 1973. Since their humble beginnings, Honda has been continually innovating the automatic transmission motorcycle with more advanced features and smoother shifting. With models for both racing and long-distance riding, you can find an automatic motorcycle made by Honda that fits your needs.
Aprilia is an Italian motorcycle brand that has specialized in sports bikes and recently has broken into selling automatic transmission motorcycles. Aprilia’s most popular motorcycle model is the Mana 850 GT that has a unique automatic transmission that gives the motorcyclists the feeling of a seven-speed transmission. The Mana 850 GT also offers three driving modes of sport, touring, and rain mode, to adjust to your driving conditions.
If you are looking to purchase an electric-powered motorcycle, Zero creates efficient motorcycles with power that can compare and even beat a gas-powered motorcycle. The Zero SR/F has become a popular choice for motorcyclists due to its lightweight design and 110 horsepower and 140 ft/lbs of torque with a max speed of 124mph.
What is the Best Automatic Motorcycle?
If you are looking for the perfect automatic motorcycle to purchase, you cannot go wrong with buying from Honda. The Honda brand has been creating amazing products for decades, with a track record of success and durability. The best automatic motorcycle that you can purchase would be the 2020 Honda NC750X DCT ABS. This automatic transmission motorcycle provides you will everything you need in a bike with quick acceleration, efficient gear shifting, and durability that lasts.
The NC750X also is a perfect fit for a beginner due to its safety and convenience. It has a very reasonable price of $8,899 that can get you started in the world of motorcycles. However, this motorcycle isn’t just for the beginner; this can be the perfect ride for any veteran motorcyclists looking for a no-fuss motorcycle that consistently performs with no problems. It is the ideal practical ride that you can use daily and have a lot of fun as well.
Is Learning to Ride a Motorcycle Difficult?
You probably remember your first experience learning to drive a car when you were younger. Learning to ride a motorcycle is similar to the learning process you had when first learning to drive a car. If you decide to go the route of learning how to ride a manual transmission motorcycle, you are probably wondering how difficult it will be.
Like all things, you will need to practice to get good at riding a motorcycle. It can be intimidating at first when you are adjusting to using the clutch and shift pedal—but once you get the hang of these things, riding will become second-nature.
When you are first learning to ride, find a large open area such as an abandoned parking lot to practice. A sizeable space will provide you with plenty of room to make mistakes and not worry about things such as hitting someone’s car. Have an experienced motorcyclist help you to learn the ropes and give you helpful advice if you make any mistakes. Also, the most critical part of learning to ride a motorcycle is staying safe in the process. Be sure also to use proper personal protective equipment such as a helmet, gloves, and a protective jacket.
Automatic transmission motorcycles are a small growing part of the motorcycle industry that is becoming more widely accepted as technology advances. The automatic transmission is attracting new motorcycle riders, due to the ease of riding compared to manual transmission motorcycles.