Got DCT? How about TCT?

Forget about your dual clutch transmission — Honda’s already working on the next big thing.

According to Auto Guide, Honda has filed patents for an 11-speed, three-clutch transmission. Now, note the name of that site: Auto Guide certainly doesn’t imply this is technology aimed at the motorcycle market. Or is it?

Remember: dual clutch transmissions first appeared in the car world (thanks, Volkswagen). A few years later the DCT technology started to appear on production motorcycles, following a similar path to CVTs. The patent application does not mention where Honda intends to use the three-clutch transmission, so it doesn’t rule out motorcycle usage, but it’s unlikely, given that it has 11 speeds. That sounds like a transmission aimed at fuel efficiency in a four-wheeled vehicle. In contrast, the current Africa Twin, with its dual clutch transmission, has only six speeds, and it’s hard to imagine motorcycle manufacturers feeling an 11-speed was necessary.

However, the three-clutch transmission is not designed primarily for fuel economy; the patent application says it’s designed for quicker shifting, which is certainly an attractive feature for motorcycles. So, we’ll see where it leads. Don’t be surprised if, in a few years, instead of debating DCTs vs. traditional gearboxes, we’re debating DCT vs. TCT tech.

8 thoughts on “Got DCT? How about TCT?”

  1. I rode the DCT Africa Twin at Mosport this year, after having read Ron’s report, and while the bike is stellar and on my wish list, the DCT isn’t.

    Gears aren’t changed until the rider inputs throttle, and the Honda reps claimed that it would map to your riding style, but I found the auto mode too conservative, bumping up to 6th when it should have stayed in 5th, then a ‘pause 2 3 4’ on an aggressive roll on from 6th down into 3rd.

    Sport mode was fun, but muscle memory had me tapping down on a nonexistent shift lever as opposed to the finger and thumb.

    If they had an option for user programming for a more spirited ride setup I could live with it, but I really prefer manual clutch control in all but highway situations.

    DCT, TCT. Not quite ready for prime time IMHO.

  2. “The patent application does not mention where Honda intends to use the three-clutch transmission, so it doesn’t rule out motorcycle usage, but it’s unlikely, given that it has 11 speeds. That sounds like a transmission aimed at fuel efficiency in a four-wheeled vehicle.”

    You’ve already answered your own question.

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