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.