I saw one of the new Honda NCX motorcycles the other day. It did look good. Ready to race or just to go to work, it seemed to have plenty of get up and go, too. I remembered later this one had an automatic transmission. Or, as Honda calls it, a dual-clutch transmission.
I have never thought much about automatic motorcycles. There just haven’t been many around, except for scooters. But now I wonder if one could be in my future. Back in my younger days I probably always wanted a car with a stick shifter. That was cool and automatics were for the geezers. But after working the clutch in one too many traffic jams and with tired left leg, I had second thoughts. Now it is hard to find a car or truck with anything but an automatic. Even the big semi trucks have automatics these days.
So, why not a motorcycle? You still are in the wind. You still can lean and scrape the pegs in a tight bend. You still can split lanes and beat traffic. I suppose insurance and other ownership costs are the same as any other motorcycle. Wheelies might be harder to do but that is a very infrequent part of my riding anyway.
Technology keeps moving along doesn’t it? A few years ago there were no bikes with ABS. Soon they all will come that way. I have worked hard on my own brake modulation and I imagine I could forget that skill someday if the need were gone. No street bike has a starter pedal anymore and few of us wish we could remove our starter button – right?
Car transmissions have up to nine speeds now. Some have CVT transmissions like a beefed-up scooter. What will be next for us riders? That nine-speed motorcycle transmission could be built to bring us off the line faster than we can even imagine today and still yield 75 MPG from a big, heavy Harley or Gold Wing. We could have mid-size rides that get 100 MPG and little ones that go long enough to forget where the gas filler cap is.
It’ll probably be a few more years until I go shopping for another bike. I wonder what will be for sale then. Will the whole industry change? Would it make any difference? We'll still look good whether standing still at the light or winding through the twisties, wont we?