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Honda Unveils Electronic auto-Clutch

Honda’s latest innovation is the E-clutch – automatic electronic control of the clutch when starting, coming to a halt or changing gear (or as Honda describes it, when the ‘driving force changes’.

The company already has a name for innovative transmissions, thanks to its well-established Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) which allows push button or automatic gear changing on a six-speed box. Available on a whole range of bikes, from the NC750 to the Africa Twin and Goldwing, it’s been a great success, with the Goldwing DCT now outselling its manual counterpart.
The E-clutch is different, in that there is still a clutch lever and there appears to be no automatic option. The rider still has to choose when to change gear via the foot change, but the E-clutch takes care of clutch control – Honda describes it as ‘clutch assist’ rather than a fully automatic system. However, as there is still a clutch lever the rider can override the system with manual control if desired. Still, why would you, if Honda’s claim for the E-clutch is true. It will, it says, provide, “instantaneous, fine-tuned clutch control for optimum performance in situations where the driving force changes.”

BMF Chair Jim Freeman thought the new system could be a boon for learner riders. “Yes it could help learners, and if you happen to drop the bike and break the clutch lever, Honda think of everything! Seriously, as someone who cut their riding teeth on a C50 and C90, with the centrifugal clutch which meant you just had to use the gear lever, there was no manual clutch option, this is nothing particularly new in Honda world. It also enabled some of us to work out how to get baby wheelies from a C90, not something that ‘the nicest people, riding Honda’ were supposed to do, no accounting for teenagers…”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Honda