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Manual Vs. Automatic: Which Motorcycle Transmission Is Right For You?

Now, if you’re wondering what an automatic transmission on a motorcycle is, you should know the name is relatively self-explanatory. And yes, “automatic” means once the drive mode is selected from a handlebar-mounted shifter, the engine cycles through gears as needed without any further fuss from the bike’s operator.

Ease of use aside, automatic functionality requires that a few more moving parts are built into the transmission than with a manual. At the heart of the automatic transmission is the planetary gear set, which is responsible for creating different gear ratios. With the help of automatic transmission fluid, a torque converter attached to the drive train essentially acts as the vehicle’s clutch, facilitating the shifting of gears on the move with no effort from the bike operator.

Of course, newer bikes boasting automatic transmission are a little more intricate, with most leaving all the gear-shifting in the hands of an integrated computer. They also come equipped with a computer-operated Dual Clutch System, which increases a bike’s efficiency. And with that level of automated functionality, a bike owner will never need to worry about stalling out on the road.


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