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Old 11-12-2018, 12:13 PM   #1
Jarrett
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Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Figured I'd start this thread to keep from derailing others with DCT talk.

Here is some general info about using DCT:
In auto mode, it's just like a car. You crank it up, put it in D, give it gas and it drives away. No clutch lever on the bike at all.

It upshifts automatically as you accelerate and downshifts automatically as you decelerate. Similar to a car, but with more engine braking when you let off the throttle.

Depending on the model, its got different shift point settings. My Africa Twin and VFR1200X has 4, my 2012 NC700X has 2, newer ones have more. Those just set the RPMs where shifting occurs and the level of engine braking. I like the most aggressive settings personally as it lets the bike rev higher before shifting and gives me plenty of engine braking to control my speed in corners without having to be on the brakes constantly.

If you want a different gear than it chooses, like coming into a corner, you can put it where you want it with a pair of paddle shifters on the left handgrip.

The shifts are also throttle sensitive. Meaning if you are just cruising along it will shift as smoothly as possible. But if you are getting in the throttle, it will sense you want more performance and start shifting more aggressively. Like if you go to pass someone and go heavy on the throttle, it will downshift and give you more power and continue to stay in lower gears as long as you aggressively use the throttle. Then after a period of time of more tame throttle response, it will go back to normal mode.

It sounds complicated when its explained, but its really intuitive in use and well thought out by the engineers. It typically works exactly how you want it to in every situation, as long as you like the shift points that it uses.

If you want to bypass all of that and take matters into your own hands, you can switch it over to manual mode and control all of the shifting on your own. With the caveat that if you let it go to redline, it will shift out to a safer gear to save the motor.

Sometimes, I put it in manual mode and think, "I'm just going to shift the whole ride." Five minutes later, I'm back in auto mode. It just makes the ride more enjoyable. Shifting doesn't seem like a pain until you don't have to do it anymore.

It also has a parking brake which comes in handy quite often. Get stuck on a hill, set the parking brake until you're ready to pull away.

Pros:
Can't stall
Crawls up rocks without a stall chance
Never misses a shift or grinds gears or skids rear tire on downshift
Riding in traffic is much easier
Parking lot maneuvers are easier
Starting on a hill is much easier
Emergency stop/starts from high speed are easier
Less focus on the bike/more focus on just enjoying the ride
More left hand freedom
Easily shift when standing

Cons:
Can't do a clutch wheelie (can still do power wheelies)
Less hooligan opportunities
Can't bump start
Catch a lot of grief from other riders (not a real bike, etc)

Doesn't a DCT freewheel going downhill if no throttle?
Theoretically yes, but you can put it in manual mode and choose your gear just like a manual bike. Simmons1 taught me this in Arkansas to control rocky descents.

Does it require more maintenance?
The service intervals are the same as the manual bikes, but there is an additional oil filter to change along with the standard engine oil filter. They are $11.59 on Amazon for the Africa Twin.
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Last edited by Jarrett; 11-12-2018 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 11-12-2018, 12:41 PM   #2
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Hoping Simmons1, MisterK and UncleBuck will chime in as they have a bunch of miles on DCT bikes.

I've only put 11,000 miles on my DCT bikes in the last six months or so.
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Old 11-12-2018, 12:57 PM   #3
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrett View Post
Cons:
Catch a lot of grief from other riders (not a real bike, etc)


I guess that one never really occurred to me. After all, it's not like you are riding a scooter
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:07 PM   #4
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by Tourmeister View Post


I guess that one never really occurred to me. After all, it's not like you are riding a scooter
What's wrong with scooters???

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Old 11-12-2018, 01:10 PM   #5
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

I am a modern man, I have no use for those antique shift levers LOL , now if I can get rid of the one on my goldwing without spending $25k

DCT is too much freaking fun, twist and rip! It is twice as much fun on dirt roads.

I will admit it did take me 1000 miles on the NC700 to fall in love with the DCT. The first 500 miles I hated the DCT and was ready to burn the bike to the ground.

It is always interesting to hear people that "test" rode a DCT, some love it some hate it. I bet after 1000 miles, some that love it might hate it and some that hate might love it.

The art of manliness involves clutch levers.....
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:10 PM   #6
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

I rode 2015 NC700X DCT for about 15 months and put 20,000 miles on it. I rode it to Colorado twice and did lots of off-road riding.

I think Jarrett did a great job summarizing it. I'd like to add two things.
1. The sport mode was useless for me. It didn't change the shifting characteristics enough to call it a sport mode. When I needed it to be spirited, I used the manual mode.

2. I couldn't pop the clutch to go over obstacles.

I really enjoyed not shifting while I was on the pegs, though.

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Old 11-12-2018, 01:14 PM   #7
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

I mostly agree with your list but I disagree about parking lot maneuvers. My buddy dropped his Goldwing DCT when he was almost stopped but then changed direction and decided to turn quickly. The bike apparently assumed he was stopping and had cut power as if going to neutral or pulling in the clutch. He expected normal engine speed movement forward as if the bike was in gear and idling but the bike had cut power. As a result, he was mid turn with no power and dropped the bike. Had he realized it was going to do this, he could have given it gas, but a DCT bike won't idle forward at engine speed with no throttle, or at least his didn't in this case.

I've ridden with him on his prior Goldwings over 50K miles and never seen him drop it in a parking lot so DCT definitely caused this one.

Don't get me wrong, he absolutely loves his DCT, but it takes some getting used to.

As far as performance, he always moves it into manual when doing any performance riding. Sport is better but it still doesn't give him near the engine braking and power out of the corners that he wants. He says it seems to be typically a gear higher than he likes to be in sport and 2 gears higher in tour.

On the positive side....every time we get stuck in traffic, he's laughing at us as we have to feather the clutch and slow roll the bike as he just puts it in auto and rolls on.

For him it's perfect... put in manual when you want performance and put in auto when you are just cruising down the road. He now knows that it will go to neutral when you cut throttle at slow speeds so he makes sure to keep a bit of throttle if he needs to do tight maneuvers at very slow speeds instead of just expecting engine idling to carry him.

As for the "not a real motorcycle" sentiment of some. For me, I definitely consider them real motorcycles but you definitely give up some control and the ability to use the clutch as a secondary acceleration or deceleration device to vary power and engine braking delivery. For a normal rider in normal situations, it doesn't matter 95% of the time, but it would matter a lot in a competitive situation. As such, I really don't think you'll see a DCT motorcycle in a racing situation as a rider with a clutch that truly knows how to use it can definitely out perform a DCT bike.

I'll probably own one at some point in my life, just not today.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:28 PM   #8
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

I wasn't crazy about automatic mode on my Africa Twin.
Best mod to date has been the Honda DCT foot-shifter.
I don't even use automatic-mode anymore.
Now it feels like a regular manual, just without the clutch.

Can still use the paddle shifters when riding off road and keep feet planted on pegs if needed.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:32 PM   #9
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2WheelNut View Post
The bike apparently assumed he was stopping and had cut power as if going to neutral or pulling in the clutch. He expected normal engine speed movement forward as if the bike was in gear and idling but the bike had cut power. As a result, he was mid turn with no power and dropped the bike. Had he realized it was going to do this, he could have given it gas, but a DCT bike won't idle forward at engine speed with no throttle, or at least his didn't in this case.

He now knows that it will go to neutral when you cut throttle at slow speeds so he makes sure to keep a bit of throttle if he needs to do tight maneuvers at very slow speeds instead of just expecting engine idling to carry him.
Was this early on in the ownership of your buddy's DCT GW, by chance? It takes a bit to get used to using the DCT tech.

Maybe the GW's are different, but mine don't go into neutral unless you use the switch to put them in neutral. If they are in D or S, they move if you touch the throttle. And they do putt along at 5 mph or so unless you stop them.

Once you have stopped the DCT bikes, you have to give them gas again if you want them to move forward, but its there immediately. If you touch the throttle at all, it moves forward instantly. At least the NC700X, Africa Twin and VFR1200X do, not sure about the Gold Wing.

I was literally in a parking lot yesterday afternoon with my VFR doing low speed maneuvers with it. Figure 8's and the Iron Cross at 3-5mph, just gently blipping the throttle to move around. It behaves just like my other two do, just more weight to factor in.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:44 PM   #10
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrett View Post
Was this early on in the ownership of your buddy's DCT GW, by chance? It takes a bit to get used to using the DCT tech.

Maybe the GW's are different, but mine don't go into neutral unless you use the switch to put them in neutral. If they are in D or S, they move if you touch the throttle. And they do putt along at 5 mph or so unless you stop them.

Once you have stopped the DCT bikes, you have to give them gas again if you want them to move forward, but its there immediately. If you touch the throttle at all, it moves forward instantly. At least the NC700X, Africa Twin and VFR1200X do, not sure about the Gold Wing.

I was literally in a parking lot yesterday afternoon with my VFR doing low speed maneuvers with it. Figure 8's and the Iron Cross at 3-5mph, just gently blipping the throttle to move around. It behaves just like my other two do, just more weight to factor in.
He had about 3K miles on it when this happened. Definitely not as many miles as he's had with a clutch, but more than enough to be used to it.

Even so, it was definitely because he was expecting it to do something other than it did and he hadn'tbeen in that situation before. He could certainly execute that maneuver now that he's used to it.

Side note....lots of discussion on the Wing forum about initialization / reset processes on the DCT. Apparently it can learn and if it's shifting rough or quirky, you re-initialize it and it makes it better. Rodney did his and said it really cleaned up the shifting on his. Maybe that's just a Wing thing though..
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:45 PM   #11
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by misterk View Post
It is always interesting to hear people that "test" rode a DCT, some love it some hate it. I bet after 1000 miles, some that love it might hate it and some that hate might love it.
I find this interesting as well. I wonder how many miles it takes for a manual bike rider to really come to understand and appreciate the DCT system.

If you're all about clutch wheelies, then I'd guess it would be probably never.

Being a newbie, I loved it from the get go and appreciate it more and more the longer I ride. Buying a couple of manual bikes and putting 1,500 miles on them really made me appreciate it even more.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:53 PM   #12
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by 2WheelNut View Post
He had about 3K miles on it when this happened. Definitely not as many miles as he's had with a clutch, but more than enough to be used to it.
I'm surprised at that. That's why I always take a new bike down to the local parking lot with the advanced class markers painted on it and put it through the wringer. I want to know what its going to do in all those situations.

Not to mention, after I do that, my higher speed control of the bike immediately improves as well. I find it fun to go do some parking lot training, then immediately head off and do some high speed (for me) cornering on the backroads.

You can always downshift while in auto mode too, by the way. I do that a lot in fast corners.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:56 PM   #13
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by Tourmeister View Post
After all, it's not like you are riding a scooter
Now you dun stirred up MacDaddy...
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:58 PM   #14
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

nevermind ... in life, there are certain things one regrets.

This is one of them.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:19 PM   #15
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Then there's this video:

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Old 11-12-2018, 02:23 PM   #16
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomtom View Post
Best mod to date has been the Honda DCT foot-shifter. I don't even use automatic-mode anymore.
Now it feels like a regular manual, just without the clutch.
Can still use the paddle shifters when riding off road and keep feet planted on pegs if needed.
It's a flexible system.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:50 PM   #17
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Can I play too?

With the Yamaha YCCS I know it also takes getting used to. I nearly dropped my bike pulling out of the parking lot. Turns out, pulling out in a turn you subconsciously start tipping in the bike as you let out the clutch. I wasn't used to it yet and the clutch hadn't engaged when I tipped it in, then it engaged and off I went, but it was a nervous little moment. One trick for slow speed maneuvers in parking lots is to use a little rear brake while giving a little gas to control it.

One day I'll wear out my FJR and I'll likely be looking for a DCT bike to replace it. I hope Honda has so much success in the mean time that Yamaha has to jump on the band wagon.

As for racing, I'm not sure the riders are actually faster than DCT. Due to the way it works of already having the next gear engaged, there's no way a standard transmission could be faster. Problem is, making them stout enough for racing and keeping them from being super expensive. Drag racers use quick shifters and DCT is faster than that due to design.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:57 PM   #18
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

So if I bump the throttle enough to make the DCT engage 1st gear and move forward then let off the throttle completely will the bike continue to move at idle, or does forward movement stop?
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Old 11-12-2018, 03:06 PM   #19
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by bwdmax View Post
So if I bump the throttle enough to make the DCT engage 1st gear and move forward then let off the throttle completely will the bike continue to move at idle, or does forward movement stop?

It will coast to a stop if you close the throttle.
I usually just feather it when I get into slow traffic.
You have to rev the motor a few hundred rpm over idle before the clutches engage

Last edited by tomtom; 11-12-2018 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 11-12-2018, 03:09 PM   #20
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Re: Honda DCT Discussion Thread

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So if I bump the throttle enough to make the DCT engage 1st gear and move forward then let off the throttle completely will the bike continue to move at idle, or does forward movement stop?
I don't know the exact mechanics of it, so I'm going to just use 5 mph as a reference point.

If you are stopped and you put it in D or S mode and give it some throttle so the bike accelerates up to 7-8 mph, then completely release the throttle, the bike will slow down to 5 mph and keep rolling at that speed until you stop it by touching one of the brakes.

If you slow it down from 5 mph to 3 mph, then let off the brake, the bike will coast to a stop.

If you are stopped and you put it in D or S mode and give it some throttle so the bike accelerates up to 4 mph, then completely release the throttle, the bike will slow down until it comes back to a stop.

These numbers are an estimate. Not sure if its based on RPM or speed, but that is essentially how it works on my three DCT bikes. Kinda hard to explain, hope that makes sense.

I posted a video of it a few posts down.
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Last edited by Jarrett; 11-12-2018 at 04:00 PM.
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