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Honda DCT Discussion Thread

Jarrett

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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.

Can you put it in manual mode and let it rev out then shift it with a shifter button?
Yes, if you put it in manual mode, then you can control the shift points with the paddle shifter buttons. I've read that when it hits redline, it will shift to the next gear on your behalf. Also, when the RPMs drop to low and you haven't shifted, it will downshift for you as well. An example would be an emergency stop. You are in manual mode on your DCT bike running 60 mph and someone suddenly brakes hard in front of you. You slam on your brakes (ABS will engage) and by the time you stop and put your foot down, the bike will be in 1st gear, ready to take off again in case you need to do evasive maneuvers to get away at that point.
 
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Jarrett

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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.
 

misterk

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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.....
aafa40966707d48952be0ae32901ddbd.jpg
 

grandelatte

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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.

Jim
 

2WheelNut

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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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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.
 

Jarrett

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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.
 

2WheelNut

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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..
 

Jarrett

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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.
 

Jarrett

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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.
 

mitchntx

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

This is one of them.
 
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Jarrett

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Then there's this video:

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ3ijMbb82w"]Honda's DCT Transmission - Johnny Campbell - YouTube[/ame]
 

Jarrett

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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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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.
 

bwdmax

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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?
 
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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?

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
 
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Jarrett

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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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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.
Good to know.
Wasn't aware of that since I usually keep it in manual shift mode.
 
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...
Never misses a shift or grinds gears or skids rear tire on downshift...
Manual trans African Queen has a slipper clutch so no downshift skids either. And for shift misses or grinds that would be a never also for proper manual operation.

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Jarrett

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Just froze my butt to shoot this:

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaQFSPKSF-0"]Africa Twin Idle Speed - YouTube[/ame]
 

2WheelNut

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Oh my. Wonder how much Honda paid Campbell to ride that slow and make that look hard without the DCT.

Here's Johnny at normal speed.
At Baja.. [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRV_xKLvAek"]11X BAJA 1000 CHAMPION: JOHNNY CAMPBELL JOINS AFFLICTION - YouTube[/ame]

Here's Johnny on a manual AT...he doesn't seem to have trouble with the clutch. [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdOKMuTXbxo"]Wild Ride on an Africa Twin! - YouTube[/ame]

Oh... and Chris Burch on a KTM doesn't seem to have too much trouble getting grip and keeping his momentum with a clutch.
[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWIZfYQhgMc"]Chris Birch gives KTM1190 Wings! - YouTube[/ame]

The DCT is great and definitely would make that section easier but there is NO WAY Johnny Campbell or a rider with his skill would have had that much trouble on the manual transmission bike. Campbell is a really skilled rider, he could have wheelied that AT through that entire section.
 

2WheelNut

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Just froze my butt to shoot this:

Africa Twin Idle Speed - YouTube
Cool (pun intended).

That makes sense. Rodney was about stopped on his Wing when he decided to follow me to another part of the parking lot and turned to follow. He was definitely under 7 and probably under 5 and near stopped. He released the brake and expected it to idle forward like an automatic car would even if you don't apply throttle and it didn't. He knows now that it won't, but in that moment, it surprised him and he dropped it.

Thx for braving the cold for us. :)
 

Jarrett

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The DCT is great and definitely would make that section easier but there is NO WAY Johnny Campbell or a rider with his skill would have had that much trouble on the manual transmission bike. Campbell is a really skilled rider, he could have wheelied that AT through that entire section.
Maybe he was trying to emulate a human rider.
 

Jarrett

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He released the brake and expected it to idle forward like an automatic car would even if you don't apply throttle and it didn't. He knows now that it won't, but in that moment, it surprised him and he dropped it.
Bummer, hope he didn't mess it up too bad.
 
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I dunno. I've ridden DCT and absolutely hated it. I kinda look at an automatic transmission on a motorcycle as an oxymoron that shouldn't exist. Like indoor football.
 

Jarrett

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True and same logic says the auto trans will eventually have a mechanical failure and do it also.
That doesn't really make sense. The tech has been out on Honda bikes for nearly a decade now. There are lots of reports of DCT bikes with 100+k miles with no issues. I saw a pic of a VFR1200X DCT with 252,000+ miles on it recently.

Personally, I'm fairly sure none of my bikes will accumulate that many miles before being sold or traded for something newer anyway, but glad to hear those types of reliability reports are out there.
 

Tourmeister

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Holy cow!!

Serioiusly!? 30 lbs EXTRA just to have the DCT? :brainsnap

That is a lot of extra weight. That right there will probably keep it off any kind of racing bikes and dirt oriented bikes (more so than a big adventure bike). I am sure it is down low because Honda is good at the weight centralization thing, but dang...
 

Jarrett

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That right there will probably keep it off any kind of racing bikes and dirt oriented bikes
I'm guessing as 2WheelNut suggested, the tech likely wouldn't be of interest to race oriented folks. Guessing it would flop. I mean unless someone used it and won a race or something :)
 
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That doesn't really make sense. The tech has been out on Honda bikes for nearly a decade now. There are lots of reports of DCT bikes with 100+k miles with no issues. I saw a pic of a VFR1200X DCT with 252,000+ miles on it recently.

Personally, I'm fairly sure none of my bikes will accumulate that many miles before being sold or traded for something newer anyway, but glad to hear those types of reliability reports are out there.
Sure it does. Your logic was what can happen will happen. That applies to both man and machine. I have 123k miles on my Tenere without a missed shift or gear grind. Doesn't mean all will have the same results. Same with mechanical and electrical issues. Things wear out, break and malfunction at different intervals for the exact part (s).

Moving along, dead horse beat sufficiently.

_

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JQ1.0

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I'm guessing as 2WheelNut suggested, the tech likely wouldn't be of interest to race oriented folks. Guessing it would flop. I mean unless someone used it and won a race or something :)
Believe the swedes were fairly successful with an enduro auto shifter back in late 70's early to mid 80's. Enduro's were a very different format back then. Never rode one but I understand the tranny worked well.
 
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I know very little about the technology/mechanics involved so there may be a very obvious answer to this, but why is DCT the thing that has taken off (if you call it that) rather than CVT. Of the two a CVT seems like a more interesting option to me. No shifting just like a DCT, but also uninterrupted acceleration, and eliminating the “between gears” problem. Is it more complicated, more expensive, or heavier? Do they not hold up to the power made by many modern bikes?
 
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I know very little about the technology/mechanics involved so there may be a very obvious answer to this, but why is DCT the thing that has taken off (if you call it that) rather than CVT. Of the two a CVT seems like a more interesting option to me. No shifting just like a DCT, but also uninterrupted acceleration, and eliminating the “between gears” problem. Is it more complicated, more expensive, or heavier? Do they not hold up to the power made by many modern bikes?
They(cvt) hold up fine in turbo charged high horse power side by sides. I thing the weight combined with the gyro effect & high rpm at cruising speed would be issues.

I'm not against dct, I would be interested in one as a commuter/highway bike. I'd also love an alta for a dirtbike. But the weight and long term maintenance of the dct are issues to me.

I like to own vehicles that I can do a complete mechanical rebuilt of myself. I'd rather not own automatic cages(because I cannot rebuild the trans myself), but that was the only options available in the vehicles I was looking at. I'm interested to see where the technology of the dct is at in 10 years.

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Ocho

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Personally, I can see the value of DCT on street oriented bikes. I would love to own a DCT Goldwing and take that thing everywhere with extreme comfort.

I'm also open minded on running DCT offroad. At least for what we ride (dirt/gravel roads), I can see it performing without a hitch.
 
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Personally, I can see the value of DCT on street oriented bikes. I would love to own a DCT Goldwing and take that thing everywhere with extreme comfort.

I'm also open minded on running DCT offroad. At least for what we ride (dirt/gravel roads), I can see it performing without a hitch.


I can definitely see the appeal on something like a Goldwing where weight doesn’t matter and comfort is paramount. I just can’t imagine voluntarily packing 30 pounds onto a bike that is even remotely performance oriented unless I was physically incapable of operating a clutch.
 
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I may be weird, but I enjoy operating a clutch. I often grind gears, & have other imperfect gear shifts. It’s not TEOTWAWI. It’s part of ridin a motorbike.

I’m glad there is options out there, & don’t begrudge anyone that favors other transmission choices, it’s just not for me.
 

woodsguy

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I've got to admit one thing, in my Vettes I had identical cars(one year apart), the first was an auto, 8 speed, other a manual 7 speed. Why I really enjoyed the 7 speed, the auto did everything quicker, plus when passing it would always be in right gear, sometimes with the 7 speed I wasn't. Disclaimer here, not talking about track time, never took either on a track. I would imagine the 7 speed would work better road racing , but the auto would kill it in a drag.

Watching Jarrett's Campbell video I see where the DCT might help normal folks in technical situations just like a Recluse on a dirt bike. He's got me at least wanting to try one now, lol!

But I really like rowing through the gears!
 
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