Story and photo by Ronald Ahrens
During the 2014 Isle of Man TT, Honda UK lent me the VFR1200F DCT for a test. The bike has a mighty V-4 engine, a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and shaft drive. At first, my left toe searched for the gear lever, but there isn’t one. No clutch lever, either. Even without the latter, the big VFR is easy to maneuver at low speed, when a bike’s momentum is normally controlled by feathering the clutch. An interesting quirk is that the transmission goes into neutral when you shut off the engine, so a parking brake is provided; it’s operated by a lever on the left handlebar.
There are three riding modes, selected from a button at the tip of the right thumb. Normal mode worked great around town and during relaxed riding on the coastal highway. Sport was more appropriate on the TT course, especially on the uphill section leading from Ramsey and over the slopes of Snaefell, which is the Isle’s tallest mountain at 2037 feet. The DCT always anticipated my next move and geared up or down accordingly. Honda engineers did a fine job of integrating the technology to this excellent motorcycle, and I’m told others will have it as well.