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  • Sachin Sen

Honda E-clutch: Ride by Wire Electronic Clutch for More Riding Fun

Honda e-clutch
Honda e-clutch

The purpose of electronics in vehicles, especially motorcycles, is to enhance rider safety in a variety of riding conditions. Or, to make things more easier and more convenient to use, such as Honda’s DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) which negates the need of a clutch entirely. The biggest benefit of this system is that the motorcycle cannot be stalled, but the drawback is that gear changes (in the complete automatic mode) are completely handled by the DCT system.

Most or many riders who prefer the traditional way of changing gears simply do not like any sort of automatic gearbox on a motorcycle. A clutch at hand and a gear lever on foot still provides the ultimate satisfaction of acceleration and deceleration on a motorcycle. It remains the most fulfilling experience of riding a motorcycle. And while the DCT has its benefits and has gained a respectable status among a variety of riders, Honda is doing something that seems to be the compromise between a manual gearbox and a fully automatic system like the DCT.

Welcome to the Honda E-clutch

Honda e-clutch
Conventional gearbox remains, but riders can change gears without using the clutch...

Unlike the DCT, the e-clutch (electronic clutch) is not a complete gearbox in itself and neither is it designed to replace the manual gearbox. Hence, it is not as heavy as a DCT (for example, a DCT Africa Twin is usually 10 kg heavier than the one with a normal gearbox).

The e-clutch system can be fitted to an existing Honda motorcycle engine, that’s how it has been designed to use. Once attached to a bike’s transmission system, the e-clutch allows a rider to continue using the foot gear lever but without requiring the use of the clutch. Also, a rider can change gears with or without using the clutch in an e-clutch equipped motorcycle. So, the e-clutch doesn’t rob the riders of the feeling of a conventional gearbox.

The e-clutch system is simply designed to enhance the convenience of manual gear changes while the foot lever and the clutch lever remain. With this system, a rider can put the bike in gear and start moving when they want without needing the use of the clutch at all (which is why it’s not anything like a bi-directional quickshifter in case anyone was thinking).

Honda’s e-clutch teaser possibly shows this system fitted on a CB650R and hence, it’s possible that an updated version of the motorcycle is on its way soon. Also, the teaser shows a TFT screen while the current CB650R has an LCD screen.

So, an electronic clutch system that gives complete freedom to the riders when they want to use the clutch and when they don’t seems like the best possible thing next to a conventional gearbox, right?


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