New patents showcase a shift pedal and ’clicking’ but no clutch lever

Automatic vs. Manual had been a topic hot for the four-wheeler segment ever since the first automatic car was born in 1940 by General Motors’ Cadillac. And now, it seems like it will create havoc in the two-wheeler segment. Or would it?

New patents filed by Suzuki suggests that the Japanese honchos are in a bid to introduce a semi-automatic transmission shortly. And by the looks of it, it might as well be in the Hayabusa. Yes, the world famous superbike will probably come with a semi-automatic gearbox that will smartly handle the bike’s traditionally manually-shifted brethren without the need of a clutch lever system.

Suzuki motorcycles in future might have semi-automatic transmission Drawings
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If you take cars, 90% people of the top five developed countries love the auto shift, but the same was not applicable to two-wheelers as hardly any manufacturers had them, until recently when the scooters came in. A device that to this day is frowned upon in the motorcycle community and blaming it for taking away the ‘biking experience’.

Nonetheless, they gave automatic a new meaning to the two-wheeled world and were preferred mainly for their ease of use and decent performance for a very limited run. It became an excellent option for urban commuters, millennials and casual riders.

Suzuki motorcycles in future might have semi-automatic transmission Drawings
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Honda has been a pioneer in developing new forms of transmission systems and clutch designs. Every manufacturer, if they have an automatic, have their own versions of them. Many years down the lane, Suzuki has found this ingenious way to give the rider the “biking experience” with the bike being automatic transmission.

The "automated manual transmission" seen in these patent figures allows the rider to use the gear shift pedal to initiate the gearing, but the pedal will not be connected to any mechanism. Instead, this fly-by-wire system will work similar to the Honda’s (Africa Twin) that gives you the ‘shift via pedal’ feel, and additionally will also a clicking mechanism to provide a tactile feel to the shift, which is not available in the Honda.

Suzuki motorcycles in future might have semi-automatic transmission Drawings
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A small actuator engages the clutch mechanism, and then the shift-actuator changes the gears for you once the rider clicks on the pedal. So it’s not totally automatic as riders will still need to change gears but without the need to use a clutch. It is almost like the Centrifugal clutch designs seen in many scooters in South East Asian countries like Vietnam or Thailand.

Honda and Aprilia use buttons on the handlebar to change gears in manual mode, which by all means, takes away the riding pleasure of a motorcycle. Luckily, this system from Suzuki still keeps the rider engaging and promotes better engine dynamics while being economical and cleaner on emissions than the manuals.

Suzuki motorcycles in future might have semi-automatic transmission Drawings
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Such systems will also appeal to the millennials who are shunning away from motorcycles these days, and with these semi-autos making riding a motorcycle easier, automakers can only hope to entice this generation of buyers.

The Japanese company filed three patents in Japan, the USA, and Germany for different aspects of the transmission technology. It seems like Suzuki will incorporate this technology into multiple products in its lineup. And since most-often-than-not many patents don’t get to see the light of the day, we cannot assure you of any details or if it will even enter production.

Suzuki motorcycles in future might have semi-automatic transmission Drawings
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