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10 Best Motorcycles With Automatic Transmissions

Automatic motorcycles have really struggled to gain traction with the general population in the motorcycle community, despite proving valuable to those that ride them.

It won’t be long before electric motorcycles take over and bikes with an electric motor all come with an automatic transmission. The day will come when we have to say goodbye to our clutch lever for good, along with our manual transmissions.

Whether you are already interested in automatic transmissions or think you better get in the know about electric options; we thought it best to put together a best automatic motorcycles available list with both traditional bikes and electric.

Before we do that let’s clarify a few things, why you might want one, the good bits about them and most importantly what exactly constitutes an automatic transmission and the different transmission types: manual, semi automatic transmission, automatic transmission.

Why Would You Choose An Automatic Motorcycle?

There are some really good reasons why you might want to choose an automatic motorcycle, they offer an easier style of riding to start with. Let’s review the main advantages of an automatic motorcycle.

Advantages Of Automatic Motorcycles

  • Perfect for riding in city traffic, no constant shifting of gears when you are speeding up and slowing down

  • Automatic bikes don’t stall

  • They are super easy to use, you either just twist the throttle and go, or on semi automatic motorcycles shift gears with a thumb button

  • The ease of use means you have more time to focus on the road and what’s ahead

  • The ride tends to be smoother than a manual motorcycle

  • Ideal for newer riders, with no clutch operation to contend with riders can concentrate on what they are doing and get to grips the fundamentals of riding

Different Types Of Transmission

Traditional manual motorcycles operate using a clutch lever and a lever on the left side of the bike to shift gears usually 1 gear down and 4 or 5 up.

A semi automatic transmission is similar to a manual transmission, the clutch operates automatically but the rider still needs to shift gears.

DCT transmission (or Dual Clutch Transmissions) is a type of semi automatic transmission, there are two clutches one for the even gears and one for the odd gears, this ensures rapid smooth shifting and a no-stall operation. Riders shift gears by using a thumb operation.

True automatic transmissions operate without any manual shifting, these are called CVT transmissions (Continuously Variable Transmission). This type of operation was first introduced on scooters and mopeds but we are seeing them now filtered down to different types of motorcycles.

The CVT has three parts to it – two conical pulleys, a centrifugal clutch, and a belt. As the engine rpm increases, the centrifugal clutch pushes the belt onto one of the conical tapered pulleys, and this causes the wheel to rotate. The speeds depend on the position of the belt on the conical pulley.

Top Speed

When it comes to an electric vehicle they operate using an Electric Direct Drive and the electric drive is a compact unit that powers the electric motor operated by the throttle alone just like a CVT transmission. An electric motorcycle is loaded with torque so this is a much smoother faster process.

For the purposes of this post we have selected both semi automatic motorcycles and fully automatic motorcycles, on some of the bikes shifting gears might need to happen but they all share one factor – there is no clutch lever!

Automatic Motorcycles

Honda have been leading the charge with automatic transmission motorcycles since 1973 when they first put their CVT into production. They also have over 10 years of production on their DCT transmission which has seen them sell over 100,000 units that were equipped with this type of operation.

Therefore as it stands Honda take the majority of spots for best traditional engine motorcycles, but we do expect to see other manufacturers heading this way at some point or at least offering quality options.

Honda Africa Twin

The Africa Twin now has the option to have dual clutch transmission
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Africa Twin

The Africa Twin now has the option to have dual clutch transmission, this means it has smoother gearshifts and minimal drive disruption, off road this benefits the tires so they can grip the dirt better.

Three riding modes can be selected between manual, automatic drive and automatic sport mode.

Honda have focused the Africa Twin more on the adventure bike off road side of things, with dual sport style refinements; making it lighter, equipping it with taller suspension and higher bars than previous models.

It is however, still a competent road bike and the DCT has been linked to the IMU so that depending on the bikes angle the gears know when to change or not.

All the electronics are impressive and provide the necessary adjustability to tailor the ride to suit and the low down grunt means there is torque on tap for all those gritty off road scenarios.

Specs

  • Engine – 1084cc liquid-cooled Unicam® four-stroke 22.5º parallel-twin

  • Max Power – 93.8 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 98 Nm

  • Top Speed – 118mph

  • Curb Weight – 529lbs

  • Seat Height – 34.3″

MSRP Price

$14,499

£13,049

More info here

Honda Gold Wing

Gold Wing
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Gold Wing

Just like the Africa Twin you have the option to choose between a manual 6 speed transmission or an automatic DCT 7 speed transmission.

When you get to the point in your riding career that you are on to a Gold Wing then you have earned the right to sit back and relax as you ride which is exactly what the Gold Wing is for.

Long distance, comfortable touring, regardless of transmission choice, the Honda Gold Wing is a proper motorcycle, a big heavy beast and the DCT just makes the ride that bit smoother and easier.

The overdrive 7th gear is perfect for highway cruising, turn on cruise control and spend your long highway miles enjoying the scenery and taking it all in.

With the DCT models you have walking mode which when activated allows you to move the bike at walking pace forwards or backwards. Slow speed maneuvers therefore are a breeze despite the bikes heavy weight.

Electronics include hill start, a reverse gear, throttle by wire, selectable torque control levels as well as a full multi-media centre.

The Gold Wing is the pinnacle of long distance touring.

Specs

  • Engine – 1833cc liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder

  • Max Power – 124hp

  • Max Torque – 170Nm

  • Top Speed – 140mph

  • Curb Weight – 804lbs

  • Seat Height – 29.3″

MSRP Price

$25,300

£22,999

More info here

Honda NC750X

Honda NC750X
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NC750X

The NC750X is a super accessible, friendly motorcycle and was the second Honda to get the DCT back in 2012.

Like the other bikes you can choose to have a regular manual transmission or an automatic transmission.

It is the King of practicality and suited for all purposes, a bike for commuting, days out, weekends away and longer tours.

There is a 23 liter storage compartment where the fuel tank would normally be, which is a huge amount of space to load up with your gear. You no longer need to carry your full face helmet around with you when you stop in town.

The seating position is neutral, comfortable with wide bars, putting you firmly in command of the bike, it is a confidence inspiring position that gives you great views of the road ahead.

This is the Swiss Army Knife of Honda’s.

Specs

  • Engine – 745cc liquid-cooled four-stroke 55º parallel-twin

  • Max Power – 57 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 69Nm

  • Top Speed – 125mph

  • Curb Weight – 472lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.6″

MSRP Price

$8,699

£7,849

More info here

Honda Rebel 1100

honda rebel 1100 is the only cruiser available with automatic transmission
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DCT Honda Rebel 1100

If you dare to challenge the norm, then the Rebel might be the perfect option for you in more ways than one.

Cruisers are perhaps the most traditional style of motorcycles and certainly one of the oldest so to fit one with a DCT might be a touch too far for some. Clunky/firm gear changes are part and parcel of the V twin experience, just like roaring noise and noticeable vibrations.

Honda cruiser bikes have always tried to innovate but the Japanese powerhouse switched things up another level with the Honda Rebel 1100 and now offer it with a dual clutch transmission optional upgrade.

With the 1084cc engine powering you, this cruiser can be a legit touring bike and the DCT makes this easier than ever especially as it is paired with the same cruise control found on the Gold Wing.

Where the DCT hit its stride however for the Rebel is when you take it on the backroads for some dynamic riding, you will find the transmission smooth and seamless making the riding experience great fun.

All the best bits of a V twin without the heavy gear shifts and heavy clutch lever pull.

Dare I say it, quite the Rebel? Sorry!

Specs

  • Engine – 1084cc liquid-cooled Unicam® four-stroke 22.5° parallel-twin

  • Max Power – 86 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 97 Nm

  • Top Speed – 140mph

  • Curb Weight – 487lbs

  • Seat Height – 27.5″

MSRP Price

$9,399

£9,599

More info here

Aprilia Mana 850

Aprilia Mana 850 came with an Honda automatic transmission
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Aprilia Mana 850 is possibly the only Italian CVT transmission motorcycle

If you are looking for a used automatic motorcycle as opposed to new then you should look at the Aprilia Mana 850 produced between 2007-2011.

Aprilia’s from this time were often referred to as ‘Italian Honda’s’ so it comes as no surprise that this motorcycle received Honda’s automatic transmission, a CVT unit along with the ability to enter manual mode for control over a 7-speed sequential gearbox.

The Mana 850 was a kind of scooter/motorcycle hybrid, motorcycle style with scooter practicality such as enough storage space under the fuel tank cover for a full face helmet.

It was an agile, well-handling, around town bike that was also very comfortable. Slip it into auto mode for commuting and a stress free ride, but go manual on the weekend for a more traditional motorcycling experience.

If you are after a do it all, good for most scenarios workhorse then the Aprilia might just be the one for you.

Specs

  • Engine – 839cc, 8-valve, V-twin

  • Max Power – 75 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 77Nm

  • Top Speed – 125mph

  • Curb Weight – 399lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.4″

Price

Expect to pay $5,000-$7,000 in USA and around £3,000-£5,000 in the UK

Electric Motorcycles

All electric motorcycles are automatic, battery packs power the electric drive and this in turn pumps power through the electric motors. An electric motorcycle has instant power, the torque is instant and therefore they can be very quick and powerful off the mark, much more so than traditional bikes.

Electric bikes biggest asset therefore is their power delivery and this is likely to be the one thing that attracts riders into the electric fold, over and above anything else.

Afterall us bikers love speed and going fast, so maybe some of these electric motors can have us forgetting about our combustion engines and manual transmissions, or at least be willing to accept a new way of riding.

Livewire One

Livewire One - its electric so is an automatic motorcycle
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Livewire One

Harley Davidson made quite a splash a few years ago when they released the Livewire, their very first electric motorcycle. Arguably it was the first serious electric motorcycle from any of the big manufacturers and it was coming from the iconic American V twin giants.

They have since created a separate branch of Harley Davidson called Livewire to deal with all of their electric based matters.

First on the agenda is the Livewire One, a powerful, refined, modern motorcycle with 145/95 combined range and a DC fast charger that will have you 100% fully charged in just 60 minutes.

It is loaded with features to make the riding experience both safe and fun including Cornering ABS, Drag-Torque Slip Control System and Cornering Traction Control.

It isn’t a V twin but it is a very capable, good-looking motorcycle.

Specs

  • Max Power – 100 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 113Nm

  • Top Speed – 110mph

  • Curb Weight – 562lbs

  • Seat Height – 30″

Price

$22,799

£TBC

More info here

Zero DSR/X

Zero DSRX Adventure bike follows the Africa Twin and offers automatic transmission
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Zero DSRX

Zero Motorcycles are a manufacturer producing some of the best electric motorcycles currently on the market

I think one of their most exciting to date is the DS range, their dual sport offerings.

The DSR/X has an Africa Twin style about it and is a genuinely capable dual sport.

High ground clearance, instant and smooth power delivery, loads of torque, adjustable suspension, and the first electric bike to feature Bosch’s Off-road Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) all make this bike fantastic.

The bike has a city range of 180mph and a combined city/highway range at 70mph of around 115 miles, which is more than enough to have some fun on.

The model is capable of fast charging with a rapid charger getting the bike up to 95% in 1 hour.

Specs

  • Max Power – 100 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 225Nm

  • Top Speed – 112mph

  • Curb Weight – 544lbs

  • Seat Height – 32.6″

MSRP Price

$24,495

£24,150

More info here

Zero FXE

Zero FXE electric motorcycle
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Zero FXE

The FXE is more of a lightweight motorcycle, a commuter with bags of style.

Newer riders will love this electric option, it is a motorcycle with enough power to learn on, grow into and then have some fun with but there isn’t enough to scare you and put you off riding.

The bike has more torque than necessary as with most electric bikes but this can make for a very spirited ride, consider the FXE the equivalent of a 250cc.

The 100 mile range is enough for this bike as you won’t want to be doing long distances, it is an around town then backroads with your mates at the weekend kind of ride.

Specs

  • Max Power – 46 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 105Nm

  • Top Speed – 85mph

  • Curb Weight – 298lbs

  • Seat Height – 32.9″

MSRP Price

$12,995

£13,695

More info here

Energica EGO+ / RS

The Energica EGO+ / RS - Who said automatic motorcycles had to be boring
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Who said automatic motorcycles were boring?

The best way to think about the Energica EGO is to imagine if Ducati decided to produce an electric motorcycle, the EGO is what it would look like.

Energica Motor Company is based in Moderna Italy and is part of the CRP group, very well known in the world of motorsport and advanced technologies.

The EGO was first shown in 2013 at the EICMA show and since then it has gone from strength to strength as the class leader.

The bike is built from racing DNA, it oozes exclusivity and quality with top performance to match. The EGO RS is the top of the line version with increased acceleration and off the line performance.

Energica have fitted the RS with their new ECME motor that is 10kg lighter and can give a range of up to 261 City miles.

This is an impressive racer that will give your mates on R1’s, Ninjas and Gixxers a run for their money. It will also have fans of Italian superstars like Ducati and Aprilia turning their heads.

Specs

  • Max Power – 171 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 215Nm

  • Top Speed – 150mph (limited)

  • Curb Weight – 573lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.9″

MSRP Price

$32,636

£28,290

More info here

Lightning LS-218

Lightning LS 218
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Lightning LS 218

The Lightning LS-218 is up there with the worlds fastest production motorcycles, it has a top speed of 218mph paired with an electric motor producing 200 horsepower.

The LS-218 looks very much like a traditional supersport, although it does weigh quite a bit more, it has all the performance and more from the flagship traditional models.

It holds the World Land Speed Record for being the fastest production motorcycle electric or otherwise. They have also partnered with Race Tech to develop track ready suspension.

There is a lot more to come from Lightning but if you want to get in there early the LS-218 is an incredible place to start. They are currently taking reservations for the model.

Specs

  • Max Power – 200 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 227Nm

  • Top Speed – 218mph

  • Curb Weight – 495lbs

  • Seat Height – 32″

Price

$38,888

£N/A

More info here

Summary

It’s a short list of combustion engine powered motorcycles dominated by Honda. This could well back fire on the other manufacturers with new riders looking for an automatic motorcycle drawn towards the electric bikes.

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