First ride: Honda VFR1200F DCT

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Phil West, Executive Editor, is near Frankfurt testing Honda’s new VFR1200F DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) which is Honda’s much vaunted and radical new auto gearbox.

Phil – a confirmed techno-sceptic – has just phoned through this report

“After Ducati’s Multistrada, I thought we’d had enough new radical mode systems for one year but Honda’s new gearbox system matches it in terms of how we think what modern motorcycles are capable of.

“In a nutshell, instead of a conventional clutch lever and gear pedal (both of which are missing on the DCT) there’s a combination of two automatic gearbox modes and one Formula One-style push button gear change system.

“All of which works brilliantly. It’s a lot to take in at first and acclimatise to, but the automatic systems are great for when you are feeling lazy or want seamless perfect motorway style gear changes while the push button system eventually makes you wonder why we’ve made do with old fashioned gear levers.

“Honda are saying it’s only about a £1000 more than the base VFR, which in my book is worth it because it transforms Honda’s 1200cc V4 from being merely good into something special.”

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John Westlake

By John Westlake