Finger on the button | Yamaha launch switchgear operated Y-AMT semi-automatic gearbox technology for next generation motorcycles

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Yamaha are the latest large-scale manufacturer to join the transmission tech arms race, revealing a new semi-automatic gearbox system said to improve dynamic and sporty riding

Both KTM and BMW have recently teased semi-automatic prototype designs, with the hope of stealing some of the sales from Honda’s ever popular Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) series, which made its debut in 2010.

However, where previous designs have tended to have more of a focus on practicality and ease of use, the latest button-operated Yamaha Automated Manual Transmission (Y-AMT) offering is said to revolve more around performance bikes and weighs just 2.8kg.

Yamaha Automated Manual Transmission (Y-AMT) mode button

Y-AMT will be coming to a range of bikes in the future, which are still to be confirmed, with Yamaha claiming it’s faster at shifting than a traditional manual box – even when using a quickshifter.

With feet free gear changes, the Japanese brand says it enables the rider to pay greater attention to throttle and brake application, as well as “focus on their body position and weight distribution through the pegs.”

Have it your way

Shifting preferences can be tailored depending on circumstances, with a choice of finger and thumb operated manual shifting, or a fully automatic mode. By using the ‘MT’ function, riders take gear changes, quite literally, into their own hands.

Yamaha Automated Manual Transmission (Y-AMT) up and down shifter

It works by using two electronic actuators, which take care of the left hand clutch application and left foot gear shifting duties for you – meaning no need for either control. What’s more, Yamaha say it makes the bike no wider between your legs, when installed.

Y-AMT works in conjunction with the ride by wire throttle, allowing for the integration of riding modes and cruise control too.

Although there’ll be no need to pull on a clutch lever, manual mode will mean riders control gear shifts by toggling two switchgear mounted paddles, marked ‘+’ and ‘-’ for up and down shifts respectively. 

Yamaha Automated Manual Transmission (Y-AMT) left switchgear

The switchgear block has been designed so that during sporty riding, your thumb can remain on the bars for maximum control, and shifting can be taken over entirely by the index finger by pushing and pulling on the lever to control shifts in both directions. 

Yamaha also says that the position and stroke of the lever have been designed for easy operation, with the most minimal of movement needed to operate the system. 

Easy rider

For ultimate ease though, users can enable a fully automatic mode. This comes with two gear change characteristics to choose from. ‘D’ is said to offer a softer shift feel, with gear changes dealt with at lower engine revs too.  

If comfort and frugality aren’t your top priority, then ‘D+’ can be opted for, which will quicken up shift times and hold gears into higher engine speeds. 

Yamaha Automated Manual Transmission (Y-AMT) right switchgear

Past experience

The Y-AMT system isn’t quite the company’s first foray into alternative shifting options, having developed the YCC-S (Yamaha Chip Controlled Shift) system for the FJR1300 sports tourer almost two decades ago.  

YCC-S featured an automatic hydraulic clutch actuation system which allowed the rider to change gear manually using a finger operated gear lever. The key difference between Y-AMT and YCC-S being that this new approach uses electronic switches, rather than hydraulics to achieve its function.

Where’s it going?

According to an official statement: “Yamaha will begin introducing Y-AMT to a range of models in the near future, bringing this innovation to sport riding, touring and commuting.”

Exactly what these will be is yet to be confirmed, with many Yamaha models yet to be updated for Euro5+ – a requirement for all new bikes as of 2025