Here’s a concept: Take a flat-Six 1800cc Gold Wing motor, put it in a minimalist chassis and give it slick, modern styling—think manga by Morbidelli. There’s a single-sided swingarm and the usual electronic instrumentation you see on show vehicles, but what’s really interesting is what you can’t see in the first publicity photos that were circulated in magazines and on the ’net: the absence of both gearshift or clutch levers.
Instead, Honda uses its all-new “Human-Friendly Transmission” or HFT. This may be a jump in transmission technology, using hydraulic pressure to efficiently transmit power. It offers a “D” position for everyday riding (Driving?), an “S” position (Sport?) for quicker acceleration and a six-speed manual mode, as well.
Will this be the answer to the question of how to get more people on motorcycles? We don’t have that answer, as concept bikes are usually rolled out more to show a company’s potential rather than what it will be making in the future. But the HFT is a finished piece of technology, and it will be used on Honda’s DN-01 “Automatic Sports Cruiser for Mature Riders.” But the DN-01 uses a much smaller motor. Will this technology work with an engine that makes far more power? We eagerly await our first ride.