If there is a mechanical match made in heaven, it has to be the marriage of new 670cc parallel-Twin and its second- generation Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission.
A quick refresher course: Although Honda’s DCT does shift itself in Drive mode, it is not an automatic transmission in the traditional hydraulic torque-converter sense, and it isn’t a continuously variable transmission (CVT), either. Instead, it’s a manual transmission with a pair of electronically controlled clutches that deliver quick, seamless shifts either via handlebar-mounted triggers in MT mode (manual) or in two fully automatic modes called Drive and Sport. One clutch controls first, third and fifth gears, while the other controls second, fourth and sixth. The next gear is preselected so that when a shift is summoned either by the rider or the ECU, it is engaged with virtually no delay or interruption in drive.
New features include a manual-override function that allows the rider to trigger quick downshifts manually while in automatic mode. The system holds the gear until it senses through your riding behavior that you no longer need control and then reverts to automatic.
This version of DCT has been scaled down to suit the needs of the $8999 NC700XD. It is much slicker in its operation than that of the first-generation VFR1200F, and it also enhances the efficiency of the NC. How so? Combined with the Twin’s grunty, low-revving nature, DCT keeps the revs in the meat of the torque all the time, producing smooth, efficient acceleration in both automatic modes.
As on the VFR, Drive delivers the best fuel efficiency by short-shifting quickly to top gear as speed allows, although Honda says the DCT model burns slightly more fuel than the manual version.
Why build a DCT version of the NC700X? According to Honda, only seven percent of new automobiles purchased in the U.S. are manuals, making the majority of the transportation population unfamiliar with use of a clutch of any kind. The DCT is meant to lower potential barriers to riding, as is the Combined ABS that is available only on the DCT version.