With the sudden surge in interest towards cars with automatic transmission, it is only a matter of time before motorcycle manufacturers start to offer similar transmissions in their products. In fact, companies like Yamaha and Honda already offer bikes with semi or fully automatic transmission. However, it is extremely difficult to convert a bike with manual transmission to automatic transmission. This could change due to the work done by Biperformance Development Corporation or BDC. The company, based out of Waterloo, has devised a revolutionary electronic transmission system named Shift FX EST or Electronic Shift Transmission.
The ShiftFX took BDC nearly a decade to develop and produce. The ShiftFX, once fitted on a motorcycle, will allow the rider to switch between semi-automatic and fully automatic shifting modes. The ShiftFX system in semi-automatic mode works similar to a paddle shifter on a car. The gear shift controls are present close to the left palm of the rider. The rider will use a green button to upshift, a red one to downshift and a black one for neutral. The gear shifts are fast and smooth and gear changes in 30ms. In fully auto mode, all you have to do is concentrate on the road and twist the throttle to accelerate.
The ShiftFX Electronic Shift Transmission will only be distributed via Original Equipment Manufacturers(OEM’s). This is because the housing for the gear control unit has to be machined to fit the particular engine and transmission drum combination. The upgrade from a manual transmission to a ShiftFX system will roughly cost around $1000(Close to Rs.70,000).
The ShiftFX is a very interesting piece of technology. That being said, motorcycle enthusiasts will never go for it as it takes out the fun of manually shifting gears. Thus it interferes with a pure motorcycling experience. Thus, ShiftFX might only appeal to those who are not very comfortable using the clutch and foot shifter. Stay tuned for more information in this section.