Letters To The Editor


Donna Warren

December, 2007

This month I received a letter from a reader in Canada. His question concerned automatic motorcycles Honda introduced an automatic 700 Sports motorcycle at the Toyota Motor Show in 2005. The Gilera Ferro 850 v-twin automatic prototype motorcycle was shown at the Milan Bike Show 2003. Several Chinese motorcycles are available in automatic version and most scooters are automatic.

Ridley corporation makes a harley-look alike automatic motorcycle that is gaining in popularity. I rode one in Athens last year and thought it would be great for commuting in heavy traffic. I was strictly a "stick shift" car driver until I started commuting in stop and start traffic for more than an hour each way. After that, the next car I purchased was an automatic..

You can also install an automatic clutch in almost any motorcycle. Yamaha offers the Yamaha's revised 2006 FJR1300AE with an automatic clutch. There are several manufacturers and conversion kits are available for most motorcycles. Now to this month's question.

Mikel Chambou from Quebec Canada wrote: "I've seen some articles on automatic motorcycles. The men seem to be opposed as being something for wimps. I was wondering what the ladies thought?"

I asked the club members and here are their replies:

Kathy G: "I think it would take a lot of the fun out of biking".  

Pam G: "I think that as long as it facilitates people to be able to enjoy the sport of motorcycling, who cares what they ride or how it shifts..."

Cindy B: "Ridley is the only automatic motorcycle that I know of off hand & they are "way too expensive"...If you can drive a stick shift car you can ride a motorcycle...if you don't know how to use a stick shift car I recommend learning before buying a motorcycle."

Laura S: "I don't think riding an automatic is for wimps.....the fact that you are out there riding is what is important.....on a regular motorcycle, an automatic, or a trike.....everyone has a reason why they choose what they ride...but they are out there enjoying the sport, that is what is important."

Cath G: "I think that shifting is part of the journey and the excitement . Unless I physically was unable my gut feeling is why bother? "

There you have it folks, opinions vary but the majority seem to think the important thing is riding ...not what you ride.

I also think these automatic machines will be a godsend for many older riders who either have developed arthritis in their hands or no longer have the hand strength to pull the clutch especially in heavy traffic. Eventually they will probably become as common as the trike is for people who can no longer hold their bikes because of leg and back problems.

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