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I took my wife on a 2018 DCT Tour demo ride this weekend. We presently have a 1996 GL1500SE. BIG CHANGE
Several of the things we both noticed this test ride - Lots more air on our legs. Not bad for good summer weather riding. What about riding in rain? I would expect that you get lots of cold rain on the lower legs too? "Wind Wings" available to increase wind protection?


We both noticed the smooth shifting during acceleration. We also noticed the jerky downshifting, nudging us forward as we were slowing down. I know time and familiarity would smooth some of that out. I even read in the DCT Tips thread advice to accelerate in Auto, and shift to Manual to stop. Does anyone use that practice?


The lure of the new one is calling me.
 

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I NEVER switch to manual to stop.
I almost never use any mode except tour. I've tried the others, but end up back with the default.

DCT's aren't as smooth when the oil is still cold as when the oil warms, but it almost sounds like the demo bike needs the DCT initialize process run (it's simple to do, doesn't require a tech).

The harder you brake, the more aggressively they will downshift (to provide engine braking).
Simply roll off and coast, and the downshifts aren't as aggressive.
Similar to what many probably do on a manual shift bike, but obviously it's different when the computer is deciding/guessing what you want it to do.

Similarly, the more aggressive you are accelerating, the longer it will wait to upshift.
Sometimes when moving the throttle to a neutral position to maintain speed after hard acceleration it will seem to hang in the current gear. I presume the programming wants to be sure you aren't going to request additional hard acceleration.

As far as overall smoothness, part of the mystery is figuring out how much throttle to apply to get it to stat to move forward. Eventually, I found the wrist had learned how much to apply, and had also learned to feather the clutch (like with a manual) for close quarter maneuvering.
 

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I had a 98 GL1500SE so I know the transition is significant. And I'll say candidly the wallowing 1500 was what kept me away from even looking at a GL1800. The 2018 Wing re-engineering brought me back, not because of the name, but because of what it offered.

But to answer your immediate questions, there are upper and lower wind wings available. I rode in 40 degree rain last Fall for close to a thousand miles from the Rockies eastward and without any additional deflectors/wings was comfortable in my $40 rain pants and layered leather jacket. However your mission profile might dictate more wind protection, and it is available (for $$ as always:grin2:).

The DCT does have a learning curve but it's fairly mild. There is a 5 minute clutch initialization procedure that owners can perform periodically which makes a significant difference in the smoothness of the transmission. It requires no tools and the bike does it by itself when you push the right buttons in the right sequence. There are several links to the procedure and if you go through with the purchase you will probably bookmark one.

I've found that the DCT seems to prefer shorter decelerations than slower ones. As the bike's velocity decreases the transmission downshifts at predetermined "gates". The longer the bike hovers at one (or more) of those "gates" the more abrupt the downshifts feel. Mind you with properly adjusted clutches it's never a really jerky sequence.

The re-engineered Wing is a thing of technical beauty, but it's appearance, powertrain and electronics have nothing in common with a GL1500 other than the name and badge.

Enjoy and ride safe.
 

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The Sport mode will downshift, upshift like a jackrabbit.
The tour mode is softer
The Econ mode is softest.

That being said, the bike will shift according to the rpm. It takes awhile to learn how to accurately control the throttle in each mode to get the desired smoothness in shifting. Took me about 8-10,000 miles to completely master. The re synchronizing the DCT will eliminate the clunking and unexpected gear shifts...at that point it is all up to your brain and wrist. The biggest advantage of the DCT is the control you have over almost everything from just your left wrist and left thumb. That's a big change from my 35 years with a manual transmission bike. It takes time.
 

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Throttle response programming in not user adjustable, but "rain" and "eco" modes are calm. There may soon be an aftermarket tuner service though.

On the DCT, the bike does not "like" you to help it downshift with throttle blips as is common practice with manuals. Just roll off the throttle, and let the bike downshift as it slows; braking or coasting, either way. Throttle blips on the up shifts is possible, but not necessary. If shifts are herky-jerky regardless these techniques, then the user can run a transmission calibration procedure. See YouTube video by Fred Harmon (he has that as one of several public accessible videos on his AngelRide "Vimo" site. Very easy and effective.

Regarding the rain, we are going to get wet.

prs
 

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I use 2 different Honda DCT equipped motorcycles, the GL1833 Goldwing Airbag with 7 gears and CRF 1000 Africa Twin (AT) with 6 gears and there are differences in smootness. The AT is much smoother when in downshifting then the GL without the sometines jerky cloncks. And Yes, I regularly do the DCT initialisation process on my GL to make the DCT smooth again.

I always use automatic, but for downshifting to reduce speed for corner or crossing etc., I now use on both the GL and AT the lever to downshift. I found out the hard way initially when only using brakes on my GL1833, the first set of front brake pads where gone at 9.000 miles, where previously I could do about 15-20.000 miles on a set with my traded GL1832. Also noticealbe difference is that the sport mode on the GL is like a hooligan, while on the AT there are 3 levels which are much more friendly and only the highest level approaches the hooligang level on the GL. Therefor I hardly use the sport mode on the GL, while I use the sport mode level 1 or 2 regularly on the AT.
 

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Several thoughts come to mind regarding my experience with the old vs. new Wing and DCT. The 2018 is closer to a sport cruiser than older wings. I felt younger and the riding was more exciting. The DCT contributes to that sport bike feel. The basic DCT learning curve is short but finesse takes a little longer. Going from smooth cruising to aggressive riding sometimes catches the bike in the wrong gear. (As others have said the throttle controls the shifting) I use the +/- paddles on the left grip to downshift if I feel the bike is in the wrong gear. I didn't really understand this from the owners manual and it makes riding in manual mode largely unnecessary. I don't use sport mode much and never 2 up. It requires a lot of speed and aggressive throttle to be smooth. I like the stock tour shield and don't mind the wind on the bottom and sides.
 

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Wind/rain protection on the DCT will NEVER be as good as on a GL15, even with air deflectors. But, that is about the ONLY thing the GL15 does better.

I still miss my 88 GL15, but that is because I loved that bike and owned it for over 25 years.
 

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Manual shift + Tour or Sport mode is what I do now! I was not happy with the bike shifting for me!
 

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I would think ( I really shouldn't do that ) the throttle was a screw up from Honda they don't make cars with accelerator that quick plus the throttle was sloppy it would slide up and down and work back and forth, a o-ring slid over grip placed in front grip helped me a lot. I would say
8 to 10,000 mi will cure most of it. the transmission doing the down shift will get your attention, when you stop listening and noticing all that it ride much better, if you really want to confuse it take off real fast after it shifts about 3 times let up on it, you will think it will never shift again.
 

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Until you do the DCT initialization procedure you will not be able to truelove judge.
 

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one thing to remember that the bike learns how you drive and makes changes. it definitely drives different after 5,000 and 10,000 miles
 

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I really think the downshifts are just a getting used to it thing. My first impression was that they're 'jerky', but the more I get used to it I realise it's just the bike doing what it's supposed to. Essentially, the bike tries to give you engine braking which is a good thing as it is bad technique to just pull in the clutch and come to a stop with only the brakes. The difference between a manual and a DCT is that on a manual when you let out the clutch lever after a downshift you subconsciously expect to feel engine braking exactly when it happens because you controlled it. On a DCT, it just happens on and off as you slow down which is a weird sensation at first.

After a while though, it doesn't feel so weird anymore and you just don't notice it.
 

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I really think the downshifts are just a getting used to it thing. My first impression was that they're 'jerky', but the more I get used to it I realise it's just the bike doing what it's supposed to. Essentially, the bike tries to give you engine braking which is a good thing as it is bad technique to just pull in the clutch and come to a stop with only the brakes. The difference between a manual and a DCT is that on a manual when you let out the clutch lever after a downshift you subconsciously expect to feel engine braking exactly when it happens because you controlled it. On a DCT, it just happens on and off as you slow down which is a weird sensation at first.

After a while though, it doesn't feel so weird anymore and you just don't notice it.
That is very much it. The DCT does NOT slip the clutch any more than is needed to change gears. It tries to leave you ALWAYS in gear. Much of the "jerkiness" is because of this - it's not sliding the clutch smoothly as you decelerate, it's switching to the lower gear immediately. It's not a flaw - it's how it is supposed to operate.

Much like if the rider of a manual was doing the same thing, trying to stay fully engaged in gear as much as possible, and on the clutch as little as possible. No feathering when decelerating - you get a bit of a "lunge" as you downshift. Ever watch a GP rider? Same thing - they bang the gears hard and fast, and stay off the clutch as much as possible so they can have all the power instantly whenever they want. And you see their heads and bodies react to the quick shifts as well.

For me, it took about 200 miles on my old CTX700 - back in 2015 - and I was hooked and comfortable. No issues since!
 
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DCT has 2 clutches, operated by oil pressure, and each activated by separate electrically operated valves.

One is used to engage 1, 3, 5 and 7.
The other is used to engage 2, 4, and 6.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all for your comments.



It sounds like my reaction is similar to some of yours. It is reassuring that all of you not only adjusted, but really enjoy the DCT bike.


I had an Ah-ha! moment with the comment from ShanghiDan:
That is very much it. The DCT does NOT slip the clutch any more than is needed to change gears. It tries to leave you ALWAYS in gear. Much of the "jerkiness" is because of this - it's not sliding the clutch smoothly as you decelerate, it's switching to the lower gear immediately. It's not a flaw - it's how it is supposed to operate.

Much like if the rider of a manual was doing the same thing, trying to stay fully engaged in gear as much as possible, and on the clutch as little as possible. No feathering when decelerating - you get a bit of a "lunge" as you downshift. Ever watch a GP rider? Same thing - they bang the gears hard and fast, and stay off the clutch as much as possible so they can have all the power instantly whenever they want. And you see their heads and bodies react to the quick shifts as well.


I was associating the DCT form of shifting with an automatic transmission method of shifting. The DCT has direct linkage to the engine immediately after each shift. There is no slip, as there is on a manual transmission when you downshift and slowly let the engine and transmission engage. Now that I have that straight in my mind I can see where the DCT will be "different".



There are trade offs in any change. I know my GL1500 is heavy, and a real road sofa. I have gotten used to it and it is the normal for my comparisons.



Thanks for the good advice.


Jim
 
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I love the DCT down shifting as you slow down. It always keeps you in the right gear. Many of us who have driven (are driving) manual tour bikes have failed to downshift as we are breaking. And occasionally find ourselves sitting at a stop light in third gear instead of first.
I have an Aprilia sport bike which I have ridden many times on the track and and would frequently find myself in the wrong gear coming out of a corner. Thank God it is a V-twin with a lot of forgiving torque.
Proper downshifting when in a very focused situation is an advanced skill and one I am happy to relinquish to my DCT when touring with my wife on the pillion seat.
 

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The DCT should be thought of not as an automatic transmission, but an automatic clutch on a fully manual transmission.

When it downshifts, you are immediately in gear. Great for compression braking, but very different from slowing down in an automatic (traditional) car, or on a motorcycle where you will probably pull the clutch a lot longer and coast more and release the clutch a LOT slower.

It's not "jerky", it's just staying in gear as much as possible.
 
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