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Honda’s infinitely variable Human-Friendly Transmission for motorcycles

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October 9, 2007

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October 10, 2007 Honda has announced what it is calling a Human-Friendly Transmission (HFT) for motorcycles. The new automatic transmission system uses Honda’s own infinitely variable hydraulic mechanical transmission in a lightweight compact configuration ideal for motorcycles.

Easy to operate, the HFT realizes outstanding relaxed riding comfort and feel with direct response and excellent transmission efficiency. The HFT will be installed on the DN-01, a new motorcycle scheduled for market launch to be introduced at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show.

With Honda's own infinitely variable hydraulic mechanical transmission, this HFT realizes the lightweight and compact configuration required for motorcycles. To meet the wide range of rider needs, HFT offers a selection from two fully automatic shifting modes—D mode for ordinary riding and S mode for a sporty riding experience—or the 6-speed manual mode, which gives riders the option of riding with a manual transmission feel. The HFT creates a unique riding feel through easy operation, ranging from relaxed and laid-back riding to nimble and sporty with direct throttle response.

With the aim of providing products useful in the every day lives of customers, Honda has developed and sold motorcycles equipped with easy-to-operate automatic riding technologies. As a pioneer in the era of automatic systems, Honda launched the Super Cub C100 in 1958, equipped with an automatic centrifugal clutch mechanism, which allowed riding without the need of clutch operation. The Eara (750cc), released in 1977, was a first large-sized motorcycle featured a torque converter in Japan. In 1980, Honda put the Tact on the market, a machine equipped with the Honda original continuously variable transmission, the V-Matic, and Honda has continued to develop a variety of new mechanisms up into the present.

A transmission system with a wide range of functions in a single unit, the HFT is a compact and highly efficient infinitely variable transmission system encompassing functions for starting, power transmission and shifting, all on a single shaft. The basic configuration of the system consists of an oil pump for converting engine power into hydraulic pressure, and an oil motor for converting the hydraulic pressure back into power for output. Both are made up of multiple pistons, a distributor valve and a swash plate for piston operation, while the cylinders are integrated into the output shaft, forming the characteristic structure of the HFT.

The HFT also features the world’s first lockup mechanism for an infinitely variable hydraulic mechanical transmission. When cruising, this lockup mechanism works to minimize transmission efficiency losses, contributing to improved fuel economy.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
1 Comment

This is like an aircraft hydraulic power transfer unit, except it\'s variable displacement - very clever, had considered this concept myself, is neat to see it was already done nearly 3 years ago! Haven\'t heard anything about it since then though...?

PeetEngineer
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