Awesome New Automatic Motorcycles !

By: On: November 3rd, 200818 Comments »Updated: February 7, 2014

Ridley Automatic MotorcycleAutomatic motorcycles are certainly worth a look if you are thinking about getting a motorcycle.  If you struggle with clutches or commute in stop and go traffic, then check out what’s new with automatic motorcycles.

Some people want to get a motorcycle, but think that learning how to shift gears and use the clutch is not worth it.  Also, some folks have physical obstacles that could make shifting gears on a motorcycle very uncomfortable or maybe even impossible.  Several automatic and semi automatic motorcycles are available.  Here we give an overview of some we think are the coolest.

Ridley Automatic TransmissionFor spouses that want to join in on weekend street bike rides, but only plan to ride occasionally, an automatic motorcycle could be a good fit.  Especially if they don’t have their motorcycle license yet and are just learning how to ride.  Fortunately, there are some cool new automatics on the market now.

Yes, cool automatics. Check out the latest automatic motorcycles info from Ridley, Aprilia and Honda with us here.

 

Ridley Automatic Motorcycles:

First, the Ridley Motorcycle Company, located in Oklahoma City, is manufacturing awesome looking automatic motorcycles.  Clay Ridley and his son Jay, have been producing these since 1995 in the USA.  Using a continuously variable belt-drive transmission, or CVT, the rider simply has to give it a twist of the throttle and enjoy a smooth ride.  Anyone that might have had a snowmobile will understand this type of transmission since it is very similar.  Ridley claims to be the first street bike to use a CVT.  Seven different “Auto-Glide” models are currently available, ranging from a chopper to trike.  To describe the overall look or style of Ridley, I’d put them in the fairing-less custom or cruiser class.  Engines are manufactured by Ridley for their bikes and are 738cc 90 degree v-twins.

Ridley ChopperRidley automatic motorcycles sold in the $14,000 to $20,000 range in 2008 (US dollars), and about $26,000 for the Auto-Glide Trike.  These prices are pretty common among street bikes in the custom or cruiser group that have similar style and features that don’t have automatic transmissions.   Warranty for all ’08 models is 25 months.  There is a 12 month extended warranty plan offered also.  Ridley suggests service be performed every 2000 miles for oil and filter and servicing of the transmission drive and the driven clutch.  They also suggest replacement of the transmission belt at every 6000 miles.  These automatic motorcycles are not very complicated, and Ridley offers some basic service sheets on their website that highlight part numbers and include some sketched views of how things go together.  Lots of chrome and lots of paint options are available for certain models.

Aprilia Mana Automatic

Aprilia Automatic Motorcycles:

A very new and exciting automatic motorcycle for 2009 comes from the respected and sporty Italian manufacturer Aprilia.  It’s called the Aprilia Mana 850.  This is a liquid-cooled “naked” style street bike, but certainly not an ordinary one. The new automatic transmission in this motorcycle is quite a technical achievement. When you ride an Aprilia Mana, you have your choice of three different “autodrive” settings that control a CVT transmission for you depending on how aggressive or how relaxed you feel like riding.  The settings are named Touring, Sport and Rain. The fuel injected 90 degree v-twin engine’s 76 horsepower is married to the electronic transmission management system so you can get the most efficient power and control.  These Italian-made automatic motorcycles meet the Euro-3 emissions standards.  Final drive to the rear wheel is via chain, and the primary CVT drive system uses a belt.

Moto Guzzi, another popular Italian motorcycle manufacturer, actually had an automatic motorcycle on the market several years ago.  It was called the V1000 Convert.  The name came from it’s use of a torque converter in the drive system.

Aprilia Mana StorageIf you think that the Aprilia Mana is just for beginners or newbies, guess again.  This is a quick and sporty machine that can easily handle anything a traditional naked motorcycle can, plus you’ll have fun pulling away from them while their working through their gears!

As a bonus, if you want to shift this motorcycle yourself, you can do that too via a button on the handlebar or even by using a traditional shift lever, but without any manual clutch operation.  If you have ever seen motorcycle drag racing, most of them also shift just by hitting a button with their thumb.

On the Aprilia Mana, the manual control actually simulates a 7-speed transmission by adjusting the CVT to factory-programmed gear ratios.  It’s like having a continuously variable transmission and a regular transmission, and you choose between them as you like.Aprilia Mana Shift Button

A few other surprises on this Aprilia automatic motorcycle include the location of the fuel tank under the rear seat, and the storage area inside the traditional fuel tank location.  To refuel, you flip up the rear seat at access the filler cap.  Since the weight of the fuel is held low under the seat, the center of gravity is lower than usual and handling is improved.

What looks like a normal fuel tank is actually a lockable hidden storage area that you can store a full-face helmet inside of.  It has features inside of it for holding your mobile phone, including a 12 volt power outlet.  Very clever, and very convenient!  The Mana 850 is available in Competition Black, Passion Red, Couture Black, and Lead Grey.  Aprilia Mana Fuel TankIf you want ABS brakes, there is a Mana 850 ABS model also available. Speaking of brakes, this Aprilia automatic comes with a parking brake!

Aprilia offers factory accessories for the Mana at extra cost, including a luggage rack, adjustable windscreen, and hard side cases.  These help transform the naked bike into a very functional sport tourer while retaining it’s naked bike styling.  The Aprilia Mana is priced just under $9900 in the US, which isn’t bad considering the features, technology, versatility and cutting edge styling.

 

Honda Automatic Motorcycles:

Honda Automatic Motorcycle DN-01The third of the automatic motorcycles in our review is the Honda DN-01.  New in 2009, this motorcycle uses a CVT automatic transmission, named HFT by Honda, is similar in concept to the Aprilia automatic, but has 6 pre-set ratios instead of 3, and you can ride as a fully automatic motorcycle like you also can with the Aprilia Mana.  The DN-01 has a 680cc 52 degree v-twin, fuel injected engine with 4 valves per cylinder.  Final drive is via shaft.

With a MSRP base list price of $14,599 USD, it is similar in price to other automatic motorcycles, but really stands out with it’s low-slung (27.2 inch seat height) sport bike style.  Color choices for the DN-01 are Candy Dark Red or Black.  With the HFT automatic transmission and all, the DN-01 weighs in at 595 lbs ready to ride. Stopping the Honda DN-01 should be pretty easy since it comes standard with ABS brakes and 3-piston calipers for high performance.Automatic motorcycle VFR1200-DCT Honda  Warranty on this automatic motorcycle is 1 year, but you can add on an extended warranty called the Honda Protection Plan for an additional cost.

Speaking of Honda, how about the VFR1200F street bike?  This was the winner of Rider Magazine “Motorcycle of the Year” in 2010.  Now you can get this stunningly beautiful Honda VFR sportbike with the optional “Dual Clutch Transmission” or DCT and ride a fully automatic 1200cc sportbike.  Add optional side bags and trunk, and now you’ve got one awesome automatic sport touring motorcycle.  The really nice thing about the DCT transmission is that it can be switched into manual shift mode, or fully automatic shift mode, simply by pushing a button.

Automatic motorcycle 2012 Honda NC700X DCT with ABSIn 2012, the Honda Dual Clutch Transmission DCT became available on the new NC700X.  The NC700X is relatively similar in style to the Ducati Multistrada 1200 with a black beak-like nose, and a very attractive blend of adventure, sport, and supermotard styling.  The 2012 and 2013 Honda NC700X DCT also come equipped with ABS brakes and is quite reasonably priced at $8999 in the US.  Even though that is $2000 more than the manual-shift version NC700X base price of $6,999, it is quite a bargain compared to $16,999 for the standard Ducati Multistrada 1200.  Of course the Ducati is an incredible bike, but we’re just considering cost, style, and that the Honda NC700X DCT has an automatic transmission.

Less Expensive Automatic Motorcycles:

A much lower-cost alternative for an automatic motorcycle is the CFMOTO CF250T.  This is a very sporty scooter-based motorcycle that is really worth checking out if you don’t have the coin for these fancy state-of-the-art automatic motorcycles.

Electric Future of Automatic Motorcycles:

2013 Zero S Eletric Automatic MotorcycleAs transmission technology continues to quickly improve for automatic motorcycles, look for more automatics, and automatic trike motorcycles, to hit the market in the near future.  Electric motorcycles certainly continue to be developed and battery technology is steadily improving. Automatic transmissions go hand-in-hand with electric motorcycles.  Take the 2013 Zero S “streetfighter” from Zero Motorcycles of California.  For $15,995, you get very sporty street bike that can do 95 mph at top speed.  This latest Zero S can take you about 137 miles between charges depending on your riding habits.

Share your thoughts about automatic motorcycles here with other Motorcycle Info readers by leaving a comment below.

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

» has written 130 posts

18 Responded

  1. sykebike says:

    do other street bikes comes in automatic or just the honda,s

  2. John says:

    Sykebike – if you like the style of the automatic Honda DN-01 street bike, then you might also like the red CFMOTO V3 automatic shown near the end of our “Guide to Mopeds, Scooters, and Maxi-Scooters” page. It looks a lot like it, but has a 250cc engine with a CVT automatic transmission. It costs a lot less than the Honda because it is smaller, not as high-tech, and is made in China. It would make a great first street bike and will turn a lot of heads. Insurance should cost a lot less too.

  3. Geraldo says:

    Great article. I’ve been looking at all three bikes and I’m having a hard time deciding which one I want. Do you know of any future automatic bikes that may be on the way? I like the Qlink Legacy, which is the same as a CFMoto V5, but the engine is just a 250cc and I’d like something int the 550cc to 600cc range so I can take it on the highway. I’ve heard Qlink or CFMoto might come out with a 500cc bike soon. Do you know anything about that or other companies coming out with automatic motorcyles?

  4. alannoelfleming says:

    Any idea when Honda might use the HFT in it’s other models?

  5. gharris says:

    My wife suffers from M.S. and I an a disabled Vet (aircraft Mechanic) I want to build 2 retro Indian bikes using S&S motors springer frontends Huge fenders, a real horse saddle for her seat ( she loves horses) But I want an Automatic tranny with reverse …. IU know they are made but I’ll be damned if I can find a GOOD website for my brainstorming…..can anyone help???

  6. John says:

    Sounds like a cool idea! Have you considered an automatic trike motorcycle? Check out the Ridley in the newest post about trike motorcycles. As a side note,my friends and I are volunteering as motorcycle marshals in the upcoming MS “Breakaway to the Beach” in Sept in Carolinas.
    John

  7. joe says:

    looking for 250cc auto bike can you help??

  8. david says:

    info for harleydavidson auto transmision for large motor. david

  9. carriemum says:

    with auto bike/trikes, how does the liscnese work? do you need a tradiational motorcyce lisence? i live in NJ, if it does vary state to state

  10. John says:

    For trike motorcycles, yes, the laws do vary by state regarding license requirements. In your state of New Jersey, a motorcycle is defined as “any motor operated vehicle of the bicycle or tricycle type, except for a motorized bicycle”. See our page on how to get a motorcycle license for more information.

  11. Michelle says:

    Do the new conversion kits that you can order from Harley Davidson make them completely automatic or will I still have to thumb shift? I am looking for something similar in what Aprilia Mana 850 does. With them you have the option of thumb or foot shift but also is fully automatic if desired. Thanks

  12. John says:

    Michelle, I have seen a few automatic conversion kits made by other companies to fit on Harleys, but have not seen any offered directly by Harley. Some are thumb shifting. The transmission technology on the Aprilia Mana 850 is more advanced than most manufacturers have. If you like the Aprilia’s features, I say go for it. Aprilia is a world championship winner and well worth trying.
    John

  13. Rev. L.W. Brown says:

    Your discussion should include the CFMOTO 250cc V5. I rode one on a tough 2,500 mile charity ride through the Cascades, Rockies and across the plains to the Mississippi. The is a VERY affordable option, would be super for any veterans or others with leg injuries… a nice smooth ride.

  14. John says:

    The CFMOTO 250 V5 is a good one to consider when looking for an automatic motorcycle, I agree. I have never tested one, but I have sat on one and it is quite comfortable and looks great too. That would have been a challenging ride for any 250cc motorcycle, and it is great to hear that you did it on the CFMOTO. Your recommendation is appreciated, thanks!
    John

  15. monika says:

    looking for a automatic motorcycle at least 500cc or 650 can’t fine them in the reading area. help

  16. edna says:

    i want to ride but i want automatic to they sell in indiana

  17. Peter says:

    I bought the 2013 moto v5 a few months back. So far the bike has no problems. I don’t recommend highway or freeway as the bike is not that stable in winds or when getting passed by large vehicles.

    This is not a bike that will corner like a sports and I recommend a lot of practice or caution.

    If you are looking for a commuter you cant ask for better at $5000 you are going to get what you pay for,

    I have read a lot of bad reports about earlier V5′s but the 2013 has been revamped and has no mechanical issues (also has no radio)

    Engine has only 2 mounts which makes turns a little hairy at first but more rigid motor mounts can be made (not bought) which will take care of this problem.

    All in all it has the style and turns heads, and its very responsive.

    Rate $$ value 9/10
    Style 10/10
    Roadability 7/10
    Comfort 8/10

  18. stephen says:

    About 35 years ago in a college Advertising class, we broke down into groups of three. We had to come up with a product that was not presently in use. My idea was for a motorcycle with an automatic transmission. That’s 35 years ago.