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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"No Shift" Shootout and an update

One of the things that I enjoy doing in marketing.  I like reading about it, seeing trends and how things evolve and change over time.  One of the things that I've been watching is how the motorcycle producers and dealers are dealing with an aging population.  Back in 2007/2008 there was an explosion in scooter sales due to the first spike in gas prices and a depression.  That time has passed yet the motorcycle manufacturers, at least in the US, have seen to be slow to adapt to the changes.

Lets face it, most of us are afraid of standard transmissions.  They are expensive to fix (at least in a car) and it can be intimating to a new rider.  I have to admit that one of the reasons I stayed with scooters instead of getting a traditional motorcycle is because I didn't want the worry of shifting in traffic.  I even drove a standard transmission car for years!

So when decided to do a "No Shift" Shootout my interest was peaked.  The results I thought were a bit surprising.  I've looked at the Honda NC700X before, and I have to admit that if I were to get off a scooter, this may be the bike that I would buy.  Although from the various reviews I've read, it seems a little "soulless".  Although I wonder if that is a "traditionalist" bitching about the automatic nature of the bike.

However I think that for the time being I am a "scooter guy".  I have no desire to get rid of my Kimmie and, now that she is fully healed and repaired, no reason to.  Although for now I think I'm just going to remain a commuter once I am free to ride.


Canajun said...

Interesting. Didn't realise that automatics were making such a comeback.

Trobairitz said...

There seem to be more and more of the automatics coming into the marketplace. I think for people with leg/ankle issues or arthritic hands it can be a bonus.

I've drove a standard transmission car for years and love them for the fun factor (although I have an automatic now) and found it really helped when learning to ride a motorcycle as I was aware of the friction zone.

Although when I am stopped on a steep hill I wish for an auto on the bike.

Deb said...

I drove a standard transmission car most of my life. I've driven a motorcycle. Shifting is a pain in the ass, period. Especially in slow traffic or stop and go areas.

I have a cousin who was enamored about my scooter riding and wanted a scooter badly. I offered the education when asked, offered some model suggestions, and she went out and bought a big old used honker of a Yamaha motorcycle.

She said she'd ridden motorcycles before and longed for her youth. She is 54. But within ONE week she was hating it. Why? The shifting. She called me up, "I HATE this thing!" Now she has it up for sale and is going for a scooter.

To each his/her own and I think those who enjoy shifting ought to keep on doing it.

I am not one of those any longer.
It's scooters for me, period. Maybe I'm lazy at 59, but I'm happy!

Keith - Circle Blue said...

It is just so much fun to twist and go. My Symba is a double clutch set up. I have to shift but no clutching. That's okay, but I really do love taking off from my a stop sign with my Kymco and not having to do anything by go.

On the NC700X, I've wondered if the responses have to do with expectation. It's setup for mileage not off the line speed. Perhaps someone like me would find the performance more than adequate and the miles per gallon a really big plus.

Unknown said...


I have mostly had manual transmission cars. My current Honda is a 5 speed manual. I feel like I am driving and not just "pointing and aiming". You are more alert and attentive to the traffic ahead and behind.

I tried a Maxiscoot and bought a Kymco X500Ri when they came out and took a trip to Oregon with the intent of selling my Suzuki SV650n, for use as my only motorcycle. But as you noticed, it had no soul and the CVT left a lot to be desired. I much prefer to manually shift and hold the RPMs in a corner. I don't think I could have one as an only machine, but a small one would be useful in town with a larger conventional motorcycle for touring.

A weekend photographer
Riding the Wet Coast

The City Mouse in the Country said...

Bob - To each there own man. I believe however that your going to see more and more automatics. It's all about market and demand...I'm just curious to see when one - and which - major motorcycle manufacturer actually starts to push the automatic in the US. I'm betting on Big Red myself.

Dar said...

I think if I get to this stage, which I might it would be 100% the honda. I've looked at one, sat on it and liked it. The automatic thing doesn't paste me and I think it is the next wave particularly for those who find the maxi scoots too big & chunky. I like it, but I am really open minded about this kind of stuff. I've driven a stick shift car since I was 18' started out on an automatic scooter and now shifting a bike and in in-city traffic it sucks.

Scooter Madness said...

I have fond memories of my stick shift Mustang - except the ones where I'm stuck in traffic. And now that I have kids, wouldn't dream of doing anything but automatic.

But by yourself on an open road, nothing beats it...