Last post on Jan 08, 2013 at 6:35 PM
You are in the Automotive News & Views-Archives
What is this discussion about?
#38 of 39 Re: alas, I admit... [fintail]
Jan 08, 2013 (6:24 pm)
I appreciate your thoughts on this topic, fintail. I will point out though that my opinions are derived more specifically with downshifting, than upshifting, although not by a lot when it gets right down to it. Racing is racing. But in a lesser grey area, in terms of draggers, a competent automated clutchless (as opposed to the manual 'armstrong' sense) system can actually trim hundredths or even thousands of a second. While minute differences, is sometimes enough to get the best time, nonetheless.
That said, and I recall you ride also from previous chats in the past, so I know that you too can appreciate that even upshifts require delicate intervention of the personal touch kind in certain circumstances..hence your points about power to weight ratios etc.. and I will add, even though you too were probably thinking also.. the lesser contact patch that a bike has to deal with compared to the plantedness that 4 tires at 4 corners provides.
The principle of my point here is, of course, that when it gets down to exploring those limits of traction..it's still pretty hard to beat a personal hands-on with a skilled rider at the controls, especially when power to weight ratios are in the extreme. Also though, I say that with the thought in mind that my clutch cables were always well lubed, sharp routing corners always eliminated, and even if dealing with hydraulic actuation, I also regularly lubed my pivot on the clutch handle. When going for a Sunday ride with friends and even strangers when stopped for some bench racing I have offered (and been taken up on the offer many times) to grease (silicone type) a neglected clutch pivot pin, on the spot.. and am always amused with the comments after on our next break. "Oh wow!...My clutch feels so smooth now and the feedback is fantastic!! Thanks man, I'll stay on top of that from now to be sure!" Brass bushings have that ability to mask true fluidity feel..but it still performs better when lubed and the difference is always noticeable.
As for shifting without the clutch, I'm not one of those guys who do it. Yes, cassette bike trannys allow this, but nonetheless..longevity and overall feel of the upshift still can't compete as smoothly as using the clutch.
All that said tho..I recall more than once when I got stuck in multilane traffic jams and I sure wished for a switch that allowed me to choose an 'automatic' mode of some type. I'm talkin' severe clutch hand cramp of course.. even with the power of hydraulics to compress clutch springs on a big displacement engine, it still can old pretty fast in those circumstances.
#39 of 39 Re: alas, I admit... [gimmestdtranny]
Jan 08, 2013 (6:35 pm)
I find operating a clutch on a bike much easier than driving a manual car, which is probably why I am not against having a bike, while I have no plans to buy a manual car. Even with that said, I think it would be nice to not have to deal with it most of the time. Maybe a switchable system can exist that can be full manual for racing, and clutchless for normal driving. I have no intentions of racing in any competitive fashion, where the automated system wouldn't be loved. It would work for me, and I suspect most users. I bet BMW has something like this in the works already.
Good point, a bike has more delicate contact patch/balance issues, which IMO makes them even better candidates for an automated clutch which can remove some potential for error. Many riders, myself included, aren't experts, and removing this room for error might help other skills. I am not advocating a full on automatic shift nor would I want one, mind you. I like shifting. But if an automated clutch can be as good as 99% of skilled manual users, and be safer for normal users, why not? I also live in a hilly area, it could solve issues with that too.
Last summer, I rode a 20+ year old bike with a very stiff lever, after an hour my left hand was a cramped up mess, and it ached for days. It has me jaded. I am looking at bikes now, and ease of clutch use will rank high, along with the bike tolerating clutchless shifting. I want something that is light enough to be operated by a finger or two, has an early take up point, and I like that slipper clutches are becoming more common.
On the car topic, back in the 90s, my dad bought a 68 Fairlane out of an estate, 289, 3 on the tree. It was a bear to drive, I think the clutch needed work - seemed the take up point varied with each shift, and the car having manual steering and brakes didn't help. I see why he would leave it in 2nd for most lower speed driving. Haven't wanted to drive a manual since.