Kawasaki Patents Reveal Auto-Clutch System

New patents from Kawasaki reveal the Japanese giant working on a quickshifter combined with an automated clutch.

By Carandbike Team


1 mins read


Published on May 6, 2021

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  • Latest patents show a combined auto-clutch system with a quickshifter
  • Kawasaki's patents show a Ninja 1000SX with the new system
  • The system allows for clutchless gearshifts even at low everyday speeds

Kawasaki seems to be working on a latest generation quickshifter, which will use an automated clutch for easy gearshifts. The idea is to make quickshifters not just the ideal accessory for sportbikes, but to make them usable even for regular road bikes. The basic standard is quite simple, and works only on upshifts. It works by sensing movement of the gear lever and briefly cuts the ignition to reduce drive for an instant, allowing the next gear ratio to slot into place without using the clutch. Ride-by-wire throttle technology offers the option of up/down, or bi-directional quickshifters on higher-end bikes, featuring auto-blipping to match engine revs to road speed on clutchless downshifts.

Also Read: Kawasaki Developing Semi-Automatic Electronic Transmission

The quickshifters offered on modern sportbikes work seamlessly, as long as the rider is using wide open throttle positions and high engine revs. But at low speeds and low revs, quickshifters don't quite work well. The gear lever will refuse to budge sometimes, and at other times, there are clunky changes and the rider may feel shocks through the transmission. So, when riding at everyday speeds on the street, even bikes with standard up/down quickshifters will need the clutch to be used for seamless gear shifting.

Also Read: Kawasaki H2X May Get Radar Cruise Control


Patent image of Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX with auto-clutch system without a clutch lever

Also Read: Kawasaki Showcases Hybrid And AI-Assisted Motorcycle Technologies

Kawasaki's system is to work around this drawback, and to combine a quickshifter with an automated clutch that reacts to the riding style and will decide how best to complete each gear change. A newly filed patent application shows the system using a quickshifter alone without disengaging the clutch at high speeds and high revs, but at slower speeds, the system automatically uses the clutch to make for smooth shifts at any speed.

The patent images show the bike in question, a Ninja 1000SX without a clutch lever on the right handlebar, suggesting that the system may also be able to deal with feeding the clutch in automatically as the rider pulls away, and disengaging it when the bike comes to a stop. The system is expected to work seamlessly, so the rider may not even notice which mode the bike has chosen.

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