An interesting rumor is going around about Ducati working on a seamless shifting gearbox for its street bike lineup. The rumors are grounded in patent documents, and the notion that the new gearbox would feature on Ducati’s next-generation superbike.
Of course, seamless gearboxes are nothing new – even for Ducati. This is because the technology features heavily in the MotoGP paddock.
A response to grand prix racing outlawing dual-clutch transmissions, the seamless shifting gearboxes were high tech about a decade ago, as a means to achieve the same rapid shifts found from a DCT, while skirting the rule’s direct banning of them.
Allowing the gearbox to be shifted up and down through gears rapidly, and without upsetting the chassis, the seamless shifting gearboxes were said to be good for a tenth of a second or more on the race track.
The technology’s benefit on the street is less obvious. On dual-clutch gearboxes, like the one offered by Honda, the benefit is rapid shifts, and the ability offer a gearbox that functions heavily like an automatic.
For Ducati though, the technology would likely be more racing and track focused, using the MotoGP-developed technology to help bolster the next generation superbike’s racing DNA.
We would expect such a bike to debut for the 2023 model year, though we could see one as early as later this year (for the 2022 model year). Will that bike have this seamless gearbox onboard? That remains to be seen.