CVT vs manual transmissions in World.

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by ArtCuisin, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. ArtCuisin

    ArtCuisin Adventurer

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    If Honda sold so many Cubs or whatever worldwide,
    why does China pretty much only have CVT vehicles?
    (Never mind the Symba--how many Chinese buy those?)
    That is, why didn't they massively copy semi-auto clutches
    with manual transmissions?

    Maybe I think wrong, but I would think that a manual
    transmission and a manual clutch (I'm not sure if a
    semi-automatic clutch is cheaper or more expensive
    than a manual clutch) would be cheaper and more reliable
    than a CVT. Don't tell me the CVT is popular in China only
    because they do weird things with vehicles over there--transporting
    objects/people/animals such that shifting/clutching would
    interfere with operation.

    I WISH the Sym Wolf were priced more closely to the
    locally available $1399 or $1599 scooters.

    Thank you for any useful insight.
    #1
  2. Chillis

    Chillis Land Barge Pilot

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    Look how simple a CVT is. Two moving face pulleys, a clutch, and a belt and weights.

    Look at anything with a manual transmission. Multiple gears requiring actual metallurgy so they don't explode, precision so the parts don't explode, and, well... It seems easy why the cvt is popular.
    #2
  3. DaBinChe

    DaBinChe Long timer

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    lower cost to produce and easier to operate a CVT
    #3
  4. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    Another point: chain drive. That is the weakness in manual transmissions. Chains need frequent attention, replacement, and throw lubricant around. The CVT is enclosed and requires very little attention. I have a manual shift scooter with a fully enclosed chain drive in an oil bath http://www.flickr.com/photos/29821169@N06/10636048043/sizes/o/in/photostream/( partly disassembled)
    but Honda only used sheet metal or plastic chain enclosures which were not very effective.
    #4
  5. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    Well the manual transmission delivers markedly better fuel efficiency. The old Honda 90 would go 120 miles on a US gallon, which is twice as far as most scooters of equal performance. My antique 175cc gets 80 mpg, which is better than most scooters, and it weighs 330 lb. The Honda Cub is a fine design with features that work for rural use, excellent on rough roads, and I am not surprised the Chinese are still producing copies.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29821169@N06/10565275563/sizes/o/in/photostream/
    My first bike was an early CT90. A really tough machine. I loved it.
    #5
  6. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    First of all, it's not only the Chinese that produce scooters with CVT transmissions. Nearly all scooters produced anywhere have CVTs. So do many ATVs and cars. As already mentioned, CVTs are relatively inexpensive to produce. They also work fairly well, are reliable and easy to work on, for the most part.

    The most important reason for CVTs has not been mentioned yet. Manufacturers produce what sells. Most scooter buyers want an automatic transmission. They don't want a manual with a centrifugal clutch like the cub.

    Also, IMO, the layout of scooters is not conducive to operating a foot pedal or control. This makes a CVT which requires no pedals or levers to be very practical for scooters. All of the controls, brakes and throttle are on the bars. This makes a scooter very easy to operate.

    If you want a manual transmission, there are plenty of motorcycles out there that have one.
    #6
  7. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    A name brand manual transmission is way more reliable, and more efficient than a name brand CVT. I have never had a manual transmission fail, or a chain for that matter. From my research, belt failures seem to be fairly common. Mine was demolished after only 4,000 miles, and it was genuine Yamaha. A CVT is the cheapest type of transmission there is. They are starting to show up in low end cars, and word is getting out fast about how unreliable they are. Car magazines are recommending against buying cars with a CVT, due to both performance and reliability issues.

    I wish they would build a 250cc Wolf, of good quality. I wouldn't mind paying a TU250 price for it.
    #7
  8. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    Again, a mis-statement of facts.
    Thanks for your consistency
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  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Every motorcycle that I put over 60,000 miles on had the transmission fail. That would be a Yamaha, Kawasaki and BMW. Yes, manual transmissions are more efficient but that doesn't mean CVTs are junk.

    If a belt does fail, it's a usually whole lot simpler and less expensive to replace than fixing a manual transmission. Since you seem to think that simpler and less high tech is good, why the switch when it comes to trannies?
    #9
  10. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    That's you. So ONE sold....
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  11. bikeridermark

    bikeridermark Long timer

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    Jerry, Jerry, Jerry! The only reason you belt failed was because YOU worked on it. From the pictures, it looked like you lubed the rollers or variator (a no-no). All that black on your variator is not normal.
    Did the original belt on your Yamaha fail?
    Tell me, what scooters have a reliable manual transmission? Your Stella? It won't run long enough for you to find out!
    I have NEVER known anyone with a scooter around here that had a belt failure. Belts last at least as long as a chain on a KLR650. I speak from experience.
    #11
  12. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    My old German scooter has 90,000 miles on a 4 speed manual transmission and never a problem. It is a very simple device.
    One thing I can't understand is why my 1984 CH125 can get 105 mpg with a CVT and I never hear of that kind of efficiency on other CVT scooters.
    #12
  13. bandito2

    bandito2 Been here awhile

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    Maybe you just haven't looked around enough. Consider the 125cc Honda PCX. I seem to recall somewhere riders getting in excess of 100 mpg. (fuelly? ecomodder?) I pretty sure there are other scooters with a CVT that get good mpg as well.

    Well, the saying goes "they don't make them like they used to" is true for a lot of things; scooters included. But I do think that the recycle/disposable/throw away mentality has permeated manufacturing in a global way for a while now. A lot of things are made with planned obsolescence. That is really just a generalization for the most part, but within some markets, premium items do seem to fare better over the long haul than others. In general, current mass produced small scooters just don't perform or endure as well in use as larger scooters from well established manufacturers.

    It is easier to make something that will do OK/well enough for the task without much regard for longevity. This works well enough for most consumers. It's human nature to want the short term, instant gratification for what seems relatively cheap rather than pay more up front for what may actually be more cost effective over the the long term.

    Old German scooter? Yes, once upon a time manufacturers world wide took pride in their work and only knew of one way how to build things and that was quality building to last. Not so much now; even with modern materials and methods.

    For the sake of this discussion, we are considering only the commonly used moveable pulley face/belt drive type CVTs.; there are other types of CVT transmissions that are far more complicated.

    True, manual transmissions are more efficient but are more complicated. And a manual tranny that may be considered at least marginally overbuilt would theoretically last longer, but would be even more expensive. CVTs are inexpensive and easy to produce, simple to operate and easy and inexpensive to repair. They do OK/well enough for the task. That in large part is why they are so popular as the drive line in many vehicles; small light weight vehicles like scooters especially.
    #13
  14. snakebit

    snakebit growing old disgracefully

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    First of all, I like the four speed manual transmission/automatic clutch in my Symba. A lot.

    Yesterday I rode a bike with a CVT for the first time, a Honda 250 Elite. The lag between hitting the throttle and the CVT catching up and engaging was irritating as was the feel of engine braking. It reminded me of trying to ride an old Hondamatic two speed, not good.

    Obviously people get used to it but to me it seemed like a cheap, second rate set up.

    This was also the first bike I'd ridden with tiny wheels ( at least since mini bikes 50 years ago) and I was pleasantly surprised. It felt a lot more stable than I expected.
    #14
  15. bandito2

    bandito2 Been here awhile

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    Anything requiring more precision in manufacturing is going to take more time and effort during that manufacture
    plus time to ensure quality control. In most any for profit endeavor, time means money. The CVT design by its
    very nature is imprecise and would seem not to require as strict an adherence to precision in manufacture as a
    manual transmission. CVTs have fewer moving parts. The CVT is a simple design that is easy to be rapidly and
    massively reproduced. It's all about the money. (and getting it the quickest and easiest way)

    The Chinese seem to have a proclivity for doing things on a homogeneous and massive scale. The trouble with
    that is that when they make crap, they make a hell of a lot of it. Really they cut too many corners. When they
    figure out that it will be a lot better for them to put as much into quality as they put into quantity, then the world
    will get better product from them in high demand. I remember as a child how it used to be that cheap stuff usually
    had a sticker on the bottom "made in Japan" Look what happened when they changed from cheaply made to a
    better quality standard.
    #15
  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Don't judge all CVT scooters by one old Honda. I dislike automatics in cars and wouldn't buy a motorcycle with an automatic but I am reasonably happy with the performance of my 2 CVT scooters. Neither of my scooters has any lag in acceleration due to the CVT, unlike any car with an automatic. My biggest gripe with the CVTs I have is lack of engine braking down hills, especially the Aprilia.
    #16
  17. FoldArt

    FoldArt Been here awhile

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    I noticed that his first ride on an auto scooter was on a thirty year old model. Perhaps not representative of current machines, any more than generalizing about motorcycles after one experience with a 1980 Honda 750.

    Klaviator, I've generally found the engine braking on my GTS sufficient, though not as strong as on my Silverwing. It makes for a smooth ride around town, even if ridden with a jerky throttle hand. It is quick out of the hole.
    #17
  18. ArtCuisin

    ArtCuisin Adventurer

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    I was hoping to hear from somebody with experience in other countries,
    maybe somebody that lives in one, one where people actually ride small-bore two-wheeled vehicles in large numbers.

    I noticed on another site, this guy's post on the CVT vs more traditional transmissions. I believe he hails from the Phillipines. I find particularly interesting his claim that the underbones are cheaper than the CVT stuff in his country.

    (Thread:
    http://www.kymcoforum.com/index.php?topic=8790.0)

    Excerpt from Vivo's post:
    ======
    Even before I came to this world, motorcycles are already used as transportation especially for the masses and when you say motorcycles... it's Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. That is one reason... Another is that Kymco mostly are famous for their scooters and people here are not used to belts running their bikes... they want chains.... they are afraid of belts, they might just snap anytime.. difficult to remove and install.... scooter tires are expensive and also difficult to install...scooters also consume more gas compared to the "underbones" and "Cubs". Reliability-wise, cubs/underbones (as we call them) are faster, cheaper, cheaper to maintain, consumes lesser gas, lots of after market accessories and performance parts, has an AC-CDI that can run without a battery or weak battery, and it has a chain...

    This is the cheapest Honda... costs around $1,300.00... at more than 150 miles to a gallon, no scooter can beat that...


    http://www.hondaph.com/showcase/wave-100

    ==============
    #18
  19. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    Piaggio's BV350 has engine-braking very similar to a geared bike. Best I've ever experienced in a CVT equipped machine, and I've owned several.

    It's exceptional...the entire power plant/driveline in that machine is exceptional.
    #19
  20. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I've had 2 Vulcan 750s, both bought new, and both with over 80,000 miles on them. I still have the last one I bought, an '02. It has just over 85,000, and runs like new. My '09 Stella has just over 10,000 miles on it, with no transmission problems. I have had to adjust the clutch and shifter cables a few times, but it's made in India, what do you expect?

    I replaced the belt the first time at around 10,000 miles. Yamaha says 12,000. It looked good. I replaced the second belt at around 10,000 miles as well. It also looked like it had quite a few miles left on it. The third belt had only 4,000 miles on it when it shredded. Reason never found. A broken belt cannot be replaced on the side of the road. A chain can, if you have another one. I have carried a spare chain on long off road trips, but never needed it. On the Zuma forum, they seem to feel a broken belt is a fairly common occurrence.

    Being in the market for a new economy car, I did some research on CVT transmissions. Seems their average lifespan is around 60,000 miles, and when they fail, the transmission is usually replaced rather than repaired, a $3000 job, and of course out of warranty. And just like the scooters with them, they seem to have the same problem with a narrow gear range, specifically a low range, causing them to bog going uphill, while a traditional hydraulic automatic transmission has a low enough gear ratio to redline the engine at 30 mph if you wanted to.


    I can understand nobody wants a manual shift scooter. So they need to build scooters (at least the decent ones) with true automatic transmissions. I don't know how Honda's DCT works, but it has got to be better than a CVT. A CVT is just a bad concept in general. It was designed for one thing. To be as cheap as possible to produce.


    EDIT: Ok, I now know how a DCT works. It is several times as complex as a CVT, but should work a lot better and last a lot longer. But the traditional automatic is still way better in a car. Way back, both Honda and Suzuki built bikes with real automatic transmissions. They were much slower than a manual, and burned more gas. I guess that is why Honda is now using a DCT. I still say a CVT is basically junk, from personal experience.
    #20