I have explained what a CVT or continuously variable transmission is to at least a half a dozen people. So, usually when that happens I take the time to write up a tutorial and share it with you guys.
Now, the CVT discussion came up as a result of a broader car discussion in which I was explaining that a Nissan Murano SUV has a CVT transmission – which I really like. But it’s not the only one. There are quite a few vehicles with a CVT such as:
- Mitsubishi Lancer
- Honda Civic Hybrid
- Nissan Altima
- Audi A4
- Dodge Caliber
In addition to automobiles, CVTs can be found in scooters, and even some new bicycles. In fact, the CVT began as a small vehicle transmission and later had to be beefed up substantially to handle large vehicles like the Nissan Murano.
The following is a video of the Variator in a Yamaha T-Max scooter with the case removed. Notice how as the engine revvs up, the centrifugal force changes the ratio of the gearing by simply using the belt.
In this next video Leon Li from FlyScooters.com gives a demonstration of how the CVT works on a scooter.
One thing that is very cool is that CVTs are becoming available for bicycles too now. So imagine getting rid of that old fashioned “10 speed” in favor of a bike that does all the shifting for you automatically.
Here is a video of some guys who are running a CVT on a racing go-cart. Not only can you see how the transmission performs, but you get a look at the actual tranny in action.
For more information, you might check out the How Stuff Works site.