The Dennis Kirk Blog
Legendary Service... Ask Your Friends - Since 1969
Maybe you’ve been watching races, or maybe you passed a fellow biker on your last ride. You watched them and you noticed something. When they shifted, they didn’t touch the clutch. You thought it might have been a clutch-less up-shift, but you also noticed that they didn’t let off of the throttle at all. After a quick google search, you found the term “Quick Shifter”, and this has brought you to us. For some of you, we’ve probably just blown your mind by describing your exact situation. The rest of you are likely unimpressed. Regardless, if you are curious about quick shifters, you are in the right place. You might have some questions and we have answers.
The purpose, if we were to wrap it up in one sentence, is as follows: quick shifters improve performance and are fun to use. They are most commonly used by racers to shave time and give them an edge. Even the best of us can make the occasional less-than-optimal shift, and even your fastest clutch-less shift still can’t match a quick shifter. Using one will give you a perfect shift every time.
Quick shifters are a little piece of hardware that connect to your gear shift lever. As you pull up on your gear shift lever, the quick shifter is triggered. Once triggered, it effectively cuts power to the engine (we’ll elaborate on the ways that this can be done later). This tiny interruption in power gives your bike a chance to shift gears without the need for the clutch, and without the need to roll off the throttle.
There are a couple different variations to consider. The first thing to note is the difference between push and pull quick shifters. This relates to whether or not your shift lever needs to be pushed up or down when shifting from 1st to 2nd. This will affect what kind of mechanism you need. This varies from model to model, and this information for your specific make and model is easy enough to find from any quick shifter manufacturer.
Another thing that you need to consider is how you want your quick shifter to cut the power. There are two main ways this is accomplished: either by cutting the fuel, or by cutting the spark.
First, we will go over what happens with spark cutting quick shifters. When you shift, it will trigger the quick shifter. It then sends a signal to your motorcycles ECU. That signal interrupts the pulse that fires your spark plugs, cutting the power for a fraction of your second, giving your bike just enough time to shift into the next gear before firing again.
The fuel cutting versions do effectively the same thing, but they cut the fuel instead of electricity. Shocking, right? This is preferable for just about any machine with a fuel injector. Cutting the spark doesn’t stop the fuel flow, so when the engine finally does fire, it has an overly rich fuel mixture. By cutting the fuel flow instead, you can avoid this issue entirely.
Absolutely. There are a couple other things that are worth noting. A lot of quick shifters are for up-shifting only, meaning that you’ll still need to use the clutch when downshifting. You will also need it when shifting from neutral into first, so it’s important to note that adding a quick shifter doesn’t mean you’ll be ditching the clutch lever entirely!
And, here we are. The one question that you really need answered. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t quite so straightforward. Still, we will do our best to give you our thoughts. If you are racing, then yes, absolutely. This might be the edge that you need. But if you’re not racing, it’s less black and white. While these do undoubtedly increase performance, it’s by a small margin. If you are a casual rider and you want to improve your bike’s performance, this might not be the optimal way to do it. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t get one. We are just saying that if you are expecting to make drastic changes to your riding, your hope might be misplaced. But, they aren’t just about going faster. They are fun to use, plain and simple. They make shifting a breeze and are enjoyable to use, like any other aftermarket additions you might want. If you want to feel incredibly satisfying, perfect shifts, and to have some fun while you do it, then this is a purchase that will be well worth it.
Did you find what you were looking for? If we left you with a few new questions, list them below in the comments. And if you have any tips for your fellow riders, leave those in the comments too! They’ll be happy for any advice you might be able to offer.
Mon-Fri: 7am - 8pm Sat & Sun: 7am - 6pm CT