let's talk handshift...

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LittleAl
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let's talk handshift...

#1

Post by LittleAl » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:18 pm

After a year of riding her ('54 FL) I'm getting frustrated with the handshift. I love the look of it but I guess because I just don't ride the Pan enough I can't get "fluent" with it. In the year I've only put 1000 miles on her.

I've been looking at it over & over and I'm trying to figure out a way to keep the handshift lever (for looks only), add a mousetrap, and adapt the rocker clutch pedals to be the shift.

Now obviously the shift lever on the tank would just have it's rod going down by the tranny to retain the look. and the mousetrap would be easy too (I have the one she came with). the challenge would be to figure a way to use the rocker clutch pedals as the shifter, again to maintain the foot clutch/hand shift look.

I'm thinking I'd have to go back to the ratchet top (I have that also) and just work out some kind of rod/pivot point combo that would let it work like a modern heel/toe shifter.

any ideas? anyone do anything like this before?



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Re: let's talk handshift...

#2

Post by Ohio-Rider » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:54 pm

Al, Its your bike to do as you please with, but to just leave the hand shifter dangling on there for show just ain't cool. Go all the way and convert to foot shift and hand clutch. The important thing is to get it setup so you can enjoy riding it more. :) -Steve

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#3

Post by Cotten » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:32 pm

Little Al!

Before you give up, I must ask if there are some issues that are making the handshift difficult for you.

The first is: Is your footclutch dampener spring so tight that you lose all feel for the clutch?

If so, outgrow your "training wheels" by loosening it to where it can pull itself into gear, and ride it like you are in command, and not the machine.
(Just get into neutral before you roll to a stop,... too simple!)

One part of the footclutch conversion is adviseable, however:
Move your brake grip to the right handlebar.
There are some things that H-D was outight stoopid about, and a left-hand front brake was a premiere example!

....Cotten

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#4

Post by steinauge » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:53 pm

Al ,Cotten is right,you should have no trouble at all with the handshift.Its actually easier(IMO) than the footshift of the period.By all means loosen up the clutch pedal and be sure you dont have a lot of wear\slop in the linkage from the shift lever to the trans top.Also be sure the detent ball in the trans top isnt stuck, that will make for REALLY vague shifting.

LittleAl
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Re: let's talk handshift...

#5

Post by LittleAl » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:37 pm

it's really not the shift, it operates smoothly as does the foot clutch. It's mostly because of my 4 Harley's I'm currently riding I just can't get enough on the Pan to get used to it.

I ride about 40K per year with less then 1K on the Pan. My '83 Shovel is my daily ride (62 miles round trip to work) plus my 2 Electraglides. I'm a certified Police Motor Instructor and compete in police rodeos too and the left foot up on stopping is totally contrary to my training & usual riding. Police ALWAYS keep the motor in first at a stop, clutch in & right foot on rear brake. I'm finding it difficult to go against 100's of hours of formal training (both giving & receiving) and 1000's of miles & hours of riding style.

oh, and I do have the front brake lever on the right already

LittleAl
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Re: let's talk handshift...

#6

Post by LittleAl » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:39 pm

oh, and just to show you guys what she's looking like, i took a picture of her yesterday:
IMG00021-20100613-1227.jpg
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Re: let's talk handshift...

#7

Post by Cotten » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:06 pm

LittleAl wrote:the left foot up on stopping is totally contrary to my training & usual riding. Police ALWAYS keep the motor in first at a stop, clutch in & right foot on rear brake.
Little Al!

Not to say "formal training" is right or wrong, but what happens if the bike is tapped from the rear while in gear?

Get off the car hood and chase it on foot?
(If a car coming through the intersection doesn't wipe both of you out, that is...)

Putting your left foot down is why you find neutral while rolling to a stop. And your clutch pack will last a lot longer too!

...Cotten

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#8

Post by john HD » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:10 pm

al,

if it is any help, i am relearning too.

just put my 42 wla on the road this spring. it does take some getting used to but becomes easier with time!

and yes my front brake is on the left!

john

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#9

Post by LittleAl » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:44 pm

cotton,

the reason police are trained to stay in gear, clutch in, right foot on the rear brake, left foot on the ground is very simple & safe. As a motor officer you must always be fully aware of your surroundings and it's the safest way to accelerate away from a vehicle coming up fast from your rear or for a quick take off from a standing start in the case of a pursuit. and using torque (clutch/throttle/rear brake) at very low speeds and from a standing start gives maximum control of the motorcycle if it becomes necessary to turn from a standstill. with my training, and the same applies for most motor officers, I can turn a 16.5 foot circle from a standing start with BOTH my feet up, on a full dress Electraglide or Road King. I'm no expert rider, this skill is typical. oh, and I'm not a motor officer, never was. I just took all the training to become certified.

If anyone is interested I have plenty of video of me doing these things that I can post

I agree, these techniques may not be "best" (if there is a best) for a typical rider but they are tried & true practices & training for motor officers.

anyway, I'm still trying to decide how/what to do. the biggest thing is I want to make my Pan more ride-able for me.

( I hope this post didn't come off arrogant, it wasn't intended to be, I was just stating facts)

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#10

Post by Cotten » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:36 am

Little Al!

I wouldn't even sit at a stoplight in gear with a manual transmission automobile!

I have been tapped from the rear. And I wasn't even stopped!
(And I have been rear-ended in an auto as well.... Leaping into a busy intersection is NOT AN OPTION.)

To each his own,
and Good Luck.

....Cotten
PS: Maybe you really should get rid of the tank shift after all.

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#11

Post by RUBONE » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:57 am

Al,
I ride mostly on my modern iron (which includes nothing from H-D!), and on my vintage iron as time and occasion allows. I recently returned from a long weekend on vintage iron (see riding the Rockies post) and must say that I never have had any issues with any of my handshift bikes. And they don't even all shift the same. Plus riding Indians belonging to friends. Left hand front to back, or back to front, right foot shift, left foot shift, right hand shift, right or left brake, right or left throttle, and a sidecar thrown in for good measure! It all works with minimal thought. I don't know if it is muscle memory or merely a shift in mental attitude and a response to the machine. I would hate to see you give up the handshift you worked so hard to get set up, but then again footshift is correct for a '54 so no foul. I would really discourage phonying up the linkage and such as it will only look silly and work worse! So if you must convert it, do it correctly and don't try to fake it.
Robbie

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#12

Post by Cotten » Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:06 am

Robbie!

I readily confess that when I needed to ride a right-hand shift (always an Indian, although H-D made them too), I found it necessary to keep my right hand on the shiftknob to keep my instincts from taking over.

But I still made certain that I rolled to a stop in neutral.

....Cotten

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#13

Post by 108 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:13 am

I've heard of guys adding fake "just for looks" tank shifts to late HD's ! something kind of pitiful about that.. Little Al, Nice looking Pan! I notice the spring on your rocker looks a little thin--will it hold the clutch disengaged ?

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#14

Post by Cotten » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:46 am

108!

Those fake tank shifts are called 'air shifters'.

And the spring on the rocker is an assist, just like on a mousetrap. It is not supposed to hold the clutch disengaged. Expecting it to do so is the true meaning of "suicide clutch", as vibration can suddenly allow the pedal to return and launch you into an intersection.

And yes, a real one is fatter. And the pedal seems stuck a little high in position, suggesting that the dampener spring is indeed tight. (That's fine for enduros.)

....Cotten

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Re: let's talk handshift...

#15

Post by 4pans1man » Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:08 am

LittleAl,

Are the hand shift tanks going to be for sale? What price?

Thanks, Tony.

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