A Short Story

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A Short Story

Post by Zoid » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:51 pm

To anyone who may be considering changing to a handshifter and a foot clutch . . . thought I'd share my recent experiences - if anyone's interested.
I've only had this configuration for a few weeks, and as I've only been riding the bike on the weekends, the new arrangement has not become second nature yet - I still have to concentrate. Changing is easy once underway . . it's the hill starts that I find the trickiest so far. I've also found that if the bike tips to the left while I have the clutch in - STALL ! One has to put one's left foot down to avoid falling of course. Also, during a rain shower, my foot slipped off the clutch pedal whilst at the lights . . another stall moment. This can be somewhat embarrassing . . I've seen some setups where the clutch lever is attached to the gear stick. This may be a bit easier, but it's ugly (IMHO). I'm still not competent enough to ride it in laned traffic yet. I intend sticking with it until I achieve some level of skill, then I'll decide if I want it to be permanent. One other thing . . if you want plenty of mystified and curious looks from other motorcyclists, get a hand shifter! Thought maybe this info could be of some use to someone else.
PS Keith, I'd like to hear your view - you come from the land of jockey shifters . . have you used one or do any of your mates? Cheers all.
Last edited by Zoid on Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nothing really matters . .

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Post by Neo Dutch » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:08 pm

Clutches on gear levers is the stupidest thing ever. If you think using a foot clutch is hard, consider riding with one hand for the entire process of clutch actuation, and comtemplate filtering or riding in stop go traffic.
Good practice before fittng a foot clutch is to keep your left foot on the pegs at all time. This will get you used to being without it. And remind yourself that every time you put your left foot down at a set of lights and your bike isn't in neutral, You're dead.
Don't let your luggage define your travels.

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Post by Prof » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:28 pm

The bit of riding I've done on Walla Bob (tank change and suicide clutch) has shown me I need to preplan stops and get into the habit of droppng it into neutral before rolling to a stop. I've put my foot dwon on three occasions, once ending up in a customers rose bushes, once running into my workshop door and once simply stalling with the front brake.

Quite a few visitors have ridden WB and come back with the widest of grins and seem to get on ok. I've found that initially one is very conscious and careful about it all... its a little later, when you then react without thinking and revert to old habits!

Not sure I'd feel comfortable riding with a passenger as at this stage I feel suicide clutches/hand change are not the safest method...

but I'd be interested to know how you'd go with a few years of riding like it under your belt.

The original HD set up with a friction clutch that will stay where you leave would seem to be definitely safer, but not so cool.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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Post by midnight7503 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:48 pm

Its like anything once you've practiced it long enough, it becomes second nature,
look at the guys who've only ever riden old bikes with right hand gear shift,
put them on a later model bike (gears on the left) and every time they go to change a gear, they lock their back wheel up.
I know many who have done it, and quite a few who own both kinds of bikes and still make the mistakes.
You'd need to practice it a lot, and do it constantly without changing to different bikes.
“There is no heaven, there is no hell, except here on Earth.”

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Post by Zoid » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:15 pm

I need to preplan stops and get into the habit of droppng it into neutral before rolling to a stop.

Exactly what I've come to realise, Andrew.

look at the guys who've only ever ridden old bikes with right hand gear shift,

I've chopped (ha ha) and changed between a 73 Bonnie and a 900 Bol Dor and handled it OK . . this foot clutch thing is way harder, but as you say - with practice it'll become easier.
Nothing really matters . .

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Post by oyamum » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:40 pm

i realy wanted to do a conversion on my shadow but wanted to ride a bike with a jockey shift/foot clutch before i commited to it... i think it will be hard to learn but then again so was driving an 18spd crash box but its second nature to me now...

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Post by Bearcx » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:27 pm

I rode Glen's CX hardtail for a while,(Hand shift and clutch lever next to knee) and have ridden Profs Walla Bob, up and down the street. And after a while, you do get the hang of it.
But, stop/go traffic was a precarious ride, as I once did the 50 kay trip from home to the Adelaide City Centre. Dont drink, the night before.......
The brave may not live long, but, the cautious do not live at all.

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Post by KeithinSB » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:06 pm

I have a jockey shift/ suicide clutch on my sidecar rig.
Its easier to learn how to use the set up when you don't have to worry about putting your foot down.
I have ridden a friends Panhead with the same jockey/suicide clutch.
(There was a fire and he needed someone to ride has chop out of danger)
After a few stalls in the middle of the traffic and fire trucks, I figured out the clutch and the starting procedure pretty well.
After riding with the foot clutch for a week or so, I find that I will stomp on the shifter and reach under the seat looking for the jockey shifter when going back to my regular bike. Once you get used to it, I think I might like it better....
You will get it.
A ride in traffic helps. It builds confidence and ability.
Ride it like you can fix it.

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