Let us walk you through Quick Shifters and take a look at what are they and how do they work. And to understand their usability.
A quick shifter is modern equipment used in motorcycle transmissions. It allows clutch-less gearshifts in bikes that have manual transmissions.
In simpler words – with quick shifters you don’t need to change the gears by applying throttle and clutch before and after each gear shift. By a simple pull or push of this device the gears are changed. This application has four notable benefits:
- Increases the speed of the bike – and prevents deceleration while changing gears
- Convenient and hassle free ride
- Increases safety of the rider
- Enhances the overall performance of the bike.
How do you shift gears without a quick shifter?
Normally to shift gears you would roll out of the throttle slightly and pull in the clutch. The clutches engage/disengage the power from the engine’s crankshaft.
In the meanwhile the gears which are down the transmission need to be unloaded in order for the cogs to shift over into the next position. When switching gears, we briefly cut power with the clutch and the throttle and smoothly reapply it in order to minimize a disruptive or harsh re-engagement of engine parts. So basically a clutch acts as a sort of go-between for the engine and the transmission.
How a Quick Shifter Changes Gears
Quick Shifters enable seamless up-shifts without using the clutch and even rolling of the throttle. You just need to keep the throttle pinned and tow the shifter and the transmission shifts to the next gear seamlessly.
Let us look the science of this process.
There is a sensor integrated into the shift (Quick Shifter) linkage that detects when the shifter moves. The sensor after detecting the movement – lines the bikes ECU to disrupt the ignition spark for certain moments.
The ECU either switches off the ignition or cuts fueling to the engine for as little as 15 milliseconds (approximate values). This ECU intervention mimics the throttling off and on of a riders gear changes. The major difference is that this is six times faster than a rider’s manual gear change and perfectly every time.
So as you tow the shifter with your lower legs– for some milliseconds the power of your bike is paused. Because of this the gears are unloaded and they slip to the next position. In this process you never are required to press the clutch or do the throttle. The time when your bike’s power is cut off is enough for the gears to perform the whole action.
Types of Sensors
There are two types of Sensors – one works by measuring the pressure change on the shift rod. That is when the rider pushes or pulls the shift rod – a change in pressure is sensed by the sensor – which then on-offs the ECU.
The second one senses the molecular strain in the shift rod to determine the gearshift process instead of using a pressure switch. This type of sensor is costly but more reliable than the previous one because false readings due to vibrations are not a concern in the molecular strain gauge (sensor) since it has no moving parts.
However, most bikes are equipped with pressure change sensors.
How does a Quick Shifter affect your speed?
If you are on manual transmission gear bike – you are required to blip the throttle. Although it might take just a split second – but when you are racing even this time counts.
Now with a quick shifter – the shift is almost instant. It is so fast that it has no interruption on your speed.
When you are turning around corners – you can easily shift gears without affecting your speed at all.
Their primary aim is usually to achieve better acceleration by reducing the time interval between gearshifts during acceleration which results in continuous and smoother power delivery to the wheels.
By a quick shifter one can shift a gear in less than 50 milliseconds. This is several times faster than manual transmission.
600 milliseconds – Time required for an average motorcyclist who focuses on perfect up-shifts. His action encompasses – pulling the clutch, briefly rolling off the throttle, moving the gear shift lever, blipping the throttle, and re-engaging the clutch.
300 milliseconds – Time required for a skilled rider to apply gear shifts, and that still requires skillful and quick hand and leg coordinated movements and impeccable throttle timing.
But this is not where most of your speed is conserved.
The actual science in the maintenance of your speed by a quick shifter is actually biological. When you are changing gears with manual transmission – two of your body parts are involved for one action. Your hands and legs are equally involved. And if they don’t perform the required action in perfect synchronization – than a lot of time (more than milliseconds) is deployed. This is a huge loss to your speed, as it completely decelerates you. Moreover your mind has to take the load, whenever you are changing gears, so that your hands and legs act in coordination.
Now with a quick shifter, only one of your body parts has to perform action. This relaxes your mind as actually no synchronization is required. The gear shifts instantly and no deceleration ever happen.
Now when you are not racing – and riding on streets or in neighborhoods – you don’t have to time yourself to millisecond perfection, even if you are living in Japan – where punctuality is at its peak. So quick shifters are basically used in these bikes – not for time conservation but for the convenience it provides to the riders. The mental stress is so much lowered especially in turns and in traffics. No constant jamming your body over gears!
And now to a very important question –
Do quick shifters negatively affect your gearbox or decrease its life?
If you are riding a bike without a quick shifter than the performance of your gear box depends on how you shift gears. If you make every shift pretty gently, pulling the clutch, matching speed, and then making the shift, then the gearbox will serve you for thousands of miles.
Now if you are using a quick shifter in your bike then you don’t need to worry about all the above parameters – because it cuts the ignition and gently changes the gears. This means that the overall performance of your bike and especially of the gearbox increases many folds.
So basically you spend some of your dollars in buying these tools – and earn them back by spending less on the maintenance. So economically they become free and in addition to that they enhance the overall ride quality and bikes life.
External Quick Shifters
Today a lot of manufacturers are installing this gear changing equipment in almost all types of bikes – whether it is a touring bike or a Moto-racer one. And if your bike is not having this device you can always externally fit it – there are a lot of aftermarket options for quick shifters.
Quick Shifters are available as bi-directional and mono-directional. Bi-directional works on both directions of gearshift – up-shifts and downshifts, whereas mono-directional works only on up-shifts.
The bikes are generally equipped with bi-directional shifters, but if you are purchasing one then go for a bi-directional, so that it can be used for both shifts in your current bike and can also be in any other bike.
There are two types of purchase. You can buy a solo quick shifter kit, or you can buy a comprehensive fuel controller – in which quick shifter is a part of the kit.
We would personally recommend the “Bazzaz” brand – because they make quick shifters for almost every bike. They are a universal manufacturer to this tool and have a specialization in it.
The second important reason is that “Bazzaz” quick shifters can be optimized to your preferences. You can program the ignition as well as the sensitivity of the shift sensors – which will make your ride best tuned for you.
There are other manufacturers too for this tool, for example the Power Commander’s Dynojet Quick Shifter and HM Quick Shifter. Dynojet is famous for the variety of Quick Shifters it offer, whereas HM’s have accurate sensors and are famous for least failures.
These three are the most famous brands, but you can always choose from the vast types and products available online and offline.
Aggressive VS Lazy Riders
There is a lot of debate on its necessity on the roads – where speed is not the key factor for biking. Basically they were designed for faster lap times but now they have become very common and are equipped in many models.
The reason is the ease that they provide to Motorcycle Transmissions – by enabling Clutch less transmissions. They are actual fun to use and they give your biking experience a new shift.
Many bikers also believe that the real sport or real biking experience is in manual transmission vehicles. Quick Shifters and likewise tools make your biking experience mild. It is like riding a scooter or a moped if you are riding a bike with these supportive tools.
But this is not at the deal. In actual quick shifters give you lot of sporty feel. You can ride at high speeds, and unforced deceleration almost gets neglected.
The second reason is sharp turns – you can have sharp turns without decreasing your speed. This is one of the most adventurous experiences that you can pursue – in biking. And never ever try this without quick shifters in your bike.
And finally it is not about lazy riders – but the real this is that it makes your ride safe. Statistical data shows a downward shift in accidents which were caused because of gear transmissions – if the bikes were equipped with this tool.
In race bikes this becomes a must because high speed causes a lot of accidents – but this is a necessity in your every day biking experience as well, especially within the urban areas, where you will come across a lot turns and twists and face a lot of commuter traffic.
There is only one drawback for using quick shifters and that is – you get uncomfortable if you are using bikes which don’t come with one of them. But you really don’t need to worry a lot about this – because manufacturers graph shows a growing pattern for using this tool in modern and future bikes.
Quick Shifters have become very common now – and if you are looking for something more technologically advanced then tune your bike with “Auto Blip Downshifting” which might become the cutting edge tool for electronically enhanced motorcycle transmissions.
We will cover about them in the next post.
For now – if your bike is lacking a quick shifter – then find the best one for you and ride safe and in style.