One of the more popular (and satisfying) upgrades that track riders make to their machines is the motorcycle quickshifter.
I don’t think any rider (outside of racing) would declare that they purchased a quickshifter in order to go faster.
The main reasons a track day rider will opt for such an upgrade is purely for the enjoyment factor, and the fact it makes life a little easier when going up the gears on the straights.
This guide covers exactly what quickshifters are, how they work, as well as three of the most popular options available for track day riders.
When travelling at full throttle down the straights, in order to change up a gear, many riders will roll off the throttle, pull in the clutch, click up a gear, release the clutch and then roll the throttle back on again.
It is all completed very quickly, but it does take a bit of time and effort.
You may have even adopted the clutchless upshift method, which does away with any use of the clutch altogether.
All that’s needed is a momentary roll-off to be able to sneak in a higher gear.
However, there is still some operations to be completed with the hands, and there’s also the chance of getting things wrong if your timing is off.
With a quickshifter, there is no need to touch either the clutch or throttle. All that’s needed while you are rocketing down the straight is a simple click up with the foot (or down if you run race-shift pattern) and the quickshifter will handle everything else for you.
There are a few variations to how each specific quickshifter will work (as you’ll see below) but in very simple terms, when you lift up the gear lever to go up a gear, the quickshifter will reduce the load on the drive train by either momentarily cutting the ignition, or cutting the fuel in the engine.
This is enough to take the load off of the drive train so that the new gear can slip into place without any damage. This allows you to keep the throttle pinned while going up the gears.
It’s effectively the same as rolling off the throttle briefly, except it’s quicker and more efficient.
It senses when you are changing gear with the use of some sort of sensor, which more often than not sits in line with your shifting rod.
The Dynojet quickshifter works in conjunction with the Power Commander 3 USB or Power Commander 5 units, and plugs into the ‘expansion port’ of either unit.
Once plugged in, the ‘kill time’ can be adjusted through the provided software to get things running smoothly in accordance with your bike and style.
There is a variety of different applications available.
Depending on your bike and/or shift pattern, there are ‘push’ type pressure sensors, and ‘pull’ type. If you cannot get the inline sensors that replace your standard shift rod, there are linear shift sensors that can be fitted in different locations.
The best thing to do is to check the Power Commander website. There you can put in the make and model of your bike and find the right one for you.
HM Quickshifters use a different type of technology to detect when you are changing gear, technology that many will profess to be better.
Conventional quickshifters rely on a pressure switch which means, by their nature, they will have moving parts that will wear and fail over time – if the bikes vibrations don’t cause problems first, that is.
The HM quickshifter uses a strain gauge which measures the molecular change in the shift rod when force is applied. This means it is incredibly precise, but also because it has no moving parts, will last longer.
Because of how it works, there are a lot fewer applications to choose from, and you shouldn’t need to change it if you decide to run race/reverse shift like you would with the Dynojet.
It works out more expensive over a Dynojet Quickshifter and Power Commander, but many riders will tell you it is worth the extra spend.
The HM quickshifter plugs in to your existing wiring loom.
The bazzaz has a set up similar to the Dynojet, where you require a specific ‘push’ or ‘pull’ shift sensor for your bike’s set up. Again, this means that the sensor will need to be changed if you decide to change your shift pattern.
The benefit of the Bazzaz is that you can specify a ‘kill time’ for each gear individually, rather than having one specified time for all five upshifts. This feature alone makes it a lot more desirable to many.
The Bazzaz kit also does not require a full fuelling unit like the Power Commander, but it can be purchased with one if that’s what you’re after.
The stand alone quickshifter comes with a control unit that plugs into your existing wiring loom.
There are undoubtedly cheaper upgrades that you can make to your bike that will see greater gains out on the track, but the majority of people will tell you that even given the spend, a quickshifter is one of their favourite additions.
We’re out on track to enjoy ourselves, and if a quickshifter increases that enjoyment that much more, then I say it’s well worth it, regardless of any performance gains.
Photo by Klaus Nahr
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