Shift Lever Modification - Part 1

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Shift Lever Modification - Part 1

Postby dbrick » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:57 pm

The Suburban Machinery lowering kit for the driver’s footpegs was great: fine workmanship, easy fitting, and my knees and hips liked it a lot. But the resulting shift lever position wasn’t right.

I lowered the pegs and shifter on my prior Oilhead RSL by installing GS footplates and shift linkage. These put the shift tab in a perfect position: immediately next to the ball of my foot with the foot at rest. It was an easy move laterally to shift, requiring just a small foot movement.

The peg lowering kit for the R12R, however, didn’t move the shift lever. Because the left footpeg moved back and out a bit, that meant the shift tab was (relatively) now farther from the footpeg, and slightly more inboard. The shift tab hit my foot forward of the ball of the foot, and I had less control. I noticed that before I shifted, I moved my left foot forward a bit and inward. Finally, at rest, the tab was a bit high; I wanted the tab lower, so that at rest, it would be next to the ball of my foot. I couldn’t rotate the stock shift lever any further CCW on its shaft (to lower the tab), because the lever then hit the folded sidestand.

Here’s the lowered peg kit and the stock lever:

Image

The stock shift lever is aluminum. I thought about having the local metal fabricator make me a longer-arc’d but shorter-reaching lever, using the stocker’s splined end. He could do that, but I worried about getting the dimensions exactly right. His work is of very high quality and would not be cheap…and I’d have only one chance to get it correctly-sized in all three dimensions. I rode on…but kept thinking about a different lever.

Then I saw this:

Image

This is the Touratech #044-0432 adjustable shift lever for the 1200GS. Chumley said that the splines fit on the R’s shift shaft. Touratech said I could return it (if it remained saleable) if it didn’t fit. I bought one. Here are the big parts (there’s some bolts and nuts, too):

Image

It fit on the R's splines:

Image

My idea was to mount the two lever pieces (let’s call them the “spline end” and the “tab end”) with a spacer between them, thus moving the shift tab further from the bike’s centerline, and to mount the two pieces at an angle, to lower the relative position of the tab and allow the splined end to remain horizontal enough to avoid fouling the sidestand. By changing the length of the spacer and choosing which holes to use, I could adjust all three variables.

I went to the local hardware store, which has a nice selection of BMW motorcycle parts. I found this stuff:

Image

The cylinder is an aluminum cable stop, designed to be swaged onto steel cable. It’s thick enough to give good support to both pieces of the shift lever. I chose a button head 6mm socket screw to keep the screw head as small as possible, and bought a nylock nut.

The nylon washers are needed, as Chumley found, because the Touratech lever’s splined boss, while deep enough to engage all the splines on the shift shaft, is narrower in total than the stocker.

The Touratech lever has a folding tip. The idea is that if you run your GS into a rock, the tip will bend back towards your foot instead of breaking off. Mounting the tab end of the shift lever vertically, however, would mean that the tab could fold on upshifts, and the opening into which the spring fits would be exposed upwards, and look crummy. Neither was OK.

The tab pivots on two bosses. My workaround was to reverse the tab and the spring. With the pieces reversed, the closed end was now up, an aesthetic improvement:

Image

Image

The tab now pivoted down, but the spring provided a lot of tension. I’d find out later if there was enough to resist tab movement when downshiftsing. I have a Plan B in mind if the tab moves.

Now for a test fitting. Here’s the completed assembly:

Image

The modified lever fit right in place. Here’s the gap I mentioned:

Image

It’s now filled by the nylon spacers:

Image

The splined end pinch bolt head was blocked by the plastic swing arm pivot cover. You can see the pinch bolt’s missing:

Image

I pried the cover off, and the pinch bolt slid into place:

Image

Things were looking good. The shift tab was where I wanted it: an inch further back, and most of an inch lower and farther from the bike’s centerline - and each dimension could be changed if I wanted. Holding my breath, I went for a ride.

(pause)

Ooo-boy, that was great. The tab’s now close enough to the footpeg and further from the bike’s centerline, so I don’t have to reach forward and in to shift. My left foot is moving less, and I don’t have to think about my shifting foot as much. The spring is strong enough, and the tab doesn’t pivot on downshifts. It’s almost perfect, but the tab’s still a bit too high. I drop the tab end down two holes, and go for another ride.

(pause)

Bliss looks like this:

Image

I changed the button head screw for a hex head; foot clearance isn’t an issue, and I want the bolt tight: using a hex driver on the thin button head screw made me nervous.

I’m going to ride it this way for a while, to make sure the position’s right before I go further. I have plans for a new seat, and may wait until that's done, as the new seat may change my riding position a bit. “Further” means cutting off the unneeded extra length of the splined end; I may leave the extra length of the tab end in place, it’s not too obtrusive, is nicely finished, and will allow more future adjustments that if it were removed. The visible, snagable end of the spring should come off, too. I must also make sure that neither of the lever pieces can rotate where they connect to the cable stop; both joints must remain fixed so I don’t end up as just another shiftless rider at the side of the road. I’ve got some ideas.

Part 2 located here: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=22432.
Last edited by dbrick on Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:21 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Shift Lever Modification - Part 1

Postby ipokebadgers » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:38 pm

Very nice write up and great pictures. Thanks for making them available to all of us.
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Re: Shift Lever Modification - Part 1

Postby AncientMariner » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:59 pm

Thanks for the write up and pix. Looks like an elegant solution.

Two questions:

1. Can you replace the swing arm pivot cover once you have the new shifter installed?

2. Why couldn't you angle the "spline end" piece down at about a 45 degree angle and then attach the "Tab end" parrallel to it? I think this would have allowed you to retain the spring action.

By the way, I also love my Suburban Machinery footpeg lowering kit. I wish I could have had one on my first Beautiful Blue Roadster (RIP) (Snif). I'm pipedreaming about a highway peg installation to further asuage my long suffering knees.

Bruce
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Re: Shift Lever Modification - Part 1

Postby dbrick » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:12 pm

AncientMariner wrote:Thanks for the write up and pix. Looks like an elegant solution.


You're welcome, Bruce. Both the job and the writeup were enjoyable.

AncientMariner wrote:Two questions:

1. Can you replace the swing arm pivot cover once you have the new shifter installed?


Yes, it's already back in place. I hadn't replaced it when I took the "after" pic. I wish there were a simple black plastic cover for the other side, too.

AncientMariner wrote: 2. Why couldn't you angle the "spline end" piece down at about a 45 degree angle and then attach the "Tab end" parrallel to it? I think this would have allowed you to retain the spring action.


The spline end piece must be horizontal or slightly front end up; if that piece points down, it hits the retracted sidestand on downshifts. Before I had the new lever in hand, and figured out how to reverse the springing, I was afraid I'd have to mount the tab end piece horizontally, and have a third vertical piece to connect the other two. It's simpler and lighter with two segments instead of three.

AncientMariner wrote: By the way, I also love my Suburban Machinery footpeg lowering kit. I wish I could have had one on my first Beautiful Blue Roadster (RIP) (Snif). I'm pipedreaming about a highway peg installation to further asuage my long suffering knees.


That would be good. On my recent trip to Death Valley, I wished for a stretch-out, too. Let's see how I feel after riding up to WA for the new seat.
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Re: Shift Lever Modification - Part 1

Postby Rider Rick » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:34 pm

Hi guys, was going to get the whole kit based on this thread, so I need to get both kits on the page below in order to have everything adjusted? Wow, seems like 144 for just the shift lever seems a bit much considering the whole pair of relocating kit is 166...just a tightwad observation :). If you have to do it you have to do it I guess...is this the only satisfactory option out there for this type of change? I'm not coming up with many comprehensive options other than this one.

http://www.suburban-machinery.com/R1150R.htm
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Re: Shift Lever Modification - Part 1

Postby dbrick » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:39 pm

Rick,

The discussion above is about modifications to an R1200R; the link you cite from Suburban Machinery describes modifications to an R1150R. The two bikes are not the same.
David Brick
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Re: Shift Lever Modification - Part 1

Postby Rider Rick » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:18 pm

oh frig, clicked on a search result...my bad, thanks.
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