FAQ  •  Register  •  Login

Foot Shift Conversion

Moderators: Curt!, Pa

<<

motogunner

Posts: 14

Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:00 pm

Post Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:25 pm

Foot Shift Conversion

I suppose there must be a foot shift conversion for the 45's, am I right? That would require a left hand lever operated clutch like the modern bikes. Is this available?
<<

RUBONE

Posts: 379

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:24 pm

Post Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:37 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

Simple answer is no. However B&H made a conversion in the late '40s. Very hard to find and very expensive if you do. Nothing is currently available. Mostly because there is no demand. One of the attractions is the hand shift, so why change it!
Robbie
<<

George Greer

User avatar

Posts: 947

Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 12:01 am

Location: Markt Einersheim, Germany

Post Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:38 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

motogunner.

For a while, W&W Cycles had a footshift conversion in their catalog.

It has been out of production for quite a long time now.

Harald Bartenbach, was the man that made them, but has quit making them.

I have one on my bike.......PM me.

George
<<

45Brit

Posts: 1363

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:56 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

there's a long thread about this, somewhere.

It's possible to connect a rod to the clutch pedal so that you have a footshift ( but no positive stop ) and fit a clutch lever on the handlebar. Don't bother with the mousetrap, it isn't necessary; it is cumbersome and hard to set on Big Twins and not really necessary on those either. It's easier to simply redrill the clutch lever and possibly re-weld the cable bracket on the frame so as to amend the lever/cable geometry to suit whatever lever you are using.

If you use a Harley lever, use a clutch lever from a Big Twin ( not an inverted front brake lever ) so that the cable pocket is the right way up; otherwise the cable pocket will serve to trap water and funnel it into the cable and rust it.

I've ridden a bike with the ad-hoc footshift as described above, it's not great but you can get used to it, and you DO ride with your hands on the bars which is no bad thing for control. A heel-and-toe lever is much easier than a single ended ( toe-operated ) lever for a bike of this sort, especially if you have a sprung seat post.



There's a factory conversion of sorts for a hand clutch lever. Again, this has been covered at some length somewhere. The quick summary of this is that it is compromised by the existing lever geometry, it is ok for what it was intended for ( reducing accidents among British military users familiar with hand clutches by allowing them to declutch by hand when stopping and starting ) but it's awkward and cumbersome.



I see no reason in principle why you couldn't fit one of the external footshifts fitted fitted to British bikes in the 30s and 40s, the Norton doll's-head is the main one but BSA also had one for a while. You would need to look closely at the lever geometry. Then again, finding one of these in a usable condition won't be easy, quick or cheap.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
<<

Beachdog

Posts: 764

Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2000 12:01 am

Location: CA USA

Post Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:45 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

HD had a small scoot in the 60's that had an external shift pod. Back in the day guys modified them to use on the WL. I can't remember the model details. I have one (it's NOS) stashed somewhere. When I come on it I'll post the part #. Seems to me any external shifter could be re-engineered by a clever man. The shifter George refers to served the same purpose. I've also seen the shifter ratchet section of a BT ratchet top cut off and used as the heart of a one off shifter for a WL. The shifter was mounted forward with the footshift lever and had a rod extending from it to the gearbox shift arm. Clutch cable brackets are similar to the old mousetrap eliminator brackets of years gone by, sized to fit the geometry of your setup.
<<

epinut

Posts: 188

Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 3:30 pm

Location: sweden

Post Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:59 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

Beachdog wrote:HD had a small scoot in the 60's that had an external shift pod. Back in the day guys modified them to use on the WL. I can't remember the model details.


I guess you mean these, M-50 / M-65 mopeds? Nice compact little unit!
Image
<<

RUBONE

Posts: 379

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:24 pm

Post Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:24 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

I guess you mean these, M-50 / M-65 mopeds? Nice compact little unit!

The problems with trying to use the M50/M65 unit (which by the way are NOT MOPEDS!) is that it is very light in its construction and won't hold up to usage on a 45. They didn't hold up well on their original application. And parts are again difficult to find for them. They were an accessory for a bike that never sold in big numbers and hasn't been built in over 40 years!
Robbie
<<

41WLD45

Posts: 10

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:11 am

Post Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:53 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

What is the easiest way to achieve the ratchet or positive stop needed when the stock shift gate isn't used? I have often fancied a police shifter style lever that would give the same problems as a foot shift or a jockey shift conversion.
<<

45Brit

Posts: 1363

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

I don't quite understand the last post. The "police shifter" has a spring-loaded gate at the pivot, so the action is similar to the tank shifter ( although you don't have the gate to steady your hand, as fran-6 recommended recently ).

Most of the British gearboxes have positive stop mechanisms in betwen the outer casings so I suppose you could, in principle, engineer one of these as a remote shift. However I'd feel the best way to fit a positive stop would be a British gearbox, a common and simple swap that gives 4 speeds as well.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
<<

Pa

Site Admin

Posts: 4478

Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2000 1:01 am

Location: Ohio USA

Post Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:28 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

The positive stop on a 45 is already built into the shifter drum via the tension on the shifter drum plunger ball spring. Set tension for best results. Pa
<<

41WLD45

Posts: 10

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:11 am

Post Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:44 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

Thanks 45Brit, I thought that would be the answer, there isn't a simple way to fit one to a stock gearbox.

Sorry for the confusion, when I wrote police shifter I should have been clearer. What I had in mind would be home made, short and close to the seat like Indian Scouts have.
<<

45Brit

Posts: 1363

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:18 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

Pa wrote:The positive stop on a 45 is already built into the shifter drum via the tension on the shifter drum plunger ball spring. Set tension for best results. Pa


this may be a difference between British and US English, but I'd refer to the mechanism on a 45 as the detent. A "positive stop" would be a ratchet-and-pawl mechanism by which the movement of the lever is translated into movement of the selector, and the lever is returned to its original position.

Likewise I'd describe the "police shifter" as the mechanism fitted to late Big Twins by which the positive stop ( ratchet top is US parlance ) was actuated by a lever bolted to the front down tube. It has a spring-loaded gate so that the lever will always return to centre and stay there without relying on the gearbox to do it.

I think the real answer to the original question, is that if there was any effective way of doing this at a reasonable cost it would be generally known. I'd go for the British gearbox option, not least because having 4 speeds makes a big differenmce to the general rideability of what is, after all, a quite low powered and fairly heavy bike.

If you mean a shifter like an Indian Scout, that's fairly easy. You will need a bracket welded to the downtube, a shifter arm and an adjustable link arm to the gearbox. As far as I can see that would give the worst of all worlds, in that you have a heavy remote shift lever, no positive stop, no positive location to tell you where the gears are and the lever is dependent on the detent ball to hold it in place, a job it was never intended to so. You also have a fairly hair-trigger control lever right next to your leg, which may be moving if you have a spring seat post.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
<<

41WLD45

Posts: 10

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:11 am

Post Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:08 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

Your thoughts in your last paragraph on the Indiana Scout style shifter are right 45Brit. That's why it's still on the drawing board. Without that positive or ratchet mechanism it would be horrible to use. Easy enough to make but hard to live with!
<<

45Brit

Posts: 1363

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:30 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

I would also comment that having ridden most variants at one time or another, I'm not a huge fan of the police shifter because there is no way of telling what gear you are in and most importantly, finding neutral quickly or reliably. Nor am I a fan of the jockey shift, for the same reason. Both types are quite easy to ride on the open road, but their traffic manners leave a lot to be desired and the jockey shift effectively commits you to a low seat position.

That said, I did once have a panhead with a police shifter and a foot clutch in the form of a suicide pedal mounted low above the footboards. I could rest my heel on the footboard and control the pedal like a car clutch pedal, and it worked very well. I could roll to a stop flicking through the gears until I found neutral, and stop using the front brake ( a banana caliper type disc which came with the bike ). I only used the back brake when the bike was moving, although it would have been quite possible to "feather" the clutch to save rolling backwards.. of course this wouldn't work to stop rolling forwards.... but brake pads are cheaper than clutch plates!
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
<<

RUBONE

Posts: 379

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:24 pm

Post Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:41 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

Likewise I'd describe the "police shifter" as the mechanism fitted to late Big Twins by which the positive stop ( ratchet top is US parlance ) was actuated by a lever bolted to the front down tube. It has a spring-loaded gate so that the lever will always return to centre and stay there without relying on the gearbox to do it.

H-d never built any such thing. The hand shift for Shovelheads used with five gallon tanks has a gate with stops, just as the earlier versions on the tank. And they use a handshift transmission top, not a ratchet top. The version you are describing was an aftermarket kit made by outside sources and was never a stock H-D item!
Robbie
<<

45Brit

Posts: 1363

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

that's interesting. You always learn something new on here

These bikes are very rare in the UK, and I have never encountered a handshift-type gate as you describe; I didn't realise that the handshift-type selector mechanism was produced during the shovelhead period. The bike I had was the positive-stop type, and indeed is still in use in that configuration, although the bike was rebuilt as a bobber some years ago. I've seen another bike of this sort ( a shovelhead, as it happens ) which has been restored or rebuilt in "police" configuration, rightly or wrongly.

My first panhead was an ex-Dutch police bike, originally imported by Ray Leon in the early 1970s. That had a tank shifter and rocker clutch of conventional type. What the relationship may have been between bikes supplied to overseas police forces, and US police spec ones, I have no idea.

I did know that my police-shift panhead was not original, having been imported from the US in the 80s and refurbished with AM fatbobs and mudguards, the originals having been long since lost. However I didn't know quite how much of the original bike survived.

I did know that the positive-stop type police shifter was produced as an AM part, but a lot of things are that were originally OEM.


one thing that has puzzled me over the years, is that I have seen at least two bikes over time with the front drum brake on the "wrong" side. My first panhead had this feature, and I've seen at least one other since. Why and when was this done, and why was it discontinued?
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
<<

antiquespeed&machine

Posts: 28

Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:18 pm

Post Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:54 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

I saw a 45" foot shift conversion in the V-Twin catalog the other day. It may be one of their parts thats not actually available though!!!
<<

RUBONE

Posts: 379

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:24 pm

Post Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:47 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

one thing that has puzzled me over the years, is that I have seen at least two bikes over time with the front drum brake on the "wrong" side. My first panhead had this feature, and I've seen at least one other since. Why and when was this done, and why was it discontinued?

The front drum was reversed from the left side to the right side in '69 and continued this way until replaced by the front disc in "72 and new hub style in '73. It was an attempt at keeping the bike tracking straight after the introduction of the 5:10 series tire that required an offset change in the rim lacing to avoid rear tire clearance problems. Basically weight equalization!
Robbie
<<

45Brit

Posts: 1363

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:09 am

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

couple of interesting thoughts there.

I would have thought you could out the old Big Twin front drum pretty much anywhere, for all the difference it would make :lol:

re the 45 Depot footshift conversion, I'd say that unavailable parts offered in catalogues are very much part of the "old Harleys" scene and always have been.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
<<

SPYDER

Posts: 20

Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:29 pm

Post Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:32 pm

Re: Foot Shift Conversion

I have a clutch booster & most of the foot shift mechanism.Should be able to figure the missing parts from the diagrams.
Any interest if we had some copies made?Also have the original B&H booklet for it.
Next

Return to 45 Flatties

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2012 phpBB Group.