45Brit, the first time I rode a bike with foot clutch was when I checked out a chopped 42WLA for sale. It had an original rocker clutch but the fuel tank was a peanut, the oil tank was AM and the shifter was jockey. I told the seller I hadn’t ridden a foot clutch bike but he wasn’t bothered so I took it for a spin after he explained what to do. I had no problems and bought the bike, riding it often for about six months before selling it to a friend of mine. Later I bought and sold several more 45s, some with jockey shift and some with original tank shift but none with suicide clutch.
My Pan had a mousetrap when I bought it but the cable snapped soon after and I converted to suicide. Prior to the cable snapping I’d already decided to run suicide so I was prepared for the changes and I altered the foot shift lever to use as a suicide clutch pedal. I also made a short hand shift lever and mounted it to the rachet lid. But since about 1985 I’ve had a proper hand shift lid, complete with a jockey lever I made.
The Panhead drum front brake lever was at first on the right-hand handlebar but I later moved it left and sometimes this confused the cops because they’d assume the left lever was clutch and they’d ask where my front brake was due to no lever on the right. These days I have a front disc and the lever is on the right-hand bar.
Some of my 45s had footboards and some had forward-mounted pegs. My Pan had boards when I bought it but soon I went to forward-mounted pegs, at first all the way forward and then about two inches back. Next I made my own knees-up pegs and attached them to the footboard mounts on the frame. I used those for a long time, even on interstate rides, and I also made sets for both Evos I’ve owned. However, these days my legs don’t take kindly to that position for long and it may be partly because I’ve bounced off a few cars in my time so I returned to my forward-mounted pegs but they are in the two-inch-back location as opposed to all the way forward.
I thought about converting my current Evo to suicide and hand shift but haven’t got around to it. I don’t have a problem swapping from the Evo to the Pan and sometimes even ride both bikes in the one day.
Ken mentioned almost never putting his left foot on the pavement and I do the same thing. Even on my Evo I keep my left foot up as it keeps me in practice for the next time I ride the Pan. Sometimes on the Evo I’ll sit at a stoplight with both feet on the pegs for a split second before putting my right foot down just to stay in practice. Over the years on one forum or another people have asked what it's like to have a suicide clutch and I often tell them to keep their left foot up when stopped on their hand-clutch bike to get a feel for how it's going to be. I also advise them to make sure their wife and/or girlfriend doesn’t move around while the bike is stationary so they too can get used to the idea.
No doubt you’ve run across some who say suicide is dangerous.
So why do we do these things to our bikes, or in my case one of my two current rides? I like the uncluttered look. (Incidentally that clean look made one cop say that my Pan seemed to be missing some parts from the handlebar area because at the time I was also running an internal throttle.) Plus there was a minor practical reason as the cable had been eliminated so no lubrication and/or adjustment required there. I may have even wondered back then if I could handle a suicide clutch and there was only one way to find out.