Quickshifters, Are They Necessary?

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  • What is a quickshifter?

  • Do bikers really need them?

  • Are there any other ways of shifting gears?

Since the dawn of technology, men have been searching and developing many different ways to quench their thirst for speed. Bikes, riders and teams have been getting more and more competitive in the track and every millisecond counts for each and every racer. One of the high tech gadgets they use to shave off lap times is the quickshifter. What exactly is a quickshifter? In this article, we’re going to look into what they are and whether we really need them.

How do riders shift gears?

Photo source: MotoGP

When it comes to shifting gears on a motorcycle, the way that most of us have been taught is to roll off the throttle, pull the clutch lever in, shift up a gear and then easing out the clutch while rolling on the throttle for a smooth transition. Most experienced riders can do all of these steps within a second and the pros can perform this feat well below half a second.

Some riders have adopted a different style of gear shifting called the “clutchless upshift” method. What this does is take away the use of the clutch to go up the gears. This can be done thanks to the major adaption of sequential gearbox in the majority of motorcycles to date. here’s a short video on how to perform the clutchless upshift.

With this particular type of gearbox, the “dog clutch” engagement is used and it only needs a brief interruption in torque or power to shift gears. In other words, you can shift gears on a motorcycle without using the clutch IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT. All you need to do is roll off the throttle for a brief moment when the engine hits the optimum RPM and just shift up a gear. Despite the simplicity of this method, proceed with caution as any wrong move will make the gearbox less efficient or even cause a catastrophic failure.

So what exactly is a quickshifter?

With a quickshifter, the process of gear shifting simplified even further. All one needs to do is just move the gear lever. There’s no need to pull in the clutch lever or even roll off the throttle. Just keep the throttle open all the way and the quickshifter will do the rest for you. Awesome, right? But how does it work? There are a few types which can be explained briefly in the video below.

The physical device is connected from the gear shifter located under the left foot to the bike’s ECU unit. Once it detects that you’re about to shift gears via a pressure gauge or sensor, it will send a signal to cut off either the power, ignition or fuel so that the next gear can sneak in without causing any damage. It’s the same concept as rolling off the throttle during clutchless upshifts but the process is much, MUCH faster and the throttle can be keep opened all the way. Check out the video below for a brief demonstration.

Do we really need a quickshifter?

There are a few indications on when the quickshifter is really needed. The most useful application would be for racing purposes or track days. Riders need to go through the gears quickly and efficiently especially when going down the straights at full speed. The quickshifter allows for faster shifts without compromising any major power loss due to throttle roll-off as compared to the regular gear shifting method.

On the road, the quickshifter is more of a novelty that puts a big grin on a rider’s face. More and more bike manufacturers are including the quickshifter on their productions bikes as standard equipment. Bikes like the new BMW S1000RR and the Ducati 1299 Panigale not only have quickshifting capabilities for upshifts but for downshifts as well. This means that these bikes can go through any gear whether up or down without ever having to use the clutch (apart from getting the bike to roll off from a standstill or rolling to a stop).

Photo source: MotoGP

To conclude, having a quickshifter fitted to your bike means that you can shift efficiently without having to use the clutch lever or roll off the throttle but the main application is more suited for racing purposes or track days where it can bring a bigger benefit.

This device for normal riders will just simplify the process of gear shifting and also gives a much more enjoyable riding experience but normal gear shifts or clutchless upshifts work just as well on normal road conditions. Whatever the reason may be, it’s hard to deny to fun factor quickshifters have to offer.