Left right, left right

Discussion in 'Classic Motorbikes' started by Roger, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. Roger

    Roger Guest

    Does anyone know what the original thinking behind the placing of gear
    lever and brake on the left or right foot was? Or whether there was any
    specific logic behind the later adoption of left foot gearchange as
    standard was?
    Roger, Feb 23, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. I believe it was to standardise using your right foot for braking, as in
    cars, for the benefit of the Septics.
    The Older Gentleman, Feb 24, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. Roger

    Iggy Guest

    Before foot changes became the norm bikes had a hand change mounted on the
    tank. This was on the right hand side so that you could operate clutch with
    left hand while changing gear with right hand. A rod ran down to the right
    side of gearbox. When positive stop foot-change mechanisms became popular
    they were often grafted on to existing gearboxes so the lever was on the
    right side.

    The shift pattern most adopted was to press gearlever down to change up.
    This is logical & safest as you are more likely to want to change up while
    leaned over & don't have to put foot under lever to do it, which if you are
    well leaned over is a bit risky. Racing bikes in general still use the press
    down to change up configuration for this same reason. A few manufacturers,
    like Triumph, set theirs up the other way like Jap bikes but still on the
    right. Then along came the Japanese who decided to switch the gear change &
    rear brake from one side to the other. Ultimately everyone followed suit. I
    have no idea why they did this & would be interested to know.


    No I don't have a sig.
    Iggy, Feb 24, 2004
  4. I don't know why either but I do know that the first positive-stop
    gearchange for a bike was used on the Velocette KTT in 1929.

    1996 Triumph Trophy 1200 For sale
    Velocette Clubman
    Velocette Thruxton
    Milk floats, stainless steel sinks
    Biker2 \(Threadstopper\), Feb 24, 2004
  5. my BMW has a left-hand change, and so do other continentals, and have done
    for ages, AIUI.
    Austin Shackles, Feb 24, 2004
  6. Roger () wrote:
    : Does anyone know what the original thinking behind the placing of gear
    : lever and brake on the left or right foot was? Or whether there was any
    : specific logic behind the later adoption of left foot gearchange as
    : standard was?

    And why did european bikes have the chain on the right but british
    and japanese have it on the left?
    '97 CBR600
    B.G. Finlay IT Services, Feb 24, 2004
  7. Roger

    Roger Guest

    Didn't Laverdas have a right foot gear change up until the sixties or
    early seventies? I think that guzzis and ducatis may have had right foot
    change too in the early days.
    Roger, Feb 24, 2004
  8. Roger

    Adler Guest

    The Adler motorcycles had a left foot change that had neutral at the bottom
    and four gears up from there.
    Adler, Feb 24, 2004
  9. Roger

    Pattledom Guest

    British bikes have it on the left 'cos it's *traditional*. Pioneer machines
    have pedals and the pedal chain goes on the right because that's where
    bicycles have it (and it means the free-wheel can be RH threaded), therefore
    they had the engine driving the other side.
    Pattledom, Feb 24, 2004
  10. Roger

    R L Driver Guest

    British Bikes had the gears on the right , Japs the other way round . To
    suit the "septics" it was made law in the US that gears should be on the
    left same as Harleys , which explains why you get left and right shift
    Bonnies + Tigers. Steve the grease
    R L Driver, Feb 24, 2004
  11. Roger

    Mike Fleming Guest

    Do you mean why everyone followed suit?

    That was because of the US Government, who decided that they would
    make it mandatory for there to be standard sides for the brake and the
    gearshift. At this time, British bikes were standardised to right-foot
    shift and Japanese bikes to wrong-foot shift. Harley Davidson were
    rubbing their hands about this, as obviously the US Government would
    favour them - excvept that they didn't. HDs also had right-foot shift,
    and The Motor Company was apparently most dischuffed that the Japanese
    standard won out over the Anglo-American one.

    With the US being a big market, manufacturers obviously wanted to keep
    selling there, and as it would have been stupid to build bikes with
    both arrangements of foot controls, all the manufacturers (except
    Enfield) standardised on the current pattern.
    Mike Fleming, Feb 24, 2004
  12. Roger

    sweller Guest

    Guzzi's (pre the all disc T3) had the option of swapping gear and brake
    levers over.
    sweller, Feb 25, 2004
  13. Same with some early Suzukis - T500 etc.
    The Older Gentleman, Feb 25, 2004
  14. Roger

    m II Guest

    Mike Fleming wrote:

    Pretty close. The Sportster was right foot shift, as was it's
    predecessor, the K model.


    The Americans did get their way. The big twins made them more money than
    the other models. This is the shift pattern they wanted to standardize.

    The big twins, sold to police forces, were left foot shift. That was a
    carry over from the tank shifter that used to be located on that side of
    the bike, along with the foot clutch. They took off the foot clutch
    pedal and put a booster spring assist to the actuating rod and ran a
    cable up to the handlebar.

    m II, Mar 2, 2004
  15. Roger

    m II Guest

    Normal motorcycle manufacturers don't like hanging a clutch basket
    farther from the bearings than they have to. When you stick a rear chain
    sprocket on a shaft that surrounds the input shaft, you have to. Most
    English stuff had the clutch and primary chain on the left side, with
    the rear wheel drive sprocket right under it. The big twin Harley still
    does. It's stupid. On quite a few models you had to dismantle the outer
    primary cover, take the primary chain off, remove the clutch, remove
    inner primary cover, remove rear wheel, remove swing arm
    The original reasoning (?) was perhaps that in top gear, with an
    internal 1:1 ratio, both shafts were spinning at the same speed, saving
    wear on the bearings holding both shafts.

    There is a BSA transmission here. It's a typical design of the time.


    With higher outputs, the rest of the world went with a geared primary
    drive. At the same time, it was better to shorten input shaft lengths to
    prevent fatigue from flexing. That meant the output shaft had to be
    moved to RIGHT case side, opposite the input shaft.

    This gave both shafts much greater support and stopped the need for the
    flimsy sleeve arrangement previously used in combining shaft inputs/outputs.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
    / /\ / /\ / /\ / /\ / /\ / /\ / /\ / /
    / /\ \/ /\ \/ /\ \/ /
    /_/ \/_/ \/_/ \/_/ \/_/ \/_/ \/_/ \/_/

    ..let the cat out to reply..
    m II, Mar 2, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.