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OEM Hand Shift Controls

OEM Hand Shift Controls

Tank shift or manual shift

Means the same thing. Manual gearshift emphasizes that the hand moves the gearshift lever. Tank shifting says that the shift lever is located on the side of the tank.

Since the first Harley-Davidson motorcycles did not yet have floarboards and the pedals were only there for pedaling and braking (backpedaling, that's right!), the rider had his hands full. At the handlebar: adjust ignition timing to early or late, open and close throttle. Left hand on the tank: Tighten or loosen the transmission belt using a long lever. This is how production machines were coupled in factory halls from time to time, and this type of coupling was also used for our favorite motorcycles. When the rear wheel chain was introduced instead of the belt, the belt tensioner lever consequently became the clutch lever. It had to be possible to separate a stationary rear wheel from the rest of the drive, because a loose chain, unlike a belt, does not slip.

For a short time, this clutch lever (between the left knee and the tank) was used in combination with a clutch pedal, which then led to the somewhat absurd situation with the first three-speed transmission that the driver could first disengage the clutch with his hand, then engage a gear with the same hand and then reach for the clutch lever again to engage the clutch. But this system wasn´t maintained for long, the hand clutch lever was eliminated and the pedal remained the winner. The left hand was responsible only for engaging the gears from then on.

To ensure that the gears were changed precisely, the shift lever was made of spring steel and guided in a shifter gate. Precise adjustment of the linkage rod was essential for 50 years, so the lever also met the intended notches when the gear should engage correctly.

Will I find anything I need at W&W Cycles?

Hand shift levers of all model groups, shifter rods with rod ends, bolts, shifter shafts, small parts and mounting bolts: yes, the selection is pretty much complete. All parts are quality made reproductions, wherever possible and feasible in the original finish. The Cyclery is our house brand for parts of pre-war Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Have any questions?

Our service team will be glad to help out: Mondays - Thursdays 08:00-17:00 CET, Fridays 08:00-16:00 CET, Phone: +49 / 931 250 61 16, eMail: service@wwag.com