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High Bottom Gear

Peter. C

Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
When my engine blew early this year apart from the engine damage the broken rod also entered the gear box and knocked a tooth off first gear on the lay shaft. I am undecided wether to stay with the high bottom gear or lower it using standard G9 and G11. Sixty MPH in first is sometimes very useful, especially when accelerating from around 20mph but a pain when in heavy traffic. Given the option what would other members go for.
 

Hugo Myatt

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
My Rapide was converted in the fifties by Mike Creamer of Lawton and Wilson to high bottom gear and double backlash. I rode it like that for twelve years. As the traffic increased it became a pain in give and take riding. I converted it back to standard Rap gearing but then I was getting older and now ride like an old lady tortoise.
 

Ken Tidswell

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
hight bottom gear

A high first gear is worth its' weight in worn clutch arms . a pain in today's traffic , i am about to change mine in a '54 shadow , because of this.And of course it is non standard for the year, Useful for upsetting the odd rice burner though.Ken
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I still use the high bottom gear but when borrowing other peoples twins the lower first gear and a LUBRICATED multiplate clutch are a much better option in traffic. Alternatively go for one of Terry Prince's five speed units which, I think, has a Rapide first gear, then a Shadow and so on.
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Note:the Riders' Handbook lists 0-60 time as six seconds for the Rapide, 6.5 for the Shadow, even though the stock Shadow is making ten more horsepower than the stock Rapide.I presume the difference is the lower first gear which gives the Rapide better acceleration to 60 mph. Given the added difficulty in stop/start traffic , especially when loaded, there seems to be no good reason to keep the high first gear. The factory must have realized this as they did away with the high first gear on later Shadows, only offering it as an option.
 

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Shadow first

I have the high first gear, and despite having at least two miles of threading lanes on my 10 mile run to work, haven't found it a problem. (It is on my Monster, despite the overall gearing lowered 3 teeth at the rear.)
Without implying that I'm a master of carburation and everyone else isn't, mine will tick-tock along at walking pace. Probably just as relevant as fuelling is that it has coil ignition with a Grosset distributor. The standard ATD always seemed to me to have a bit of randomness designed in resulting in "splat" and a stalled motor.
Just to encourage everyone, I spoke to someone last night who told me that in his youth he could restart his twin while coasting to a halt if it stalled in traffic. That was when men were men, of course, and women were men dressed up.
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Tom, big difference though when loaded with stuffed craven panniers and top box plus 2 good sized Canadians stuffed full of hi calorie British food. At this point the GVW is about one thousand pounds or more. The low first is awfully nice then, a trail sprocket might even be worth consideration. Wait, the factory thought of that, it's already in place!
 

Peter. C

Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Thanks for your replies, I have been to Maughans this weekto pick up my new bottom half of engine and have purchased standard G9 & G11 to lower the gearing. I guess modern traffic makes this necessary.
 

dave g6xnc

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
High bottom gears,

According to Mr Richarson these were dropped as standard as so many shadows were used with side cars. Why not fit a slightly larger rear sprocket to lower the overaul gearing and still retain a good bottom gear for roundabouts etc, nice smooth in and out!. BMW 1150 GS's also have a high bottom gear and for a long trans American trip (21000 miles!), I lowered the gearing by fitting a lower ratio bevel box (two hours instead of 20mins!) and this paid off, no clutch abuse during off road activities, so try another sprocket you can soon change it back. It may not be standard but as I told other GS men it's my bike and I ride it so it's got to suit me. And don't forget traffic was almost non-existant in the 1950s as compared to now compared to now.
Dave gs. happy Xmas to all,:):):)
 
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