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I know a long time Norton Commando owner who has recently had his right foot amputated ("below the knee"). His bike is a right shift, not a MKIII. Does anyone know of a rider who has successfully managed to shift a Brit bike with a prosthesis? Or perhaps converted the foot shift to a hand shift on the handlebars?

The Norton represents 47 years of his life and he is absolutely unwilling to replace it with a left shift machine. He will ride it again, come hell or high water.


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Not on a Brit bike, a friend had his leg amputated below the knee by a car. I made a cross shaft and linkages so the brake and shift could be operated by one foot like a flat tracker. The shifter was shorter and slightly down from the brake lever. He had to shift his foot slightly forward to use the brake.
Another option is to make a pneumatic shifter with buttons on the handlebar. Drawback is there are a limited number of shifts between recharging the air supply unless a miniature compressor can be found.
To do it electrically, a window motor can be used. They are fairly small and have lots of torque. The motor can be mounted under the seat with two cables down to a stop. The cables would connect to a shift lever with an arm on both sides.

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I ride and have ridden a tank shift on my Triumph for decades now. I use a right hand shift and operate clutch as usual with the left hand. It takes a small window of adjustment to mentally get used to it, these days I can bang out shifts about as fast as I could with the old foot lever.

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[Linked Image]

Basic system details:

1. Tank shifter mount: a plate with about a 4 inch section of pipe having a 3/8 id. as well as a threaded nut all welded into a single unit. Welded at a right angle to the pipe is a brace strap that bolts to the front gas tank mount; the plate section is bolted just behind the coils at the center backbone of frame.

2. Tank shifter: a long hunk of metal shaped to fit basic contour of tank with a piece of 3/8 id pipe bout 2 1/2 inches long welded to it. At. center of pipe weld point, shifter is about 35% lto 40% length below weld; above weld it is about 6o to 65 % the length. Top has welded upside down bolt to accept threaded knob. Bottom has hole drilled to accept clevis pin.

3. Shifter at trans has toe tip cut off then drilled to accept clevis pin, then is rotated and mounted in a position to match tank shifter.

4. Shifter linkage is 5/16 rod with adjustable clevis's at each end.

In the next month I will be pulling tank and can supply more detailed pictures of tank shifter mounting.

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Only problem I can forecast is control of the shifter, front brake, and throttle all with the same hand.

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Front view of shifter- note upper stylish bends to match contour of tank, lower utilitarian bend to avoid smacking exhaust pipe.....

[Linked Image]

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As Irish Swede mentions, there is a juggling problem. The shift is easy as you need to back off the throttle anyway whether using foot or hand shift. The front brake is tricky, especially when downshifting as you come to a stop. There is a re-learning curve.....

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There used to be a chap that turned up at some bike events with a pneumatic system for changing gear, he still had his leg but couldn’t do much with it. One button for change up, the other for change down. It always seemed a bit over kill, especially as I changed gear very quickly, no chance of feeding it in. But it worked and he did quite a few many miles on it.


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You could probably sort something out using a couple of solenoids
They would need to be fairly heavy duty but would be ok with a decent
battery fitted.
Come to think of it, i used to race against a bloke who used a stirrup arrangement
as he had no use of his ankle but that was on a kneeler.

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In the UK there is NADB which helps with adaptations for bikers.

Would a heel/toe gear change help?

Triumph Pre-Unit Heel and Toe Gear Lever

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Originally Posted by AngloBike
In the UK there is NADB which helps with adaptations for bikers.

Would a heel/toe gear change help?

Triumph Pre-Unit Heel and Toe Gear Lever

That looks like a viable option. Just for reference, are the triumph and Norton shift levers of the same shaft size and splines?


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I honestly don’t know but a search through a bike breakers may find a slightly longer (jap?) one that could be cut and welded up as a test?

If it helps I could measure a t140 gear change

EDIT
https://www.classicbikeshop.co.uk/triumph-t140-lh-gear-change-lever-1976-83.html

Last edited by AngloBike; 04/01/22 8:08 pm.
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https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/33136588...QzMqbQww0C4i5_q7BTfmJetWvnBoCHd0QAvD_BwE

So looks like it might be easier to weld the heel piece off a RH brake t140 or make and fold something

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My 2 cents: It seems like a hand shifter would be the most expedient and least intrusive solution. The setup displayed by Deadstiffcat looks pretty simple to implement. Shifting would be a bit slower and more deliberate, but you're not canyon racing... or are you?


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Jon Szalay only has one leg. Maybe drop him a line on how he rides bikes with one leg.

I did see a Suzuki Kettle in the IoM a few years ago that had been adapted by a guy who only had one leg. I may have some pictures, I will have a look and see if I can find any.

John

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I found a picture. The guy had a below knee amputation of his right leg. I didnt realise until I asked him what the spike on the footpeg was for and he pulled his trouser leg up to show me. The spike was to keep his foot on the peg. Looking at the picture I have to assume that he was able to operate the lever with his prosthesis, I assume that its a right hand brake lever on a kettle. Unfortunately I dont have any more pics nor can I remember if there were any other modifications (to the otherwise heavily modified bike, lol)

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

Looking at the main pic further I can see an extra button on the left handlebar although I have no idea what thats for.

John

Last edited by George Kaplan; 04/02/22 7:00 am. Reason: Button on handlebar.
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If he has enough feel then he can fit a rocker pedal so he shifts his foot forward or backwards to change up & down
I ripped my foot off back in 72 .
They put it back on again but there is next to no ankle movement so I press down with my thigh and hook the heel of the boot into the gear lever & pull up to shift up
A lot of the scooters had rocker pedals because they were designed for women to ride and lifting the pedal with their toes would ruin their shoes
It will od course how much feel he has
I often miss gears & have great difficulty doing a 3 to 2 down shift ( up on my box ) but you get use to it
Please wish him the best of British luck
And yes I have been left foot kick starting ever since , you get used to it .


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Nice Suzuki! Is there anything standard on it? The noise from that 3:1 exhaust will be an alien howl in 2022

Do not hand-change kits risk exerting too much force on the gearbox internal shifting mechanism?

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Originally Posted by Dibnah
Do not hand-change kits risk exerting too much force on the gearbox internal shifting mechanism?


People stamp on gear pedals.


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I've seen an amputee with a Honda trail bike that has a solenoid connected to the gear shift, and up/down buttons on the handlebar.

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We knew a guy who had been hit by a car while riding pillion. Later in life, he rode a Sportster. With his good leg he changed gears. To accomodate his bad leg, he built a dual brake system to operate both brakes, changing the dimensions in each system to reduce the ratio of rear to front so he could use both brakes with the front brake lever. Kind of a modern take on the dual brake systems that came on my '37 Rudge Ulsters. We rode out to Alberta from Vancouver Island to Lethbridge for a visit and while I didn't have a good look at it, it seemed to work well for him as we rode around Alberta. I had a little trouble keeping up with him on the T100 when he was in the mood........

Cheers, Wilf


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Update on photos of hand shift by tank- with tank removed.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Deadstiffcatt; 04/10/22 12:36 am.
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there was a guy i saw once in arizona who had a sidecar on a Honda 350 or 360 that he rolled his wheel chair onto. the handlebars were located onthe sidecar.

apparently he rode it cross country to get to arizona to go to school. never had a chance to see how he had the controls set up


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Kevin, there was a guy in the nearby town of West Chicago who specialized in building such sidecar outfits for VietNam vets who lost legs.
A Honda-4 was the preferred bike to use for power.

It had a ramp at rear the owner/driver would use to ride the wheelchair up onto the platform.
Then he'd strap the 'chair onto the platform, start the bike, put it in gear (with a lever) and go.

It was funny to see him on the road, with a passenger on the bike's seat with nothing to do but HANG ON for the ride.

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