ASK KEVIN: Are Quickshifters Hard on the Gearbox?

QUESTION: Do quickshifters have a negative effect on gearbox life?

Tim Askew

ANSWER: Anyone with gearbox-service experience knows that the dogs that engage on the first-to-second upshift get the worst hammering. The reason? The first-to-second shift has the largest rpm difference. An abusive rider can hammer a gearbox so it starts refusing the first-to-second upshift in a few hundred miles. A skilled rider can accelerate just as fast yet get thousands of miles from a gearbox. Your transmission will last longer if you make every shift as gentle as you can, pulling the clutch, matching speed, and then making the shift. But this reminds me of the fellow who bought his bike not to enjoy it but for its resale value. If you enjoy rapid acceleration, you will probably make a few clutchless upshifts, and they will gradually round off the corners of the lower-gear engagement dogs. A quickshifter, because it cuts the ignition, is less damaging than clutchless upshifts. Least damaging of all is never to operate the bike at all. I knew a man who bought a used racebike and deliberately upshifted 1,000 rpm below its power peak. Didn't he buy the bike for its race-winning performance, which was given only at full rpm? There is a conflict here between two understandable motivations: (1) the desire to make a high-performance vehicle last forever, and (2) the wish to enjoy all the performance we paid for. You must decide which is more important to you.

Send your “Ask Kevin” questions to We cannot guarantee a reply to every inquiry.