I love my Harley-Davidson. Really, I do. It’s got the right amount of “me” added to it without digging in my pockets for a custom build. The Street Bob started out as a ‘08 Red Denim model. I skirted away from the traditional black so I wouldn’t be caught at a stoplight facing another person with the same bike (now it’s white with pin striping). Then came the day that I really wanted to be an individual and set my bike apart from the crowd. The idea was simple: touch of old school while keeping modern reliability. Many months later, I was content and I thought I had finished until I saw the Jockey Shifter Kit from Widow Maker Industries.
To avoid a massive amount of mail going to the editor on the semantics of whether or not this is a jockey shifter kit or a clutched shifter kit, Widow Maker Industries (WMI) refers to it as a jockey shifter kit on its site. Regardless, I found myself really wanting this kit to give my scoot just that extra bit of different while out riding or at the local hangout. I’ve looked at other kits and I really didn’t want to completely re-learn riding as some companies do offer the complete foot clutch/hand shift setup. So the WMI kit fit the bill in the function department as well as the price department, which is a mild $329 MSRP (for my Dyna model in black). Also, unlike foot clutch setups, you can revert back to your traditional shifting in about the same time as the install takes.
The WMI kit arrived with everything you need for a quick do-it-yourself install right down to the zip ties. I chose the satin black powdercoated version for mine. The main piece is the shift arm and it appears to be a great piece that is well crafted. You also receive a new mirror mount so that you have a view from behind once you move your clutch mount. The kit is also versatile in allowing the rider to install a different grip (a black rubber grip is included) or change the levers during the install, which is great for adding your personal touch. The following shows just how easy it is to, as WMI says, add some old-school cool to your new-school scoot. HB
19. First ride: There’s something inherently different when reaching for the clutch on the handlebars and finding no lever. I’ve read the forums with pros and cons of the hand clutch on the shifter versus a suicide foot clutch. I’ve come to the realization that either one takes a great deal of commitment and attention to operate safely. With the hand clutch, you’ve got a panic situation where you have to remove your hand from the bars to operate the clutch. With the suicide foot clutch, you’re unable to use your rear brake at a stop if your left foot is on the clutch. It comes down to preference and trust in your experience as a rider. With that said, the first ride was a slow one cruising through the neighborhood getting used to shifting and operating the clutch with the same hand. I pulled towards me to engage First gear and tried to feather the clutch; the friction zone seemed elusive so my first attempt was a quick take-off. Pushing forward hit the other five gears. After I felt I had mastered starting and mastered starting and stopping, I took the bike out on the highway. It's definitely a thrill to bang through the gears with your left hand and soon I felt fairly comfortable shifting with the WMI kit. It felt like I was more connected to the bike - I felt like I had a greater role in my riding than simply saddling up and twisting the throttle. In the end, I just think back to the old saying, "Don't knock it 'til you've tried it," and I'm definitely digging it since I've tried it!
Widow Maker Industries
(602) 509-4776 | widowmakerindustries.com