While a stripped transmission lever might not be a common occurrence, it can be one of the most frustrating roadside breakdowns. It's frustrating because you have to remove and reinstall the entire primary in order to replace the lever. The reason why you have to take the primary off is that the stock lever is a single-piece design with one open end that allows the lever to pinch down on the shaft as you tighten the cinch bolt. To remove the lever, you pull the cinch bolt then slide the lever off the shaft. The only problem is that on most bikes there isn't enough room between the end of the shaft and the inner primary to slide the lever off (we say most bikes because we've heard the six-speed tournig bikes have a little more room to slide the lever off, but we've never seen or done it). So you have to remove the primary, and replace gaskets and (sometimes) seals to install a $25 lever that, if it failed once, will most likely fail again.
Faced with this dilemma several years ago with his '04 Road King, Conrad Buehler found that his local dealer wanted about $500 to perform the install for the $25 dollar part. Frustrated with the time it would take to do the install himself and not wanting to drop $500, Conrad knew there had to be an easier or better way to get back on the road. After cruising around his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, Conrad found a machinist who understood his plight. In short order Conrad had a new part that was not only easier to install and didn't require removing the primary but was also of better quality and performance. And just like that, his business, Better Lever, was born.
We ran the Better Lever in our Product Pics section a few issues back and we were very intrigued, so we called Conrad and asked him about it. He said most of his customers are bagger owners and tend to be those who use the heel-toe shifter. He said it's just something about that heel shifter with certain guys, maybe they slam down too hard, but they seem to strip their stock levers more frequently. Conrad said the lever is machined out of stainless steel, which he then buffs to a shiny finish. He chose stainless steel because he wanted the lever to be ore durable and of better quality than the stock unit. Conrad is so confidant in his product, he said he guarantees its performance for life.
Looking through the Better Lever site, we noticed that there were two videos with Conrad showing how to remove the stock lever and install the Better Lever. After watching the videos, we were inclined to give the lever swap a shot ourselves on our '96 Springer. So we got our hands on a Better Lever and shot the install in our home garage. Follow along as we show you how we performed the swap.
(757) 715-0254 | betterlever.com