2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R | Doin' Time

Staffers’ Rides

Photography by Joe Neric

Wrist: Dave Sonsky
MSRP (2012): $14,699
Miles: 2856
MPG: 36
Mods: Translogic Quickshifter

Traditionally, quickshifters have been reserved for racing applications where every millisecond shaved off a lap time is paramount. In recent years, however, they’ve made their way onto some production street bikes and are also offered as official OEM accessories. While this mass availability is likely due to the refined mechanics and reliability of the parts, there’s also a practical need and demand for the shift aid on the street.

Some bikes have a stiff clutch pull that gives grief to riders with small hands, but a quickshifter can provide relief by alleviating the majority of clutch work needed. Once in motion there’s no need to use the clutch for upshifts; the quickshifter allows smooth, consistent shifting without fanning the lever or even letting off the throttle. Much of the resistance is removed from the foot lever as well, allowing for shifts with a gentle nudge rather than a forceful kick.

The mechanics of the quickshifter are quite simple: a small device installed along the shift rod senses pressure on the shift pedal, then sends a signal to the ECU to interrupt spark, allowing the bike to essentially “shut off” for an instant while the next gear slides into place. The objective in racing applications is to allow the rider to hold the throttle wide open without ever rolling off to shift, saving precious time and effort and allowing for maximum, uninterrupted forward drive.

Translogic is a common name overseas in the quickshifter market and has been used by racers for years. The ZX-14R required the less common linear fitment style (www.translogicuk.com; $460) because the Kawasaki’s lever is attached directly to the shaft; there’s no shift rod. The Translogic kit provided the necessary hardware for a painless installation, though we did have to drill a hole into the lever. By simply plugging the unit into each of the four coil sticks and connecting to the battery, the unit was ready for use. After a test ride, I made a few adjustments to both sides of the sensor so that it fell within the specified range of motion, and that was it. Smooth, full-throttle shifts with a cool occasional pop out the exhaust (from unburned fuel during the spark interruption) now give the bike a “racebike feel” on the street.

An accessory add-on is available to allow for increased (or decreased) kill time adjustments on the fly, but Translogic presets the device with the optimum settings so that it’s plug-and-play for most applications. The quickshifter also has built-in Adaptive Shift Technology that determines optimum shift rates, so tuning isn’t required.

Having ridden without a quickshifter for some time I forgot how useful it is for street riding. The torquey 14R doesn't need to be shifted much, but the quickshifter encourages frequent gear changes. It makes shifting fun, rather than a chore.

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