In the interests of complete transparency, I phoned Dale from RaceTorx for a chat about his gear shift support, after a few people mentioned the product to me over the last few months. He kindly sent me this particular Gear Shift Support free of charge in order that I might test it and give my honest thoughts in the form of a review.
Unboxing, First Impressions & Installation
When you open the padded envelope, inside you’ll receive this package:
Open it up and inside you’ll find the RaceTorx Gear Shift Support Bracket and two bolts. From either the packet or the envelope also slipped a small sachet of blue EP2 grease, which is a nice touch, as you’ll need to grease the bearings before installation. Watch the first video a couple of paragraphs below and you’ll see exactly where you’ll need it. Let’s take a closer look at the bracket itself:
It’s anodised aluminium and weighs in at just 37 grams, so for those concerned about adding weight to the bike, this is really a non-issue with this part.
It’s nicely made, well designed and the quality is exactly where I’d expect it to be for a part that retails at £75 GBP ($90 USD). The bolts look to be stainless steel, again what I’d expect in this price bracket.
If you’re handy with a spanner and wrench then installation takes all of 15 minutes. You’ll need to remove the plastic casing underneath the shift arm (3 bolts and it’s off) and then the two bolts to the left in the picture above, plus the bolt that clamps on the shift actuator. Fortunately, all 6 bolts require the same 5mm hex socket, which makes things quick and simple. Once the actuator is released you simply grease the RaceTorx bearings, pop the shift support into place, LocTite the two extended bolts that come with it and tighten them up, put the actuator back in place, then the plastic casing and you’re done. The RaceTorx Shift Support fits perfectly in place so there’s no need to wiggle it about to get it to fit, it’s spot on straight out of the box/bag.
Practical Use – Does It Work?
I’m sitting here with a tear in my left eye and a rye smile in my right eye.. Why? Well, I can barely believe what I’m about to write and whilst my right eye is happy with what I’ve just experienced, my left eye is commiserating at the amount of stick I’m probably going to take from those who’ve yet to try the product and will undoubtedly refuse to believe that maybe.. just maybe.. it works.
OK, let’s start off by being completely honest here. I have been curious to try the RaceTorx Gear Shift Support for a while now but did I honestly think it would work as advertised? No, I didn’t. The RT support bracket is designed to stop any play in the gear shift arm that protrudes from the gearbox. If you watch Everything Tenere’s review of the product (forward to 2 mins 46 secs) he very competently explains, with a diagram, exactly what the shift support is supposed to do and how. He also installs it during the video, which some might find useful and it will save me regurgitating the same info.
OK, that’s all fine and dandy and many bikes do suffer from too much play in various parts of the gear shift mechanism/shift arm but the T700 isn’t one of them. Try to wiggle the shift arm and you might get it to move 1-2mm (if you’re lucky) and that’s probably why there are few complaints about the T700 gear shift. I found my own bike to be fairly smooth and precise but it would occasionally throw up a false neutral and, more commonly, it would sometimes fail to find third from second, so I’d have to double clutch and go again. Not a big deal, more a minor annoyance but still an annoyance I’d rather not have, if possible. Below is a quick video just showing you the RT Gear Shift Support installed.
Well, mine arrived, was installed at the weekend and today a break in the weather gave me the chance to give it a proper test ride. So off I set, expecting little or no change.. I did a little tour around the town to start with, as that always requires plenty of gear changes in the lower range. The first thing I noticed was that the first change down to 1st (before I set off) wasn’t quite the clunk it normally is. Not a huge difference but noticeable. Then up to second and third and the gears felt definitely more precise. It’s hard to describe exactly but the gear change feels almost shorter and slips into place more positively and cleanly.
Out of town the road goes to a 40 (mph) and then after a small roundabout you’re at the National Speed Limit (single carriageway) of 60. Second to third was spot on time after time and up through the gears each change felt a tad shorter than previously and each shift was quick and precise. The T700 shifts were good/fine before but now they were definitely improved or “upgraded” somewhat and I very much liked the way they now felt and operated.
The mechanic in me keeps stamping his foot and ranting that this really shouldn’t make any difference at all but I can’t deny that, in fact, it does! This is not a product which “fixes a problem” as there really wasn’t a problem with the T700’s gear change to begin with. Instead, what the RaceTorx Gear Shift Support does is improve the feeling and operation of something that was already pretty good to start with. It’s quite simply an “upgrade”. The question you’ll have to ask yourself is whether that “upgrade” is worth £75 and that’s a question only you’ll be able to answer. All I can say is, on my T700, it has resulted in a marked improvement and I will be leaving it exactly where it is!
Update 1 – 13/01/23
A sunny day actually arrived on the Isle of Wight today, so out I went with the bike again. This time I managed a longer ride, passing through several towns (20-30mph limit) that required changing through the lower gears regularly, as well as long, winding country roads limited to 60mph. Once again the gear shift felt a tad more precise than before the RT installation. Every change was smooth as you like and 2nd to 3rd didn’t miss a beat once. It’s bizarre but this part definitely makes a difference. It’s not a huge difference and many won’t feel it worth the cost but to those who just want everything to function as well as it possibly can, this might well be quickly on their radar.
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