Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?


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thunderwing
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Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby thunderwing » Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:16 pm



My current bike, 1983 Aspencade, came with a heel and toe shifting kit installed, which I had no experience in using prior in my riding experience.

The bike was priced correctly, so I now shift heel and toe......Do I like it, yes and no, more no than yes. It's convenient to stomp your gear out with the heel or front ball of your foot but there are times when I just want 1 down and 4 up as it's just plain muscle memory and simple without all the linkage and shifter assembly.

When I lean in a sharp turn I feel I am driving the Titanic because of the floor boards, the ground clearance isn't what it was from my other bikes I've owned. There are occasions when I just can't remember that heel goes up in gear and toe goes down and I revert back to 1 down and 4 up making for awkward shifts.

There will be a day when I sell this bike and move on to a GL1800, and when I do that I will be happy with front pegs with 1 down and 4 up. For now I will enjoy the heel and toe shifting world.

What do you enjoy and prefer!?


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Joe in SD
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby Joe in SD » Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:23 am

I have ridden with a heel and toe shifter before and it felt unusual. With easy going riding it was OK, but when reacting to something on the road very quickly it was awkward. I would not care to have that type of shifter on my wing. Some people may like them, but I'm not one of them. Everyone ride safe, Joe

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swr1977
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby swr1977 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:17 am

I have used both... my current ride (1978 GL1000) has heel/toe pedals and I actually prefer it, but I will say it took some getting used too! Now, when I'm on vacation in California, and borrowing my uncles' HD VRod that has a normal peg shift (1down4up) I have to think before shifting but it does come back to me without much thought. I personally like my floor boards, more comfortable on long rides then the just a peg.

On a side note I am missing the rubber cover for my up-shift pedal. If anyone has any idea on where I could find one to match what's in the picture or a new set please let me know.
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OldZX11Rider
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby OldZX11Rider » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:44 am

My first Goldwing, an '82 Aspencade, had the heel and toe shifter on it when I got it. It didn't take me long to get used to it and I came to really like it. :D
My ground clearance was less and I can remember going into a curve and hearing and feeling the floorboard push up against my foot. I just thought of it as kind of a warning signal. :lol:
I have just the factory pegs and shifter now but when I bought this ' Wing the previous owner gave me the boards and shifter I need to change it over.
The only reason I haven't changed them over yet is because they need a lot of TLC before they "might" look good enough to use. :roll:
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby Rednaxs60 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:38 am

Had heel-toe shifting on an '07 Suzuki C90T and it worked fine primarily because it was designed that way from the factory. No "slop" in the shifter so to speak.

Bought my '08 1800 with foot pegs and it was fine as well. Had thought of changing to foot boards but never got around to it. Did have the seat adjusted for me that moved me back and up 2" - better ergonomics.

My '85 LTD came with the add-on foot boards and heel-toe shifter. I found there to be a lot of "slop" in the shifter - could not shift that quickly, sometimes missed a shift, and hard to find neutral. Have taken the foot boards and heel-toe shifter off and installed original foot pegs. Shifting is more exact, and easier to find neutral, and easier to use side stand. To compensate for leg/foot position I will be having the seat adjusted specifically for me. Do have the highway boards as well that will be good for touring.

Reader's Digest version - prefer foot pegs.

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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby harvey01 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:56 pm

I am blessed with more than one bike to include my gold Wing and a Honda VTX1300. The Wing has the standard shifter and the VTX has the heel and toe shifter.

I don't like the heel and toe because it also involves the footpad instead of the simple peg and greatly restricts the cornering clearance of the VTX. I am always scraping the footrests as they just stick out too far. I seldom scrape the Wing although the feelers on the bottom of my pegs have been replaced twice.

I don't see where changing gears is improved in anyway with the heel and toe. both systems do the job!
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:00 pm

My GL1100 also came to me with a heel/toe shifter. I hadn't ridden with one before, so I gave it a try, and eventually got used to it. It was definitely not my favorite, however.

When I got my GL1500, it too had a heel/toe shifter. I decided I wasn't going to ride my new bike with something that I didn't really like all that much, so I bought all the parts to change it back to stock, pulled the heel/toe shifter off, and sold it on eBay.

I far prefer the stock shift system. I'm quicker, more accurate with it.

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OldZX11Rider
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby OldZX11Rider » Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:52 am

I liked the floorboards and heel/toe shifter on my 1100. I don't think any of my 1200's had a heel/toe shift and boards. Which seems kind of funny to me. (Must be a special place in my memory for my first Wing.) :lol:
Anyway it worked for me and I liked the looks of the boards and shifter better than the pegs. :D
If the setup had been constantly giving me problems, I'm sure I would have hated it. But it didn't, so I don't. :lol:
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby Rednaxs60 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:03 am

Took the heel/toe shifter off my '85 LTD and put the OEM pegs back on. Shifting is much better, able to take the "slack" out of the system and shift much easier - neutral is easier to find as well. The bike also shifts smoother and quicker "north" of 3500 RPM. Now to get rid of some excess accessories. Cheers
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby dtrider » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:26 am

It may depend on what you were used to. I've only been riding a few years and my first bike (Yamaha VStar 1100) had platforms with heel-toe. I guess since I didn't really know any better, they were just fine for me. My next bike (Yamaha Royal Star 1300) also had platforms and heel-toe and it was a very comfortable bike. Put a lot of miles on that bike before going to the 'Wing.

When I got the 'Wing it had the stock pegs and I found it to be rather odd. I constantly had to think about my shifting. With the Yamahas I could still toe shift if I wanted to and I would occasionally just to keep in practice, but with the 'WIng I kept finding myself trying to hit that heel pad. After a few months I finally gave up and got some Kuryakyn platforms with heel-toe shifters and my feet are happy again.
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby OldZX11Rider » Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:23 am

Yesterday I was out riding and I got to thinking about the peg vs. floorboard systems. Now I'm 6'2" and feel a bit cramped on the Wing as it sits now. If I got floorboards and they were higher than the pegs, I'm sure I wouldn't like'em very much.
Now if they lowered my feet, even a little bit, I'd like that a lot. So I can use either system it would be which one was better for my overall comfort.
Also I'm not a real aggressive rider. If I was trying to see how fast I could take each corner like say, on The Dragon, pegs would be my first choice and comfort would come second.
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby flogger » Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:43 pm

Joe in SD wrote:I have ridden with a heel and toe shifter before and it felt unusual. With easy going riding it was OK, but when reacting to something on the road very quickly it was awkward. I would not care to have that type of shifter on my wing. Some people may like them, but I'm not one of them. Everyone ride safe, Joe


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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby Sawdust62 » Thu May 05, 2016 1:01 pm

I have a heel and toe shifter on my Kawasaki VN1500 Classic and love it. The floorboards are well forward so it was hard to point my toe down to get under the shifter. They are far enough apart that I can rest my foot between them and barely touch each one, unlike some 'wing shifters I've seen that are only about 9" apart, heel to toe. I like not having to swing my toe outboard to go around the shifter when going from up to down and vice versa. My 'wing doesn't have a heel/toe shifter and I don't think it would be necessary because the pegs are farther back toward the center of the bike, not forward like a cruiser. In a critical situation, I can't think of a time that I had to rapidly shift from low to high, but a quick downshift is the same with our without the heel shifter, STOMP THE TOE.

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Fatwing Chris
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Re: Heel and Toe shifting.....What do you have and prefer?

Postby Fatwing Chris » Thu May 05, 2016 6:42 pm

Unless you're buying a 2014(first year for updated forks and gears) and up 1800 I'd advise you to stay away from the heel/toe.The previous 1800 trannies are a bit sketchy and there is a potential to put more pressure on the shift forks with the heel/toe.Google "ghost shifting".There should be about 6 months worth of reading on 1800 trans problems.

Saying all that though I had a heel/toe on my 75 and my 84 and after a short time getting used to them I loved them.That inch or two that you can slide your feet around makes a huge difference during a long ride.


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