Heel and Toe Shifter Rods; Old Habits; and Older Feet

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by leeanders, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. leeanders

    leeanders Member

    Many riders, I guess, really like heal and toe shifters. Most bikes have them. For me, I’ve never cared for them, and have always either taken them off – or cut them off.

    Perhaps it was a matter of ‘lack of coordination’, or maybe just old habits being hard to change, but for me second gear up through however many I had, was the sole function of my left ‘great toe’ and its ability to move up and down, without even thinking.

    Recently, however, with great age, things happen one may not necessarily expect to happen, when riding. The ‘great toe’ of my left (shifter) foot began hurting when I went riding. It hurt to push the gear lever up. So, what did I do, I went to a local shoe store and had a double layer of leather sewn onto the left shoe in the area of the shifter toe rod.

    That did help some, but not entirely. Next I went to a podiatrist and asked him why this great toe area was beginning to complain – even when walking at times. The X- Rays told the story. Cartilage at the top joint of both my feet have simply worn out – it’s no longer there, and the bone ends at that top joint simply rubs bone on bone – that creates the pain.

    He offered a solution, and about three weeks ago, I had him exercise that option. I now have, in the left foot, a metal joint implant, that replaces the missing cartilage. How well this will work, I’m not sure right now, but to date it appears it will be successful. At least when I get back on the bike, I won’t have that pain when shifting up and down the gear range.

    For some of you (not so young guys – like myself) who may be having a similar problem, I’m attaching a photo so you can see the implant. Perhaps this may be your answer as well? If mine goes well, as I expect it too, I may have the right foot done later this year.

    Attached Files:

  2. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    Nice write up - thanks!

    Luckily, my arthritic bone spur is on the top of my RIGHT big toe and doesn't affect the pressing down motion required for braking.
  3. Biffy08

    Biffy08 Active Member

    I am sorry you had to go through all that pain but I hope you are comfortable now, and still feel safe!

    For me, either shifting technique is very natural. But if I had to say, I prefer the heel upshifts because, to date, I have never missed a shift. It is a more positive shift IMO.
  4. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Well-Known Member

    Cool, leeanders got a steel toe, I just got steel toe boots.:D I hope all goes well with the new device. I think I have a knee in the not to distant future.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  5. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I'm a toe shifter and always have been. This makes me re-think that a bit......:(
  6. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I have never had a bike with the option of a heel shifter so I have always used a toe shifter but I am a wee bit particular of how it is adjusted so I will fiddle with it till it is just right for me

  7. Harttoo

    Harttoo Senior Member

    I adapted to the heel shifter quickly with My 08 Road King.Now I find it easy to forget to shift if heel shifter is not there.Feels really awkward!:small3d012:
  8. wazzle

    wazzle Member

    Heel shift came natural after only a few days. Sore toe joints from gout over the years made it a no brainer.
  9. RibEye

    RibEye Junior Member

    I only use the heel shifter when I'm wearing a tux or something, so I don't mess up the shine of the shoes. Other than that, I am a toe-shifter only.

    Rich P
  10. fireguyq

    fireguyq Member

    With the metal plate, does that toe get cold?