For those of us who own older sportbikes but don’t usually feel the need to keep up in the unending performance wars (after all, many bikes exceeded necessary streetable power years ago), the march of technology still gives us other temptations for updating to more current bikes. These days, it often feels like all of the new bikes come with cool electronic trickery that makes riding easier – and cooler. A quick shifter is an item that drastically increases the fun factor of performance riding. Yeah, they help shave fractions of seconds off lap times, but the real fun for most street riders is the sound of a full-throttle upshift – or three – as they rocket down the entrance ramp or along a remote mountain road.

Blue Monkey To Distribute HealTech Quick Shifter

Ten years ago, I installed a Techtronics quick shifter on my 2003 R6. While it was fun at full zoot on the track, where I could run the bike out to redline repeatedly, the mechanical nature of the unit meant that it could only be dialed in to have the ignition cut-out effectively at a set rpm range. So, the system became less and less effective as the engine speed moved away from that set range. Electronic quick shifters perform the same task of cutting-out the ignition or fuel injection briefly to allow the transmission to change gears, but they also enable the duration of the cut-out to vary based on engine speed, meaning that they appoint themselves to the wider shifting conditions encountered by street riders.

HealTech Quick Shifter Easy strain gauge

That plastic sensor squeezed by the bolt and the shift arm is a strain gauge and is responsible for the QSE’s flexibility.

So, imagine my excitement when I learned of the HealTech Quick Shifter Easy and its rpm-based, tunable cut-out durations. Next, consider how stoked I was to see that a wide swath of current and older, fuel injected sporting (and non-sporting) machinery was covered in the applications list – including my 12 year-old R6!

The HealTech Quick Shifter Easy (QSE) comes in two variations, which cut either the ignition or the fuel injectors based on the ease of installation for the end user among other reasons. The QSE kit consists of a surprisingly small control module, a motorcycle model-specific wiring harness, and a strain gauge. While the harness hooks the QSE to the bike and provides the power, the magic takes place between the strain gauge and the module. Unlike other quick shifters that require large sensors on the shift rod, the QSE’s strain gauge is small enough and so sensitive that it can be mounted in several places. While the preferred location is between a lock nut and the shift rod, this only works on bikes where the rod is pushed to upshift. On my R6, the rod is pulled, so the strain gauge only registers an increase in strain when the return spring is moving the shifter back into its standby position. In the case of my R6, the strain gauge mounted to the bolt that secures the shift arm to the shift shaft.

HealTech Quick Shifter Easy harness

Connect these pairs of jumpers to the injectors or coils, depending on the bike, and your wiring is complete.

The QSE module is powered by either the fuel injection or the ignition systems. Since the QSE’s wire harness is bike model-specific, you’ll spend more time uncovering the injectors or coils and buttoning things back up than actually installing the QSE. For my R6, I simply unplugged the factory harness from each injector and connected the QSE’s paired jumpers. Then the harness needs to be zip tied in place and the module needs to be secured to the chassis. One nice feature of the QSE’s construction is that should the module ever fail, an included jumper can be attached to the module end of the harness, taking the module out of the system to allow your bike to continue functioning.

Installing the strain gauge is also dead simple, but you need to pay attention to one thing. The cone shaped washers need to have the cone facing the strain gauge. I dropped one as I was installing the gauge and just slipped it back on the bolt without looking. When it came time to test the system, it didn’t work very well. Discovering and rectifying my mistake instantly changed the accuracy of the upshifts.

Once the QSE is installed on a bike, it is adjustable via Bluetooth and an Android phone app. Firmware updates are also applied via this Bluetooth connection. Sorry iOS users (like myself), an app is not yet available, but HealTech has assured me that one is in the works. On a borrowed Android phone, I found the QSE extremely easy to set up. Once paired with the phone, the app displays all of the cut-off times and their rpm ranges which can be adjusted with a simple tap on the rpm in the listing. In the setup screen, the rpm is displayed, and the number of pulses per revolution can be adjusted to reflect an accurate rpm. The first and last rpm that the QSE will cut-out the engine can easily be set from here with a pair of sliders.

HealTech Quick Shifter Easy connections

Space may be tight, but the QSE harness (green and black wires) was easily attached to the R6’s injectors.

The biggest reason to visit this screen is to set the sensitivity of the strain gauge. Bikes that have the gauge mounted on the shift rod will need to increase the sensor threshold setting to prevent false cut-outs. Since the forces read in other mounting locations (such as on the shift arm on my R6) can be significantly lower, the sensitivity must be increased by moving the slider to the low end of the scale.

HealTech Quick Shifter Easy rpm screen

Here is the rpm listing and associated cut-out times for my R6.

The ability for the QSE to cut-out the engine power when the rpm are dropping can be toggled off from here, allowing for clutchless downshifts on some strain gauge installations (mostly those not on the shift rod). Also, if you’re troubleshooting your setup, a button to test the cut-out feature allows you to check if the module is functioning. After changing your settings, don’t forget to upload the changes to the QSE module, or they’ll disappear when the connection is closed.

My experience of the HealTech QSE is one of pure simplicity of operation – once I found my mistake on installation. The first time I tested the QSE out, I thought I was just going around the block to make sure it was working, but I ended up taking a 20 minute ride just for the sheer joy of shifting my R6 the way I’ve been shifting many of the latest bikes.

HealTech Quick Shifter Easy settings screen

The settings are altered with the help of a few sliders. This screen is also useful for troubleshooting the QSE.

The custom fit of the QSE harness means that the most challenging part of the install is removing the tank and deciding where to zip tie the wires. Even a novice mechanic should be able to handle this install. Adjusting the settings via Bluetooth is simple, and I credit being able to adjust the threshold of sensitivity based on the app’s display of the force read when lifting the shifter. Set the number lower than the one regularly displayed, and you’re good to go. I played with the duration of the cut-out on lower rpm shifts, but ultimately, ended up with the settings roughly where they started from the factory. Still, this is a nice feature to have at your disposal.

The ability to downshift clutchlessly is, to me, of dubious merit. I quickly returned to using my clutch while I modulated the throttle. (Perhaps having a BMW R1200 R with its Shift Assist Pro in my garage and seeing how silky smooth it handles clutchless downshifts influenced my feelings.) One feature I didn’t get to test, but feel is notable for those who own multiple bikes, the QSE app has the ability to save multiple profiles. So, if you have two bikes, you could install a harness in each bike and swap the QSE between the two, uploading the appropriate settings to the QSE for the bike it is currently on.

The HealTech Quick Shifter Easy lives up to its name, and it will bring a smile to your face as you run through the gears, hearing the exhaust note seamlessly change as you snick through the gears. Blue Monkey Motorsports handles the U.S. distribution for the QSE, selling it for $320. The current list of motorcycle applications is updated as new models are added.

HealTech Quick Shifter Easy module

The QSE module is tiny. The hook-and-loop fastener behind it shows the large size of the previous quick shifter control unit.

 

  • Old MOron

    Hmm, the depth of application is pretty impressive. The oldest bike I saw was a 1989 GSX-R750. Nineteen eighty-nine! I wonder if they actually tested on such a bike, or they they said, “Yup, in theory, it should work.”

    • http://www.bluemonkeymotorsports.com Blue Monkey Motorsports

      Suzuki actually kept their plug usage pretty simple which helps us. For 1989-1995 the GSX-R750 used the same ignition coil connector plugs as the newer Boulevard C50/M50/C90/M90, Bandits, Intruders, Volusias, even the TLR/TLS, etc. They are still using this connector on a bunch of these bikes in 2015 (just not the GSXR any more, which for 2000-2015 takes the QSX-P4B harness).

  • JMDonald

    I’m old now and have transitioned to an RT1200. It isn’t a sportbike but it has the clutchless shifting option.
    Not quite the same as a quick shift but I have to say it is a really nice feature. I would have liked to have had this set up on my old CB600. Technology is great. Long live technology.

  • Josh

    Just took the plunge and bought this for my FZ-09. Cant wait to get it installed!

    • Kevin Duke

      How do you like it?

      • Josh

        Last minute decision I went with the Flash Tune quickshifter instead since I was going to have them flash my ECU too. Let me say quickshifters are not just for the track. I ride 5 days a week and they’re great for getting up to speed off the line or getting onto the freeway.

      • Josh

        Update: Got a Healtech Quickshifter for my wife’s Ninja 300 and I couldn’t be happier with it. Install was so easy and it’s cool being able to fine tune the unit and get firmware updates through the app. In August 2016 the iPhone app is available and probably has been for some time since this article was written. The Healtech unit made the most sense for the ninja 300 since I don’t need an air fuel controller and dont need an ecu reflash. For the price it is awesome and shifts are really smooth except for 1-2 but I’m sure it’s nothing some fine tuning can’t fix. And that’s something you can’t do very easily with an ecu based quickshifter.

  • krishan adhikari

    Hi Guys just wanted to know if it helps shift both ways that is upshift and downshift. I am planning on installing it on my KTM Duke 390 2013

    • http://www.bluemonkeymotorsports.com Blue Monkey Motorsports

      Yes, it cuts both ways. However, since most bikes do not have an auto-blipping feature (like the S1000RR, Panigale, etc) you would still need to blip when downshifting or you would be damaging your transmission. You’re not really gaining time when clutchless downshifting, since the primary benefit of a quick shifter is being able to stay at WOT as you’re running UP through the gears.

      • Evans Brasfield

        You beat me to it!

        So, my response is simply, “Yeah, what he said.”

  • Laz

    Thanks for this review. I’m in the market for a quickshifter, stumbled upon this one but haven’t seen many reviews on it.