How to Craft a Flawless Jockey Shifter: Expert Guide


To make a jockey shifter, you need to follow these steps: cut a length of steel tubing, weld a rod to one end, attach a shifter knob, and attach it to your motorcycle. Jockey shifters are a popular modification for motorcycle enthusiasts who want a vintage look and feel.

With a jockey shifter, the rider shifts gears by hand, often using a shortened shift lever mounted on the left handlebar. While jockey shifters were once used on all motorcycles, they are now primarily found on custom bikes. Making a jockey shifter is a relatively simple process that can add a distinctive touch to your bike.

In this article, we’ll show you how to make a jockey shifter step-by-step.

How to Craft a Flawless Jockey Shifter: Expert Guide


Understanding Jockey Shifters

What Is A Jockey Shifter?

Jockey shifter is a type of gear shifter that is generally used in motorcycles. It is a knob, usually mounted on the gasoline tank of the motorcycle. Riders can use it to shift gears by simply pushing or pulling it.

A jockey shifter was predominantly used in the early days of motorcycles.

  • Jockey shifter is also known as a suicide shifter.
  • Jockey shifters can be attached to a wide variety of motorcycles and other vehicles.
  • Jockey shifter is a popular choice among bikers due to its unique design and ease of use.

Why Do People Prefer Jockey Shifters Over Other Shifters?

Jockey shifters have been in use for decades, and the reason behind their popularity is their design and functionality. Here are some of the reasons why people prefer jockey shifters over other shifters:

  • Jockey shifters provide a more traditional feel to the motorcycle driving experience.
  • Jockey shifters eliminate the need for using your feet to shift gears.
  • Jockey shifters offer more customization options, which allows for a better-looking motorcycle.
  • Jockey shifters provide greater control over the vehicle and its gear shifts.
  • Jockey shifters are easier to use when two up riding.
  • Jockey shifters provide a more classic look on old school choppers.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Jockey Shifter?

While jockey shifter may not be for everyone, it has several benefits for those who prefer it over other shifters. Here are some of the advantages of using a jockey shifter:

  • Jockey shifters provide a unique and customizable driving experience.
  • Jockey shifters enable riders to keep their feet on the pegs while shifting gears.
  • Jockey shifters allow for more focused attention on the road and traffic.
  • Jockey shifters offer higher precision and better control over gear shifts.
  • Jockey shifters give the rider increased freedom to shift gears when needed.
  • Jockey shifters can be customized to enhance the aesthetic quality of the motorcycle.

Jockey shifters might not be a conventional choice, but they have an undeniable charm and style. When used in the right way, jockey shifters can offer an unforgettable motorcycle riding experience.

Essential Tools And Materials You Will Need

List Of Required Tools And Materials

To make a jockey shifter, you will need some basic tools and materials. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:


  • Welder
  • Bench grinder
  • Drill press
  • Hacksaw
  • Metal cutting saw
  • Files
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Wrenches
  • Allen keys
  • Tape measure
  • Square
  • Center punch
  • Hammer


  • 1/4 inch steel plate
  • Steel tubing
  • 1/4 inch bolts and nuts
  • Shifter knob
  • Shift linkage
  • Paint

Tips To Choose The Right Tools And Materials

Selecting the right tools and materials can be the difference between a functional jockey shifter and a poorly made one. Consider the following tips to ensure that you’re choosing the right tools and materials for your project:


  • Choose tools that are robust and will last long.
  • Make sure you are using the right sized wrenches and allen keys.
  • Consider investing in specialized tools like metal cutting saws or drill bits, as they will make your work easier and quicker.


  • Choose high-quality steel plates and tubing that is thick enough to withstand the stress of shifting gears.
  • Use stainless steel bolts and nuts to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Opt for durable and non-slip shifter knobs to avoid any discomfort while shifting gears.

Tricks To Source Quality Materials

Sourcing quality materials is a critical aspect of making a jockey shifter. Here are some tricks to help you procure the best materials for your project:

  • Research several vendors before purchasing raw materials to compare prices and quality.
  • Look for recommendations from experts in the field or other blogs and forums.
  • Consider buying materials in bulk to get a better price.
  • Opt for stores that sell pre-cut or pre-measured materials to reduce wastage and minimize errors.
  • Always buy from reputable vendors that prioritize quality and customer satisfaction.

By following the tips outlined above, you’ll have an easier time selecting the right tools and materials needed to make a functional jockey shifter. Remember to take your time, stay focused and detailed, and invest in quality materials to ensure that your project is a success.

Preparing Your Bike For Jockey Shifter Setup

If you’re interested in the old-school aesthetic of a jockey shifter and want to add one to your motorcycle, there are a few things to consider before you begin. In this section, we’ll go over some important points to keep in mind as you prepare to modify your bike for jockey shifter installation.

Things To Consider Before Starting Conversion To Jockey Shifter

Before you embark on the journey of converting your motorcycle to a jockey shifter setup, there are some important points to consider. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Jockey shifters are not suitable for beginners. It requires a high level of skill and experience to operate them correctly.
  • Jockey shifters are not legal in all states and countries. Make sure that you check your local regulations before making any modifications.
  • You will need to remove your foot pegs and shifter lever to install a jockey shifter.
  • You may also need to modify your clutch cable and brake pedal to fit the new setup.

Understanding Compatibility Issues With Different Bikes

Not all motorcycles are compatible with jockey shifters. Before you start the modification, you should verify that your bike is compatible. Here are some compatibility issues to keep in mind:

  • Jockey shifters work best with rigid frame motorcycles, as they provide the necessary stability.
  • If your motorcycle has a swingarm, the jockey shifter may interfere with the movement of the rear suspension.
  • Make sure that the shift lever is aligned with the transmission’s shift linkage.

How To Modify Your Bike For Jockey Shifter Installation

After considering the points above and determining that your motorcycle is compatible, it’s time to start modifying your bike for jockey shifter installation. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Remove the foot pegs and shifter lever.
  • Install the jockey shifter by connecting it to the transmission’s shift linkage.
  • Modify the clutch cable and brake pedal to fit the new setup.
  • Test the shifter by shifting through all the gears to ensure smooth operation.

With these steps completed, your bike is now ready for a jockey shifter setup. Remember to always practice safe riding techniques and prepare yourself adequately to avoid any accidents.

Crafting Your Jockey Shifter: A Step-By-Step Guide

Creating a jockey shifter can be challenging, especially if you have never done it before. However, it can also be incredibly rewarding, considering you get to have a custom shifter that is tailored to your style. Here is a step-by-step guide to crafting your jockey shifter:

Detailed Step-By-Step Instructions To Craft Jockey Shifter

  • Materials needed:
  • Steel rod (size should be 1/2 inch or slightly larger)
  • Welding machine
  • Angle grinder
  • Hacksaw blade
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Step one:

First, you need to measure the height of the shifter knob. Once you have the measurement, mark it on the steel rod using a tape measure.

  • Step two:

Using an angle grinder, grind the steel rod down to the correct size. Make sure you take your time when doing this to avoid making any mistakes.

  • Step three:

Once the steel rod is the correct size, mark the center of the rod using a tape measure.

  • Step four:

Use a drill to make a hole at the center of the rod where you marked it. The hole should be just large enough to allow the shifter cable to fit through.

  • Step five:

Cut the top of the steel rod to the correct size using a hacksaw blade.

  • Step six:

Using the welding machine, weld the shifter knob onto the steel rod.

  • Step seven:

Grind the edges of the welded shifter knob to smooth them out, making sure there are no rough areas where you could cut yourself.

  • Step eight:

Attach the shifter cable to the jockey shifter and attach it to your bike. Now, you have a custom-made jockey shifter!

Key Tips And Techniques For Crafting A Flawless Jockey Shifter

  • Take your time: Crafting a custom jockey shifter can be a tricky process, so be sure to take your time and avoid making any mistakes.
  • Be precise: Precision is key to crafting a flawless jockey shifter. Make sure you measure twice, and cut once!
  • Secure the rod: To avoid any accidents, it’s essential to secure the steel rod to a sturdy surface using clamps during the crafting process.
  • Use the right material: Ensure you use a steel rod of the right size – it should be 1/2 inch or slightly larger.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Crafting Your Jockey Shifter

  • Rushing the process: Crafting a jockey shifter requires attention to detail and patience. Rushing through it could lead to mistakes that could affect the overall functionality of the shifter.
  • Choosing the wrong steel rod size: Always ensure you choose the correct size steel rod for your jockey shifter. Using the wrong size could lead to improper fitting, which could cause potential accidents.
  • Forgetting to grind the edges of the welded knob: It’s essential to grind the edges of the welded shifter knob to avoid rough edges that could cut you while shifting gears.
  • Not securing the rod: Ensure that the steel rod is secured to a sturdy surface using clamps during the crafting process. Failing to do so could lead to accidents.

By following these step-by-step instructions and key tips, you can craft your jockey shifter with ease. Additionally, you can avoid the common mistakes and ensure that your shifter is not only custom-made but also safe and functional. Happy crafting!

Testing And Troubleshooting Your Jockey Shifter

How To Test Your Jockey Shifter For Flawless Performance

Before taking your jockey shifter out for a spin, make sure to run a thorough diagnostics test to ensure its optimal performance. Follow these easy steps to test your jockey shifter:

  • Start by placing your motorcycle on a level surface to avoid any unwanted complications and injury due to failed balancing attempts.
  • Carefully shift your shifter through each gear to make sure the transition is smooth and without hesitation. Make sure to test each gear for its appropriate function, including neutral.
  • Check the movement of the shifter cable and make sure to tighten or loosen it accordingly to achieve a smooth transition.
  • Adjust the shifter cable to allow a little bit of play at rest to avoid any wear and tear to the cable.

These simple steps will ensure the smooth operation of your jockey shifter and reduce the likelihood of any future complications.

Common Jockey Shifter Troubleshooting Tips

Jockey shifter systems are engineered to be reliable and durable. However, if you experience any of the following issues, follow these simple tips for troubleshooting:

  • If the shifter is not shifting appropriately, the cable tension may be too tight or too loose. Make sure to check the cable tension and adjust accordingly.
  • If the shifter is too hard to shift, check the shifter cable for any bends or kinks in the same and replace them if necessary.
  • Improper gear shifting can indicate incorrect installation of the jockey shifter or clutch. Make sure to have a skilled mechanic verify that everything is correctly assembled and installed.
  • If the shifter is sticking or not returning to the rest position after shifting, double-check the cable routing for snag or kinks and adjust accordingly.

By following these simple steps, you can troubleshoot any common jockey shifter problems. Always better to seek expert advice when in doubt.

Understanding Critical Safety Measures While Using Jockey Shifter

Using a jockey shifter on a motorcycle is a thrilling experience, but critical safety measures must be followed to avoid any unwanted accidents and injuries. Here are some essential safety tips to consider when using a jockey shifter:

  • Always wear protective gear, including a helmet, gloves, and proper footwear to prevent injury in case of an accident.
  • Make sure to practice shifting gears before hitting the road. Familiarize yourself with the gear patterns and the shifter’s position to avoid any confusion on the road.
  • Be smooth and gentle with your shifts to avoid damaging the shifter and the transmission, and reduce any sudden loss of balance.
  • Always make sure to shift gears gradually and at appropriate rpm ranges. Shift gears according to the bike’s recommended speed intervals to avoid overloading the engine.
  • Avoid riding your motorcycle with a jockey shifter in heavy traffic that involves frequent and sudden stops. It takes a while to get accustomed to jockey shifters, and the heavy traffic could lead to potential accidents.

By following these essential safety measures, you can enjoy the jockey shifter’s benefits without jeopardizing your safety or others. Always stay safe on the road and enjoy the ride!

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Make A Jockey Shifter

What Is A Jockey Shifter?

A jockey shifter is a shifter assembly used on custom motorcycles. It mounts to the bike’s frame and allows the rider to shift gears using a single lever that’s mounted on the gas tank.

How Do You Make A Jockey Shifter?

The process of making a jockey shifter involves a few steps, including fabricating the shift lever, mounting the shifter assembly to the bike’s frame, and installing the mechanism that connects the shift lever to the bike’s transmission.

Can You Install A Jockey Shifter On Any Bike?

No, a jockey shifter is a custom part that’s designed specifically for use on custom motorcycles. It’s not typically compatible with off-the-shelf motorcycles or those manufactured by major brands.

What Are The Advantages Of A Jockey Shifter?

A jockey shifter can offer a range of benefits for custom motorcycle riders, including a clean, uncluttered look, simplified shifting, and improved ergonomics for the rider.

Is It Difficult To Learn How To Use A Jockey Shifter?

Like any new control system, there is a learning curve when it comes to using a jockey shifter. However, with practice, most riders can become proficient in quickly and smoothly shifting gears with a jockey shifter.


Creating a jockey shifter for your motorcycle can be a fun and rewarding project. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment, just some basic tools and a little bit of patience. By following the steps we have outlined, you should be able to make your own jockey shifter in no time.

Just remember to take your time and be careful when working with metal. Safety should always be your top priority. Once your jockey shifter is complete, you’ll need to install it on your motorcycle. This process will vary depending on the make and model of your bike, so be sure to refer to your owner’s manual or consult with a mechanic if you are unsure.

With a little bit of practice, you should be able to use your new jockey shifter to shift gears with ease. So what are you waiting for? Get started on your jockey shifter project today and take your motorcycle riding experience to the next level!

Latest articles


Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here