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Translogic quickshifter – iS4 Intellishift

Quickshifters… what are they?

A quickshifter is a nifty little gadget which enables you to change gear without backing off the throttle, so you keep it pinned and simply nudge the gear lever and the clever electronics sort out all the black magic so the next one can be engaged.

Why do you want one?

A number of reasons:

  1. Quicker lap-times due to minimising the time not at full power while changing gear
  2. Smoother through-the-gears wheelies
  3. Funsies
  4. Because all the newer bikes have them & you feel left out

I wanted one for a combination of #2 and #3.

About Translogic Systems

translogic is4 intellishift quickshifter

Boxed electronic goodness

Translogic is the leading technology supplier to both OEM and after-sales market segments and their products feature in virtually every championship in the world, including Moto2, Moto3, BSB, and WSB. They have been involved in aftermarket race performance accessories for 17 years and have accumulated a wealth of experience which has allowed them to become the world leader in this space.

They have enjoyed great success both on and off the racetrack with their world-renowned quickshifter systems. Aside from quickshifters, Translogic also makes a range of other electronic gadgetry awesomeness, including some things way too technical for me to understand, like sensors using in-house strain gauge technology, gear position display products and tiptronic Powershifter push button shifters. Crazy stuff!

The iS4 Quickshifter

Translogic’s unique Intellishift Quickshifter features MotoGP seamless shift simulation and adaptive-shift-technology. It’s impossible to fully replicate the seamless shifting from MotoGP as this is made possible due to the design of the gearbox and a quickshifter on its own cannot replicate that or make the gearbox do things it wasn’t designed to do. The Translogic quickshifter simulates a seamless MotoGP shift as closely as is possible given the limitations of the gearbox of a standard road-bike.

iS4 Quickshifter fitted to Honda Fireblade

As fitted to my Blade

It also includes Pro-Tuner-Mode which allows you to change sensor shift force and interrupt durations at different engine RPMs, making it a very user-friendly and customisable piece of tech.

One other key differentiator is their unique AST (Adaptive Shift Technology) feature. This is designed to make the quickshift capable of operating at low to mid RPMs and without this, gear changes would be snatchy and clunky until you were higher up in the rev range. This unique feature is one of the key reasons factory race teams choose Translogic.

Is it complicated to fit?

Not at all. Especially not for me as I had mine fitted while my bike was being serviced and having a new chain and sprockets fitted by Scott at SNS Motorcycles. But by all accounts, they are very straight-forward and are essentially plug-and-play with no complicated setting up required. You can, of course, spend time adjusting the timing but I’ve not felt it necessary to mess around with the standard settings since having it fitted – it’s been perfect straight out of the box.

So… what’s it like?

Road riding

The first time I rode my bike after having the iS4 fitted was really interesting as I’d had a few new bits on it, as well as switching to race shift, so it felt like a completely different bike. I had a Brembo master cyclinder and smaller front sprocket fitted at the same time so the braking & acceleration were massively improved. Because so much was different, I thought I’d take it easy for a while so naturally I pulled out of the SNS workshop (which is in a country village a few miles from Gatwick) and rode quietly through the village until the national speed limit sign. Then I fucking nailed it.

Most quickshifters are intended to be used when at full throttle. The idea is you are absolutely pinning it and use the quickshifter to change up without you backing off the throttle, meaning fractions of a second are saved every change. However, a really important part of the design process for Translogic was to build a system which was usable on the road as well as flat-out on the track, and this is why the Adaptive Shift feature is so useful.

As a result, it’s a phenomenal bit of wizardry and makes you giggle like a maniac when your head is down, you’re pinning it & changing gear without backing off!

Low RPM gear changes

The iS4 is such as well-designed gizmo that you can pootle around and change up at low revs without backing off the throttle. Changing at low revs seems ever so slightly slower than at high revs but at no point does it feel like it’s too long or clunky or anything other than silky smooth.

I deliberately spent quite a while putting the iS4 through its paces which involved a series of gear changes at varying speeds through the box. I wasn’t able to upset it at all, even when holding a steady throttle at 4,000rpm and changing up quickly all the way from 1st to 6th. Regardless of the engine speed, the Translogic smoothly interrupts the power to the gearbox for a split second when you nudge the lever, just as long as is necessary to engage the next gear, and then it’s straight back. I’m not technical enough to give a detailed description but my vague understanding of something that sets Translogic apart from other makes is that it uses electronics to cut the power enabling the gear change, rather than simply earthing it as others do, which is a much cruder way of accomplishing it.

Fireblade at Jerez with quickshifter arm showing

My Blade at Jerez showing the quickshifter arm from the Gilles rearsets

Wheelies

The iS4 makes through the box wheelies soooo much easier. I typically start in 2nd as excessive 1st gear wheelies were the cause of me blowing up an engine. Also, the first time I wheelied in 1st and went to quickshift up into 2nd, it went into neutral instead meaning the bike slammed the front down & I smacked my balls on the tank. Which wasn’t ideal. This was most likely caused by either iS4 has been specifically designed to shift perfectly from 1st to 2nd. However, as neutral is in between, you still need to rotate the barrel enough to select 2nd. I will get my lever adjusted and see if this stops it happening.

Once you’re up, keep the front high and then you can snick through the gears as you accelerate. It’s awesome!

On track

My first (and, so far, only) trackday with the Translogic was at Jerez in April but we have Cadwell and Oulton coming up soon.

On track, flat-out, is where the iS4 really shines. It’s designed as a performance/racing product as is absolutely sublime on track. I have no idea what difference it made to my lap times – probably none, or at least an unmeasurable amount as I’m not fast enough and consistent enough to be lapping within 1/10th of a second every lap. As I hadn’t been to Jerez before, my lap times were dropping most sessions as I became more familiar with the layout so the biggest changes came from my riding improving.

But that’s missing the point. Yes, of course a quickshifter will mean slightly improved lap times but unless you’re racing, this is irrelevant.

The point is that it feels awesome to be hammering down the start/finish straight, throttle pinned wide open, and not backing off at all while you change through the gears before flying underneath the iconic UFO and braking for turn 1.

I wasn’t racing… but I felt like I was!

What do they cost?

The cost of a Translogic quickshifter varies from bike to bike but expect to pay £360-£380 + vat. It isn’t the cheapest on the market so might not appeal to everyone, but the higher cost is more than justified by it being more technologically sophisticated than others which makes it much more user-friendly.

Verdict

This is a fantastic piece of kit. It’s added a whole new element of fun to riding my bike and I now wouldn’t want to go back to a bike without one. The Translogic is just so smooth at any revs that it feels completely integrated with the bike and it’s hard to believe it wasn’t part of the original design.

Is it an essential bit of kit for any sportsbike rider who isn’t racing? Probably not. But it’s an incredibly fun one and I’m absolutely delighted with mine!

For more information, visit the Translogic website.

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