Happy-Trail.com / McDonald's Products Heavy Duty Folding Shifter Review

Reviewed by Hondo Feb 6, 2007
One of the weakest parts on the Kawasaki KLR650 is the stock gear shifter lever, with many reports of the stock lever failing and stranding riders. Today we'll look at an altenative.

In this review I'll be examining the McDonald's Products Heavy Duty Folding Shifter, courtesy of Tim Bernard of
You can view or purchase the shifter HERE-

Here's the shifter as received from HappyTrail.com-

My first thoughts when picking up this shifter were how stout it felt and the feel of quality. A very solid part!
Considering that stock shifter levers fail at the welds or easily bend, I looked this shifter over very closely-

Other than the splines, the shifter appears to have been through the shotpeening process after being welded. Shot peening is the process of cold working or hammering the surface of a material with small spheres of steel, ceramic or glass media pneumatically propelled at relatively high velocities. These shot particles create a series of overlapping dimples on the materials surface which put the upper layers of the material into compression, and helps to prevent fatigue failure in the material.

The welds and painted finish look very good as well.
Here is a closeup view of the machined splines that mate to the shifter output shaft. The spline are crisp and look well cut-
The spring loaded, folding toe lever-
This side of the lever has a round plate to help prevent punching a hole in the side of the engine case if your KLR650 goes down -
Here's a view of the shifter with the toe arm unfolded and folded-

The bolt used is a Class 10.9 Hardness, Alloy Steel, Quenched and Tempered bolt-




Here's a comparison of the solid steel Happy Trails shifter (top) vs the stock stamped shifter (bottom)-




The welds on a stock 2001 shifter- it's no wonder they fail !




Installation was very simple-

I completely removed the bolt from the stock shifter and pulled it from the shaft. Then I removed the bolt from the new shifter (to apply Loctite) and reinstalled the new shifter ensuring that the bolt is tight.

Here is the finished installation-






What a great upgrade! I highly recommend this for any KLR650 !
I rate the Happy-Trail Shifter at a 9 out of 10 !
  • High quality materials, worksmanship, fit and finish
  • Extremely strong
  • A very easy Upgrade
  • At the current price of $ 24.95 + shipping, it's a very good value
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