Quaife 6 Speed gear cluster

Joined
Jun 30, 2012
Messages
10,083
Country flag
I was only repeating what Bruce Verdon told me when I bought the 6 speed TTI from him. We were discussing whether the box would stand up to the Commando motor and he told me the box is a copy of a Quaife 6 speeder. What it looks like from the outside is irrelevant. It could be housed in a rectangular aluminium box and could still be raced in most countries. The Quaife my friend still has is in an ex-works Manx Norton 350, he also had a 5 speed fitted to his 500 Manx. He raced both when he was a top A-Grader in the 1960s. The 500 Manx was sold to the father of an American rider - not Wayne Rainey, the other one.. My friend still has the 350. I always had the feeling that he did not use the 6 speed box in the 500 because it was not strong enough. The 500 was his main steed in a crucial competition and 6 speeds would have really helped him.
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2012
Messages
10,083
Country flag
From memory, my friend's 6 speed Quaife is no wider than a Norton box. The TTI is a lot longer. The width of the gears is important.
 

Fast Eddie

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
12,930
Country flag
The reason TTI put all that effort into the external appearance Al is precisely because many classic racing clubs DO indeed insist on external original appearance for such core items. Same with everything Steve Maney did (his barrels were made to look like Dunstal barrels which were eligible).

If your friends Quaife was too fragile for a 500 Manx then, again, I cannot see how the TTI could possibly be a copy given their reputation as being the strongest gearbox’s currently available...
 

lcrken

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
4,153
Country flag
I think we might be confusing the classic Quaife 4 and 5 speed clusters, designed ca. 1965 to fit in standard AMC gearbox shells with the later 5 and 6 speed units that were sold as complete gearboxes with the appearance similar to the AMC shells, but with differences. The later units came in several configurations, originally with the traditional cam plate shift mechanisms, and later with the rotary shift mechanisms, like the TTI has. This is a snip form a Quaife catalog ca. 2009 showing both the classic AMC gearkit and the latest rotary design. It only lists the gear ratios for the 5-speeds, but the 6-speed I had was
2.06, 1.66, 1.36, 1.23, 1.1, and 1.0.

Mick Hemmings used to be the sole distributor of these for Quaife, but I don't know if any of them are still in production.

Catalog Snip.JPG


Ken
 
Last edited:

wot

Joined
Apr 1, 2012
Messages
56
Country flag
I raced Commandos in the early 80's. Did try a 5-speed borrowed from my '71 810 Dunstall into my '70 race bike. Wasn't worth the effort. Next time the motor came out it went back in with a 4-speed. Bought a 5-speed Quaife for my Manx but never installed it, 4-speed worked fine. The Nortons would really pull out of a corner without high revs, even the Manx, a 500. Later I raced Ducatis, different animals, they had 6-speeds there and needed them.
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2012
Messages
10,083
Country flag
I raced Commandos in the early 80's. Did try a 5-speed borrowed from my '71 810 Dunstall into my '70 race bike. Wasn't worth the effort. Next time the motor came out it went back in with a 4-speed. Bought a 5-speed Quaife for my Manx but never installed it, 4-speed worked fine. The Nortons would really pull out of a corner without high revs, even the Manx, a 500. Later I raced Ducatis, different animals, they had 6-speeds there and needed them.
I found the 4 speed close ratio box was much better than the 4 speed standard wide ratio box. The standard box was appalling - far too slow coming up through the gears. Close ratios help the bike accelerate faster, except off the line during a clutch start. This stuff about not needing a close box if you have a torquey motor is bullshit. Some guys don't know how to use a gearbox to race. You peak it out then stand on the gear-change - how far the revs drop determines how fast you go. If the revs drop too far, you have to wait while you get them back. The heavy crank works well, but must be kept spinning high.
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2012
Messages
10,083
Country flag
I raced Commandos in the early 80's. Did try a 5-speed borrowed from my '71 810 Dunstall into my '70 race bike. Wasn't worth the effort. Next time the motor came out it went back in with a 4-speed. Bought a 5-speed Quaife for my Manx but never installed it, 4-speed worked fine. The Nortons would really pull out of a corner without high revs, even the Manx, a 500. Later I raced Ducatis, different animals, they had 6-speeds there and needed them.
Why does a Ducati meed 6 speeds and a Commando does not ? Do you back-off before changing up on every up-change ? All I do is take the pressure off slightly, then push the lever. And I use the heavy crank. My revs rarely ever drop below 5,500 RPM, even in the slowest corner - peak is 7000 RPM. - 4 speed close ratio.
The gearbox is the most important thing in any race bike - it can help even a slow motor be fast.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
558
Country flag
Derek Minter always said that all the time you were changing gear you weren't putting power down. He seemed to do reasonably ok with a 4 speed box.
No matter what our illustrious non-riding expert says
 
Last edited:
Top