Helical Technology News




Johnson Engineering
100 Blake Road
Denver, IA 50622
(319)984-9299 fax

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January 28, 2006

Price Reduction On All Drive Kits

Major price reduction on our complete selection of TwistGear, SportGear, and WideGear drive kits! Check out our Products and Prices page to see changes.

American Rider Sounds Off On TwistGear

american rider“This (TwistGear) change, by moving the engine's vibration range to a higher road speed, gave us a machine that could be operated at higher speeeds without getting into the bike's teeth-rattling vibration range.”

Just in time for summer cruising, American Rider's Chris Sindoni takes the mystery out of the secret behind TwistGear's phenomenal success at transforming solid mount shakers into Barcoloungers, while still retaining boulevard acceleration that'll sure get you noticed. Chris' step-by-step in-depth installation sequence in an off-the-shelf softail clone provides plenty of closeup detail into the inner workings of a five speed tranny, before and after, and why it's a lot better after than before. Chris also does a great job at explaining why ratios have had to be pretty much left to chance before TwistGear was developed, along with the negative side effects changing only the final or primary ratios can initiate.

Stating that, “...the big stroker motors get into their vibration range as early as 2,400 or 2,600 rpm, which can correspond to a road speed as low as 50 or 55 mph,” Sindoni goes on to explain the side effects on the lower gears caused by changing final or primary pulleys and sprockets. And just for the record, the author's preferred ratios for this project are: 25/36 primary, 34/65 final, a tad taller than stock ratio that provides for lower cruising rpms, without giving up first through fourth acceleration.

Now in the subscription pipeline, on newstands soon, or you can check out their website at www.riderreport.com.

IronWorks Gets Twisted!

ironworks cover“Never saw anything like it.” Check out Kinetic Engines FL TwistGear close ratio installation. Learn why we say it'll snatch the black off Georgia asphalt when we try to dyno a torque reading at Milwaukee's All Pro Powersports. V-twin gearhead guru Pat Adamek twists the wrenches of our bagger turned beast. The July, '03 issue just hit the stands with a complete rundown on just what it takes to get TwistGear into your Harley, and the editors take you through the tranny overhaul where you'll also find additional performance oriented tips and insider tricks for making sure your conversion is as good as it can be. Readers also get a look at the major differences between conventional spur (straight) cut gears, and our full helical replacement gear sets, and why helical is superior to the traditional, and outdated, grandfather's gear design.

Although installed in a stock FLTC, the same results are achieved with our Wide and SportGear versions. Want to get out in front and stay there? Read more in our archives. You can also hit IronWorks web site at www.ironworksmag.com for more info.

SportGear TSB: Speedo Sensor Crunch

In certain instances, the Buell/Sportster electronic speedometer sensor may be knicked by SportGear's main gear, due to a slight difference in OD between SportGear and OEM. We're tooling a .086" spacer to be included in future kits. If you think you have a clearance problem, either space the sensor or contact us for a spacer when they become available. (Thanks to Dan at Lakeshore HD, John at Hoban's, and Dave at Waterloo HD for their help in solving the mystery.)

Price List Update In Library

Revised price list with complete transmission assemblies, new oil seal p/n's, new seal installation tool, and new 4-speed spacer and seal combination. We've also posted our TwistGear system instructions, listing the steps involved in installing TwistGear, WideGear, and SportGear, or our triple lip seals.

Did You Know?

WideGear is the only kit on the market that fits Twin Cams and delivers the performance of a close ratio. If you bought a frame or kit that accomplishes tire clearance with a transmission spacer plate, forget it. The only way to offset a TC tranny is to haul the engine along with it, and that gets ugly AND expensive in a hurry.

Complete Trannys Available! New Seals and Spacers!

We now offer completely assembled, ready to drop in five speeds, in both conventional (TwistGear) and extended (WideGear) flavors. Our transmissions are based on H-D OEM, featuring high contact ratio gears and proven factory quality. See our price list or download our retail price sheet and order form for pricing.

The ultimate in tranny seals for both four and five speeds are loaded with tricks...like automatic bore locking for five speeds, nitrided super tuff surfaces for both, and a nifty O-ring right where you need it for four-speeds. The heart of both our seal systems are the installation tools we developed to make sure they go on straight and secure, eliminating one of the primary causes of premature seal failure: misaligned installation and seal tearing or nicking.

First, four-speed builders get a unique use and toss tool that solves the problem of O-ring tearing, and thus sealing, over the shaft. Second, our improved seal for five-speeds features a self-locking housing, better tension in the seal spring, and a unique self-squaring tool that can also be used with OE and other aftermarket seals. We'll have pix up soon, along with full tech sheets for download and printing in our PDF library. In the meantime, check our updated seals and spacers page.

Bandit Machine Works

While there we hooked up with John Magee, owner of Bandit Machine Works, and long known as one of the premier designers and manufacturers of street and strip driveline products for v-twins. You know John's work by his success on the strip, and he's of special interest to us because of our commitment to high quality and uncompromising content. We're turning to Bandit for their expertise in belt drive technology, as the interest in WideGear coupled with open primaries continues to surge. Bandit's the go-to source for those items and everything else between the tranny and the engine.

We're also looking forward to a nifty series of options we'll introduce that will involve using primary ratios for both BTs and XLs to optimize the performance gained by our helical close ratio products, especially when it comes to managing the huge torque generated by the conversion. More later.

Meanwhile, Way Out West

buckPhoenix Cycles, out in the beautiful rain forests of Vancouver, British Columbia, phoned the other day to let us know that head wrench Buck Buchanan (in photo) was getting ready to stuff in a big inch Merch, his third engine since installing TwistGear in his personal Road King back in '01, over 100,000 miles ago. Says the tranny's just fine, thanks, and is doing a trapdoor bearing replacement “just because”. Phoenix' owner Ted Gordon is, understandably, enthusiastic about TwistGear's ability to turn mild-mannered baggers, otherwise disguised as run of the mill grocery haulers, into pavement gobbling monsters after a Twist install. (It's all about having a true relationship with a real close ratio.) Ted, Buck, and the crew at Phoenix are doing the first install of our improved 5-speed oil seal, and we'll have step by step photos in a few weeks.

Rider Friendly Web Sites

We've hooked up with am thndrbk clubamericanthunderbike.org to tap into their vast Buell knowledge and information base. If you're into v-twin street fighters, these guys are as extreme as they come. If it's Buell, it's there. Stop by, register, say hi. We've also partnered with Matt and Debbie Purdy, who run trojan horseTrojan Horse in the UK. If you're a Bueller in Merry Old, you'll want to look them up — Matt thinks SportGear might be just what the doctor ordered for those Euro gearing blues. We say make our's Guiness. And as long as you're hanging out, visit the UK Buell Enthusiasts Group, where the intrepid Buell Branditos hang out in cyberspace with visions of Foggy yelling out, "Hey, wait for me!" Okay, that's a stretch. But it's a nifty place to learn how it's done across the pond. Finally, if you haven't already, be sure and check out the Sportster Home Page atsportster.org Sportster.org, a well organized address that takes dirt biking seriously. There's lots to learn, and if you've ever felt, well, a little left out just because you're so not into hearing any more yak about how swell TWO CAMS! are, you'll find plenty of company to swap stories and hang out with.

“Six-Speed Performance — Without The Price!”

power performance

Power & Performance

In Cycle World's 2001 special publication Power & Performance, tech editor Bruce Fischer noted that TwistGear has, “...the benefits of the extra gear...without all the expense,” calling it “...an option worth contemplating.” In a sidebar to a special section on six-speed trannies, Fischer included comments on both TwistGear and WideGear, ably explaining the tech advantages of both in very understandable terms after having installed our kit in a customer's Magna Charged softail. The goal? Quicker acceleration. The result? A lot quicker, smoother, lower rpms when cruising and, in the conversion referenced, the built in quality and strength to stand up to a blown 95-incher.

ER pr


Venerable biker mainstay Easyriders took exceptional notice of WideGear in June and July, '02, also featured our breakthrough kit in sister publication V-Twin. The TechTips spotlight pointed out that installation can be done without removing the engine or tranny. Update: since this info appeared, we've replaced the billet ST transmission spacer with a high strength cast component that's a real beauty, ready for polishing, painting, or plating.


Canadian Biker

Check out Canadian Biker's take on TwistGear after they install TwistGear in their 89-inch '94 Police Special set up for long haul cruising.

They've Gone "Hog Wide" North of the Border!

dyna 240 finishOur Canadian neighbors virtually started the Fat trend, and this drop dead Dyna features Metzeler 240 skin driven by our trend setting WideGear extension, with exclusive close ratio helical gearing. Our standard kit is equipped for Softails and includes our brand new cast transmission spacer. Dynas still use a two-piece spacer, but a cast replacement is in the works. The results speak for themselves. Clean, uncluttered, and looking like a factory special order instead of an aftermarket mod that's just not right. If you've hesitated to give up the classic looks and handling of your exposed shock ride but still want the latest in wide, this is the look for you.

We also got some good reviews from Sussex Engines up in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. Their customers who've made the leap and gone "Hog Wide" couldn't be happier. If you'd like to ask them yourself, contact Ken Powell in Sussex, NB, at (506)432-6606, fax (506)-433-2720.

Offset, Alignment, and Close Ratio Performance


If the rubber on the left is in your plans, then you need to check out our WideGear primary extension system (below) for the ultimate in fat conversions. And the only performance system for Twin Cams!

widegear trapdoor

We hear reports daily from dealers and individuals around the country of wide conversions gone expensively wrong, usually in connection with drivetrain offsets, but not excluding material shortcomings in quality control. What many builders may not realize is that it only takes a small amount of offset to seriously alter a bike's handling, usually not for the better. And weird handling doesn't even take into account the additional metalurgy required for transmission component strength when it comes to taking the pounding strain of a megatorque v-twin whacking and chunking away at the gears via a longer mainshaft. Though perhaps not the cheapest method of achieving that fat look everyone wants, extending the primary side components is the best way to avoid disturbing your handling or performance after a wide conversion. (For Dynas and TCs, it's the only way.) Check our WideGear page for more info onspacerour convenient WideGear close ratio trapdoor assembly. It sure makes the job of converting to a wide look a lot simpler, along with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your parts are perfectly engineered and designed for proper fitment and years of comfortable riding. Combined with our exclusive new lightweight and heat-treated ST cast spacer (right), bulletproof 4-point bearings, fantastic triple lip oil seals, and space age seal spacer, you'll be assured of having the finest components in the industry funneling the power to the pavement.



SportGear™ and TwistGear® are trademarks of Johnson Engineering, Inc. Buell™, Dyna™, and Sportster™ are trademarks of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. No affiliation with the Harley-Davidson Motor Company is implied or inferred.