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Sherpa T Shifters


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Sounds like an election year question, eh?

I'm getting a serious jones for a Sherpa, but I already have 4 different shift/clutch/throttle configurations in the herd, and another just might send me over the edge.

Actually...I no longer have a right-foot shifter, so, in some sick way, it might round out my "collection".

I do have a left-hand throttle that's good for some very scary moments because the right grip twists too (spark control).

Anyway...I know all street bikes had to shift on the left starting in '75, is this the case for offroad stuff, too?

I also know that it was a quickly-made rule that caught even HD by surprise, and their first couple years of left-foot shift involved a lot of linkage, and were a misery.

So, another part of the question is...are there any early left shifters that are to be avoided?



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My 1979 model 199A is left foot shift as was a friend's 1978 model 199. Both were equipped with a spline shaft on the right side as well (shifter shaft runs through the transmission) There is a also brake pivot mount on the left hand side of the frame.

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Left side shifting on Bultacos worked well from the beginning in 1975. The shifter shaft being extended through to the left side is a good design. The shift action is best if you use a rigid steel shifter as sold by Sammy Miller. The ultra lightweight aluminium shifter which came with my LH shift Alpina was a bit springy for my liking.

As far as Sherpa models to watch out for, I seem to remember a mid 1970s model Sherpa that uses the old style rear hub with brake and sprocket both on the left and a bowden type cable coming from the RH brake pedal. This is a pretty dodgy arrangement because it reduces sensitivity for the rear brake. Alpinas, Fronteras and Pursangs from 1975 had rear hubs with brake drum and sprocket on opposite sides so the RH brake had a simple rod back to the brake arm. I don

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  • 4 weeks later...

As stated the left hand gear lever appeared on herpa in 75 - with gear shaft running right through the cases - spline protrudes each side - so you can choose if you wish gear lever left or right.

This arrangement continued right through till the end.

Also correct that steel gear lever gives far better feel than the rather springy alloy one - however - when you inevitably clout a large rock - the rather long/curved left hand lever - unlike the alloy one -it usually does not bend or break - but it is quite common to actually bend the the gear selector shaft.

If you do find the gearchange rather stiff on any Sherpa after 75 - this shaft is well worth checking - fairly easy to remove from clutch side - and can usually be straightened in a press ( check on lathe or with clock beteeen centres)

Once the gear lever went to the left - there was of course the problem of getting the brake cable over to that side - and the solution of an up and over cable was not really that good. You do need to keep a good - well lubricated cable - to have even the slightest chance of a worthwhile/feel ok brake.

The Sherpa never had the arrangement of brake drum on right - they achieved it with Pursang & Frontera by use of a mighty big hub - which would take the sprox on either side - but this large hub is not realy realistic for trials - so you are stuck with the right brake - horrible cable set up.

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I was at a store the other day and a fellow walked up to my van because it has Bultaco slapped on the sides, he gave me his number and told me he had a 74 sherpa 350 for sale and a spare parts bike asking

$1200 US for both, I said I would pass the info on.

Location Gresham Oregon.

James Lucas, ph# 503-936-7291

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Thanks for the list Mr D. Now i know i'm a senile old git but what are lever perches and how will reversing them be of benefit? Also what actually were the Commerford suspension mods? interesting list though. One last thing my 199B has a cable back brake, i know they all do, and i've never found a problem with it. Am i missing something? Once i had the drums back and front relined and skimmed to match the radius of the brake shoes (important that as a lot of shoes for older bikes currently available are not the same radius as the lining in the hub) both ends perform really well. will be looking to emulate some of your mods. Looking forward to the "electronic ignition" Dave Renham is promising. that should really be a benefit. :rolleyes:

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OTF has beaten me to it with thanks, but thanks from me too!. Lots of food for thought there.

OTF, "lever perches" is just the American term for the bits that clamp to the bars and your handlebar levers pivot on!. Anyone who rides a Bult soon finds out that as standard the flanges for the screws are perfectly positioned to take your knee cap off, especially if you use your right leg for starting and you like the timimg slightly advanced!.

Never had a problem with the ignition points set up myself although it does repay lots of time spent on careful setting, so electronic ignition will hopefully be a fit and forget item.

I saw a neat conversion to Hebo footpegs on a Sherpa at the SSDT last year,pic attached.

PS It was a 1976-ish 250, on sale for


Edited by trialscot
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While I've got you guys talking about Bultacos...

I was just visiting a buddy who has an '75-ish Alpina that has a stuck engine.

The previous owner gave the classic "it ran when I parked it".

I didn't have the time or tools to tear it down, but he has been dumping a considerable amount of various oils in the sparkplug hole, and it all disappears overnight.

I guess the oil is going past the rings in a place where they aren't rusted to the bore, but does anybody have any other ideas about what else in this motor could stick from sitting outside?

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