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Thread: Ideas for a would-be rider w no L hand

  1. #1
    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    NW suburban chgo

    Question Ideas for a would-be rider w no L hand

    A new acquaintance who wants very much to start riding has the added difficulty of being born with no left hand. She's a very spunky young woman who's already signed up for the MSF class, but is having trouble finding any help getting a bike of any sort set up to actually ride. She's considered the old Honda-matic, but wisely thought better of getting involved in any sort of restoration. She doesn't really object to scooters, but she needs to be able to ride the exp'y to and from work. She'd really like to have a real motorcycle. Can you blame her!?

    She's in the Chicago area, but I think would travel a bit for some help or a purchase.

    At this point I think she's just searching for ideas; people familiar with the challenge. We just met and I told her the folks on the BMWMOA Forum would be certain to have some ideas and contacts for her.

    Thanx in advance.
    We might as well walk. ~ Adam Guettel The Light In The Piazza
    used to own: 1982 R100T, 1984 R65, 1986K75C, 1997 R1100RT, R850R, K75S, 1978 R100RS... what was I thinking?

  2. #2
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    Wow, that's a big one to fill. But more power to her for the determination to do it. Hope she discusses her situation with the MSF instructor before the class (coming from my experience as a MSF instructor). Which bike is she riding in the class, because none of the MSF approved bikes are automatics in any sense, all have a clutch/left hand. Plus some of the exercises require use of the turn signal controls.

    A question would be, is she planning to just ride inner-city streets or does she also plan to ride the freeways and interstate? Plus, just being the Chicago area is a handfull, let alone a new rider in Chicago, and a one handed rider.

    She may find more inspiration here, a professional one-handed dirt track racer:

    Bikes wise, well. Most are larger that offer a real alternative to no clutch hand: Yamaha FJR1300E (not a good choice for a beginner), Aprilia Shiver 750 (might be ok, has variable power modes), old Honda CB750A (not a good choice, a heavy dog of a vintage bike), old Honda CM400T (smaller version of an automatic bike, not bad if one can be found), BMW 600 Scooter (a fun ride really, got some giddy-up, handles well, I know it does 95 at least from experience, stable in twisties). All bikes include controls on the left grip other than the clutch lever, so other mods are needed too.

    The BMW scooter isn't cheap, but it is feature laden and very capable. The left grip brake could be converted to operate with the right hand brake lever (both brakes all the time).
    Get trained! The best "performance" upgrade you can get is YOU. Visit for training info.

  3. #3
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    south of Los Angeles
    Google "handicapped motorcyclists" - tons of stuff.

    and Lady, Goodonya!

  4. #4
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Braintree, MA
    New BMW scoot has auto transmission.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 And DRAT! Missed the last one in 2015!

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  5. #5
    Registered User tompn's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Oakland Bay Area (Cal)

    Hand challanged

    I have a friend that has a deformed hand and her husband rigged the clutch and brake levers on the good side. I've ridden with her and she does very well. You couldn't really tell there was any differance. I'll see if I can find out more and reply back - don't expect it right away.


  6. #6
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by tompn View Post
    I have a friend that has a deformed hand and her husband rigged the clutch and brake levers on the good side. I've ridden with her and she does very well. You couldn't really tell there was any differance. I'll see if I can find out more and reply back - don't expect it right away.

    I've seen the same success- full size Harley. Clutch and gas on the right- good to go. Good luck on this Gary
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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  7. #7
    Registered User
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    May 2006
    Northern New Jersey
    It can't be just a case of moving the clutch control. I can understand maybe that someone with a deformed hand could exert some type of steering control over the handlebars, but someone with no hand? That smells like a recipe for disaster, kind of like the roller coaster operator who allowed the legless man on, and he fell out to his death a year or so ago.
    "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why" -- Mark Twain

  8. #8
    Registered User kgadley01's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    South Carolina
    I knew a gentleman years ago that lost his entire left arm in a racing accident. He owned two motorcycle dealerships in San Diego, and rode us into the ground. His clutch lever and brake lever were on the right side.
    Lifes too short to ride an ugly Motorcycle

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    Mar 2011
    700 has a optional auto trans, no clutch lever, still has foot brake. Best of luck

  10. #10
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Pismo Beach, CA
    Jump to 0:50 seconds

    There's definitely stuff out there without having to invent it yourself.

    Go to > One Hand One Foot

    search results for "one-hand motorcycle riding"
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
    Lew Morris
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    1963 Dnepr

  11. #11
    100,000+ miler 32232's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Southwestern Ontario
    Quote Originally Posted by t6pilot View Post
    700 has a optional auto trans, no clutch lever, still has foot brake. Best of luck
    The Aprilia Mana and all the super scooters have automatics too. The big scooters are very highway capable and would be good for commuting as they have good weather protection and storage space. There are also 1970's vintage Honda 750 and 400 models with automatics. There are enough choices you should be able to find something for her.

    '06 Triumph Scrambler (Trans-Labrador veteran)

  12. #12
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Marion VA-In the middle of some of the best riding in the country.

    Why not a Maxi-scooter?

    I think a 2008 or newer Burgman 400 would be an excellent candidate for her consideration. They are widely available, dependable and will handle any speed she will ever need. They have a low seat (28") and are very easy to ride with the automatic CVT. The aftermarket has a lot of accessories available for them. The 2008 is basically the same as the new ones other than ABS and color. There is good support through forums and DYI You-Tube videos ( & ).

    Good used low mileage Burgman 400s are available for between $3,000 and $4,000. I would not consider buying a new scooter because they drop in value quickly.

    Don't bash Maxi-scooters until you try them. It took my friend all summer to get me to ride his. I did and bought one the next day. My brother calls it my "girl's motorcycle".
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Manitowoc, Wisconsin
    I have recently read some articles about an old dirt/desert racer who has developed types of prosthetics just for operating motorcycles. I want to say Malcolm Smith, but I don't remember for certain. The devices offered full control of the bike with no mods.
    F.O.G.Rider, Rounder #6,
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  14. #14

    Check out what Mert Lawill is doing...

  15. #15
    Scooter Whisperer
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Boca Raton Florida
    Yes...I am a scooter head

    Don't count out scooters...most Americans just don't understand them. They generally think of little 50cc bikes and not what the rest of the world considers scooters. Scooters are quick, nimble, and many are capable of safely cruising the highway. Plus the storage space blows any MC away

    That being said I would suggest something like a Honda Helix. 250cc, nice cruiser CVT transmission, and foot brake. Maxi scooters like the c6550gt are great but both levers are needed for good braking control. Yes...the front provides most of the braking power...but that 25-30% from the rear sure comes in handy in a jam!

    The Honda motors are pretty indestructible and parts are readily available at reasonable prices.

    Nice of you to help out a friend....but who doesn't like checking out bikes!

    Looking at the other links posted there is some really slick stuff out there. It looks like the hard part may be deciding on which one

    Please keep us updated...I'm really curious to see what the final choice is!

    . don't forget photos!

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