What Is the Harley Shifting Pattern?

The shifting pattern on Harley-Davidson motorcycles is “one down, four up” (or “one down, five up” for six-speed bikes). In other words, the first gear is located below neutral and all higher gears are found above neutral on the shift lever.

Most Harley-Davidsons are five-speed motorcycles, meaning there are five gears in total and four above neutral (a “one down, four up” shifting pattern). Some models are six speeds, which are the same but for an additional sixth gear at the top of the shifter (these have a “one down, five up” shifting pattern). Neutral gear is always located between the first and second gears on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, allowing the rider to shift to neutral from either adjacent gear. Higher gears are found above the second gear, and all gear shifts must take place in sequential or reverse-sequential order. The rider cannot shift from first gear to third gear, for example, without first shifting into second gear.

Harley-Davidson shifting patterns always follow this model, whether they use a traditional shifting mechanism, which consists of a single lever used to upshift and downshift, or a heel-toe foot shifter, which allows the rider to upshift with their toe and downshift with their heel.