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Friday, December 17, 2004 - 08:21:26 AM PST

by Guy Caputo, Dragbike.com

Tech Series: Muzzy Air Shifter Kit Review



It was a warm summers evening with just a hint of humidity lingering in the air. You could feel that slight sticky feeling on your skin as swat another mosquito and then suddenly the buzzer goes off in your head. That's right, it's time to open the garage, get the bike out and go for a ride. 

You feel just a little on edge and you know how calm you'll feel when motoring down the highway and feeling the wind on your face and the sounds of your motor humming along as you put your machine through it's paces in traffic. Down shifting then up shifting then down shifting then up shifting and all of a sudden it hits you, BAM! I FEEL the NEED…. the NEED for SPEEEEEED. 

Of course you realize that the only safe and legal place to do this is at your friendly local racetrack (I'm supposed to write that). I am very lucky to live here in Toledo, Ohio where I have not 1, but 2 really great tracks close by. Milan Dragway in Milan, MI. and Norwalk Raceway Park in Norwalk, OH. Today is Friday night and I opted for the Saturday morning test and tune. I've been dying to take the new 2001 Hayabusa out for a jaunt there's no time like the present to strut its stuff. So I pack up my trusty leathers and grab my noggin bucket (helmet) and away I go. 

Milan is a really great regional NHRA racetrack and inexpensive to boot. For as little as $20 I can get about 7 rounds in and have a great time with my friends who are also trying to better their skills. The Busa is one slick bike, no…wrong word to use. The Busa is one ass-kicking, adrenalin-pumping, blood-rushing race rocket that wants very badly to KILL you if you give it even the slightest chance to do so. 

The Hayabusa is not a bike for the inexperienced or the weak of skills on a motorcycle. If you do not have this behemoth under tight control every minute that you are on it's seat and you aren't paying every bit of attention to your surroundings, it will KILL you dead, dead, dead. 

Now that I have your attention as to it's abilities, let me finish my story. I get to the track and take this bad boy up to the line. I do a very short and easy 1st gear burnout. I roll up to pre-stage and light my first bulb. I slowly roll into the stage light and then down comes the tree. I leave on the bottom yellow and cut a .590 bulb. Not bad for my first outing but now things get hairy. I wasn't expecting second gear to come up so fast and I hadn't gotten my foot up to the peg to be able to foot shift second. Damn…. bumped the rev limiter, shifted into second and after that all was smooth. 

I knew right then and there I had to fix this problem of mine called "podia-snailius" otherwise known as…slow foot. It's a terrible affliction for those of us over 40 and probably a lot of you under 40 as well. After I got home, I immediately went to my computer and got on to the Dragbike.com website and looked for an answer to my problem and there it was prominently displayed on the product page. The Muzzy Air Shift Kit. I just had to have this kit and I had to have it now! 

Now there's no denying that I only put the best I can find on my bikes, always have and always will. The Muzzy Air Shift Kit arrived a couple of days later and when I opened it up, there it was in all its glory. A complete, nothing else needed, everything you need to install, air shift kit. 

At this point some of you are already asking yourselves, what the heck is an air shift kit? Basically, it's a device that is connected to your foot shift lever and when you push your horn button, the motorcycle shifts in to the next gear. You don't have to let off the gas, you don't have to hurry and get your foot up, and you don't have to do anything except push the horn button. It's that simple and that easy. 

Unlike other air shifters that require you to continually keep the air tank bottle filled, the Muzzy Air Shifter kit can give you up to 800 shifts on a single fill for the ZX-12 kit and up to 400 shifts with the Hayabusa kit. You simply fill the high-pressure bottle supplied with a few ounces of CO2, Nitrous Oxide or Nitrogen. 

The shift kit comes with a high-pressure aluminum bottle, a pressure regulator, 4-coil adjustable kill box, shift solenoid and shift valve. All the electrical items needed are supplied and easy to connect. I installed the kit on my Hayabusa in 2 hours. I spent a little extra time because I took off the rear cowling also because I really wanted to hide the harness cable deep in the framework so that it was not seen at all. I'm also a little anal when it comes to my Busa and bolt on kits. I want everything perfect, so I spend extra time with every little detail. 

When I first opened the kit from Muzzys, I emptied out the box and laid everything out on the bench. I gazed upon the pictures that were supplied with the kit and said to myself, "Piece of cake" and away I went. 

Mounting the high-pressure tank in the rear seat area was way too easy because the billet mount bracket was a perfect fit along with the 4-coil adjustable kill box, it mounted just where it was supposed to be with some sticky tape. The electrical harness seemed straight forward enough, but here is where I turned left instead of right. I took it upon my self to pretend to know more than the Rob Muzzy did when it came to running the harness, so I removed the rear cowling to get to all the nooks and crannies of the rear framework so I could hide everything very neatly. 

Once I finished and reinstalled the rear cowling, I found that I didn't need to take it off to begin with. That was a wasted 20 minutes and I could have scratched the cowling trying to take it off and reinstall it back on, again I should have read the directions first. 

I mounted the arming on/off switch on the lower bolt of the clutch reservoir mount where I figured it went. There was no picture for this part, but it seemed like the appropriate place. After a phone call to Doug Meyer at Muzzys, he confirmed that I had installed it in the right place after all, and that, had I read the instructions I would have known not only that, but that I didn't need to remove the rear cowl! 

I didn't like how the cable ran from the switch through the handle bar wiring, so again, I took it upon myself to think I knew more than Rob Muzzy. Mistake #2. I tried to bend the wires from the back of the switch to make a right angle so it would ty wrap easier to the harness where I wanted it and then it happened, BAM! I broke the switch. 

Now I'm pissed, so it was time to actually read the directions that were supplied with the kit instead of just looking at the pictures. Had I read the directions to begin with, I would have known where to route the cable properly and how to hook up the wires properly. Oh, did I forget to tell you I hooked it up wrong too? Well I did. 

Nothing happened and that was the point, nothing worked. Pictures are great, but I recommend that you read the supplied, very well written (in layman's terms), English language directions. Every time I think I know it all, someone sends me something to write about that humbles me. READ THE DIRECTIONS first before trying to assemble. After that, the rest of the kit was a dream to install. 

At the present time, this air shift kit is not offered for a stock exhaust Hayabusa. In other words, if they get enough requests for this kit for a Hayabusa with a stock exhaust, they will reconsider it. But don't let that stop you for those of you that want a shift kit for a Hayabusa with a stock exhaust. Buy the kit, save the supplied mount plate (because you will need it when you do get a pipe) and try using this method of mounting the air cylinder. 

The kit is way awesome, no air pump to install, no stopping and filling up with air every time you want to use it, just flip a switch and your air shifting. Now how cool can that be? There's no denying that having an air shifter will gain you a quite a few hundredths off your time, maybe even a few tenths if your foot shifting is a little on the slow side. This most awesome kit will allow you to shift in as little as 50 milliseconds. Milli means 1000ths, so 50 milliseconds is 50 thousandths of a second. Try doing that with your foot. 

Now really, how can the mechanics move so quickly? Well actually they don't but your motor does turn off for 50 thousandths of a second so that the shift lever can complete the shift while the motor is not under power. That's because of the use of the 4-coil adjustable kill box supplied with every kit. It's the kill box that is actually adjustable down to 50 milliseconds, but doesn't it sound cool when you tell someone that your bike will shift that fast and all from the horn button. 

There's no wiring to cut, no soldering, no crimping no nothing. Just remove a couple of wires from a connector and reconnect with the Muzzy harness and your done. No pain, no heat shrink, no tape, just a clean looking install that can easily be removed of you ever sell your bike. 

The air shift kit harness plugs into all the components with a separate plug and hides away nicely in your rear cowl compartment. You can still use the second seat with this install, nothing is impaired absolutely nothing, well maybe your brain for wanting your Hayabusa to go even quicker than it already does. There you have it, and if anybody didn't already catch it, I ride a black/silver 2001; Muzzys pictures were better than I could have taken so I used them instead. I did sneak in the picture of my old air cylinder mount to show you how to mount the Muzzy shifter for a stock exhaust system.

Racer Net $599.95
Part Number MZAS-K12 (ZX-12) MZAS-S13 (Hayabusa)
Soon to be available for the ZX-9 and GSX-R1000 

Muzzys Performance Products
62910 Peerless Ct.
Bend, OR 97701
www.muzzys.com
Phone 541-385-0706
Fax 541-382-9406


Until Next Time, Safe Racing to All
Guy Caputo can be reached at Guy@dragbike.com


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