Review: Ecliptech Shift I Progressive Shift Light System
As motorcycle riders, the world around us creates incredible challenges. City streets and race tracks each present their own set of unique obstacles. In order to safely arrive home at the end of the day we need to stay focused. Whether we are at the track turning laps or carving up the local mountains we need to keep our eyes on the horizon.
That’s where Melbourne, Australia-based Ecliptech comes in. Ecliptech has devised a product to help us motorcyclists keep our eyes where they belong, on the road. They describe the “Shift I” as “... a shift indicator display that shows you "only what you want to know"”.
Sounds simple, right? But how do we get to that end? Well, through simplicity. The Shift I is unit consisting of seven lights of 3 colors. (Green, yellow, and red.) But why seven lights? Well Ecliptech says it best:
“Extensive testing determined that within your peripheral vision you can instantly and easily recognize how many of the seven lights are illuminated. Any more and you need to concentrate, removing your attention from the road. Any less and RPM trend information is lost. As you accelerate, you will see each light come on, providing a predictable lead up to when the ideal shift point occurs.”
The Shift I lets you program what RPM the first of the seven lights comes on and also where all seven lights flash. We’ll call those “low” and “high” set points, respectively. Ideally you would set the low point to the beginning of your power band. The high point, where all seven lights flash, would be set at the back side of your power band, or even your redline. The lights in between are automatically set at equal RPM divisions.
Inside the package you’ll find the Shift I unit, two adhesive pads, a user manual, and an installation/quick start quide.
Now that we’ve got some background information on the unit lets talk shop. We’ll start with mounting. To assist with mounting the unit, Ecliptech offers the Shift I in a curved model and a straight model. We choose the curved model for our test bike, a 1992 Suzuki GSXR. Mounting is made simple with the use of two adhesive foam pads. Simply clean your mounting surface and stick the unit to it.
Installing the Shift I is nearly as simple as the mounting. The unit has three wires to be connected to the motorcycle; a power source, a ground, and a tachometer signal. Our trusty GSXR shop manual aided in quickly locating those three wires in the Suzuki’s wire harness. The Shift I’s installation manual lists each major manufactures most common wire colors. However, Ecliptech urges you to contact them with any questions.
After double checking our wire colors, we made quick work of the electrical connections with a few ‘quick splicers’ we had laying around the shop. Total installation time was less than 15 minutes.
Getting the Shift I set up was the most time consuming part of the process. The manual states that the unit must be calibrated to the machine it’s connected to. Calibration is determined by what RPM the first light illuminates and by cross referencing that RPM to a table printed in the manual.
Once the proper calibration is determined it’s as easy setting your low and high RPM points. For our GSXR we set the low point at 6,000 RPM, which is where the power band kicks in. The high set point was dialed in to 12,000 RPM, which is 1,000 RPM below redline and also where the power band begins to trail off.
Setting the high and low RPM points, much like the rest of the Shift I unit, is relatively simple. The unit can be set while the engine is running or simply with the ignition turned on. However, configuration will not work if the engine is being revved above 2,200 RPM. Which means you can’t re-calibrate while you are moving.
In theory, the entire configuration of the Shift I should only take a few minutes. However, if the calibration value is not set properly the unit will not function as it should. In our testing we had a bit of confusion in the calibration process. A quick email to Ecliptech remedied the situation. It’s worth noting that, although based in Australia, each of our emails to Ecliptech were answered very quickly and thoroughly, and we were up in running after a couple of email exchanges.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Now that we’ve got all the technical stuff out of the way, let’s get down to business. What you really want to know is it performs in the real world. As with anything new, it can be a bit distracting. Once we got over the initial urge to constantly look down at the unit we could get to work doing what sportbikers do…cutting up canyons. The Shift I does exactly what it says it does, it tells you what part of your power band you are in at a quick glance. Gone are the days of a brief stare at the tach to recognize RPM. The Shift I lets you keep your eyes where they should be, on the road.
After a quick rip through some of Central Pennsylvania’s finest twisties we’ve become a bit more accustomed to the Shift I and have seamlessly worked it into our riding. How so? Well, nothing more than a quick shift of the eyes is required to let you know where you are in your power band. See all green? Keep on the throttle. See some green and a yellow? Give it a little more, but be ready to kick it up gear. See seven flashing lights? KICK IT UP A GEAR! It’s that simple. The Shift I allowed us to eliminate some of the guess work involved with the power band. The different colors and different number of illuminated lights give you instant data concerning what RPM the engine is turning.
TELL ME MORE!
If that were all the Shift I did it would still be pretty useful. But the features of the Shift I don’t stop there. Built into the unit are a number of advanced features, some of which can be pretty helpful.
The most useful of those features is the battery voltage indicator. Voltage is displayed from 9 to
15 volts, each light representing one volt. This feature is an aid to evaluating the state of the battery and detecting problems with the ignitions voltage regulation.
Also included is a “RPM set-point Interval”. The upper and lower RPM set-points can be incremented at 1,000 RPM, which is the default setting. For maximum control, the set-point intervals can be changed to 4000, 2000, 1000, 500, 250, 100, or 50 RPM.
The Shift I also has what Ecliptech calls “Cruise Mode Dimming”. If the RPM has remained relatively steady for 1 minute, the display will automatically dim. The primary reason for including this feature is to prevent becoming too accustomed to the lights (being desensitized) during periods of cruising. When this activates, the display will slowly dim and you may not even notice it has happened. It will stay dim even with slow changes in RPM. However, when a significant change in PRM is detected, the display will immediately return to the original brightness. The time of the cruise mode dimming can also be customized.
The unit is also smart enough to know when your electrical system is in danger. The Shift I has a built in “Over Voltage Alert.” If the voltage exceeds 16v for more than 3 seconds, an over voltage warning is displayed. When this occurs, the display mode is overridden, and the two lighton the far right are flashed. This will still occur if the display is on the off mode. After 1 minute, this warning light will continue although the brightness will automatically dim. Normal operation is restored if the voltage falls back below 16v.
Do you like your lights nice and bright? Perhaps a bit dimmer? Well, the Shift I’s got you covered with it’s “Brightness Control.” The brightness of the lights changes with the ambient light, which maintains optimum visibility. When dark, they go dim, when light they go bright. However, you can customize how bright they are to suit you.
If you’re cruising near a set-point RPM the Shift I can prevent the light from flickering with it’s “RPM Hysteresis.” For example, if the first light is programmed to turn on at 3,000 RPM and the engine RPM is fluttering around that same point, then normally the light would flicker. With RPM Hysteresis, it might take 3,000 RPM to turn the light on, but it won’t turn off until the RPM drops a bit more, for example, 2,750 RPM.
Build quality of the Shift I appears to be pretty solid and made of a sturdy plastic housing.
Installation of the Shift I couldn’t be any easier. 3 wires and you’re done. However, without a shop manual for your machine it may take a bit longer to determine the proper wires that need to be sliced.
The functionality of the Shift I is great for both track riders and street riders. Whether you prefer the road course or the canyons, the Shift I helps you keep your attention where it belongs, on the horizon ahead.
The cost of the Shift I, directly from Ecliptech, is $148US dollars plus $38 shipping. The somewhat steep price of such a simple unit may drive potential buyers away. But if the Shift I keeps the riders eyes on the road more often then it may be worth the coin.
Tech support from Ecliptech is top notch. Being headquarted half a world away didn’t slow their response time down one bit when we had questions. Their contact information is easily accessible from their website. And as for that website, it’s nicely laid out and well organized with plenty of information and pictures.
The Shift I is a great device that does exactly what it says and then some. It’s simple to install and simple to use. And it helps you keep more of your attention on the road. You can’t ask for much more than that.
The unopened package:
Close up of the unit, uninstalled:
3 wires to connect:
A few installed pics:
Shift I Rating:
Visit Ecliptech on the web
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