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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I never really took note before, but was just looking at the thread on the 350 ipotesi (lovely, makes me think of a melting bullet) and noticed that the rear brake and shift lever are reverse to any of the old Japanese bikes I used to ride :confused:.

When did MV switch over to a right brake, left shifter design? Which was the first model to conform to the new configuration?

Ah, just an edit after noticing that reverse controls were common form on Italian bikes at that time, but still curious as to what forced them to conform.
 

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Confusion

From all the tid bits of crap that I read & store in my memory, I think the US regulated that all motorcycle had to have gear shift on the left of the engine in 1974/75 - so obviously if you wanted access to that market you had to comply - of course for the Japanese that was already the standard .

The 750 America was made with a left side shift (road pattern - 1 down - 4 up) whereas the preceeding 750 sport was a right hand shift. The last of the smaller MVs the 350 Ipotesi & the 125 sport (baby America) remained right shift reverse pattern (1 up - 4 down) until sold out I believe the very last of new ones being sold in 1980!

What has always puzzled me is why are motorcycles the opposite to cars? I mean if you drive a manual car where they drive on the right side of the road the shift is in you right hand & of course the opposite on the left side of the road, you change with you left hand. Now given that the vast majority of the world drives on the right side and all manuals are right handed why are their bikes left footed? Perhaps the Japanese do rule the world after all and the rest of the world should move over to the "proper" side of the road ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think you're on the money there MVista. From what I've read it sounds like the Federal decision was made based on the Honda's of the time. I was a bit shocked to find that they'd set a regulation that would force every other manufacturer not from that little island, including their own domestic manufacturers, to "switch sides" in order to meet DOT approval for sale in the US.

I don't think the LHD/RHD was in it at all since the British manufacturers also used to use right shift. The right hand shifter does make sense for flat track, ice, and dirt track racing, since they're mostly/all left turn tracks and with left shift it puts the lever almost uselessly close to the ground.
 

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A lot of British & Italian bikes had right side 'race' pattern gear changes as it was faster (quicker to push down, accelerating, than to lift up, decelerating and on brakes plus advantage of changing gears when bike is leaned over more). At a guess the right side being the more dominant side for most people meant that the major controls for going fast, throttle, hand/front brake and gear changes, were on the right side although it may have also been a technical issue for some engines. In 1975 the US decided that all 'stop/go' (brakes and throttle) should be on the same side that is the right side and as the US market was where the Italians believed the money was they adopted the right side foot brake. Not quite sure why the standard gear change pattern is 1 down, the rest up which is a slower change. I think most GP riders have race pattern, the exception being Chris Vermuelen who had road pattern on his race bikes.
 
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