What is a Reversing Gearbox in a Motorcycle Engine?

Written by lina schofield
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What is a Reversing Gearbox in a Motorcycle Engine?
Reversing gearboxes allow motorcyclists to go in reverse. (motorcycle image by Bionic Media from Fotolia.com)

Most stock motorcycles do not go in reverse. There is an option for motorcycle owners who commonly encounter the need to go in reverse. A reverse gearbox built into the transmission alters the counter gear enabling the reverse function.


The reverse gearbox differs from normal transmissions by spinning both the main shaft and counter shaft in a clockwise direction when the gear is activated by the shift lever. This causes the counter gear to rotate in a clockwise direction, in turn putting the motorcycle in reverse.


The ability to go in reverse serves as a safety feature by providing the driver with more control over which way the motorcycle goes in the event of an emergency or collision. Additionally, having the option to reverse is a matter of convenience. Reversing enhances overall maneuverability and makes getting out of tight parking spaces much easier.


Some manufacturers offer additional options on the reverse gearboxes to ensure driver safety. Locking mechanisms can be added to the gears to prevent mishaps when switching gears and between forward and reverse, some reverse gearboxes already have this feature built in.

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