What’s the Best Way to Achieve Optimal Gear Shifts with a Short Shifter in a Honda Type R?

April 19, 2024

For the uninitiated, the term ‘short shifter’ might seem like arcane car lingo. To those acquainted with the performance auto realm, however, it’s a term synonimous with increased control, precision, and swift gear shifts. A short shifter, as the name suggests, reduces the ‘throw,’ or the distance your hand needs to move to change gears. This leads to more efficient and quicker shifting, allowing you to maximize your Honda Type R’s performance. This piece will delve into how to achieve optimal gear shifts with a short shifter in your type R, looking at aspects such as shift knobs, bushings, and how your stock settings can be improved.

Understanding the Honda Type R’s Stock Gear Shift System

Before we discuss the advantages of a short shifter and how to best utilize one, it’s essential to understand the regular, or ‘stock,’ gear shift system in your Honda Type R. The stock system uses a standard shifter length and throw. The ‘throw’ is the distance the shift knob travels while shifting from one gear to another.

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In a Type R, this throw is engineered to provide a balance between comfort, control, and speed of shifting. However, for those seeking a more performance-focused approach, or simply a different tactile feel, a short shifter might be the answer.

The Short Shifter: A Game Changer

So, what is a short shifter, and how does it make a difference? A short shifter is a direct replacement for your stock gear shifter. It is designed to reduce the throw, thereby allowing for faster shifts. This is particularly useful for performance-focused driving, such as track days or spirited road driving.

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You will notice that with a short shifter, your Honda Type R’s gear changes feel more precise and quicker. The Acuity short shifter, for instance, is well-regarded in the industry for its quality, precision, and improved feel.

Shift Knob Selection: An Important Consideration

It’s worth noting that the shift knob can play a significant role in your shifting experience with a short shifter. The shift knob is, after all, what you physically interact with when changing gears. Therefore, it’s crucial to select one that feels comfortable in your hand and suits your style of driving.

There are multiple options available in the market, and personal preference will greatly dictate your choice. Some prefer the weighty feel of a stainless steel knob, while others prefer the lightweight, tactile sensation provided by an aluminum knob.

Bushings: Enhancing Your Shifter Feel

When discussing optimal gear shifts, it’s impossible to ignore the role of bushings. Bushings are small, usually rubber or polyurethane components that are a part of your car’s suspension and shifter assembly. They play a critical role in reducing the vibration and noise transmitted to the cabin from the driveline.

Upgraded shifter bushings are often stiffer than stock ones, reducing the amount of slop or play in the shifter assembly. This results in a more direct, tactile feel when changing gears, which complements the short shifter well.

Fine-Tuning Your Short Shift Experience

Finally, remember that a short shifter is just a part of the overall shifting experience. The way you use it, the other modifications in your car, and your driving style will all contribute to the final outcome.

For instance, if you have upgraded your Honda’s engine for more power, you might need to adjust your shifting style to keep up with the increased performance. Practice makes perfect, so spend some time driving with your new short shifter, getting to know the changes in feel and response.

Remember – a short shifter won’t automatically make you a better driver or faster on the track. It’s a tool that can enhance your driving experience if used correctly, but it ultimately depends on your skill and understanding of the vehicle. With the right configuration and practice, however, a short shifter can certainly help you unlock new levels of performance and enjoyment from your Honda Type R.

Shifter Cable Adjustments: Essential for Optimal Performance

When discussing achieving optimal gear shifts with a short shifter, it’s important not to overlook the role of the shifter cable. This component communicates your shift selections from the shifter to the transmission. In a Honda Civic Type R, this is typically a robust and reliable component. However, with the addition of a short shifter, some adjustment may be necessary.

A shifter cable that is incorrectly adjusted can result in inaccurate gear changes, with the potential for grinding or missed shifts. On the other hand, a correctly adjusted shifter cable will work seamlessly with your short shifter, providing smooth, precise gear changes.

To adjust your shifter cable, you’ll need to undertake a few steps. First, ensure your car is in neutral and that the clutch is fully disengaged. Next, locate the shifter cable—usually found connected to the base of the gear shifter—and adjust it as necessary. Remember, this is a delicate operation, and it’s recommended to seek professional help if you’re unsure.

The Impact of Installing a Short Shifter on Driving Experience

Once you’ve installed your short shifter, adjusted your shifter cable, selected your preferred shift knob, and upgraded your bushings, you’re all set to experience the benefits of a short shift system in your Honda Civic Type R.

Short shifters can significantly enhance your driving experience by providing quicker, more precise gear changes. This can contribute positively to your overall control of the vehicle, especially during spirited driving or while on the track. By reducing the throw, a short shifter can help you change gears faster, allowing you to keep your focus more on the road and less on the gear lever.

However, it’s worth mentioning that the installation of a short shifter won’t instantly transform you into a more skilled driver or ensure faster lap times. It’s merely a tool that, combined with your driving skills and understanding of your vehicle, can contribute to improved performance.


The Honda Civic Type R already provides an impressive driving experience straight from the factory. However, for those seeking a more performance-focused drive, the installation of a short shifter can certainly help. It reduces the throw, allowing for quicker and more precise gear changes.

The process also involves the careful selection of a comfortable shift knob, upgrading to stiffer bushings, and perhaps adjusting the shifter cable. All these components work together to enhance your driving experience.

However, remember that the short shifter is just one part of the equation. It does not automatically make you a better driver or faster on the track. The key lies in understanding your vehicle, practising with your new short shifter, and fine-tuning your driving skills.

With the right balance of equipment, knowledge, and practice, you can certainly unlock new levels of performance and enjoyment from your Honda Civic Type R. The short shifter is indeed a game-changer for those seeking to enhance their driving experience.