Modified Controls and Adapted Motorcycles – Paraplegic – Amputee

Modified Controls

The thought of an amputee or paraplegic riding a motorcycle may seem impossible. Thankfully this is not true.

There are many modification possibilities that have been designed to suit a rider’s specific needs and allow the safe control of a motorcycle. Perhaps it was a hip replacement or arthritis that made you sell your bike. Well here is the good news, you may need to buy another one.

Let’s take a look at a variety of modified controls, suppliers and engineers to assist in the conversion of your ride.

Modified Dual Brake Systems

Motorcycles registered to be used on the road require a Dual Brake System.

A Dual Brake System consists of separate controls to activate separate brakes. The rider will use their right hand to operate a lever applying the brake on the front wheel, and use their right foot to operate a lever applying the rear brake on the motorcycle’s rear wheel.


A Dual Brake Conversion Kit moves the foot brake control to a hand operated brake lever usually beside the existing hand brake lever. A Dual Brake Conversion will assume the rider has full use of their fingers on the right hand.


Source: klever2

Useful Links: kliktronic



Modified Clutch Systems

Ergonomic and Effortless Clutch Levers can be useful for people with limited muscle strength or arthritis.

I remember riding a bike that made my left hand ache after constantly riding the clutch in heavy traffic. If only I knew about this, back then 🙂

Another option is to first control the clutch and then the rear brake with one lever – awesome!

Now that definitely turns disability into ability.

Here is a great example.


Source: Clake_Clutch

Useful Links: EFM_Autoclutch

Push Button Electric Gear Shifters

Operation of electric switches mounted on the motorcycle’s handlebar, electrically activate an electromagnetic solenoid. This solenoid acts as a rider’s foot, shifting the gear selector on the motorcycle up and down.

The shifter I used while riding a wheelchair accessible sidecar combination was manufactured by Kliktronic.

With my left thumb, I would press the green button to change up a gear, and the red button to change down.

It took me a while to remember to not use my left foot.


Useful links:

The Kliktronic System



Stabilizer Bars & Retractable Trike Wheels

We can all remember adding training wheels to a bicycle while a child is learning to ride.

In the same way, Stabilizer Bars and Retractable Trike Wheels, allow a motorcycle to stop without falling over. As the motorcycle begins to move forward, the Stabilizer Bars retract.

Stabiliser Bars

Foot Plates also known as Running Boards can be modified to suit an individual’s unique needs depending on the disability. Velcro can be used to secure the rider’s feet to the Running Board and used to secure the rider’s knees to the fuel tank where limited muscle strength is available.

With Stabilizer Bars and Running boards, there is no need to place a foot on the ground when the bike stops.

Video Example: Stabilizer Bars in Action

Landing Gear: Adaptive Motorcycles

Landing Gear: Cross_roads_trikes

Landing Gear: Leg_Up

Semi Automatic Transmission (Clutch-less Shift Systems) & Automatic Transmission

If a motorcycle rider has a disability that affects the use of the left hand or fingers, it may be necessary to modify the motorcycle by removing the need to use a clutch. Some Semi Automatic Transmission Conversions use electronics and hydraulics to operate the clutch automatically. Some motorcycles, such as Ridley in the USA and most scooters, have automatic transmission.


There are different types of Automatic Transmission used on motorcycles such as the Semi Automatic Transmission, Continually Various Transmission and Double Clutch Automatic System. Some Automatic Transmission gearboxes use a torque converter instead of a clutch to change gears.

Useful Links: Flat_shifter



Reverse Gear

As most motorcycles are not manufactured with reverse gear, riders are required to use their legs to move the motorcycle backward.

Therefore, modification may be required to add reverse gear for some disabled riders. Some after-market products convert the standard gearbox to include reverse.

There may also be a need for reverse when converting a motorcycle to a sidecar combination or trike. A simple solution would be to add a Remote Control Caravan Mover.


The Caravan Mover is bolted to the chassis of the sidecar or trike/outrider in a location that allows it’s wheel with grooves to roll against the rubber tire.

Having a reduction gearbox, caravan movers are able to move thousands of kilograms and are capable of reversing a motorcycle even on sloping ground at the touch of a button.

As they are sold in pairs, you will have a spare for your sidecar.

Visit the following link to select your own Caravan Mover: Click Here

Prosthetic Aids

A prosthetic hand is useful to an amputee. An attachment is fitted to the motorcycle handlebars.

The prosthetic hand is an extension to the riders limb, that via a quick release mechanism, will control the attachment on the handlebars.


The Mert Lawwill Quick Release Prosthetic Hand:

Useful Links:



Amputee Story

Alan Kempster Racing

Engineers: Disability-Spyder-Roadster-Kit

BF Customs





Share Your Project

Submit Photos and Descriptions of your Motorcycle Disability Story to or comment below. Other builders would be encouraged to hear about your project. 🙂

Together we can make this an accessible world.

The Ability Motorcycles website was created to enable the sharing of information and projects to benefit others. We do not sell motorcycles. If you believe this world should not exclude anyone, and you love motorbikes, then Ability Motorcycles is the place to share that passion.

We like to hear from readers so please leave a comment below and let us know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.

Thank you for visiting Ability Motorcycles. Dave

Sharing is caring!

23 thoughts on “Modified Controls and Adapted Motorcycles – Paraplegic – Amputee

  1. Jamie C says:

    What is the approval process to add a push button electric gear shifter, left hand rear break lever and semi automatic transmission to a motorcycle? The standards are not very explicit to these requirements as long as brakes and clutches on the motorcycle.
    By the way, I am having a hard time finding somebody to do the work in the ACT.

    • admin says:

      Hi Jamie,
      The process is different in each state of Australia. Generally you will need to submit a Modification Application and take the finished project to an inspection site for approval.
      It is essential to have a qualified mechanic/engineer install the controls as safety is the main priority.
      Yes it is difficult to find the right person to perform the work, so it will require persistence on your part.
      Good luck.

  2. John Craig says:

    I am an Occupational Therapist who has worked with several motorcycle riders who have been injured and cannot ride their bike in the normal fashion. I have looked for resources for these individuals. I have help design a trike for a bilateral amputee. I am looking to learn from bike builders what options are available based on disability. Please reach out if you can help me. Thank you.

  3. James Miller says:

    I have my left leg amputated guys and want to keep riding. I ride my Harley fine with heel shifter, but would love to ride my dirt bikes. You have any ideas? Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi James,
      Perhaps the following website has an option that you may adapt for your off-road bike.
      In the menu you will find DMR Products & Adaptions.
      I hope one of those products will be helpful.
      Glad to hear you love riding regardless of the obstacles.
      Have a great day.

  4. Jonathan Reintges says:

    Looking for a conversion to move the front brake to be moved to the foot pedal due to problems with arthritis in fingers. A dual conversion to foot control on a 2009 Ultra Classic. Any help would help.

    • admin says:

      Hi, I have not found a product available to be purchased to achieve this.
      The closest I have found is the hand operated gear change.
      I personally think a local engineer would be able to plumb your front brakes to work with the current rear brakes to operate front and rear brakes with the existing foot brake lever.
      It certainly wont hurt to ask them.
      An issue you may find is that the engineering firm may refuse to modify your ride due to licencing authority in your country.
      If you find an engineer willing to take on the task, a Modification Application and Approval can usually be approved due to disability.
      Please let us know the outcome and feel free to share some photos when your ride is complete.
      Have a great day.

    • Brian Shuster says:

      My name is Brian Shuster. I just came across your website. I lost both of my arms above elbow 10 years ago. I just barely started driving again. I like riding bikes , Mountain bikes etc. The only problem is I need help with attachments. So please if you can give me guidance it sure would be appreciated. My phone number is 215 600. 9646. .THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME

    • Ben Jacobson says:

      This is for Eric about the throttle question. I have successfully changed three dirtbike throttles to the left side with the tradition twist towards the rider like it would on the right. If that works I can walk him through that.

      I am however looking to get a Harley, I’m going with an 06 Because it still uses a “fly by cable” rather than the new wired throttle assembly systems. Has anyone changed a Harley throttle to the left side with the tradition twist direction? Also Looking for any good suggestions with control switches. I’d like a rocker turn signal, start, stop, horn all on the left.


  5. Tyler Johnson says:

    That’s a good idea to get a caravan mover for your trike. I would think that would be fairly easy to do while converting it. I’ll have to keep that in mind if I turn my motorcycle into a trike.

    • admin says:

      Hi Tyler, I was actually suggesting this for a sidecar combination, however as you suggested perhaps this idea could also provide reverse for a trike conversion. Thanks for your input. If you do follow the idea to reality, you are more than welcome to share some pictures/videos with Haul N Ride. Have a great day. Dave

    • admin says:

      Hi Donald,
      You will need to obtain a Modification Assessment Quotation from a suitably Qualified and Certified Fabricator/Engineer. This is necessary as the current foot controls (the foot brake and the gear change) are located where you would like to add a pedal.
      If the rider still has use of the left hand, a Push Button Electric Gear Shifter can be added to the left handlebar and the Pedal Accelerator could be added to the left foot plate in exchange of the gear shifter.
      Here is a post you may like to read:
      Good luck and please let us know how you go.
      Have a great day. Dave

  6. John Kenneally says:

    Hi to you fine folks
    :I have recentlybought my son and myself trail bikes . Just before his 3rd Birthday Declan lost all his fingers on his right hand,now an ll Year old , with a dirt bike, This kid lets nothing stand in his way He is left with his Thumb and a partial on his index betweenfirst a second knuckle,to this point I have adapted brakes on his pushbike . As this is my first dirt bike far many years -I am a road rider , we shall join the local club. . I have had 2. mates begin projects for me ideas mainly, trial a error would be okay if it were fore me andildlike to call upon your think tank …. because he is keen as mustard. And there is no point reinv9eting the wheel. I was only reinventing the wheel. Any thoughts ideas. pictures. manufacturing are sincerely appreciated.
    Thanks for doing what yoda.
    Look forward to hear ing from you.We’re registered, seems difficult getting funding for this though
    You may Know of some precedents

  7. ariel says:

    Dave, this is the most hopeful and inspiring post ever! As one who spent years in a wheelchair, the idea of this kind of freedom was always so close to my heart. I love the idea that nothing stops us, except ourselves. And with all these adaptive options we just need to ask for the ignition key!
    Great post, so much thorough research. I love this article! Many thanks for doing this. I am sure you will get so many people feeling like their world just opened wide. And I hope there are financial options to help people afford this changes?In peace and gratitude, ariel

    • Dave says:

      Hi ariel, I am very pleased this article has encouraged you. I have begun a webpage to list organizations that assist with funding. You will notice on that page that we received funding to assist with our wheelchair accessible sidecar project for my daughter. You can see our story here: For people that love the freedom motorcycles provide, there is no excuse with modification of the motorcycle. Thank you for your comment. I hope you have an awesome day. Dave

      • Aaron says:

        Hi! Im so glad I found this site. I am a right AK(above knee) amputee. I lost it due to a drunk driver while riding my motorcycle. Anyway, I would like to ride again but I can’t right now due to obvious design needs.

        I have some questions and ideas. My father cannot ride his Victory anymore and I wanted to know if anyone had ever heard of a left side, heel, brake pedal?

        He has steps/ platforms so there is plenty of room. I just need to switch the brake lever from the right toe to the left heel position.

        I also need to have an electronic magnet release on the right platform so that I can attach a metal plate to the side of my prosthesis on the foot part so that my foot will stay in place and on the platform while riding and then I can flip a thumb switch to release it when I have to come to a stop and put my feet down.

        Has anyone ever heard of anyone else who maybe has already made these or a manufacturer? If not, are there any engineers out there that can help me design them, because I know that I cant be the only right, AK amputee motorcycle rider out there.

        Im actually going to school for engineering now and I took a solidworks class but I am definitely not able to design it myself. I know what needs to be done and I could definitely do it with a little guidance and help.

        I also think both would be great sellers because you have to be able to shift your weight while riding so you need something that will hold the foot part of the prosthesis in place and handle loads without releasing but it is vital that you be able to release it when needed. That’s where the small electromagnet comes in.

        I haven’t been on a motorcycle since my amputation and I would really love to be able to get back out there and I don’t have enough money to buy a spider three wheeler due to being unemployed on disability , and a full-time student.

        If anyone out there has any ideas or can point me in the right direction or help me I would be very grateful. Thank you and God bless!

      • admin says:

        Hi Aaron,
        My first idea is to remove the need to put your feet on the ground when you stop.
        You say you cannot afford a Canam Spyder, however there is a more affordable option.

        Installing a Leg-up to your Victory will allow you to velcro your prosthetic in place removing the need to put your foot down.

        That’s about all I can offer because I agree you need to locate a very clever engineer to design linkages from your rear brake to the opposite side of the bike with a heel operation lever.

        I am glad to include your comment on Ability Motorcycles and I sincerely hope a clever qualified person reads this and can offer you some expert help.

        My suggestion is that you reply below my comment stating the city/country in which you live.

        That will allow engineers near your location to assist you.

        They may email Ability Motorcycles and allow me to forward their contact details you to begin the process.

        I am so glad you desire to get back on the bike and truly hope you find a speedy solution to achieve this.

        Have a great day.

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