Howdy, gentlefolk. There was recently a thread elsewhere about paddle shifter extensions from a small 3D printing company - https://www.shiftkoncepts.com/
This is a review of those - a first
TL;DR - I like them, they work well, and the carbon fibre reinforced version with matte carbon fibre front wrap matches the OEM interior pretty well.
Upfront disclosure - no affiliation, financial or otherwise, with the company. Also, given that I learned about them elsewhere, noting the history and the ridiculous link banning there, I will post a review there as well. This is the first though!
As a longterm "proper" manual driver with an interest in track days, I prefer the principle and execution of fixed paddle shifters, as I think that someone of my relatively mediocre ability should choose the appropriate gear before corner entry/exit and carry it through.
However, I have relatively small hands (perfectly fine anatomy elsewhere, before the inevitable Trumpian jokes flow ... see what I did there ?) - and my only minor gripe with my 2016 GT-R, which is the first paddle shifted vehicle I've driven, was that I wished the shifters were longer, comparable to ones I've seen on Italian competition (but NOT, interestingly, on the most well known German competition, which has similarly sized paddles to the GT-R - perhaps no coincidence there!), to allow my fingertips to select gears across a broader range of wheel positions.
I acknowledge and emphasise the obvious - that this is highly unlikely to ever be problematic for someone daily driving on the street or the dragstrip.
I am aware of some putatively high-quality replacement shifters. When these have been reviewed elsewhere, there appear to have been significant headaches documented in getting them to fit and function in all circumstances.
I also happen to like the engagement feel of the stock shifters, and have not experienced any jamming or play in hot ambient temperatures.
It is my opinion that Japanese OEM hardware (certainly in the case of Toyota, and I believe the same applies to Nissan) is generally very robust, and where possible, I prefer not to f@(k with it. So these paddle shifter extensions presented themselves as a potentially elegant solution to a very limited problem. They also had the bonus option of easy reversibility. Needless to say, they were considerably cheaper than true replacement shifters.
I am a low key kind of guy (says the person driving a highly distinctive vehicle, but I digress ...), and prioritise form and function equally. To me, the ethos of the GT-R is such that I wanted carbon fibre reinforced paddles, in a matte carbon fibre wrap to match the OEM interior - https://www.shiftkon...ant=30097671940
My comments below apply to this specific paddle shifter variant, but hopefully the principles apply to all variants of these shifters.
They arrived rapidly despite being posted internationally, well packaged, and installation was a breeze.
My initial impressions are favourable. Obviously I've only driven with them on some limited back roads rather than a true track test, but they do not negatively impact the shift feel, and appear to fulfil their brief exactly - to provide greater paddle surface area.
The CF-reinforced shifters are obviously very lightweight, but feel very sturdy. The additive manufacturing process appears precise, with no discernible variation in dimensions between L and R.
The matte carbon fibre wrap on the frontal aspect is close to the OEM weave pattern and precisely applied, with no overhanging edges.
The rear surface is, I think deliberately, left with a rough finish especially at the top and bottom portions.. To my mind, this is perfect - sweaty fingertips should still have adequate purchase. I imagine they could be improved further to the taste of some people by wrapping the rear surface in a similar rubberised material to the stock shifters, or indeed applying the same carbon fibre wrap as applied to the front.
Lastly, as a concession to vanity - in my opinion, they look pretty badass
Can they be improved? I think this is a minor detail to me, but it would be cool to have the option to customise the front section with "+" and "-" decals. This would be pretty easy to retrofit, or indeed have engraved.
Edited by shombre, 10 October 2016 - 01:38 AM.