May 16, 2013

One More Of Us – David Hyland takes to the road.


I am missing my right arm from below the elbow from birth and recently decided it was time I learnt to ride a motorcycle.  I purchased a Honda Varadero XL125 and set about adapting the bike to suit my disability.

The modifications carried out to the bike were very simple to do but like everything that is not ‘stock’ it takes time to iron out the details but finally, last week, I was riding a motorcycle on the open road for the first time.

To allow me to ride the bike I had to move the throttle and front brake over on to the left hand side.  The throttle was a simple matter of bringing the twist grip over to the opposite side and modifying the cable receiver at the grip to reverse the throttle cables so the grip accelerated when twisting the throttle towards myself.

The front brake was moved over to the left by using a Wheaver thumb brake, which is a very tasty bit of machining and looks very well on the bike.  I fitted a banjo bolt with a hydraulic switch integrated into it at the master cylinder to allow the brake light to operate when the front brake is used.  There is no place on the thumb brake to easily fit a brake light switch without modifying the lever.  The banjo bolt hydraulic pressure switch allowed a brake light switch to be fitted with no changes to the lever.

I also had to machine a clutch lever as with the throttle being over on the left the switches had to move over and this left the original clutch lever fouling on the throttle cable housing. I tried a straight clutch lever and this certainly fixed the clearance issue but it also left me with a very long reach for the clutch lever, with the thumb brake on the left as well this was not going to be acceptable for me.  I looked for a long time for a clutch lever that would suit but in the end I machined a clutch lever to suit.  This gave me a closer reach and also cleared the switches and throttle cable housing.

I was very pleased with the finished adaptations to my bike and would like to thank the NABD for their assistance and guidance as well as the grant, which has allowed me to start this new challenge.

If any one would like details on how the throttle direction was reversed or the clutch lever was created I would be glad to offer the experience I have gained doing it myself.  My email address is

David Hyland

This NABD grant of £400.00 was sponsored by donations in memory of Joe Smith