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MF Review: Craven Speed Short Shifter & Shift Well Cover

For those interested in the Craven Speed short shift kit, MF Garage Night contributor Ken Endres Just recently installed the short shifter and optional shift well cover in his MINI and gives us the following review.

So you want a quick shift and in style? Craven Speed has the answer. It’s their, adjustable, short shifter.

Craven Speed is a well designed and great looking piece. Adjusting the throw is easy and well engineered. You simply turn the collar at the base of the stick and that enables you to go from Sunday smooth to Track Day quick in seconds.

The short shifter accepts your stock shift knob or you can purchase a custom knob to complete the package. You can also have Craven Speed put your favorite logo or the car name on top.

I was interested in the Shift Well Cover and I’m glad I asked about it because it too is a cool custom piece. It really shows off the shifter with style and (as seen in the picture above) can even be engraved with just about anything you like. I was taking a test ride with an SA and it was the first thing he noticed when he entered the car. “That’s cool” were the words he used to describe it. I have to agree.

Installation of a short shifter designed to replace your stock stick is a bit more involved than other designs but it does the job even better than the original. However I would search the web before you start as the included instructions are good but fall short on a few steps when it comes to removing the stock retaining ring and shift lever.

I installed the shifter the night before a drive and used the shortest setting for the day. This is my first short shifter and I have to say the adjustability is truly an asset.

If you get tired of the short shift setting you can go to a stock throw or, any where in between, in seconds. If by chance someone unfamiliar with a short shifter is going to drive your car, you can set the shifter back to a stock setting with no tools just turn the ring and pull up on the stick.

While the Craven short Shifter is generally a great addition to any car, there are two suggestions that I would make that would set this apart even more from the competition. One; offer an alloy wrench as an option then allow owners to order their name or car name etched onto the handle. Two; offer an even shorter version of this adjustable shifter for the driver that wants the ultimate in short shifters but, will still allow less experienced drivers handle the short shift with ease.

I’ve seen shorter shifters and if Craven offered this particular design in an even shorter length with (a similar adjustment range) I think they would corner the market on short shifters for MINIs.

For fit, quality and style I give the Craven Speed short shift kit a Motoringfile grade of 4.0. Its well made, great looking, and a fantastic improvement in feel over the stock set-up. Not bad for only $170.

The short shifter is available from Motoringfile sponsor Craven Speed for $169.95.

[ Short Shifter ] Cravenspeed.com

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Written By: DB

  • GZ

    What exactly does a short throw shifter do? I have one in my car now (it was an otion I selected) but since I’m not a gear head track guy I’m a little unclear.

  • VMMVMMM

    What dealership offers a short shifter kit as an option?

  • Micah

    This is essentially the same design as the Alta SS, with the addition of a collar that is adjustable by hand to change the length of the shift throw (vs. three small allen bolts on the Alta). I can tell you that from my experience with the Alta SS (installed by Randy at Webb Motorsports) that it greatly improves the feel and shift action of the stock shifter. Once you do it, driving a Mini with a stock shifter kinda sucks in comparison.

    BTW Ken I don’t think the piece can be designed to offer a even shorter throw because of clearance issues with the exhaust heat shield…

    Y’all should also probably know that installation is no joke, and made significantly easier with an overhead lift — therefore I would recommend for any but the most competent home mechanic that you have a professional like Randy do the install.

  • Ken
    BTW Ken I don’t think the piece can be designed to offer a even shorter throw because of clearance issues with the exhaust heat shield…

    Point well taken, I should have been more specific. I meant that if the shifter handle above shift well could be shortened it would give another option. I have seen other shifters with this design and it is dramatic but there could be a market for it. Just a thought.

  • GZ

    VMMVMM. The car I mentioned is not a Mini.

  • agranger

    I like the idea of a short shifter and the hand-adjustable collar is a great feature, but I’ll have to disagree w/ the author about the look of the CravenSpeed plate. To me, it screams of the ‘Fast and Furious’ set… immensly UGLY! I realize that it’s a personal preference thing and if the racer look is what you want, this is it… it just doesn’t work for me at all.

  • Jon

    I love the shift well cover. I even asked for one for Christmas.

    I have always loved the metal gates in Italian cars like Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s, and this is a way to get that basic look and feel in our MINI’s. I applaud CravenSpeed for thinking outside the box, and developing an option that isn’t just another leather bag.

  • http://www.dickdavid.com dickdavid

    I like the idea of the Craven Short Shifter, but it does look a little ‘naked’ or just ‘skinny’ like a Tim Burton character.

    I do like the idea that the shift well cover can be custom engraved.

  • GZ

    I agree with GRANGER. To me it looks like the cover was ripped off and broken. Jack Skelington-good call DD.

  • RoccoRocket

    Not a great shot but a look at an original. http://classiccore.com/images/sand1.jpg

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Just to be clear – the metal shift well is totally optional. If you don’t like the look you can simply get the short shifter and use the stock shift boot.

  • Ken
    Just to be clear – the metal shift well is totally optional. If you don’t like the look you can simply get the short shifter and use the stock shift boot.

    Craven Speed includes a replacement wire tie to use your stock cover/shift boot. You can still make adjustments by lifting the bottom of your stock cover to get to the lock ring.

  • InfiniteDomain

    My only issue is that streak of orange sticking thru. I love orange… but something looks broken or missing. Love the plate tho. Guess I want my cake…

  • roccorocket

    It’s really red. It looks better in person.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    It’s really red. It looks better in person.

    I’ll second that.

  • http://www.gominigo.com GoMiniGo

    Ken, you can adjust the collar without lifting the boot cover by simply grabbing the collar through the stock shift ‘leather’ and giving a slight twist. Works quite well. I would not want to do it a thousand times that way but it does work.

    GMG

  • joey drama

    my friend just took a hacksaw to the shift nob on his GTi 1.8T- get it short shifter. he told me people really do that. is this true?

  • Ken

    my friend just took a hacksaw to the shift nob on his GTi 1.8T- get it short shifter. he told me people really do that. is this true?

    While this approach might be true for your friend he is not getting a measurable gain of a engineered short shifter. The connection point of the shift cable is changed or moved further away from the pivot point of the shifter. I found the following on the web.

    In physics the product of a force by its effort arm is called a moment of the force; the general conclusion known as the principle of moments states that equilibrium is established when the sum of the moments of the forces acting in a clockwise direction is equal to the sum of the moments of the forces acting in a counterclockwise direction. It is possible, as a result, to overcome a very large force at a short distance from the fulcrum with a very small force at a great distance from the fulcrum.

    The original shift lever uses the later of force, using small force a greater distance from the fulcrum. This gives you a larger shift pattern or movement of the lever. When you install a short shifter the fulcrum is moved and the force required effect the cable is greater and thus the pattern is smaller or shorter. The feel of a short shifter is more precise but it takes a little more physical effort.

  • http://www.mini-mods.com.au Kevin Baker

    I’m quite a fan of the shift gate, but I think you need a better knob to give the best look/feel – a Whalen on there would look fantastic!

    I’m wondering what my Alta short shifter that I’ve been running for years would look like with that plate – will have to pull up the trim and have a look what she looks like underneath. I really don’t like that the adjustment is viable.

    Oh, and I’d also have to change those Phillips head screws to some nice polished chrome cap heads or similar.

  • Toby

    I just bought on online yesterday. where can i find a better installation guide? any suggestions?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kellen.craven Kellen Craven

    Came across this old review, I wanted to pass along that the Shift Well received an update a while back. Now, there are no screws on the top, it looks very clean, and is available for all manual transmission MINI models.

    CravenSpeed Shift Well Cover


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