Lawwill Lends A Hand

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Have a customer who wants to ride, but needs to find the appropriate prosthetic device to allow he or she to grip the handlebars?

Hall of fame racer Mert Lawwill may have the perfect solution with his quick release handlebar attachment for both above and below elbow amputees.

After a career-ending crash in 1967 that cost him his arm, Factory Harley-Davidson team racer Chris Draayer called on his teammate, Lawwill, to build him an adequate prosthetic hand for riding. Lawwill built a single prototype prosthetic that carried Draayer through eight years of riding and racing without incident.

Since then, Lawwill has fine-tuned his original design and now produces the device in collaboration with DKG machine shop owner Dave Garoutte. Well known for fabricating products for the bicycle and motorcycle industries, DKG has been in the business since 1978. During the initial development, Draayer had tested many prosthetics and determined that a physical attachment to the bike provided the greatest stability. He also realized the need for a release mechanism. Thus was the concept for Mert Lawwill's original Quick Release Handlebar Attachment featuring a ball and socket design.

The actual hand piece is a ball, which snaps into a socket attached to the handlebars. The ball releases from the socket when a "ramp" on the hand piece puts pressure on the surface of the socket and mechanically forces itself out. Six individually adjustable detents within the socket allow the rider to determine how much release pressure will be required to detach from the handlebars and at which points.

The hand piece and handlebar attachment are CNC machined from hard-anodized aluminum and feature a hollow, heat-treated, stainless steel ball. Weight is additionally reduced through extensive detailed machining. Range of motion is adjustable.

Left- and right-handed prosthetics for below-the-shoulder amputees are available, as are additional sockets in case the rider wants more than one bike outfitted.

Converting A Machine
For left amputees, the clutch lever will need to be relocated to the right handlebar. If the clutch is mechanical (cable) this is best accomplished by placing the lever slightly below the front brake lever (the front brake lever can be raised slightly to aid placement as long as it can be reached effectively while riding). If the clutch is hydraulic, the lever cannot be inverted and necessitates the relocation of the stock lever below the front brake lever. Installation is best accomplished by positioning the lever on the back of the handlebar (facing the rider) so that it can be depressed with the thumb (sometimes this necessitates the fabrication of a bracket specific to the motorcycle). For both the mechanical and the hydraulic clutch, a longer cable/line might be required.

For right amputees, the throttle and the front brake lever will need to be repositioned to the left handlebar. Repositioning the throttle shouldn't necessitate any special parts — with the possible exception of a longer throttle cable. If the front brake is mechanical (cable), repositioning it to the left handlebar simply requires remounting it above the clutch lever (or beneath, if preferred). If the brake is hydraulic, the lever cannot be inverted, as is necessitated by relocation of the stock lever above the clutch lever. Installation is best accomplished by positioning the lever on the back of the handlebar (facing the rider) so that it can be depressed with the thumb (sometimes this necessitates the fabrication of a bracket specific to the motorcycle). For both mechanical and hydraulic brakes, a longer cable/line might be required.

Lawwill asks dealers to contact him directly for ordering information.