ShortCut: None Taken

Our ShortCut shift plate is precisely engineered for the best available shifting experience.

Preface: The SURE ShortCut was designed to improve upon the OEM transmission shifter assembly; by relocating the shifter cable mounting point closer to the center of the gear selecting input shaft, we create a shorter shift throughout all gears.

Let's examine the product further!  When we sat down to discuss this project (literally on our shop floor with a transmission), we saw numerous ways we could make this shift plate happen.  We wanted our ShortCut to be as close to factory as possible while optimizing performance and drivability.  What we ended up with was a product engineered specifically for Mazda vehicles that will outlast and outperform any design constrained by off-the-shelf parts.  The ShortCut was designed from the ground up by Mazdaspeed enthusiasts.

We chose a high-tolerance, CNC design to ensure the highest level of strength, performance, and drivability.  Machining the ShortCut from a solid block of 7075-T6 aluminum makes for a very strong, compact shift plate design - that means no fastened pieces to break loose from shifting or engine vibrations.  Collectively, ShortCut shift plates have accumulated an estimated 45 million miles of use on the road and track since their introduction in June, 2011.

Static Study: The images above demonstrate a finite element analysis (FEA) on the ShortCut.  The simulations show fixturing, amount of force, direction used to shift gears, fatigue locations, and factor of safety.  Our analysis used a cyclical motion for 40 million cycles (one cycle represents two shifts, a 'fore' and 'aft' shift motion).  The amount of force required to shift gears first through sixth is 10.0-12.5 lbs.  This analysis used a value of 25.0 lbs of force per shift.  This FEA shows a ShortCut after 80 million shifts.

The minimalistic design of the ShortCut has a very precise fit with the factory components.  We used our mobile Romer CMM (coordinate measuring machine) to get critical dimensions of the Shortcut and the space the ShortCut occupies inside the engine bay.  Our plate interlocks with the factory spherical ball joint and uses the two OEM bolt locations to fasten the plate to the factory gear selector bracket.  Installation is seamless - see for yourself.

The spherical post on our ShortCut requires a custom CNC cutter to make the ball joint identical to OEM specifications.  It fits the factory cable socket just like the factory ball joint does.  You like details?  So do we.  Notice the wider base of the ShortCut post - this increases the strength of the post without interfering with the clearance of the factory cable socket. 

The ShortCut plate slide-locks into place at the original spherical post.  The rigid locking design does not allow flex of the plate and minimally affects the energy as it travels through the shift plate.

To ensure the highest level of shifting and to keep a factory feel, our ShortCut keeps the ball joint as close to the original horizontal plane of the factory ball joint as possible.  If we were to extend the height of the spherical post, it would disrupt the energy used during shifting and also cause unwanted stress on the cable at the cable cradle.  Check out the low profile spherical post on the ShortCut!  How low is your spherical post?

Graphical representation of the disruption of energy with the use of a shift plate. 

The closer the ball joint is to the center point of the vertical gear selector shaft that enters the transmission, the shorter the shift will be.  However, if it gets too close, the rubber shift boot around the cable will contact the vertical gear selector bracket.  We hug this line to get the shortest, most fluid shift we possibly can.  Some would say to just raise the spherical ball joint, but that breaks cables and disrupts energy, making for a poor shift.

Directional collapse towards passenger side of vehicle

No directional collapse

Directional collapse towards driver side of vehicle

Our shift boot promise: The expanding and collapsing action of the factory shift boot varies from vehicle to vehicle.  The directional collapse of the shift boot determines how close the boot may come to the vertical gear selector.  We promise the SURE ShortCut shift plate will not interfere with your shifting or negatively affect your shift boot.  We guarantee every SURE product and are committed to satisfying our customers.  If you'd like to discuss your fitment with the SURE Motorsports team, please email

Did you know?  Regardless of the shifting components used, Mazda synchros do not like fast shifting.  The faster you shift, the more difficult it becomes to ensure proper engagement.  Professional Mazda drivers are taught to shift with control, rather than with speed.  If you feel you are having trouble shifting into a gear (e.g. second to third), try focusing on control.

Shifting with a ShortCut is faster because it is shorter, allowing for a safe shift speed, ideal for your Mazda synchros; no one likes to miss a shift.  Zoom-Zoom, my friends. 

Article by Cullen

From prototypes to final product

2010-11 design (left) compared to current design (right)

In July/August 2011, a design change was made to the ShortCut.  To read about this warranty upgrade, visit the ShortCut Warranty Upgrade page.

Product page: SURE ShortCut

Posted on February 13, 2014 .