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  #1  
Old 12-08-2014, 08:06 PM
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Zillon Zillon is offline
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Thumbs up Review: Raceseng Slammer Shift Knob

To me, the 2013 JCW GP is as close as you can get to perfection in a MINI without getting your eyes wet. I do realize that I may be in the minority here, as not everyone can handle a daily driving experience with what is essentially a Mini Cooper crossed with a GT3 RS… but with its razor-sharp handling, quick reflexes, no back seat, and raucous exhaust note, this car is basically tailor-made for yours truly.

However, in the 5 months of GP ownership, I have realized that there is but one imperfection: The stock shift knob. While attractive in form, particularly with the Chili Red insert and stitched leather finish, the stock knob tips the scales at a paltry 6.4 ounces, or 181 grams, or… only 0.4 pounds. This lack of mass makes the stock shifter feel unmotivated and overly notchy at times, which can be a little discouraging when spiritedly charging through the gears.

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Luckily for me, one path I had managed to cross in my automotive adventures was that of Jarrett Seng. You may not know Jarrett, but perhaps you’ve heard of his company: Raceseng. Since 2005, Jarrett and his father, Glen, have designed and manufactured a wide variety of race car components under the Raceseng name, though the passion for motorsports that drives this company can be traced all the way back to 1957 (read more about the Raceseng legacy, right here). Lately, the FR-S/BRZ/GT86 platform has been on the receiving end of Raceseng’s razor-sharp focus, and their products have proven to be extremely popular and well received by enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. Of particular note is Raceseng’s participation as a featured sponsor for the Speedhunters.com FR-S that won the 2014 Scion Tuner Challenge at SEMA this year (more info on the build, here).

Click the image to open in full size.

Why all this talk about the FR-S? Okay, okay. I’ll cut to the chase.

Way back in April, long before the thought of jumping into the GP had even crossed my mind, I happened to see a post pop up on the Raceseng Facebook page: They were in search of an R56 MINI with a manual transmission for development purposes. Even though I still had my GTI at that time, my girlfriend (now fiancee) happened to pilot a row-your-own R56 MINI Cooper, as seen below.

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So, I did the logical thing: I reached out to Jarrett to see what exactly was needed. After some discussion, I found that he had developed an adapter to fit the Raceseng line of shift knobs to the R50 and R53 MINIs, and he was curious to see whether the same adapter would fit the R56 MINI as well. Since I’m not exactly right in Raceseng’s backyard, but I happened to have the car he needed and a digital caliper, I offered to save him some time and money and record the measurements he needed. Ultimately, what we discovered, is that the R56 platform would need its own adapter.

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Fast forward to September: After a few months of GP ownership, I decided it was time to do something about my featherweight shift knob woes, and by this time, Jarrett had wrapped up development on the R56 adapter. Given my previous involvement with the development of the adapter, it was only natural that I fit a Raceseng knob on the GP. The only problem was, which one? After discussing my plans with Jarrett, he mentioned it would probably be best to take a day and stop in and sample the goods and see the manufacturing facilities in person. How could I say no? So, I fired up the GP, and off to Macungie, PA I went!

Click the image to open in full size.

Between the Apex R, Ashiko, Slammer, Creatür, Signatür, Slammologi, and Topologi designs, Raceseng offers 54 different options for the R56 platform alone. Needless to say, I really had my work cut out for me when it came to picking the exact knob I wanted. With so many options, the Raceseng brand is truly a perfect fit for the neverending aftermarket MINI marketplace.

Click the image to open in full size.

Since I desired a powdercoated finish, though, I was able to narrow down my choices a bit: I could choose the 735 gram Ashiko (pictured below, on the left) or the slightly slimmer, 615 gram Slammer (on the right). (The other knobs are no slouch either, the Creatür, Signatür, Slammologi, and Topologi knobs weigh in at 500+ grams!)

Click the image to open in full size.

After spending some time getting intimate with both the Ashiko and Slammer knobs, my mind was made. Slammer it was! The rounded profile felt better in my palm, and with all the curves, circles, and rounded edges the R56 MINI interior has to offer, I thought that the profile of the Slammer would jive better with the slightly whimsical MINI school of design. In regards to color, I knew I wanted red... but which red did I want, exactly? To clarify, Raceseng offers three different shades of red: Translucent, Wrinkle, and Mirror.

Click the image to open in full size.

It was a hard decision to make, but in the end, I decided it was best to tie the shift knob in with the trademark ‘Chili Red’ accents scattered throughout the interior and exterior of the GP. Thus, it was the mirror red finish that ultimately won the Battle of the Reds. And of course, to put the figurative cherry on top of this bright red knob, I opted to have the 6-speed shift pattern, complete with the signature Raceseng R, engraved right into the mirror red finish. Perfection.

On to the install.

Installation on the R56 MINI is very straightforward. Pick your favorite plastic trim tool (don’t use a screwdriver), and pry out the shift boot retaining ring from the center console. Then pull up on the shift knob, and voila. Out comes the whole kit and kaboodle.

If you turn the shift boot inside out, you’ll find a plastic retaining ring glued to the stock shift boot, this holds the shift knob and boot together. You’ll need to remove this ring to install the threaded Raceseng shift knob adapter and shift boot retainer.

Click the image to open in full size.

Now, insert the adapter into the knob-less and retainer-less boot, and cinch the included zip-tie down over the boot to keep the boot from slipping down over the shifter.

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Then, flip the boot right-side-out, slip the adapter over the shifter, and proceed to tighten the 4 grub screws to hold the shift knob adapter to the shifter.

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And finally, thread the knob onto the adapter, align the knob, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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The verdict.

I’ve logged a thousand miles or so with the Slammer so far, and this knob has delivered exactly the kind of sweet shifter action I was dreaming of, with no regrets. I consider this case closed.

Questions? Comments? For additional photos, click here.
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2014, 02:21 AM
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ElderHatesman ElderHatesman is offline
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Awesome write up and photos. Good choice on the red too. It looks perfect.

I know exactly what you mean with the stock unit. It's much too light. It was one of the first things I changed when I got my Mini. I swapped it out for a 1 lb stainless sphere knob and I love it.
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2014, 04:03 PM
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Zillon Zillon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElderHatesman View Post
Awesome write up and photos. Good choice on the red too. It looks perfect.

I know exactly what you mean with the stock unit. It's much too light. It was one of the first things I changed when I got my Mini. I swapped it out for a 1 lb stainless sphere knob and I love it.
Thanks! Awfully quiet around here now.

But yeah, simply adding a heavier shifter has made the whole driving experience that much better, and it was pretty damn great to begin with.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:28 PM
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Yeah, great story and certainly a quality shift knob!
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:46 PM
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Looks like a nice piece! I've been eyeing Raceseng's camber plates for my FR-S for a while now. They really seem to put out some quality stuff.
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Old 12-11-2014, 01:22 AM
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Porthos Porthos is offline
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Its a shame I already have a TWM knob or I would consider this.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:52 PM
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Love the write up and photos. I, too, have been considering some of their parts for my BRZ. The rear shock top mounts would be nice to gain some travel out back, and I'm thinking of going with the brushed version of the shift knob you've got.
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  #8  
Old 12-13-2014, 04:49 PM
Chase Chase is offline
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I thought this was killer and the knob looks like a really nice, quality piece
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  #9  
Old 12-13-2014, 07:13 PM
cristo cristo is offline
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I like the option of a delrin outer layer and steel core with these heavier knobs,like the Topologi.
That should make it more comfortable to the hand in winter or in a MINI that's been baking in the sun in summer.

Last edited by cristo; 12-14-2014 at 08:20 PM..
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2015, 09:39 PM
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Zillon Zillon is offline
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Damn, I was never notified there were replies to this topic!

Appreciate the kind commentary, gents.
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Old 03-07-2015, 07:07 AM
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you did great! a good read!
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Old 03-14-2015, 10:52 PM
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yep, great write up; made me go look at their stuff!
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