Drop it like it's hot.


The age old question asked by Mini owners the world over is, “how far is too far?” When it comes to performance mods for rapid road cars through to fire-breathing race cars, the decision to upgrade any componentry is often a balancing act between your goals, your budget and ultimately your personal preference.

Today on Project Barney we dissect the decision to install straight cut drop gears in a road car.


The science stands that for high performance applications, the weakest link in the power plant is the drop gear assembly which transmits power from the engine to the transmission. Straight cut drop gears also afford a greater range of ratio selections which helps to meet the needs of the different racing applications.

They also improve performance, as standard helical gear sets actually absorb power through increased metal-to-metal contact and increased side loads. I read that somewhere else and passed it off as my own knowledge so please don’t expect me to sit down with you at Rylstone and discuss.

For normal road application, the idea of straight cut gears is often met with consternation. I remember having this discussion with Dad, my long time technical sound board, Chief Engineer, Rylstone Classic rock and naysayer to me doing stupid stuff. “Not while I’m alive!”, he would say to my suggestion of adding any further burden on his ears, with Barney already quite the sensory experience. I guess he won that battle.

Jump on to any Mini forum around the world and take a look at the discussion around straight cut drops. When someone asks for the guidance of group wisdom on a Mini forum, generally leading with, “Hey I’m thinking of putting straight cut drops in my car… what do y’all think?” the first response is usually, “Is this for a race car or the road?”

These threads always go one of two ways.

Race car > fact-based, technical responses on the pros and cons of straight cut applications in both drop gears and gearbox <.

Road car > Insert keyboard warriors here <.

For some, this question in regards to running straight cut anything in a road car is like a flag fall in a race of opinion. With the follow-up question to the original post being, '“Are you looking for performance or just the noise?”…. “Stick em in a road car and you’ll go nuts!” or “The noise will be unbearable!”

Original poster, “I just love the noise.” The debate then descends into aspersions of madness. So imagine how the discussion turns when you add the road car, is a daily driver.

All the logic in the world logic makes no sense to a boy racer. I just love the noise so, that’s why we’re going to drop Barney like he’s hot.

There is a comment box below. *Flag drops*

Thanks to the good folk at minisport.com.au and Mini Works Australia, Barney will be on the receiving end of some new go fast bits, some more loud bits and some much needed attention from specialists who know what they’re doing.