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I can't judge the impact because I don't know how it behaved and should behave. I try not to touch this area because the code is apparently fragile and the functionality is highly exposed to players.
I wanted to check agains RoR 0.38, but the code is a mess: https://github.com/only-a-ptr/ror-legacy-svn-trunk/blob/db0b4b922c0eb8de240ac720edbc3560e5cd1399/source/main/gameplay/RoRFrameListener.cpp#L2509
To be honest I didn't look at 0.38's code and instead just started the game and observed how it behaves. I also think that the code for shifting is unnecessarily complex (I saw some redundant if clauses in particular) but never touch a running system ;)
The statements I eliminated prevented that you could downshift into N or R (you were forced to use the shift_neutral or shift_reverse key instead) and upshift from N and R in automatic mode which may be more realistic but is an unnecessary restriction for RoR IMO.