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Which shifting style of thumb or DT shifter do you prefer for road riding

  • internal hub shifting (Sturmey Archer etc)

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  • don't like thumbies/prefer something else/no answer

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Discussion Starter #1
Please don't post "STI are better" etc. I like those too.

Please post tips, pictures, reviews, "hacks", and home-made friction shifters, esp on "modern" bikes. Please post stories of how you enjoy the old-style shifters or why you use them. Style points for people posting links or photos of their awesome thumbie-equipped bikes.

I grew up with old salvage store/2nd hand store road bikes, and learned how to ride first with stem-shifters, and later downtube shifters. I thought the downtube shifters were a little awkward, but were very nice for their simplicity (very little cable housing needed, just for the rear derailer).

I'm currently using Falcon "5 speed" thumbies on a mtn bike, with "8 speed" gear system. I bought these for $10 to alleviate wrist pain that I was getting with some gripshift brand shifters, and decided I just liked them.

I'm planning to build a yardsale/dumpster bike for trying out cyclocross this year, and intend to put or use bar cons or thumbies on it.

Looks like there is a thumbie /barcon revival going on.
Friction Shifting
 

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Discussion Starter #2
My thumbies have held up well as mountain bike shifters. A lot of fellow riders have been amused by them. I'm still using them. One I have been using on a motor bicycle, for a thumb throttle, has cracked. I think it is because of the screw-clamp brass cable end stressing the plastic. Oh well. I have another from the pair, and will use a proper cable this time.
 

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I'm not sure if this qualifies, but my Giant Defy 2 came with Sora STI shifters on them. I read so many posts where they were trashed as being total junk that I wondered just how many of the posters have actually used them. I found them to be faster shifting then the Ultegra shifters I have on my Colnago, although not as smooth. The only thing I didn't like about them was the inability to shift with them when riding in the drops. Other than that, I really liked them.
 

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My first bike with gears was a bike from my grandfather, a '60 something Schwinn Stingray Deluxe with the 5 speed Stik Shift (I was born in '79 so it was an oooollllld bike, especially since the GT BMX bikes were "the" thing to have). My father disconnected the Stik Shift since I didn't understand how it worked. the front brake was so weak I used to step on the chrome front fender to use as a drag brake to slow down on steep hills!

My next bike was a 1991 Diamondback Curaca with Suntour thumbies (Merry Christmas!). I finally understood how the gears worked and what it meant. I do remember it had a little wingnuts to help set the friction level and they were forever loosening up.

I loved my thumbies and when I bought Trek in 2004 I couldn't believe this whole indexed shifting thing. I cannot say which is better, indexed is "easier" but thumbies required a bit more skill, IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
These are "thumbies".
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-bJkClP8xRYA/TW2dkAiebPI/AAAAAAAAElY/g8yhZBfpqCs/DSCN2960.JPG

http://www.ecovelo.info/images/thumbies-1-485.jpg

The Sora STI are not thumbies, but I like them. I think they work fine. They come on a lot of entry level road bikes, and I've heard they are popular with Campy fans who are using a shimano bike. I think many STI shifters are stupidly expensive, and heavy. They accomplish a purpose though (aero brake levers with integrated shifters)

These are downtube shifters. Some people still like them for elegance and simplicity, as well as low weight. They are sort of the stick-shift of the bike world.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Downtube_shifters.JPG

There are some similar ones that clamp onto the handlebar stem. It's rare, but some people put those on seatposts instead, so you have to reach under the seat to shift.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you have trouble with the friction setting screw loosening up, hold the shifter mechanism together with your hand, or rubber bands, electrical tape, etc, and remove the wingnut/finger screw. Apply loctite thread adhesive designated for small non-permanent fasteners, and tighten to desired friction level, let sit overnight. It should be a long time before they work loose again.
 

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I have thumb shifters on my 1998 Cannondale H300. The shifters are about ten years older than the bike. This is the bike I put over 90% of my miles on. My main ride, and I love the shifters. I'll take some pictures and post them.

Andy, you don't have thumb shifters. Thumb shifters were stock parts on very few bikes made in this century, if any. :D
 

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The Huffy I made into a single speed had thumb friction shifters, I think thay are hanging around in the shead someware.
 

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I allways called the ones that index trigger shifters, like the ones found on most Mt bikes
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Those are shifter pods, if the brake levers are separate. I would just call them trigger shifters.

Forgive a newbie but I don't know what you call mine. Use the thumb to drop a gear or two and the index finger to go up one.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here's my mountain bike, with beach cruiser tires on it for sidewalks and fishing trails. I like thumbies a lot because they work with any cassette or freewheel and any chain rings. Good for stocking up on discount bike parts and making it run. Also they always work with gloves!


http://sadpanda.us/images/1106049-SAIJQE9.jpg[/img.

[img]http://sadpanda.us/images/1106050-9HSX7N4.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #16

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Discussion Starter #17
Microshift is now offering metal thumbies, with 8 or 9 speed indexed RHS, with model SL-T08 having a friction LHS and indexed/friction RHS.
About $100 online.
http://www.microshift.com.tw/photo/SL-A10-9_m.jpg


I think $100 is WAY too much for shifters, especially friction shifters, but if you're really into loaded touring, shifters will get used constantly and a broken shifter could make you suffer for days, so top shelf quality might be more important. Also, if you just really like them you could skip out on beer or pizza for a long time and buy some.
 

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I picked up a junk Schwinn that had the cheap Sun thumbie friction shifters on it. I found the shifters to be kind of nice. I bought a killer set of friction shifters for my commuter and can't imagine why they even make indexing shifters. These shifters are smooth as butter. If I had the money I'd junk the brifters on my road bike and do some nice bar end shifters.
 

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I have a new Raleigh FT 3 cadent with the THUMBS - a assume that is the same thing - they are awesome to shift with compared to the old twisters on my old comfort hybrid - when I first got on the bike couldn't figure out how to shift it !

After re-readingthe posts pretty sure they are not FRICTION shifters
 
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