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  1. #1
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    Reversing Shimano shifters

    Does anyone know if it is possible to convert road bar Shimano STI shifters from left to right? For example, I have a sister who wants to start riding but she has a problem with her right hand that would make it difficult for her to shift the Shimano 105 levers I have on the bike I am giving her.

    I wanted to switch the levers so the right side shifts the front derailleur and the left shifts the rear derailleur. I don't know if it is possible to swap the ratcheting mechanism inside the levers or if I can order shifters this way.

    If I can't do this I was considering putting a bar end shifter on the right side which would be easier for her. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks, DB

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    shimano levers have a "pod" system that is basically non serviceable and i doubt they can be swapped.

    i would put a front bar end shifter on the left side so she has a brifter and bar end both on the left side. then she would only have to brake with the right hand. if this is hard for her as well, you can get a device that would alow you to hook up both brakes to one lever. (problem solvers 1:2)

    my sister has nearly no use of her right hand and she has a "custom" flat bar bike.

  3. #3
    AEO
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    not possible, not even campagnolo or sram has this.

    There are some strange contraptions that people have come up with and by all means it works for them.

    one way is to mix bar end shifter and brake lever with STI lever on the same side where you have both levers pointing to each other. two brakes on the same hand with levers at the same position so you can modulate both.

    get creative, there are a number of possibilities with bar end shifters, STI and brake levers that are possible.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandela View Post
    Does anyone know if it is possible to convert road bar Shimano STI shifters from left to right? For example, I have a sister who wants to start riding but she has a problem with her right hand that would make it difficult for her to shift the Shimano 105 levers I have on the bike I am giving her.

    I wanted to switch the levers so the right side shifts the front derailleur and the left shifts the rear derailleur. I don't know if it is possible to swap the ratcheting mechanism inside the levers or if I can order shifters this way.

    If I can't do this I was considering putting a bar end shifter on the right side which would be easier for her. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks, DB
    The simplest would be to run a right hand bar end shifter on the left and cross the cables on the downtube.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    From this side of the screen I'd suggest that if she will have trouble shifting a 105 brifter then it is likely she will have trouble with using the brake function as well. And I suspect that her weight on her hands could well be an issue.

    Good for her for wanting to get out and join the fun. But I suspect a fuller and graduated evaluation of what her hand and wrist will tolerate and what they can easily do are in order along with some trials for control setups and adapting as required. She may well even need a left side only multiformat shifting and braking solution.

    Anyhow, that's up to you and her. In the meantime other than bar end shifters I don't know of anything where they could be concentrated to the left side or flipped in any way. And even the bar end shifters would need those Paul or Phil adapters to mount in the center by the stem where the left hand can reach them and shift.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    From this side of the screen I'd suggest that if she will have trouble shifting a 105 brifter then it is likely she will have trouble with using the brake function as well. And I suspect that her weight on her hands could well be an issue.

    Good for her for wanting to get out and join the fun. But I suspect a fuller and graduated evaluation of what her hand and wrist will tolerate and what they can easily do are in order along with some trials for control setups and adapting as required. She may well even need a left side only multiformat shifting and braking solution.

    Anyhow, that's up to you and her. In the meantime other than bar end shifters I don't know of anything where they could be concentrated to the left side or flipped in any way. And even the bar end shifters would need those Paul or Phil adapters to mount in the center by the stem where the left hand can reach them and shift.
    If the OP wants an easy solution. Buy Di2. You can use the TT button shifters.



    You only need to depress the buttons to shift. The servos do all the moving.
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    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Nice option. But I shudder at the probable cost. What ARE those worth?

    At least they mount onto my new favourite bullhorn bar option....
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

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    Thanks for all the responses. I think I will try the idea of the bar end shifter on the left with the brifter on the left and just a top mounted brake on the right.

    The Di2 is a great idea but I can't afford it. Maybe in a few years if she really enjoys cycling I will drop the cash but I would hate to do that now and then have her decide she doen't care for riding.

    Thirdgenbird, what does your sister's custom flat bar look like? I was planning on going for a drop bar so she would have more options for hand positions but I would like to see what the custom flat bar looked like.

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    Maybe your sis would be better off on a recumbent...?

    Dunno how much the mechanism has changed, but I reckon you could modify the index drums in early Ergolevers to be swapped... be a total piece of piss in a few years when you can get such a bit of metal scanned, mirrored and printed for a few bucks... and BTW, it's not even close to feasible with STI.

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    While one doesn't do it as often, I find that shifting the left (front) brifter takes more force and range of motion than shifting the right. (Or maybe I'm just more of a klutz with the sinister hand...)

    Have you had her try brifters yet? She might be able to manage them.


    I like your thinking on drop bars vs. flats. But be sure that she has established sufficient core muscle strength before making a judgment about "too much weight on the hands". (You probably know about this.) Are you planning to start her with a road frame or a more upright hybrid/commuter frame?
    Last edited by DMF; 02-16-10 at 11:06 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandela View Post
    Thirdgenbird, what does your sister's custom flat bar look like? I was planning on going for a drop bar so she would have more options for hand positions but I would like to see what the custom flat bar looked like.
    its basically a commuter based off an old specialized hardrock frame. she has both shifters mounted on the left side. one under the bar as usual and then the right lever mounted upside down on top of the bar. (on the left) then the brakes are run off the left side. its not the most ideal setup, but she just uses it to "cruse" around the small town she lives in.

    i dont know what your siters condition is, but my sister has poor cordination with her right foot as well so she has toe clips and straps to keep her foot on the pedal. she has to use her hand to get her right foot in, but she can generaly get it out in an emergancy if she needs to. early on she took a spill or two when the bike went to the right when she took her left foot out as usual, but it was nothing too serious.

    doctors told my parents she would never walked but she proved them wrong and can even ride a 2 wheeled bike.

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    Thanks again for all your help.

    To make things a little clearer, my sister was born with only 2 fingers on her right hand. It would be like having a thumb and pinky finger only. She is actually a very good athlete who was competitive in basketball, and especially track. She currently is interested in trying to do long distance events on the bike with me (centuries etc. ) and wants to try getting into triathalons.

    A triathalon bike would be ok for her because the bar end shifters on the aero bars would be easy enough. My concern is that the leaned over position of the TT bike would be uncomfortable for the normal riding she also wants to do.

    I have tried to get her to use brifters but she has trouble getting enough leverage with her pinky on the right side to push the lever. One of my bikes is a Jamis Xenith Comp with Shimano 105 shifters and ultegra derailleurs and the bike fits her ok. I have bought a shorter stem to reduce her reach. She has plenty of standover clearance but the top tube may be too long. If she starts having too many problems with pressure on her hands I may have to spring for a smaller bike.

    I am planning on putting some tekro top mount brake levers on and will probably have her mainly rely on the front brake.

    One concern I have about having both shifters on the left with a bar end controlling the rear derailleur is that she will have to take her left hand off the handlebars and control the bike with just the right. I might be better off with her just using the bar end shifter on the right and using the pad of her hand to push it up and down. Any suggestions on smooth shifting bar end shifters? I see Shimano makes them in a Dura Ace. Anyone familiar with these?

    Thanks again for all the help. DB

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    Thirdgenbird, Thanks for telling me about your sister. I am glad to hear she is riding and it makes me feel that if she can do it that I should be able to find a way to get my sister going too. The idea of a flat bar with with index shifters both on the left side is great. Probably if I added bar ends she would be able to get enough different hand postions on the bar. If the Jamis doesn't work out I may buy her a bike with a flat bar and do just that.
    Thanks, DB

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    Paul's Component Engineering makes a contraption called Road Thumbies - designed to mount a road bar-end shifter on the top of the bar. This might give more options to put the rear shifter in a convenient place.

    But bar end shifters in the bar ends are probably the best solution.

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    i had a set of 8spd da bar end shifters on one of my bikes for a while. they are very nice shifter. i would have no problems recommending them. most of the time i would keep a finger or two wrapped around the bar and would just "pivot" my hand to shift. i think i could shift the rear without my right hand even on the bars if i wanted to. it may take a little practice but i think she would get the hang of it.

    for some reason i actually still have a front bar end shifter and am looking for a rear one to match or a matched set and then i wouldnt need the one i have any more. if this progresses, let me know and maybe we can work out a deal so your not stuck buying a pair of shifters when you only need one.

    on another line of thought, a tt bike may be pretty easy for her to operate. with a close aerobar setup it would be reasonable to shift both levers with one hand. they are not cheap but a look stem may give you enough adjustment that she could use it for longer rides and triathlons.



    ive seen people use them to both extremes:
    Last edited by thirdgenbird; 02-16-10 at 09:43 PM.

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