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  1. #1
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Thumb shifters on tops of drop handlebars

    Hey, this isn't an actual question. I just put my frictional thumb shifters (cheap falcon ones) on the tops of a standard drop handlebar (like Rivendell shows with theirs) and find them extremely functional in this set-up. Much easier to use than downtube shifters that I had on there for about 2 years previously.

    Anyone else done this? To me it seems like a perfectly viable ****ing position, simliar to bar end shifters in ease of use. I haven't found any potential pitfalls with it, but time will tell.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

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    The main disadvantage I can see is the same one faced by the old stem-mounted friction shifters... They are comfortable to use when one has a very upright riding position, but a bit of a pain to use when one is in a proper road-riding position.
    As you may recall, it was primarily inexpensive roadsters that had the stem-mounted shifters; "serious" road bikes all had the downtube shifters as they fell more naturally to hand while riding in more aero positions.

    So, if you ride mostly-upright, then those thumb shifters should be just fine.

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    "perfectly viable ****ing position"
    Sounds great!

  4. #4
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    I've done it. It works fine. If you were racing, you'd want shifters that were available to your hands in other positions. But for non-racing riding, it's not vital. And, face it, a lot of people think top-mounted thumb shifters are, like, so un-cool. If they work as you like in that position, though, you're doing nothing wrong. No crime against humanity has been committed!

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    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    I did the same with an old LX 7 speed shifter for a 1x7 commuter. I get a ton of question about how I made it work but it works perfectly.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

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    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Proponents of drop bars often laud them for the variety of available hand positions. That's why i like 'em, too. However, if you're running barcons or DT shifters, you're good to shift in the drops, but not so much from the top. If you're running thumbies or stem-mounts, you're good to shift from the top, but not so much from the drops. Brifters are good from the drops, passable from the hoods, but no good from the tops. I guess the best approach is to figure out not only where you spend most of your handlebar-time, but where you're at most often when you're actually *shifting*. And, if the OP spends a lot of time on the rivbike site, there's a chance s/he never uses the drops at all... ;P

    Fwiw, i'm fat and lazy, but i run barcons on my drop-bar bikes. Sometimes, however, my drop bar bikes get some sort of alt-bar installed....

    -rob

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It works, and if people want index shifting, Paul's Comp offers a couple versions
    of their CNC machined 'Thumbie',
    to relocate Shimano's handlebar end shifters up onto the 15/16th'' mm diameter of road bars,
    or the 7/8'' of mountain type handlebar...

  8. #8
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    I don't like thumb shifters on road bars for the following reason. If you ride primarily in the drops or on the hoods than the shifters are in an inconvenient location. If you ride primarily on the top you would be better off with a flat bar.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    As another rider that rides on the hoods a lot I like the idea of higher mounted shifters. Back when brifters cost half the world to buy on their own and road bikes were just beginning to make the big comback that they have enjoyed for this past decade I wanted drop bars with "topside" shifting. I ended up machining out the mounts for a pair of MTB Rapidfire pods and mounted them in tight near the stem. I rode this bike for years and would still be riding it now but for the stripped out BB threads in the frame. I just need to get one of the Velo Orange threadless BB's and it'll be back in business.

    As a lot of you have said it depends on how you ride the bike. If he's delighted with his near the stem mounted shifters then he's obvoiusly a hoods and tops sort of rider for the majority of the time. From either position it is incredably easier to slide a hand in and shift than to reach the downtube.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  10. #10
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    I don't like thumb shifters on road bars for the following reason. If you ride primarily in the drops or on the hoods than the shifters are in an inconvenient location.
    I understand what you're saying, but don't find this to be the case. I was actually quite used to downtube shifters -- no issues with reaching to trim shifts, and I was additionally using friction downtube shifters -- not index. I think riding downtube friction shifters is a great aid to learning how to really "reach around" and maintain good balance.

    I seldom ride on the tops of drop bars, but mainly use the hoods and curves of the tops, and in the actual drops -- I ride a Surly LHT so the drops are fairly high compared to most road bikes.

    Reaching to the tops to shift is really extremely easy compared to those

    If you ride primarily on the top you would be better off with a flat bar.
    I don't ride the tops much at all....rarely actually. Flat bars don't have enough hand positions for me and certainly no good ones for getting low in the wind....though my drops are relatively high, so I'm probably not quite as low on them as I am on my other road bike.

    I guess what I'm leaning toward is that I get that this is not commonly done. On the other hand, it seems to feel pretty natural (to me) and seems to beat downtube shifters easily.
    Last edited by TurbineBlade; 10-20-10 at 12:35 PM.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Kelly take offs relocate DT levers inside of the brake hoods, you might invest in those instead, and be happy.

    I like Bar end shifters, in the ends of the drop bars myself.

    ... to each their own and YMMV .. :

  12. #12
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    No crime against humanity has been committed!
    What about crimes against popular fashion?

    To me it seems like a fairly practical, cheap method to shift from drop bars (which I love very dearly). Brifters are fantastically easy to use -- oddly enough, when I had a bike with 9 speed brifters I knew almost nothing about working on bikes and after several years of getting experience in the shop I don't have any anymore.....maybe again one day, because they are great -- no argument there.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  13. #13
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Kelly take offs relocate DT levers inside of the brake hoods, you might invest in those instead, and be happy.
    I've seen those and they look like they'd work well too. I guess I'm pretty much happy with any shifters that allow me to keep my hands (or hand) on the bars when shifting . I guess really I should have said:

    "Man, I'm not going back to downtube shifters"...
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  14. #14
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    thumb shifters o&#1.jpg

    Ugly, but quite functional.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  15. #15
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    Another option (for some thumb shifters) is to modify their brackets so they can be mounted by the brake hood. For Shimano indexed triggers, this means reaming the bracket out from 7/8" (MTB-bar diameter) to 15/16" (road-bar diameter). This works great for me.

    Kelly Take-Offs are meant to accomplish basically the same thing.

    I think the OP is using friction shifters. The friction shifters I happen to have won't work in this position, even with modification. It's possible there are some that could.

    I have nothing against brifters. I don't use them because I don't have any, and don't want to spend the money, and am satisfied with other options.

    But all this is idle chatter, if the OP is happy with them mounted on the flats.




  16. #16
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Cool, is that a standard-type rapid fire shifter set -- indexed on both sides? That's not a bad idea either.

    I like weird set-ups that function well .
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  17. #17
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
    Cool, is that a standard-type rapid fire shifter set -- indexed on both sides? That's not a bad idea either.

    I like weird set-ups that function well .

    I think they're the pretty standard rapid-fire type. I'm not using the left one, because I had to change the front derailleur to a Sora to allow space for mounting fenders, and Sora and other Shimano road FDs pull different amounts of cable from their MTB FDs. I use a Suntour Command shifter now for the FD.

    As can be seen in the side view, the mounting bracket is separate from the shifter body, and there's a bolt that holds them together, so you can pivot the shifter on the bracket to find just the right position.

    Works for me.
    Last edited by mcgreivey; 10-21-10 at 12:19 PM.

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