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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 05-21-12, 01:25 PM   #1
Pinigis 
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Twist Grip vs. thumb/finger shifting

I am curious to know which is preferred, a twist grip shifter or a finger/thumb shifter. I don't want to poison the waters with my opinion, but certainly want to hear your opinion.
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Old 05-21-12, 02:45 PM   #2
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On regular-sized bikes I prefer trigger shifting. But, I can see how a twist shifter might be better on a folder. One less protrusion to snag as you carry it in close quarters, or break when setting it down (dropping, etc.).
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Old 05-21-12, 02:51 PM   #3
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Bar end shifter is best:
-Twist shifter won't twist when your hands get really sweaty.
-Thumb shifter doesn't shift fast enough between high a low gears (for riding in traffic).

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Old 05-21-12, 02:53 PM   #4
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My grip shifter is for the Rohloff hub.. all 14 ratios are a linear sequence.
so this winter when the Deluge from the Sky,
had me break out my cycle rain cape, and I can find the gear ratio
I need, sight unseen, without concern
for seeing which chainring-cog combination I need to go to .. next ..
as is true with derailleur drive trains ..

It is a 2 cable pull-pull system, all the mech is in the hub

the grip itself is tri-lobed .. resolves the wet hands issue thru a proper
shape.

my Brompton has their 3 speed trigger,it sits above the bar.
molded with 2 levers , thumb can go between them.

Crankset, Schlumpf 2 speed , a heel button in a center location
shuttles thru the the BB, one end cap sticks up .

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-21-12 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 05-21-12, 03:08 PM   #5
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Mechanics swear up and down that grip shifters are junk, but I never had an issue with mine (owned a Cannondale M300 with them for 8 years before it got stolen). Maybe I'm the statistical outlier, who knows, but I'd choose them again.
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Old 05-21-12, 03:54 PM   #6
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Can't comment on how much better it might be on a folder, but on my full size bikes I prefer thumb or trigger shfiters. I can see what gear I'm in if I need to and its convient and easy.
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Old 05-21-12, 03:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecnewell View Post
Mechanics swear up and down that grip shifters are junk, but I never had an issue with mine (owned a Cannondale M300 with them for 8 years before it got stolen). Maybe I'm the statistical outlier, who knows, but I'd choose them again.
Grip shifters are indeed junk. When they stop working, there is mostly no alternative to simply throwing them away. You got lucky.
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Old 05-21-12, 04:40 PM   #8
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I prefer grip/twist shifters to thumb shifters with internal gear hubs. My Brompton now has a twist/grip shifter with 5 speed hub and it's a big improvement.
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Old 05-21-12, 05:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
I am curious to know which is preferred, a twist grip shifter or a finger/thumb shifter. I don't want to poison the waters with my opinion, but certainly want to hear your opinion.
Trigger shifters all the way!
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Old 05-21-12, 05:27 PM   #10
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You guys are being pretty unfair to gripshifters. Yes, you have to throw them away when they stop working, However, the fixable problem that trigger shifters have (they get gummy and don`t release right) doesn`t occur with gripshifters as far as I`ve seen, so they just aovid that fixable problem all together. And when a trigger shifter bites the dust, it costs roughly twice as much to replace as a shot twist shifter.

Price aside, there are two definite advantages to grip shifters over triggers:
Twisters are more intuitive and easier for people just getting into the whole shifting thing to figure out.
The Sram front shifters with Microshift let you get away with things that you couldn`t do with normal indexed shifters, and work fine even if the cable stretches or they weren`t quite adjusted right.

Pinigis, whatever kind of shifter is on the bike you`re looking will work fine. Don`t let it sway your decision much. If you already have one type of shifter and want to try the other kind, go for it- you might find you like the new type better, and if you don`t, you can always switch them back.

Last edited by rodar y rodar; 05-21-12 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 05-21-12, 05:28 PM   #11
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Thumb shifter.
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Old 05-21-12, 05:40 PM   #12
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Neither! http://www.bikeradar.com/news/articl...ictures-33229/
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Old 05-21-12, 05:44 PM   #13
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^^I`ll go with Di2 when they find an excuse to raise the price of a bike to the price of a new car. For now, they only succeed in meeting the price of a USED car.
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Old 05-21-12, 06:32 PM   #14
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I like grip shifters with geared hubs..
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Old 05-21-12, 07:11 PM   #15
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I really appreciate the feedback. We currently only offer twist grips shifters on our bikes, but we will add some thumb shifters in the coming months if we can ensure that they will not be combersome when folded.
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Old 05-21-12, 07:25 PM   #16
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I like my Suntour XC Pro and Shimano DX thumbshifters, but I've had thumbshifters I've hated.

I like my Sram SRT-600 and Attack Gripshifters but I just got a bike with SRT-100 Gripshifters that are crap. (I should add that my SRT-600s are coming up on their 20th birthday and have LOTS of hours on them. Worrying about replacing them hadn't resulted in any lost sleep)

I couldn't stand the push-push style under-bar shifters from the early 90s.

Not enough hours on triggers to really have much of an opinion on them.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 05-21-12 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 05-21-12, 07:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Grip shifters are indeed junk. When they stop working, there is mostly no alternative to simply throwing them away. You got lucky.
Most mechanics I know toss 'em cuz they don't know how to replace cables on them. Cracks me up. Granted the first cable change on my SRT-600s took me about 3 hours, but now I can do 'em in 10 minutes, blindfolded. MRX and the like I can do in 5 minutes, blindfolded.
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Old 05-21-12, 07:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
We currently only offer twist grips shifters on our bikes, but we will add some thumb shifters in the coming months if we can ensure that they will not be combersome when folded.
Are you talking about old style THUMB SHIFTERs (AKA thumbies)

Or modern index only TRIGGER SHIFTERs?


There`s a big difference.
Attached Images
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Old 05-21-12, 07:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
Are you talking about old style THUMB SHIFTERs (AKA thumbies)

Or modern index only TRIGGER SHIFTERs?


There`s a big difference.
Oh, sorry, I should have been clear. I am referring to index shifters.
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Old 05-21-12, 07:56 PM   #20
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Worst triggers ever = integrated shifter/brake type triggers. Yuck!

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Old 05-21-12, 08:38 PM   #21
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For folders I prefer a twist grip shifter. Sure some can get slick with sweaty hands but gloves will circumvent that issue. Sure they can break since most that I've seen have simple ratcheting mechanisms that rely on a plastic tab or have a metal spring with ball that rides in plastic notches that can strip but rarely do I have to replace them on even the cheapest of bikes that I've worked on.

'Thumbies' would be my second preference after twist grips because of their simplicity and durability.

Trigger shifters are decent but they are also bulky, have more protrusions that can snag on things when transporting while the bike is folded and IMHO are needlessly complicated.

Bar end shifters are nice but are also one of my least favorite for a folder (especially with flat bars) because they are vulnerable to snagging and breakage and I can't use my preferred bar end mirrors.

Brifters... great idea if I were still racing but since we're talking about folders (and I don't know of anyone racing a folder) they are relinquished to nothing but a cute and expensive novelty (if I were to outfit any of my folders with drops).
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Old 05-21-12, 09:17 PM   #22
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I've just gotten a folder with twist shifter, my first experience using twist shifter. I've used friction shifter (on a racer) & index trigger shifter (mountain bike). At first, I didn't like it but then after a few more km, I've gotten used to it & found it quite good & fast shifting for road use. Doesn't slip on my sweaty hands yet. Hope they last.

All 3 works for me. More expensive folders I've seen come with index shift though
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Old 05-21-12, 11:09 PM   #23
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There are indeed more cheapo grip shifters than index shifters because they're so much simpler to build than index shifters. But so what? There are also quite high end grip shifters as well, and believe me, they're solid machines.

One of the primary reasons against grip shifters seems to come from the hard-core mountain biking community, where being able to yank and twist hard on a handlebar without consequence is important. The other major argument against grip shifters, that I am aware of, is that the cheaper ones are slippery.

I don't think either of those arguments holds much water to a folding biker with a high quality, grippy grip shifter. And then the advantages of a grip shifter come into play: easier to get good-quality ones that are only one-sided, nothing to snag when folded, etc.

So it basically comes down to: are you spending money on your shifter or not? If yes, a grip shifter will be in the running. If not, a grip shifter will not be in the running. For example, I junked the standard MicroSHIFT that came on my tikit (a low-end model which was smashed by Italian baggage handlers) and replaced it with an SRAM X7 twist shifter (X7 and up are grippier than X5 and down) and it was ridiculously better.
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Old 05-22-12, 12:25 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Bar end shifter is best:
-Twist shifter won't twist when your hands get really sweaty.
-Thumb shifter doesn't shift fast enough between high a low gears (for riding in traffic)....
I have never experienced either problem you're talking about.

I have two bikes with twist shifters, one with downtube shifters, one with bar end shifters, and a couple with trigger shifters (both Shimano and Sram). All have worked well for me. The only type of shifter I have no experience with is a brifter.

On a mountain bike I prefer trigger shifters. On a touring or commuting bike, bar end shifters have worked well for me. On my folding bikes, twist shifters have been fine.
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Old 05-22-12, 01:00 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by feijai View Post
I don't think either of those arguments holds much water to a folding biker with a high quality, grippy grip shifter. And then the advantages of a grip shifter come into play: easier to get good-quality ones that are only one-sided, nothing to snag when folded, etc.
My grip shifter was grippy when new, but after years of usage it's worn smooth. So the bottom line is that anything that's called "grip" depends on friction...so whatever the circumstances that cause friction to fail will also cause any "grip" apparatus to fail; For example, hands covered in slippery sunblock are a nightmare for using even new high quality grip shifters.

Don't get me wrong, twist/grips are still better than the thumb/index/brifters that require a person to click through one gear at a time, but the achilles heel is that they don't work without friction. Also as others have said, there's no problems if you wear gloves, but I prefer to ride without gloves...except in winter, but even that can be a problem for grip shifters because bulky and/or ice covered mitts can sometimes prevent one from getting a good grip.

So I'm just saying I think bar end levers are best, grip shifters second best, and everything else a distant third. But grip shifters are also much cheaper than the others so if you factor that in then I guess they come out on top per unit cost.

Last edited by chucky; 05-22-12 at 01:09 AM.
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