I just picked up an old school REI Navaro with the plans of modifying it for my needs as a hybrid commuter bike. The shift pods on it are a joke and I'm looking for suggestions on what I should replace them with. For gears it has six in the back and two up front. After some searching, I've come to the realization that there is nothing of quality that has this gearing out of the box. Can I go with a higher quality set of indexed shifters that are set up for a higher number of gears and lock out the extra gears?
The easiest option would be friction thumb shifters, they don't care how many speeds you have. Sunrace makes 6-speed indexed thumb shifters that are ok, but not great. If you can spend a little more, I'd get a new chain and freewheel and upgrade to 7 speed, Shimano 7-speed rapid-fire shifters can work pretty well.
The spacing between 6-speed and 7-speed is different. I think this technically means a 6 speed freewheel and 7 speed shifter shouldn't work, though I think I remember getting them to work once. Maybe I'm thinking of 5 speed shifter with 6 speed freewheel though.