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Old 10-21-17, 10:59 PM
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mountaindave 
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Get SunTour thumbies and operate in friction mode. That's what I do on my mountain bike.

Would barcons be a suitable option for you?

As you are seeing, nothing compares to the simplicity and robustness of friction shift, and once you get used to it, indexing does not offer any tangible benefit.
The caveat is "getting used to it." If you are on serious gravel a lot, indexing is nice because it is "click and forget." That being said, I have the Suntour thumbies mentioned above and like them. They are certainly the best friction thumb shifters available, I really wouldn't consider anything else (unless Simplex secretly made a Retrofriction thumb shifter...). Even my friend who now rides DT indexing tried them and exclaimed, "These are so nice and smooth, I love them!"

The older Shimano thumb shifters had friction and indexing as options, so you could go friction if the apocalypse hit during your ride.

But if you go modern, you don't necessarily have to upgrade to 8s cassette to match an 8s shifter (the cassette wouldn't fit on the hub anyway, it's too big for a 7s hub). Just adjust the system to start at the 7th notch in your highest gear and work from there. 7s and 8s sprocket spacing is close enough to be intercompatible.

Also, I would avoid the Tourney thumb shifter, I just replaced one on a Trail-a-bike after the "return button" broke off and rendered it useless. A guy could consider SRAM grip shifting - lots of those laying around parts bins everywhere... It's what went on the Trail-a-bike.
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