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Twist-grip shifters - How do I hate thee - Let me count the ways

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Twist-grip shifters - How do I hate thee - Let me count the ways

Old 02-22-15, 07:01 PM
  #1  
FarHorizon
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Twist-grip shifters - How do I hate thee - Let me count the ways

I hate thee for thy imprecise shifting. Every time I think I've got the noises out of one part of the range, another noise starts.

I hate thee for thy distraction. Am I in gear 3 or 4? I have to take my eyes off the road to see.

I hate thee for thy surprise shifts - Look at the darned thing wrong and it shifts by itself.

I hate thee for thy shoddy quality - Cheap plastic that operates even cheaper than it looks.

I hate thee for thy inflexible installation - I really don't want a munchkin-length hand grip, but if I put a normal-sized grip on, the grip-shift snags on the bend in the bars.

I hate thee for thy brief operating life - Fireflies have longer life cycles and look better going through them.

I hate thee for thy refusal to be rebuilt - Every time I've tried to take one apart for repairs something breaks. Every time!

I hate thee for thy fugly appearance - I've seen mother-in-laws that look better.

I could go on, but I think you get the drift... Unless I can find a (rare) 7-speed Shimano bar-end shifter, I'll either have to go to an indexed thumb shifter or a bar-end friction model. ANYTHING has got to be better than the grip shift!
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Old 02-22-15, 07:01 PM
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Agreed!
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Old 02-22-15, 07:05 PM
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The inventor of those should be beaten silly with his own invention.
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Old 02-22-15, 07:34 PM
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"I hate thee for thy refusal to be rebuilt - Every time I've tried to take one apart for repairs something breaks. Every time!"

Oh boy, Far Horizon - you said it all! Just had this problem. Twist grip worked fine (right hand 5 speed cheap Chinese Shimano copy on a POS cheapo MTB I was arm-twisted into fixing up by my nephew for his GF). Rear derailleur cable was badly frayed and rusted and needed replacing. No problem, I've got plenty of spare cables I thought. Examined the twist grip - no cable port, have to separate the twist handle from the mounting. Crack! that was that. I had to fit a new replacement Shimano 7 speed (expensive) replacement, all I could get in a hurry. Surprisingly it actually works well - the numbers don't line up at all, but each click shifts one gear up and down. I HATE these things.
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Old 02-22-15, 07:48 PM
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Most of the issues you listed are common to the cheap OEM sets and I have experienced most of them but I haven't experienced any of that after upgrading to better quality grip shifters. I have them on 3 of my bikes, one set is 17 years old and on it's 3rd bike. It was on my primary bike for 14 years and has seen a lot of use, I upgraded to Deore trigger shifters when I made the switch to an 8 speed cassette and moved the grip shifters over to my Winter bike. When I got a better frame for it last Summer they were moved over to it as the original thumb shifters were trashed.

Originally Posted by FarHorizon View Post
I hate thee for thy imprecise shifting. Every time I think I've got the noises out of one part of the range, another noise starts.

True with the cheap OEM shifters but often it's a trim adjustment issue.

I hate thee for thy distraction. Am I in gear 3 or 4? I have to take my eyes off the road to see.

I never look to see what gear I'm in, I shift when I need to shift and could care less what the selector says. I was raised on friction shifters though.

I hate thee for thy surprise shifts - Look at the darned thing wrong and it shifts by itself.

Never have that issue with the good ones but you are so very right on the cheapies.

I hate thee for thy shoddy quality - Cheap plastic that operates even cheaper than it looks.

Again, the good ones hold up much better.

I hate thee for thy inflexible installation - I really don't want a munchkin-length hand grip, but if I put a normal-sized grip on, the grip-shift snags on the bend in the bars.

Yeah, that can be a problem. I have large hands but I don't really mind the shorter grips. I did however replace the bars with longer ones on 2 of the bikes and used standard length grips.

I hate thee for thy brief operating life - Fireflies have longer life cycles and look better going through them.
I hate thee for thy refusal to be rebuilt - Every time I've tried to take one apart for repairs something breaks. Every time!

Again, true of the OEM shifters, never had to repair the good ones.

I hate thee for thy fugly appearance - I've seen mother-in-laws that look better.

You have me there, none of them are much to look at.

I could go on, but I think you get the drift... Unless I can find a (rare) 7-speed Shimano bar-end shifter, I'll either have to go to an indexed thumb shifter or a bar-end friction model. ANYTHING has got to be better than the grip shift!

Why not trigger shifters? Or is that what you meant by "thumb" shifters?
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Old 02-22-15, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by EvilWeasel View Post
The inventor of those should be beaten silly with his own invention.
I think some marketing dweeb is responsible, thinking the grip shift would appeal because of its similarity to a motorcycle throttle.
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Old 02-22-15, 07:57 PM
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I know they are out of fashion, but I have a set of SRAM Grip Shift SRT-400i on a 1997 Bianchi Advantage. I would like to upgrade or switch to trigger shifters but the damned stock grip shifters won't break, on an 18 year old bike.
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Old 02-22-15, 08:36 PM
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I don't have the patience to compile a complete list of the reasons I don't like cheap grip shifters. One or two good reasons is enough.

On my '97 Cannondale MTB, I replaced the 7-speed grip shifters with inexpensive Shimano SL-M310 trigger shifters. Easy swap and SO much better to use. Twenty-five bucks very well-spent.

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Old 02-22-15, 08:40 PM
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Eh, I think you're complaining about some specific piece of junk shifter, not all shifters in this category. I have twist grip shifters on my folding bike (Sturmey Archer 8 speed igh) and my daily commuter (Shimano Nexus 8 speed igh) as well as my cargo bike (NuVinci igh) and none of them suffer the ills you complain of. Granted, I'd prefer a different type of shifter for any of these, but this is what they come with, and it works fine.

With a twist grip shifter you can pull a nearly infinite amount of cable, so I don't think the design is going anywhere.
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Old 02-22-15, 08:47 PM
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I despise them.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:03 PM
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Sorry, but I can't understand why many people love to bash grip shifters. Murray Missile's response covers some key points. I have ridden many, many hard off-road miles with twist-grip shifters. Started with my '94 Cannondale Delta V that came equipped with GripShift (SRAM) from the factory. Eventually I broke one in a pretty hard crash, so I upgraded to Sachs. These were even better. Eventually broke the right one in another crash, and replaced it with a cheap SRAM unit. I still have the left Sachs and right SRAM on my Delta V and they're going strong, although I don't really ride it much anymore. But I rode that thing hard - it was my main mountain bike up until 2012. I wore out or broke a couple of wheel sets, a crankset, a seat post, a saddle, and two sets of clipless pedals on that bike. One look at this thing and you'll know it has been run hard and not maintained very well.

I never had any problems with imprecise shifting as long as I kept the cables adjusted properly. I have experienced unintended shifts occasionally, like when pulling the bars to go over an obstacle. I don't get the complaint about not knowing what gear you are in - my trigger shifters, bar-cons, and brifters all have the same issue.

One good feature with the twist-grip: you can go through many gears with one twist. Either up or down. I now ride Shimano rapid fire trigger shifters, and I miss that ability sometimes. Not saying I would go back to the grip shifters, but they served me well for many years. I think they became popular back in the day because they were inexpensive and allowed the OEMs to break from the Shimano monopoly. Another benefit is they are easy to figure out for a novice rider. I noticed this with my kids - they each had a starter mountain bike with twist-grip shifters, and it was very easy for them to learn. Twist one way to make pedaling easier, the other way to make it harder.

- John
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Old 02-22-15, 09:08 PM
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I prefer triggers to twists.

I've found it really hard to replace the cable in the common SRAM twist shifter. It was so hard that I failed a few times, losing one or two small parts forever, so the shifter had to be replaced.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:20 PM
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For the most part I prefer trigger shifters too but I have found there are situations where the grip shifters are a better choice. For example, my wife can manage grip shifters quite well but the mere sight of trigger shifters sends her into a panic. The newer SRAM and Shimano grip shifters have addressed the cable changing issues and are actually fairly easy to replace cables on, as long as the end of the cable doesn't unravel. If it does you are SOL. But yes, the old ones were an absolute nightmare, it was easier to replace the whole unit than just the cable.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I prefer triggers to twists.

I've found it really hard to replace the cable in the common SRAM twist shifter. It was so hard that I failed a few times, losing one or two small parts forever, so the shifter had to be replaced.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:22 PM
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You can get 7-speed Triggers if you really want them.
Universal Cycles -- Shimano Altus M310 Single Shifters - 7 Speed

They're pretty lowend.

Better than Falcon grip shifters.
Better than this style of Sram MRX Gripshifters.


Not quite as good as this style of MRX, IMO


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Old 02-22-15, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
For the most part I prefer trigger shifters too but I have found there are situations where the grip shifters are a better choice. For example, my wife can manage grip shifters quite well but the mere sight of trigger shifters sends her into a panic. The newer SRAM and Shimano grip shifters have addressed the cable changing issues and are actually fairly easy to replace cables on, as long as the end of the cable doesn't unravel. If it does you are SOL. But yes, the old ones were an absolute nightmare, it was easier to replace the whole unit than just the cable.
The tough ones are actually kinda easy after a few cable swaps on them. My first time took about 3 hours but that was back before Youtube howto videos, so I had to figure it out the hard way.


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Old 02-22-15, 09:33 PM
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I have the same shifters as in that video on one of my bikes, mine have a few more miles on 'em though. Been riding them since 1997 and still super crisp.

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Old 02-22-15, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by EvilWeasel View Post
The inventor of those should be beaten silly with his own invention.
GripShift was SRAM's first product. If it wasn't for GripShift there would be no SRAM.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon View Post
I hate thee for thy distraction. Am I in gear 3 or 4? I have to take my eyes off the road to see.
You have to do this with every shifter known to man, 'til you get a helmet visor with HUD hooked up to your Flight Deck, Di2, or EPS.

Once upon a time you had to look down at your back wheel to see what gear you were in!!!

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 02-22-15 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:42 PM
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Having been a mechanic servicing a fleet of 100+ bikes with grip shifters, they can all burn in a magnificent fire. Some work very well, admittedly, but I associate them with bikes that don't like to cooperate with me.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:48 PM
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I've been thinking I should go Gripshift on all three of my MTBs. Got XTR 9-sp triggers on one right now but they're kinda meh. As soon as a 9-speed Shimano-pull Gripshift falls into my lap...

Or I guess I could get an 8-speed cassette and shift it with the Sram X-rays i got on hand.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:54 PM
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I love the grip shifters on my 1997 Univega. Never have to take my hands off the handlebars.
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Old 02-22-15, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Once upon a time you had to look down at your back wheel to see what gear you were in!!!
Once upon a time? I still do! My road bike's Campy shifters don't have any kind of indicator, so I'm used to looking down at the back wheel. Even when riding bikes with gear indicators, I find it quicker and easier to glance down at my cassette than to try to find an indicator on the shifter.
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Old 02-22-15, 10:29 PM
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I like twist grips on my winter commuter. I keep them adjusted well, so they work as well as the shifters on my other bikes, and I can use them reliably with big mittens on my hands!
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Old 02-22-15, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
Once upon a time? I still do! My road bike's Campy shifters don't have any kind of indicator, so I'm used to looking down at the back wheel. Even when riding bikes with gear indicators, I find it quicker and easier to glance down at my cassette than to try to find an indicator on the shifter.
yeah, I still do, too. There are those times that I have to verify my chain is actually on the biggest cog, then often cry when said verification is made.
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Old 02-22-15, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
GripShift was SRAM's first product. If it wasn't for GripShift there would be no SRAM.
I had a good laugh about that a few weeks ago looking through an old '80's Winning Magazine and seeing a Gripshift ad (with the grip shifts on the end of road bars.) My first thought was SRAM Corporation? How the heck diddly-ell have they managed to hang on all these years??
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