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Twist Grip or Thumb Shifters

Old 10-13-14, 05:01 PM
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Twist Grip or Thumb Shifters

I deal with pain every day between Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis but, like most people, I've learned to push past or through the pain and this year, took up biking. LOVE the freedom that biking gives me however, because the blasted arthritis has recently aggressively attacked my thumb joints, I sold my mountain bike. Just couldn't ride as far / hard as I wanted to because of the thumb gear and the pressure on my hands that the mountain bike required. The main reason I chose the hybrid was the more upright position I can ride in - less pressure on my hands and I chose the twist grip shifters. BUT, NOW, I am reading very mixed reviews about the twist grip shifters. I still have the tags on the bike, haven't ridden except in the dealers lot and am now wondering if I should just deal with the pain and exchange the bike for thumb shifters? Taxes, new seat, etc., my new bike totaled less than $500.00 which, for me was the top of my budget. I can't afford to have costly repairs in a few months as some of the info I've read on the Internet suggests could happen. I realize we can't predict the future but, I'm wondering if you experienced riders have strong opinions one way or the other with the twist grip shifters. Thanks so much. I'm so glad I found this forum but man o man, now I wish I had thought to come here to ask about this before I purchased the bike this morning!
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Old 10-13-14, 05:10 PM
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<--That is my bike. Bought it in '08 NOS (it's a '06 model). It came with grip shifters and still has them. So if your question is if they are mechanically reliable, mine have been. I've actually grown to like them more when the temps are colder, due to the fact I can still work them no matter what kind of gloves I'm wearing.
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Old 10-13-14, 05:18 PM
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Plenty reliable IMO despite the incredibly cheap plastic construction I see in them. Pretty inexpensive and easy to replace when the time comes.
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Old 10-13-14, 05:32 PM
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I found that bumpy sections of road would cause accidental and unwanted gear shifts. Usually into the absolute wrong gear at the worst possible moment. I have since switched to Rapid Fire shifters and haven't yet made a shift due to a rough road surface. There was no reliability issue with my SRAM Grip shifters, though. They worked reliably well under smooth conditions.
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Old 10-13-14, 05:36 PM
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Just a PIA to replace cables (low end Sram)

My Grip shifter, is R'off,(as is the Hub) different thing entirely. 2 cables , their new one is even easier to replace cables ..


It is less tri - lobed.. than the original ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-14-14 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 10-13-14, 05:37 PM
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Don't know what brand differences might mean to reliability, but I have a mountain bike I have used regularly since 1997 that has GripShift shifters. Bike has done everything including some winter exposure. The rubber grips are really worn, but never had a problem with them, never maintained them and am still using them. Actually, the whole bike is indestructible, so maybe it is just karma. Or a sample size of one.
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Old 10-13-14, 05:45 PM
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I wouldn't worry about the reliability. If they work better for you, then get them. (I personally prefer trigger shifters, but I can see how twist shifters could work better for some people).
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Old 10-13-14, 06:04 PM
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Thanks SO much for the help! Guess I'll not look for problems that don't exist. I'll be taking the bike out for a long ride on Wed & I'm looking forward to less pain than I had with the thumb shifters. I really appreciate this site and the willingness of the members to share & help a (relatively) new biker out.
Again, thanks!
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Old 10-13-14, 06:09 PM
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Don't worry about them. I ride with a friend who has them, and they have been trouble free for thousands of miles.
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Old 10-13-14, 07:19 PM
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Thanks Phil!!
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Old 10-13-14, 08:52 PM
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Yeah, I like twist shifters, too. I have two bikes so equipped, one approaching 8 years of 4 season service.
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Old 10-13-14, 11:46 PM
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Most of the bad stuff you hear about them are from people riding very lowend bikes with extremely cheap grip shifter, walmart bikes. Those are the kinds of bikes everybody thinks of when you mention gripshifts/twistshifts so they have a bad stigma. If you have mid to highlevel shifters they work great. I run Sram X0 9 speed gripshifts on one of my bikes and love them.
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Old 10-14-14, 12:20 AM
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I prefer grip shifters and from what you say I think its very likely that you will too.

The only way you will know for sure is to try them.
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Old 10-14-14, 12:21 AM
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I prefer grip shifters and from what you say I think its very likely that you will too.

The only way you will know for sure is to try them.
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Old 10-14-14, 02:35 AM
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Very cheap and reliable.
cables are PITA to replace
Eventually, they crack
Requires grip strength

Consider re-profiling the shifter with SUGRU
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Old 10-14-14, 05:01 AM
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I have both types on different bikes and for me it's 6 to 1, a half dozen to the other, I like them equally well. Decent GripShifters are relatively inexpensive should you have to replace them eventually and at that time you can easily replace them with trigger shifters. I had to replace them on both our 1997 TREK 820's after about a year or so but the replacements which were a better grade of the same brand are still going strong in 2014.
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Old 10-14-14, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Canker
Most of the bad stuff you hear about them are from people riding very lowend bikes with extremely cheap grip shifter, walmart bikes. Those are the kinds of bikes everybody thinks of when you mention gripshifts/twistshifts so they have a bad stigma. If you have mid to highlevel shifters they work great. I run Sram X0 9 speed gripshifts on one of my bikes and love them.
Most may be that, but I think a lot of it is just people repeating rumors they heard, and really have no idea what they're talking about, and probably have never even used the things.

I have used Grip Shift many years, right from when they first came out until today, as I said, 2 bikes equipped with them, and raced MTB on them in the '90s, and, not that my opinion is the end-all-be-all, but anyone who has trouble with GS in anything but the most demanding off-road conditions probably has a crappy setup, crappy components, a low skill level, and may have some other deficiencies, too.

That's just my opinion based on years of aggressive use in demanding conditions of various Grip Shift models.
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Old 10-14-14, 07:08 AM
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I personally hate twist shifters but I have a riding buddy who wouldn't use anything else. I guess that's why they sell both chocolate and vanilla.

Think of yourself as an experiment of one. Do whatever you think is best for you and only change if you have a problem.
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Old 10-14-14, 07:09 AM
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Both my LWB bent and my trike have twist shifter by Sram. They work flawless. However someone with grip problems might say on a trike since you use your little finger and ring finger grip, they might be a little more of a problem.
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Old 10-14-14, 09:44 AM
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Thanks so much for all the input. I'm riding tomorrow so, I'll let ya'll know what I think.
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Old 10-14-14, 10:02 AM
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Sram low end ones are cheap, less than twenty bucks. My husband only uses grip shifters. They seem to work fine. He has both a higher end and low end pair of Sram shifters, both work just fine. The higher end ones seem easier to put on new cable.
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Old 10-14-14, 10:04 AM
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I rode 10 years on twist grip shifters, and recently changed. I prefer the trigger shifters.

However, the grip shifters work fine, and except for the occasional accidental shift that someone else mentioned previously, I never had a problem with them.

If you have issues using the trigger shifters, then I think that you already have your answer, don't over-think it. Many people on the internet will complain about anything below the highest level components, and since high level groups don't have twist shifters, they are automatically labeled as crap. They have worked well for many people for many years... no need to fear.
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Old 10-14-14, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
I personally hate twist shifters but I have a riding buddy who wouldn't use anything else. I guess that's why they sell both chocolate and vanilla.

Think of yourself as an experiment of one. Do whatever you think is best for you and only change if you have a problem.
This. Even the budget grip shifters seem to last for quite a while, most people hate them because they don't like to shift them or they've tried to lubricate the cables and the cheap shifters disintegrated. Replacement with the same or some thumb shifters isn't that expensive, and isn't too hard to do if you're mechanically inclined.
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Old 10-14-14, 06:24 PM
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Good question and I can see your reasoning with your purchase. Judging from the bicycle you bought, I don't see you being a serious hardcore fast rider. Nothing at all wrong with that. That said, I wouldn't think any shifter would matter much for casual easy going riding.

To each of their own. Personally, I don't like Grip Shifters. Less handlebar control for me since I tended to use my forearm the few times I used them. I like using my fingers. Easier to break while shifting with triggers also.

I grew up with thumb shifters and downtube shifters. Index shifting with a friction mode when the derailleur is out of wack is a luxury. Yet I don't mind all the other new trigger shifters.

For durability, I'm set on getting some Paul Thumbies to replace the bar end shifters on the future Surly Trucker. Friction if need be, and simplicity.

Somebody once said, "Keep it simple, Stupid."

Try it out. It may just be your preference. If not, you'll still be able to shift, you learned, and maybe next year you can change out.

Last edited by RatMudd; 10-14-14 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 10-14-14, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by RatMudd

For durability, I'm set on getting some Paul Thumbies to replace the bar end shifters on the future Surly Trucker. Friction if need be, and simplicity.
Paul Thumbies won't replace your bar end shifters. They are just a bracket for mounting the bar ends (or down tube shifters) at a different place on your handlebar.
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