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Grip Shifters - never again

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Grip Shifters - never again

Old 02-03-20, 03:59 PM
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Grip Shifters - never again

I was working on my son's college bike today and could not get the front shifter to function. I won't mention that it was a Shimano Revoshifter, oh did I just type that (sorry).
He is now getting thumb shifters on both front and rear and those may be Shimano or Suntour.
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Old 02-03-20, 04:06 PM
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Grip shifters are not especially durable, and seem next to impossible to repair.
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Old 02-03-20, 04:12 PM
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And I have a NOS set for a mtb project.
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Old 02-03-20, 04:21 PM
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for friction only the cheapie falcons work well
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Old 02-03-20, 04:28 PM
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On any family or friend build, the first thing I do is toss the grip shifters. For a budget, these work well enough. For something better, I keep a pile of older thumb shifters. But they are getting more expensive.

I've used several of these over the years. For $7.09 shipped, they are hard to beat!

Whatever you do, get friction for the FD.

What really gets me is all the kids bikes that come with grip shifters. Many of them take a steel grip to shift. Terrible choice on a childs bike IMHO. And not a good choice for an adult either.


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Old 02-03-20, 04:44 PM
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Shimano's Revo-Shift were my favourite of the twist shifters. They had the easiest cable replacement and the least cable friction when they were introduced. The only thing I didn't like was the ergonomics on the models with the dual diameter grip. SRAM and others eventually copied the Shimano cable routing design.

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Old 02-03-20, 04:57 PM
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My 1998 Bike Friday has SRAM grip shifters, had to replace them after maybe 5000 miles. They work just fine, if they're not worn or broken. Lower-mid level kit at best.
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Old 02-03-20, 06:11 PM
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RevoShift aren't a bad design, just cheap materials that can't be serviced. I have one bike that uses 'em, a mid-2000s Globe Carmel comfy hybrid/errand bike. I just replace the grip shifters when they get balky -- it's always a sign the plastic mating surfaces have cracked or warped and can't be fixed.

Kinda wish they'd make a better quality version for folks who need the grip shifter for ergonomic reasons -- they're easier than thumb shifters for folks with arthritis and bad thumb joints.

I keep an eye out for RevoShift replacement kits and buy 'em in advance. Around $10 is reasonable for both grip shifters, functional low end Shimano cable housing and galvanized cables.

OTOH, that same $10 can buy a set of SunRace SLM-10 thumbie friction shifters, cables and housing that'll last longer.
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Old 02-03-20, 06:34 PM
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WOW! I never realised there was such a problem with Grip shifters and different brands? I put a set of SRAM Grip Shifters on a bike in the late eighties, or early nineties, and LOVED them. What happened?
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Old 02-03-20, 07:04 PM
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Who devised the cable replacement process on some of those SRAM Grip shifters found on so many hybrids? Maybe the figured, assuming they thought about it at all, that the bike would be worn out or thrown away before cable replacement was needed.

In rebuilding bikes at Bike Works (bikeworks.org), we encounter these diabolical things nearly every week. Yes, the RevoDhift are the easiest, far better than most of the SRAMs. But even among Shimano varieties there are some bad ones.

And yes, the torque required to operate some, especially when they’re on a kid’s bike, is hard to fathom.
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Old 02-03-20, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
And yes, the torque required to operate some, especially when they’re on a kid’s bike, is hard to fathom.
I remember this! Like, as a child on my 24"-wheeled Trek Mountain Track, having to look ahead and change gear before any incline, because I couldn't climb and muster the wrist strength to change the gear. I guess it did teach me a skill that would come in useful later, using downtubes and captaining tandems and getting good mileage in manual cars...

I reckoned that a single-speed electroforged Schwinn Speedster was an upgrade from that bike, for that reason alone!
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Old 02-03-20, 07:41 PM
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yep +1, cable replacement (or failed cable replacements) were the last nail in the coffin for any chance of me keeping SRAM grip shifters out of the trash bin. Always and forever. That and the quick wear/breakage of the plastic...no thanks.
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Old 02-03-20, 08:14 PM
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I repair bicycles for a charity program, and I keep a stash of cheap generic friction thumb shifters to replace broken shifters of various types, including twisties and triggers.
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Old 02-03-20, 08:37 PM
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i have the Sachs grip shifters (since 1995 or so) and never had much of an issue with them. click click. a little more friendly now for my overused thumbs.
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Old 02-03-20, 09:09 PM
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They are pretty simple. What I have issue with is the rubber on them that turns to gum.
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Old 02-03-20, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I remember this! Like, as a child on my 24"-wheeled Trek Mountain Track, having to look ahead and change gear before any incline, because I couldn't climb and muster the wrist strength to change the gear. I guess it did teach me a skill that would come in useful later, using downtubes and captaining tandems and getting good mileage in manual cars...
I reckoned that a single-speed electroforged Schwinn Speedster was an upgrade from that bike, for that reason alone!
Got a pair of trek 220s from craigslist for practically nothing. 1999 and 2001 versions for the kids to ride to school, can't remember what cheap brand came with them but the kids can't shift them.

For whatever reason 7sp revo shift is total crap that is hard to shift. I struggled to shift the one on my son's 20" giant when we bought it while it was new. Yet 8sp, despite looking the same, is completely different. Try them out at the shop one day, test ride a 7sp and then the next nicer model with the 8sp; one is a total pain in the wrist and the other is a breeze. When I shopped for new bikes at Xmas it was the number two eliminator for bikes, if it had the 7sp I wouldn't consider them. Both kids, 7 and 9, have no trouble shifting their 8sp revoshift.
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Old 02-04-20, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Got a pair of trek 220s from craigslist for practically nothing. 1999 and 2001 versions for the kids to ride to school, can't remember what cheap brand came with them but the kids can't shift them.

For whatever reason 7sp revo shift is total crap that is hard to shift. I struggled to shift the one on my son's 20" giant when we bought it while it was new. Yet 8sp, despite looking the same, is completely different. Try them out at the shop one day, test ride a 7sp and then the next nicer model with the 8sp; one is a total pain in the wrist and the other is a breeze. When I shopped for new bikes at Xmas it was the number two eliminator for bikes, if it had the 7sp I wouldn't consider them. Both kids, 7 and 9, have no trouble shifting their 8sp revoshift.
I think mine was older, like '94 or '95. Pretty nice bike, besides the grip shift. I think the shifters were SRAM 7-speed SRT-600 and I think the rear wheel even had a freehub.
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Old 02-04-20, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
Who devised the cable replacement process on some of those SRAM Grip shifters found on so many hybrids? Maybe the figured, assuming they thought about it at all, that the bike would be worn out or thrown away before cable replacement was needed.

In rebuilding bikes at Bike Works (bikeworks.org), we encounter these diabolical things nearly every week. Yes, the RevoDhift are the easiest, far better than most of the SRAMs. But even among Shimano varieties there are some bad ones.

And yes, the torque required to operate some, especially when they’re on a kid’s bike, is hard to fathom.
I was waiting for your (to me) inevitable chiming in!

The OP's thread title, with "never again" had me laughing. It's sad, and hilarious at the same time because so many grip shifters are so bad. At BW, we don't call them GRIPE shifters for nothing! I mean, I'd try the SRAM ones on vintage Cannondale race bikes, but I've had enough experience with grip shifters to stay away from them forever. Glad you found a solution in thumb shifters. That's been ours as well.
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Old 02-04-20, 01:12 AM
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The most difficult vintage bike thing I ever had to figure out on my own was changing the cables on my 7-speed SRAM grip shifters. (1996-ish Kona MTB). But man, those things work flawlessly! Among the best, most precise shifters I've ever used.
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Old 02-04-20, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
The most difficult vintage bike thing I ever had to figure out on my own was changing the cables on my 7-speed SRAM grip shifters. (1996-ish Kona MTB). But man, those things work flawlessly! Among the best, most precise shifters I've ever used.
Yeah, my first cable change on my 1996 SRT-600 8-Speeds took about two hours a pair. I eventually got that down to 20 minutes a pair.

24 years later they still work great. About time to cruise eBay for more grip covers though.

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Old 02-04-20, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
My 1998 Bike Friday has SRAM grip shifters, had to replace them after maybe 5000 miles. They work just fine, if they're not worn or broken. Lower-mid level kit at best.
​​​​​​In the early 90s Gripshift was the best non-thumbshifter option for MTBs. At the time, Shimano and Suntour both had push/push shifters that were awful. To upshift you pushed one tiny lever with your thumb, to downshift you pushed another tiny lever with your thumb. Thoughtful companies like Bridgestone kept specing Thumbshifters through these years.

Eventually Shimano came out with Rapidfire Plus which featured a finger trigger for rear upshifts and a thumb lever for rear downshifts but Gripshifts were still prominent for a couple more years. Unfortunately Suntour was done by then.

Gripshifts are still my favorite 8sp shifter. Nothing finer than an Attack shifter with an XTR rapid rise rear derailleur.

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Old 02-04-20, 05:37 AM
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Here's a pic of the Original Gripshift on my '86 Ironman. Incidentally, I got my Original pair in '88. It's 6 speed, soon after they came out with 7 speed. When complaints came out about too much twisting of the wrist they were completely revamped.
They were first advertised for touring then racing. When Triathletes adapted them to their aerobars that's when they really took off. I'm thinking the '90s is when they started using them on recreational mountain bikes but they were a completely different version by then compared to what Pro mountain bike riders were using.


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Old 02-04-20, 06:21 AM
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I used Grip Shift on my work bikes that got shifted A LOT and never had a problem with them.
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Old 02-04-20, 06:25 AM
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The IGH Nexus 3-speed and 7-speed twist-grips are OK, and the Sturmey 3-speed twister isn't that bad either. Probably because there is a lot less resistance to move an IGH clutch spring than there to overcome a derailer and the side-to-side stiffness of the chain.

The el-cheapos and some of the older twisters though...trash pile fodder.

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Old 02-04-20, 07:13 AM
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SRAM's Grip-Shift became popular not because it was the best but because it was inexpensive. Bicycle manufacturers started using Grip-Shift because they were about half the price of Rapidfire Plus. That gave them an edge which they could parlay into a lower MSRP and/or a larger profit margin. An additional benefit was that they were lighter. Had the cables not been factory installed by SRAM, I'm convinced that the they never would have gained a foothold with the OEMs, as they would never have put up with cable installation issues.
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