Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Thumb vs Grip Shifters

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Thumb vs Grip Shifters

Old 12-01-21, 01:27 PM
  #26  
Steve0000
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 226

Bikes: LHT disc, Cannondale CAAD8, Cannondale Super 6, Avanti Agressor MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
I have used grip shifters for many years of touring and found them fine (mtn bike handlebars). Now I use bar end shifters since buying a Surly. You get used to what you have at the time.
Steve0000 is offline  
Likes For Steve0000:
Old 12-01-21, 04:02 PM
  #27  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 10,394
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 670 Post(s)
Liked 225 Times in 181 Posts
Originally Posted by Chinghis View Post
Just a note that thumb shifters, like the Deore up above, are not the same as "trigger shifters," like modern Shimano stuff, right? Thumb shifters are the best - I think of them as knuckle shifters. Don't have to use your thumbs, just nudge it with a knuckle. The motion is almost like a grip shift.
I alway liked thumb shufters at least until my arthritis got too bad in my thumbs. I never found the knuckle thing to be the case. Your comment almost makes me want to ride my old 1990 MTB that had deore xt thumb shifters and try that. The problem is that it currently has drop bars and brifters on it.
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 12-01-21, 06:41 PM
  #28  
IceTee2
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 32
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Looks like a ground swell of support for 'real' thumb shifters! I went on a hunt this afternoon and cannot find any 3 x 9 shifters (the 520 has a 9 speed in 2005) with the exception of MicroShift SL-T09s. I looked at the microShift website and the specs say compatible with Shimano 9 speed rear derailleurs...."road" models. So for now it looks like Rapid-Fire shifters are the best choice.
IceTee2 is offline  
Old 12-02-21, 05:55 AM
  #29  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,817

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2490 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 691 Times in 564 Posts
If my memory is correct, the 520 of that era was using a road crankset and front derailleur. If so, is that compatible with the shifter you are considering?
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 12-02-21, 09:06 AM
  #30  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,817

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2490 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 691 Times in 564 Posts
Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
I rigged a city-type bike for a guy with a bum left hand and it featured a straight bar with a top-mount thumbie and a barcon on the right side of the bar.

For my own bikes with straight or riser bars I like Grip Shift/SRAM brand twist shifters and I insist on the front shifter being "friction" rather than indexed, many small clicks for precisely trimming the front derailleur instead of the three steps. Never liked Shimano's Rapid Fire.
That would be a very good way to deal with someone that needed all controls for one handed operation. Reminds me of when I bought a used motorcycle several decades ago, a previous owner only had one leg, so the bike had been modified to route the rear brake lever to the other side. When I bought it, the controls were normal again, but the modification to the engine mount brackets for that remained which caused my questions when I bought it.

I went on a bike trip in Europe for a week, bike was provided (along with food, lodging, guide, luggage service, etc.) and they provided a bike that had Shimano Rapid something, not exactly sure the name. But the cable pulled backwards so the shifter worked the opposite of my 1994 errand bike that is my only flat bar derailleur bike. Drove me nuts. Thus, I do not favor the Shimano Rapid <whatever it is called> shifters, but that is a personal thing. I thought it was called Rapid Rise, not Rapid Fire.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 12-02-21, 09:42 AM
  #31  
ClydeClydeson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,125
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 387 Post(s)
Liked 570 Times in 335 Posts
Many have had good luck with both. My previous life working in LBSs, however, convinced me that grip shifters are crap. The all-plastic construction makes them likely to break. The only advantage they have is that they are cheap, but Shimano has perfected the manufacture of inexpensive shift levers such that there is no reason to futz around with grip shifters.

NB most of my experience is with Sram gripshifters - the company that popularized the style in the early 90s. The SHimano compatible 'MRX' shifters they made were the worst of the worst. It is possible Micro-shift/soft are better than the old Sram ones. The European company Sachs was making better grip shifters up to the mid 90s, but Sram bought them out and crappified the design. Shimano also made grip-style shifters for certain drivetrains - they were very low cost but IME generally more reliable than the Sram ones.
ClydeClydeson is offline  
Old 12-02-21, 09:50 AM
  #32  
thumpism 
Bikes are okay, I guess.
 
thumpism's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Posts: 7,859

Bikes: Waterford Paramount Touring, Giant CFM-2, Raleigh Sports 3-speeds in M23 & L23, Schwinn Cimarron oddball build, Marin Palisades Trail dropbar conversion, Nishiki Cresta GT

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2268 Post(s)
Liked 1,265 Times in 916 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I went on a bike trip in Europe for a week, bike was provided (along with food, lodging, guide, luggage service, etc.) and they provided a bike that had Shimano Rapid something, not exactly sure the name. But the cable pulled backwards so the shifter worked the opposite of my 1994 errand bike that is my only flat bar derailleur bike. Drove me nuts. Thus, I do not favor the Shimano Rapid <whatever it is called> shifters, but that is a personal thing. I thought it was called Rapid Rise, not Rapid Fire.
Rapid Rise was a derailleur-and-cable operation thing, with normal Low (largest cog) on the rear instead of normal High (smallest cog), as I recall. This arrived after my exit from the industry and after my magazine subscriptions lapsed so I know little else about it. Rapid Fire was the trigger-type shifters. None of my bikes have this stuff so I'm not much help on it beyond knowing some of the nomenclature.
thumpism is offline  
Old 12-02-21, 10:33 AM
  #33  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,615
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 455 Post(s)
Liked 156 Times in 107 Posts
Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
My previous life working in LBSs, however, convinced me that grip shifters are crap. The all-plastic construction makes them likely to break. The only advantage they have is that they are cheap.
They were marketed to the public as having fewer moving parts than thumb shifters and therefore less likely to break. But of course I had a right twist grip shifter break for no obvious reason such as a crash or what not. Meanwhile my wife's 2005 Shimano thumb trigger shifters continue to keep plugging along.
robow is offline  
Likes For robow:
Old 12-02-21, 10:53 AM
  #34  
ClydeClydeson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,125
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 387 Post(s)
Liked 570 Times in 335 Posts
robow Shimano started using non-serviceable ratcheting shifters in the late 80s, and the first couple generations did have some long-term reliability issues, but nothing as bad as Gripshifts. And through subsequent generations and redesigns, Shimano shifters are now super reliable for decades. The only regular failures are the lubrication inside getting hard over years of use, and occasional cables breaking resulting in loose bits fouling in the mechanism. Gripshifts came around about the same time, but Sram moved in large part to their own version od ratcheting shifters by the late 90s.
ClydeClydeson is offline  
Old 12-02-21, 10:54 AM
  #35  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,817

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2490 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 691 Times in 564 Posts
Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Rapid Rise was a derailleur-and-cable operation thing, with normal Low (largest cog) on the rear instead of normal High (smallest cog), as I recall. This arrived after my exit from the industry and after my magazine subscriptions lapsed so I know little else about it. Rapid Fire was the trigger-type shifters. None of my bikes have this stuff so I'm not much help on it beyond knowing some of the nomenclature.
Thanks for correcting me, I did not realize that there were two different Shimano systems that shared the word "Rapid" in their name with different meanings. But when my newest flat bar shifter system is from 1994, I think I can be forgiven for some ignorance. I mostly use drop bars, but even then I am using eight speed Shimano bar ends or Campy 10 speed brifters, or on one bike a Rohloff twist grip mounted on a Hubbub adapter. Not buying into the latest from marketing depts.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 12-02-21, 06:03 PM
  #36  
xroadcharlie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Windsor Ontario, Canada
Posts: 405

Bikes: 2018 Giant Sedona

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 129 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 68 Posts
When I went looking for a new bike in 2018 I wanted the thumb shifters, But the bike I liked best came with twist grip shifters. A little research on the SRAM Twist Grip Max shifters didn't reveal any glaring issues so i ordered the bike. After 2 1/2 years of recreational riding about 4,300 km on roads or easy trails I must say I'm quite happy with them.

I was concerned it would constantly be shifting as my wrist moves, But I've found it not to be a problem. Probably not best for mountain bikes as it has inadvertently shifted occasionally on more challenging trails with hills.

It does take considerable movement shifting between the 3 front chainrings though, But for most folks without wrist problems it's still works well.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 12-03-21 at 01:11 AM.
xroadcharlie is offline  
Old 12-03-21, 05:06 PM
  #37  
Digger Goreman
Quidam Bike Super Hero
 
Digger Goreman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Stone Mountain, GA (Metro Atlanta, East)
Posts: 1,049

Bikes: 1995 Trek 800 Sport, aka, "Frankentrek"

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Liked 340 Times in 235 Posts
Grip shifters become gluey over time and I always got unwanted shifts when grabbing the handlebars. Love the thumb shifters: small and no need to dial in the rear der
Digger Goreman is offline  
Old 12-06-21, 10:21 AM
  #38  
IceTee2
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 32
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
The 'only' thumb shifters that I can find are Microshift (T-09) for $92 a set on all the usual online sources or $80 on eBay. I don't know if it's worth the extra $40 to $50 for the 'thumbs'.
IceTee2 is offline  
Old 12-07-21, 05:59 PM
  #39  
2wheels4ever
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: SC Midlands
Posts: 22

Bikes: '83 Trek 600, '01 Tour Easy recumbent, '07 Rans Screamer tandem, '20 Trek Verve 2, '21 Salsa Marrakesh

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 4 Posts
My Tour Easy recumbent came with SRAM grip shifters. I actually don't mind them; the only issue I have had is trying to shift with sweaty hands. Sometimes hard to get a good grip. I do prefer the Rapid Fires on my Verve and will probably change the Tour Easy to thumbies in the future.
2wheels4ever is offline  
Old 12-07-21, 08:28 PM
  #40  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,817

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2490 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 691 Times in 564 Posts
Originally Posted by 2wheels4ever View Post
My Tour Easy recumbent came with SRAM grip shifters. I actually don't mind them; the only issue I have had is trying to shift with sweaty hands. Sometimes hard to get a good grip.....
My Rohloff shifter is a twist grip and it is hard to turn when my hands are sweaty or when I am not wearing gloves. I have the second generation, which is quite close to round. I put three beads of black color Shoe Goo on the shifter and get a much better grip. Each bead is a couple layers.

Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 12-07-21, 09:41 PM
  #41  
2wheels4ever
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: SC Midlands
Posts: 22

Bikes: '83 Trek 600, '01 Tour Easy recumbent, '07 Rans Screamer tandem, '20 Trek Verve 2, '21 Salsa Marrakesh

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
My Rohloff shifter is a twist grip and it is hard to turn when my hands are sweaty or when I am not wearing gloves. I have the second generation, which is quite close to round. I put three beads of black color Shoe Goo on the shifter and get a much better grip. Each bead is a couple layers.

Wow! That's not much to grab onto. Is that the standard shifter for Rohloff?
2wheels4ever is offline  
Old 12-08-21, 01:09 AM
  #42  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,817

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2490 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 691 Times in 564 Posts
Originally Posted by 2wheels4ever View Post
Wow! That's not much to grab onto. Is that the standard shifter for Rohloff?
For a short time it was the standard, the one before it and the one after were much better. It was my bad luck that they changed shifters shortly before I bought mine eight years ago but they did not keep that design for long. The rubber also abrades quite easily, so the beads that stick out reduce how much it abrades over time.
Tourist in MSN is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.