/ Alternative MB Gear Shifters

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JamButty - on 18 Feb 2013
I've had an elbow problem since I got my MB before Xmas, similar to tennis elbow.
I thought it was from tight gripping over rough ground, but on playing with my gear shifters yesterday, I'm fairly confident its been caused by using thumb shifters, as the pain quickly transmits up to my elbow.
Anyone had any similar experience with this, and what alternative shifters would people recommend to avoid excess pressure on my thumb.
I'm currently on SRAM X3s

Cheers
Dangerous Dave - on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty: I would replace the cables, both outer and inner with some good quality ones. I find shimano xt cable set to be brilliant. This will reduce the friction in the system making it easier to push the lever. If that doesn't work you could try upgrading your shifters as they may be easier and smoother to operate.
In reply to JamButty: sounds far more like a symptom than the cause. Have you tried just moving the shifters a few degrees around the bar and seeing if that makes any difference?
gethin_allen on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:
I'd tend to agree with TobyA, have you tried moving the shifters both the angle of them relative to the brakes and the position along the bars relative to the grips. You should be able to get them to a positing where your hands sit naturally.
Frank4short - on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty: What Toby said. Though in taking this account the cable suggestion isn't too bad either. However when all is said and done X3 is bottom of the range Sram. As such will be made cheap and will have a lot of in built friction in the system. Higher end shifters generally are built to much better tolerances and tend to have things like bearings in them which make them lighter shifting and easier to use.
balmybaldwin - on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

Rather than upgrade your X3 shifters, consider moving to shimano, as the down click levers on those aren't thumb operated (you use your fingers on the other side of the bar)
gethin_allen on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to balmybaldwin:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
>
> Rather than upgrade your X3 shifters, consider moving to shimano, as the down click levers on those aren't thumb operated (you use your fingers on the other side of the bar)

But that would involve changing your mechs as the ratios are different.
Hairybiker on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:
Change them to gripshifters?
JamButty - on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty: Thanks for comments, I was thinking about grip shifters but don't know enough about ratio probs by changing.
It is a very stiff changer, especially going 9 to 1 so its hard work on my thumb. I'll play around with its position and cables and see if it helps before I resort to new shifters and a trip to the LBS.

Cheers

JB
balmybaldwin - on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:

Do they seem any different to friends' shifters?
Frank4short - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty: Grip shift is Sram, same as your existing, so so longer as it's the same number of cogs on the back it'll work fine. However they're very much an acquired taste. With that in mind i'd try and see if you can test ride a bike with them on before committing.

re: the idea of switching to Shimano. Shimano and Sram dérailleurs have different pull ratios. So Shimano shifters and Sram mechs aren't compatible and vice versa too.
michaelc - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:
> (In reply to JamButty) Thanks for comments, I was thinking about grip shifters but don't know enough about ratio probs by changing.
>
Get some LBS advice (As you propose) but I think you should be able to move to grip shifters without much problem, certainly if they're SRAM too. The only thing that matters is how much cable the shifter pays out or reels in for each click. This then more or less depends on the mech and how many gears you're using.

It may even work across marques. I had SRAM grip shifters with Shimano everything else on an old Trek, no problems. Don't know if either company tried to break compatibility later on.

...
just checked wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shifter_(bicycle_part)
Given that friction shifters were compatible with almost any derailleur, index shifting systems have been criticized for their non-interchangeability. For example, Shimano indexing components are often incompatible with SRAM or Campagnolo components, because the amount of cable pulled between each "click" is different in each system. For example, a typical Shimano (2:1), 7-speed shifter changes the cable length by 2.9mm between each gear, while a similar 7-speed SRAM (1:1) shifter changes the cable length by 4.5mm; some other SRAM units, (that differ only by an MRX designator), are compatible with Shimano units. In addition, newer components are often not backward compatible with older systems from the same manufacturer, so finding spares for older systems is often difficult, and stocking all of the possible combinations (shifters, derailleurs, chainrings, freewheels, and cassettes) is a challenge for the local bike shop.
MHutch - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:

I wouldn't be so quick to rule out overgripping as the root cause, even if it seems to be the thumbshifting that's painful. It's worth experimenting with different gloves, or no gloves, and actively forcing yourself to relax your grip slightly and keep your elbows moving around rather than death-gripping through rough sections. It's good practice anyhow, and will make you a better rider, so you might as well.

Try a few hilly road rides where you can eliminate overgripping as an issue.

However, as others have said, you could make slight adjustments to your shifter position to try to get a more comfortable hand placement. Tiny changes can make a big difference to comfort.
Hairybiker on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:
Something else that could be worth looking at is the angle of the bars themselves. Most bars have some degree of sweepback/angling and it's amazing how much difference this can make to comfort, try rotating the bars in the stem a bit and see the difference!
Timmd on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to michaelc:Unfortunately any friction shifters which work with Shaimano won't work with the non Shimano compatible Sram shifters which use the 1:1 Sram pull ratio.
JamButty - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty: Just popped to LBS who reckons SRAMs are well known for being stiff, even if you get the more expensive models. With the bike only costing me £150 we agreed that to change it all to Shimano wouldn't be cost effective.
So I guess I'm back on the market for another bike to try and aleviate my problem. Don't suppose anyone knows one avail in the N Walesish area?

Cheers
MHutch - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:


I agree that swapping a complete mech would be an expensive fix (especially as it might not solve the issue).

How many gears is it - 7, 8, 9? A gripshifter for 7-speed is less than £12 (9-speed a bit more), and it should be pretty much a straight swap for your existing shifter, ie a job you could do yourself after watching a couple of youtube vids.

Worth trying before you make a loss selling on a perfectly good bike.

Have you tried some of the other suggestions above?


Timmd on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:

If you don't mind using 'friction' thumbshifters, you can buy some of those for a few pounds from ebay, have seen some sets for £5 or close enough, and some cheapish front and rear mechs for approx £20 each.

You can use the ball of your thumb to shift, or your fingers, they are called thumbshifters but you don't have to use just your thumbs.
Timmd on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:

You can get a long cage Shimano Acera rear mech for 16.25 including postage, and a pair of compatible friction thumb shifters for 10.00 including postage. I'm sure you could find a front mech for around 10.00 or there abouts.

Friction means there's no clicks from the shifters, and you need to go be sound and how it feels to pedal to tell if you're in gear or not. It can take a little getting used to, but it soon becomes second nature and one good point is you never need to index your gears.

You can still shift standing up, though some MTBers don't think you can. It's just psychological, i've found..
Timmd on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:How many gears do you have?

Could look out for some shimano shifters if you want which index, then you could fit them and refit the cables, and have a bike shop index them if you're not sure how?

You can certainly get the parts for not more than £50 if you look around on the internet.
JamButty - on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty: Thanks all, I tried a number of the earlier recommendations to no avail. Think I'll skip shimano.
Having a sniff around twist shifters - looks like I can get Sram I motion 9 speed for £12 from Chain Reaction.
May give that a go - anyone know if they're any good and how difficult is it to swap?

Cheers
MHutch - on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty:

I believe they usually come with an inner cable already attached, so it would be a matter of removing your old shifter and cable, feeding the new one down through your outers to the mech, cutting and clamping then checking the indexing.

Faffy but not hard. You'll need decent wire cutters, allen keys, tiny bit of grease for the inner perhaps.
Frank4short - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to MHutch:
> (In reply to JamButty)
>
> I believe they usually come with an inner cable already attached, so it would be a matter of removing your old shifter and cable, feeding the new one down through your outers to the mech, cutting and clamping then checking the indexing.

If the OP is changing his shifters because excess friction is causing him major difficulties then advising him to reuse his old cable outers is mind bogglingly stupid. As a.) outer cable is cheap and b.) there's a strong possibility the existing cables and cable housings could be contributing the resistance he has had to deal with so far. So for the sake of less than a fiver's worth of cable housing to not even try and rectify the other major possible cause of the resistance does not make sense.
Timmd on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

plus 1 ^^^^^^
ads.ukclimbing.com
alan1961 - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to JamButty: Sram will always be heavier to shift than an equivalent Shimano, it is to do with the ratio. With the Shimano shifters moving the cable twice as far, per shift means the effort required will be half of that for an equivalent Sram system. All other things being equal.

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