Sore thumbs and thumb shifter – solutions?

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  • Sore thumbs and thumb shifter – solutions?
  • Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    My dad has been riding a flat bar road bike and injured his thumbs with the gear shifters. He let the cables get so cruddy that the force to shift up was massive and ended up injuring both thumbs. He put up with it for months! I replaced all the cables and kept them running smooth but even 3 months on he can’t shift gears due to the pain he now has in both hands. The cable routing on the bike isn’t ideal, so even with new well routed cables the friction is quite high.

    Anyway, I need to try and fix it for him as he’s not enjoying riding anymore. Has anyone had a similar issue and what fixes have you used? What other options are out there? The bike has Avid cable discs. So far I’ve thought of:

    – Replace shifters with gripshift. It’s 9sp Shimano he has so I think this would require new shifter, mech, cables and grips.
    – Convert to drop bars. Pricey for new bars, tape, cables and STI shifters.
    – Some sort of cobbled on retro tyle down tube shifters. Does anyone still make anything that works like this?
    – Get a new bike with drop bars. He’s raced road for years so drops not an issue, just a cost thing as his flat bar bike is pretty good.

    yoshimi
    Member

    I went to gripshift for exactly this reason and would highly recommend it – although I’ve just got a new bike with 1×11 on it which came with trigger (I’m already thinking of switching to a gripshifter)

    You’ll only have to replace the rear mech (will work fine with shimano front) and can you not just chop his current grips down?

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    Hope your dad’s been to the gp/physio to get his hands looked at too. Fixing the bike isn’t fixing the problem.

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    The bike came with lock ons, they clamp at both ends but could try hacksawing in two and see if it works. Yes, was banking on changing rear mech only.

    Premier Icon slowoldgit
    Member

    I’m just developing arthritis in my thumbs, your dad’s experience sounds familiar. Persuade him to see a doc.

    I was about to post a Q asking if gripshift might help me.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    are you sure it’s not just how he’s gripping the bars or the way his weight is distributed on the bike?

    I’ve had sore thumbs a few times recently on my singlespeed – it’s ‘cos I’ve been running a rigid fork I think and hitting stuff harder than I used to.

    You can get SRAM twist shift that work with Shimano gears – get something with a name – my wife’s bike has ‘Rocket’ twist shifters on it with shimano rear mech.

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    Hope your dad’s been to the gp/physio to get his hands looked at too. Fixing the bike isn’t fixing the problem.

    Don’t worry I’ll start nagging him on that front too. Tbh I’m just shocked that he perservered for so long with it. If I’d stuck £3 worth of new cables and some lube in 6 months ago it would probably never injured him. At the moment just want to get him back riding for the summer.

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    I think his position and grip might be making it worse. Another reason drops might help is giving him a variety of different hand positions. I tried to get him using the ergon grips but he didn’t get on with it. He has failry skinny tyres and ridgid alu fork so any bumps are being transferred directly.

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
    Subscriber

    I have quite marked arthritis in my left thumb, to the point where riding my MTB has become a pain & i’ve much preferred my road bike with 105 STI’s as thats all in the fingers.
    Personally i would say long term thats the best option but as you say, its pricy. The thing about arthritis is that it takes a good while for any meds to take effect (on me anyway) and its not really something that can be cured, only alleviated. The general idea is to take away whatever is causing the pain which in this case is the shifting.

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