Home Forum Bike Forum Thumbshifters??

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  • Thumbshifters??
  • MattPhotos

    anythig wrong with these.
    2:1 actuation as your into shimano stuff, otherwise CRC have sram ones with 1:1. Should get you sorted with something a bit more modern if that foats your boat.

    hmmm just assumed sram shifters didnt work, I didn't know there were 2:1 shifters.


    well… they are not interchangeable, but as they have both sorts you should be able to find something. Bit cheaper as well.. but they go wrong because they are ratchet based.
    The other option is you can run the shimano 8/9 speed on the the non-ratchet mode.. you just oush it how far you need.. that might appeal to your retro side.
    (I just replaced my 8 speed on thursday so I am up on my knowledge you see)

    I run 8 speed on my only MTB, an 853 Inbred, seems that after 12 years and 3 bikes the rapidfire (or whatever they are called) are dying as they won't shift up in neat shifts.

    The only replacement 8 speed shifters I can find are these thumbies –

    expensive set of thumbies

    Now I haven't ridden a bike with these since the 80's are they gonna be bad? I am a bit of a closet luddite (avid cable discs and middleburn cranks) so the nothing to go wrongness of them appeals.

    Bit reluctant to buy 2nd hand cheapie 8 speed off ebay as they are likely worn too.

    Are those trx fairly cheap sram?

    still half tempted by the thumbies for some odd reason

    Premier Icon nickc

    Time to move up to 9 speed. It's not really any different, just has 1 more gear is all


    downtube friction shifters?


    The alternative (and what I have been using for about 6 years) are Paul components thumbie mounts with bar end shifters. Works a treat.

    Premier Icon BigDummy

    I like thumbshifters a lot. I ran a set of dura-ace/Pauls ones on my main mountainbike for ages. The shifting action is fantastic, they are totally reliable, it's fantastic being able to "trim" the front mech so that it never rubs and in friction mode they are much less sensitive to muck in the mechs and cables.

    The only reason they are now on my cargo bike rather than the mountain bike is that I started focussing more on the downhill gnarly bits and less on the long days in the saddle, and they are obviously less easy to make rapid gear changes with while the bike is requiring all your attention to control. They don't perhaps suit "all mountain" as well as they do "ambient scenic cross-country".

    Thanks for all the replies. I will sleep on it and make a decision in the morning. Not keen to "upgrade" to 9 speed as my chain and cassette are only 2 months old and I'd need a new front mech too.

    "ambient scenic cross-country" probably about describes me, gnarly is starting to hurt too much now I am in my 40s 🙂

    @sslowpace, they look nice. Very similar to the SJS cycles ones I think.

    Is there anything to be gained by running them on the wrong side of the bars upside down I wonder, I think my brain could cope.

    What I really want is for Campagnolo to do some MTB gears, oh well

    Premier Icon BigDummy

    I believe the SJS version of those mounts used the old Forge tooling. They are functionally identical to the Pauls ones.


    Have never switched from my Deore XT thumbies. I love 'em, battered though they are.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    I've got a set of 8 speed LX rapidfire shifters available if you're interested?


    They are functionally identical to the Pauls ones.

    Pauls mounts are higher now to clear these new-fangled hydraulic disc levers 😉

    Premier Icon BigDummy

    Very, very cunning of them. I'm not going to upgrade, I think that might be a bit perverse. 🙂

    Thanks all, ordered myself a set of the SJS cycles / forge style ones with ultegra shifters…hopefully I will like them as it was stupid money to spend

    Premier Icon DoctorRad

    You can usually find old SunTour XC Pro and XC Expert thumbshifters on eBay for good prices. With Shimano mechs, they will index fine with both 7sp and 8sp.

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    Suntour XC pro here. 10 years old, never missed a beat. Love 'em. They, along with the front mech and the rear brake lever, are the only parts to have remained on the bike since I bought it.

    changeable from 7 to 8 speed, Friction or indexed.

    Premier Icon Hooter

    Check out the classifieds at 8 speed stuff comes up quite regularly

    Premier Icon soulwood

    Rocketdog, the secret 8th click for XT thumbies was rendered useless by the big S themselves. Why would they spend millions of yen developing a brand new 8 speed group and let folk use retro compatible stuff?. I tried to set up my XT thumbies with 8spd, all I got was a lot of frustration, it seems the spacing of the 8spd cassettes is just *slightly* out. Shame really as it was a nice idea.


    I use a pair of those SJS thumbies and they are fine. If you use them in friction mode then you can use a 7,8 or 9 speed cassette.

    There is nothing to go wrong and when it's muddy or you bend the rear mech you can still change gear.

    Re 7 and 8 speed, soulwood is correct, 7 speed was 5mm spacing and 8 speed 4.8mm. In practice if you set it up to be spot on in the middle of the cassette it might work but need more fiddling.

    Thats good to hear DWH, can't wait to get them now! Don't suppose you have a pic of them fitted to keep me going? Ever tried them upside down and back to front?

    right this is what I ended up with, I rather like it

    Andy W

    would they not be better on the top of the bars or am i missing something ??

    I have xt thumbshifters on my old hardtail and they have always lived on the top of the bars

    just thinking about downshifts thats all


    It all seems so simple, thumb to shift up the rings and finger to drop down the rings, does your finger reach them OK Like that?

    Just thought I'd try it this way for a bit

    1-3rd shifts with a flick of the finger
    4-5th requires a slight twist of the wrist and a push from the finger
    6-8th is a push with the thumb

    8-1st is 1 push with the thumb

    it's better than it sounds

    I read about some riders running thumbies like this in the 80's so thought I'd try it. I may try them above aswell to compare but this way I can keep my hands wrapped around the grips

    they do have a longer throw than proper thumbies did, but I think it's fine


    I intend on getting some thumbshifter mounts for my Blizzard… the build-up of which is proceeding at an appropriately glacial pace.

    Old school XT Thumbies on my Bonty – I love 'em. ****, I'd have happily brought the machining kit off Shimano…

    Andy W

    I am that used to the XT thumbshifter on my old bike it took a bit to get used to the rapid fire shifters on my new bike

    My XT thumbshifters have been on the bike since the early 90's and still work like a dream i bet the shifters on my new bike wont last a few winters

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg

    As said above, use them on friction for 8/9sp front mech with infinite adjustment = drivetrain silence!

    I think I'll try them on top of the bars this weekend and see which is best

    Just in case anyone reads this and wonders about putting them under the bars…

    Spent a bit of time last time setting them up on top instead and just took them for a spin for 1.5 hours. They are actually much better on top, which is after all where they are supposed to be 🙂

    Shifting is very crisp and positive.

    pauls + new SRAM TT shifters = niche paradise and lighter than SRAM XX shifters 😀

    If only I could afford it…………..

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