• This topic has 38 replies, 25 voices, and was last updated 2 days ago by mjsmke.
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  • When did shifters change?
  • doris5000
    Full Member

    I just got a new bike (1×10) and the shifter is one where you use your thumb to both shift up and down gears.

    Bikeradar seems to suggest that this is the norm. When did that change? It’s like going back to my old 1992 bike with Shimano 200 GS. My arthritic right hand isn’t a big fan, but hey.

    (Related: this newfangled ‘disc brake’ malarkey is quite good, eh?)

    steve_b77
    Free Member

    Is it Shimano or SRAM? AFAIK they’ve been like that for about 15 years

    dc1988
    Full Member

    I think Shimano call it dual control, you can still use your index finger. It’s been that way for years

    Mister-P
    Free Member

    Shimano call it dual release. Dual control was braking and shifting with one lever, a bit like a horizontal version of a road lever.

    doris5000
    Full Member

    It’s the Microshift Advent X drivetrain. Seems good so far. But that’s compared to the 93 LX rear mech and 97 XT shifters on my other bike!

    Dual control was braking and shifting with one lever, a bit like a horizontal version of a road lever.

    That doesn’t sound much fun – sounds like it would be easy to accidentally shift under braking or on rough ground?

    chrismac
    Full Member

    SRAM is always push push. Shimano has push or pull

    sirromj
    Free Member

    Dual control was braking and shifting with one lever, a bit like a horizontal version of a road lever.

    Was it as bad an ideas as it sounds. It sounds like a terrible idea. Might need to be more sweary about how bad an idea I think it sounds.

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Never tried microshift, but SRAM have been thumb only with the same fundamental ergonomics at least since 8-speed.

    Shimano went through a couple of changes as SRAM hold the patents to the thumb only design, hence why shimano is thumb for downshifts, finger for upshifts, but you can also reach it with your thumb and click it the other way if you want to.

    My thumbs don’t like either, but it’s the pulling cable paddle they struggle with which is common across all the systems, never had an issue with either of the release systems.

    thols2
    Free Member

    Was it as bad an ideas as it sounds. It sounds like a terrible idea. Might need to be more sweary about how bad an idea I think it sounds.

    I have some used XT dual control shifters and brakes in my spare parts pile, meaning to build up a commuter/gravel bike with them. Curious to see if they’re as terrible off-road as I’d always imagined.

    Mister-P
    Free Member

    I liked Dual Control but many didn’t.

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    I didn’t mind the XTR dual controls. Rear shifting was nice n snappy, front shifting required quite a big push of the lever, so I ended up swapping the right dual control for a separate lever/shifter set up.
    Gave them away to a work colleague in the end. He only commuted and liked the dual controls.
    Ghost shifts were only as common as they are on a road bike.

    I do like Shimano dual release. It seems really natural with either a thumb push or finger pull (fnaar).

    misteralz
    Free Member

    Thumb shifting up and down can die in a ditch. Slowly, being eaten alive by rats. My 2010 Foxy had X-9, and I could never quite get used to it. The one time I tried to block shift down a few gears for a climb and obviously clicked the wrong lever resulting in my bike pretty much stopping dead but me (and the bollocks connected to me) not doing so was the final straw. Pain and rage.
    SRAM isn’t a deal breaker for me nowadays, but obviously I have to budget in replacing it with XT.

    tonyd
    Full Member

    I had some XT dual control in about 2005 and hated them, worst idea ever. Almost impossible to shift properly/accurately when you really need to, for example on a fast bumpy descent when you’ve just spotted a following climb. Braking felt weird as the lever could move vertically, and it tended to flap about a bit as the reservoir weighed it down. Awful awful things.

    thepodge
    Free Member

    The Alfine shifter is thumb thumb but to move to a harder gear you can push the lever forwards OR backwards so I end up shifting with thumb & finger knuckle.

    doris5000
    Full Member

    I saw a caption on some hipster bike Instagram the other day going on about ‘friction’ and it took me a while to figure out that they were talking about… thumbies! Good old DX thumbies, set them to friction and never worry about indexing again. Just don’t try to change gear while going over a bump.

    H1ghland3r
    Free Member

    Shimano went through a couple of changes as SRAM hold the patents to the thumb only design, hence why shimano is thumb for downshifts, finger for upshifts, but you can also reach it with your thumb and click it the other way if you want to.

    Do you have a source for this as I can’t see how SRAM hold a patent for the push-push thumbshifter considering the original shimano STI trigger shifters for mountain bikes were a dual trigger push push system almost exactly like SRAM’s current design. SRAM have simply moved the upshift trigger to a more ergonomic position but the basic design predates them even existing as a company.!

    chestrockwell
    Full Member

    I was going to say exactly the same, Shimano were push/pushing back in 1990. Surely the patent would be for the Shimano system, hence why Sram are still in the dark ages (or early 90’s)?

    As for Dual Control, that was bab but the Rapid Rise rear mech that partnered it was ace. My 2007ish RR XTR set up, with normal shifter is still the best shifting gears I’ve ever had.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    As for Dual Control, that was bab but the Rapid Rise rear mech that partnered it was ace.

    Second than. Rapid Rise XT/XTR 9sp was the pinnacle of shifting IMO.

    zerocool
    Full Member

    @sirromj – pretty much exactly as you imagine

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Was it as bad an ideas as it sounds. It sounds like a terrible idea. Might need to be more sweary about how bad an idea I think it sounds.

    As for Dual Control, that was bab but the Rapid Rise rear mech that partnered it was ace.

    That’s how bad it was, Rapid Rise was good in comparison.

    Thumb shifting up and down can die in a ditch. Slowly, being eaten alive by rats. My 2010 Foxy had X-9, and I could never quite get used to it.

    I remember when folk were ditching Shimano shifters en-masse for SRAM Attack and Rocket (X5 and X7 with ratios adjusted) as Shimano was just utter crap. With the SRAM units you could shift more than one gear at the time with just one digit, imagine that! They also had the shift windows built into the clamp which freed up/tidied up your bars.

    I still have mine, they’re still ace.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Rapid Rise XT/XTR 9sp was the pinnacle of shifting IMO.

    My opinion as well. Except no clutch… and once you have one of those… you are never going back.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    I have some used XT dual control shifters and brakes in my spare parts pile, meaning to build up a commuter/gravel bike with them. Curious to see if they’re as terrible off-road as I’d always imagined.

    I deliberately built up a rigid 29er MTB (people seem to think this constitutes a “Flat barred Gravel bike” now) using a Deore Dual control front brake/shifter and an LX Rapid rise mech (1×9), all because dual Control was intended to work with Rapid rise see so I thought I’d try it as intended.

    TBH I like it, I find I only ever use the lever blade to shift, not the little thumb lever attached to it (I might remove that). The problem was that it was too many new ideas all at once: Arse-backwards mechs should really have been sold with conventionally operated, but correspondingly arse-backwards shifters. once you add flappy brake levers and cable tension adjusters doing the opposite of what users are used to it was only ever going to get complaints.
    For a contrarian like me though it’s great, downshifts are achieved with a light flick of the finger and are generally smoother because it’s all done by the mech’s spring tension not an over tensioned cable being heaved on by a wheezing bastard desperate for easier gears.

    Up-shifts work quite nicely with the extra leverage of a full length brake lever. The main mistake they made is that the “multi release mechanism is the wrong way round so you can do multiple up-shifts (harder gears) but only single down-shifts (easier), never the way round you want it and not how other shifters worked at the time…

    I’d maybe like to try the last version XT/XTR hydraulic levers they put out before fully killing it but they seem to attract silly bids on the fleabay…

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    The main mistake they made is that the “multi release mechanism is the wrong way round so you can do multiple up-shifts (harder gears) but only single down-shifts (easier), never the way round you want it and not how other shifters worked at the time…

    Doesn’t that completely contradict the entire principle of Rapid Rise though? Basically you’re saying Rapid Rise was great but would be better if it was top normal like everything else.

    I must admit I’m having less of a nightmare with it in Alfine form but still have to check the shifter on occasion.

    chestrockwell
    Full Member

    Arse-backwards mechs should really have been sold with conventionally operated, but correspondingly arse-backwards shifters.

    They did, didn’t they? I certainly didn’t have flappy lever/shifters.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    I used Sachs shifters with mine. Were great. Could dump all the gears in one go as you hit a steep climb.

    Dickyboy
    Full Member

    Second than. Rapid Rise XT/XTR 9sp was the pinnacle of shifting IMO.

    Could explain why I have a stock of 9sp mechs & cassettes

    belugabob
    Free Member

    This is why I’ve never had SRAM gears on any of my bikes – not having to go against muscle memory when swapping between Shimano/SRAM equipped bikes.

    Having said that, I haven’t bought any MTB shifters for a long time, so I’m hoping things haven’t changed (i.e. Shimano still designed to use thumb and finger for different levers)

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    Doesn’t that completely contradict the entire principle of Rapid Rise though? Basically you’re saying Rapid Rise was great but would be better if it was top normal like everything else.

    Sort of, but the point of RR wasn’t to make the controls unfamiliar it was to smooth the downshifting. The movement directions of the DC shifter makes sense with a RR mech, when you already have a top normal configured brain, but the ability to do multiple downshifts as a single lever movement is missing. Basically they were a bit lazy and just bodged the same shifting mechanism from a regular shifter into the DC lever (single release) so users were always going to compare it unfavourably with a conventional mech and shifter where you could grab 2 or 3 easier gears in one move.

    You could run rapid rise with a standard shifter but the same issue would still exist. Plus most users, who by that time were already well used to top normal, would get frustrated at the reversal of the controls.

    Shimano should have made that “arse-backwards” rapidfire pod that did multi-release with you the lower thumb lever and a single step pull of cable with the upper lever (whether finger or thumb operated). Instead they got in a pickle trying to sell all their best new ideas at once, while also still selling the conventional version of the same products…

    RR/DC shifting actually works (and I’m using ~20 year old 2nd hand parts here, not boxfresh new stuff), but it feels a bit like using a pre-production prototype not a totally finished product… There were some more polished later XT/XTR level levers released before the killed it Dual control, but I’ve never had the chance to dabble with those…

    markgraylish
    Free Member

    About 17 years ago (so pre-dating one-by systems) I had three mountain bikes:
    One with regular Shimano
    One with Shimano Dual Control with rapid rise rear mech
    One with SRAM X9
    And I’d ride all three bikes regularly.

    I don’t have the mental aptitude now to deal with such variations! One thumb for gear changes and one thumb for dropper post is all I can cope with…

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    17 years ago I was using Gripshift…
    By choice!

    I have a thing for non-standard gear shifting solutions. I’m not sure if I should seek some sort of professional help…

    zerocool
    Full Member

    I’ve always been a fan of the SRAM push Push system ever since I swapped from Shimano in mid 00s. It just felt better to me to use your thumb for both imve since used more modern Shimano stuff that let you use your thumb for both and it felt the same.

    Last week I rode an ebike at FOD and halfway around I realised it was Microshift and not SRAM, felt exactly the same so in future I’d happily swap to Microshift when stuff needs replacing if it’s still cheaper.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Yeah I was happy moving to SLX 11 speed as it feels the same as my SRAM shifters.


    @cookeaa
    I think that makes sense but I still can’t see how you could facilitate multiple downshifts. AFAIK you can’t do multiple upshifts on top normal so the reverse would be true for RR. Unless I’ve missed something (which isn’t unlikely).

    I actually like the idea of DC though, would be fun to play with. If they work like brifters and have a decent amount of float then ghost shifting shouldn’t be an issue.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    I think that makes sense but I still can’t see how you could facilitate multiple downshifts. AFAIK you can’t do multiple upshifts on top normal so the reverse would be true for RR. Unless I’ve missed something (which isn’t unlikely).

    Shimano have made their ‘multi release’ shifters for a while, that can pay out two gear’s worth on cable in a single press, on top normal that shifts up of course, on RR it would shift down… TBF it’s not hard to click off a few gears quickly, but it is a bit of a flaw…

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Do you have a source for this as I can’t see how SRAM hold a patent for the push-push thumbshifter considering the original shimano STI trigger shifters for mountain bikes were a dual trigger push push system almost exactly like SRAM’s current design. SRAM have simply moved the upshift trigger to a more ergonomic position but the basic design predates them even existing as a company.!

    Not the very early ones where you had what looked like a single paddle split down the middle into top/bottom sections.

    2007ish? Shimano had gone with thumb push to pull cable and finger pull to release it sometime in the late very 90s. And SRAM had a thumb paddle for both but the release was upwards.

    I can’t remember now if was SRAM that had to move the release lever so it wasn’t finger actuateable or shimano though. But I’m sure that was the reason for the diverging ergonomics.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    As for Dual Control, that was bab but the Rapid Rise rear mech that partnered it was ace.

    Other way around for me.
    DC was ace, RR was pants. DC, partnered with a “normal” rear mech was superb.

    Still got DC on my MTB, working on a 3×9 system (yes, it’s a very old MTB!).
    The first generation, with the hydraulic reservoir built into the lever was a bit pants, later ones with the reservoir as a non-moving part of the assembly, was much better.

    WildHunter2009
    Full Member

    If its the Advent X shifter its ergonomically a bit poor compared to the shimano versions. Its maybe the only downside to a fantastic value groupset.

    doris5000
    Full Member

    It is the Advent X shifter, yes – I did wonder about that, the ‘change up’ button feels a bit small/recessed and it made me wonder how easy it will be with gloves on!

    Still, all good so far. Everything else seems spot on. Although coming from a 1990s hotch-potch of a groupset it probably would…

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    Shimano “rapidfire” have always used a lower thumb lever to pull cable, their initial sTi products were “thumb/thumb” with a slightly smaller release lever positioned directly above the pull lever, I definitely remember having a ‘300 LX’ set of levers like this circa 1991. By the mid 90s Shimano had gone to index finger for the release on most shifters apart from their very cheapest which remained thumb/thumb for a while.

    Early 00s (2003ish? Maybe earlier?) they put out ‘multi-release’ allowing you to release 2 increments at once, ‘dual release’ where you could operate the release lever in either direction (finger or thumb) as well as ‘instant release’ where the shifter releases the cable once the lever in depressed rather than waiting that precious millisecond for you to press and release it. This was all before they moved onto dynasis so Shimano had their current suite of MTB shifter features pretty much nailed down almost 20 odd years ago, not much has changed since apart from cable pull, number of clicks and mounting methods. Dual Control is considered an early 00s dead end along with Rapid rise as they were simultaneously sorting out all the above features for their regular top normal products, quite understandably TBH..

    SRAM obviously had Shimano compatible Gripshift through most of the 90s and by the early 00s having whooped Shimano in court for anti-competitive practices and used the winnings to uy up other bike part manufacturers) started making shifter pods (thumb/thumb style) for their own earlier groupsets, as well as (briefly) a couple of ‘rocket’ and ‘attack’ product line Shimano compatible versions.

    Once SRAM landed on “double tap” for their road groups (single lever, short movement to pull cable, longer push to release cable) they had a go at introducing the concept to flat bar bikes and MTBs, but so far as I know nobody is really sold on the idea, it works okay for drop bars but if they’re still making it, double tap for flat bars is a bit niche (I’m sure someone loves it). SRAM do still sell Gripshift up to and including 12 speed.

    You can still buy thumbies for many types of mech if you hunt about enough…
    There’s still a rich and varied world of cable pulling devices out there for the mechanically/ergonomically curious. But TBH most people are happy with whatever comes on their bike, which generally work quite well these days. It’s hard to buy a truly “bad” shifter now really…

    mjsmke
    Full Member

    SRAM mtb levers have been the same for as long as I can remember. Don’t know much about their road levers other than double tap feels awkward to use. Shimano wins there.

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