thumb/finger shifters vs. old style thumb shifters



gt3413

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Apr 28, 2006
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Ok, I had a Schwinn Sierra MOS about 15 yrs ago. Great bike for that era. I remember it had thumb shifters for going up and down gears. Why did these change to thumb/pointer finger shifters? Is there something I'm missing? I've adjusted OK to the new shifters but wanted to know if there was a reason for the change. Thanks, Greg
 

HowardSteele

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Mar 7, 2006
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I was thinking back and the most notable change i can think of has been the icrease in the nunmer of gears,15 years ago it was norm for 12 speed,then the jump to 21 spd and now 27 and 30spd.
Now the upmarket bikes ,have the single lever/brake combo tap up and down system.
THE TWIST GRIP came and went,so maybe its just the manufactures trying out someting new as the years go by, to keep us,upgrading thinking we're keeping up with the times.
 

davebee

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Jan 15, 2004
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do you mean the thumb shifters that were rapid fire but you used your thumb for both?

If so I imagine it was because it is easier to use finger and thumb rather than thumb thumb! quicker and crisper shifting was probably the main reason!
 

triguy98

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Sep 19, 2004
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davebee said:
do you mean the thumb shifters that were rapid fire but you used your thumb for both?

If so I imagine it was because it is easier to use finger and thumb rather than thumb thumb! quicker and crisper shifting was probably the main reason!
The old school thumb shifters I believe were the ones with one lever mounted on top of the bar. Why they called em thumb shifters, I dunno, as it always took me two fingers...

SRAM's shifters are thumb/ thumb under bar and the shifting is plenty quick and crisp, you just have to reprogram your brain from that ShimaNO shifting.
 

gt3413

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Apr 28, 2006
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Dave, You've got it. The rapid shifters but both buttons were operated with the thumb instead of one thumb and one the index finger. I just didn't know if there was a real reason for the change or they were just looking for something different. Thanks, Greg
 

davebee

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Jan 15, 2004
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triguy98 said:
The old school thumb shifters I believe were the ones with one lever mounted on top of the bar. Why they called em thumb shifters, I dunno, as it always took me two fingers...

those things were awful!!! lots of stiction, not crisp at all, poorly indexed etc etc

triguy98 said:
SRAM's shifters are thumb/ thumb under bar and the shifting is plenty quick and crisp, you just have to reprogram your brain from that ShimaNO shifting.

I think the (very) early shimano ones (rapidfire) used a similar design, which i didn't like. Not used recent SRAM rapid fire levers. I think the current top end shimano stuff is very very good. I am not saying that the sram stuff is **** or even that it is worse. just not sure what so many people have against shimano? (I use sram chains though)