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Thread: Gear shifters

  1. #1
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    Gear shifters

    Forgive me if this is in the wrong section, I recently got into mountain biking and I was stuck on whether I'd post in this section or the other one that's suited to this topic.

    Anyway, today when I was out mountain biking I crashed and my left gear shifter (the 3 speed one) snapped off my handle bars. It was broken slightly before (it's just not very sturdy) and today was its final day. I was wondering, though, would it be better to buy a new pair of gear shifters? I had SRAM X4 shifters, but have no intention of buying them again due to the poor quality.

    I'd rather buy a pair of durable ones with better quality plastic, but I also think it'd be odd to have two different shifters with different mechanisms for changing the gears.

    What would be the best thing to do? I currently have a 3x8 setup.

  2. #2
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    8 speed shifters are getting harder to find. There are still plenty around but most of the new stuff is all 10 speed. 9 speed is still common but quickly fading. 11 speed is on the horizon and seems to be the next big thing (I'm not sold yet). I would just replace the broken shifter. You can get an x4 3 speed shifter for around $20.
    I don't know of any high end 8 speed shifters on the market these days so it wouldn't make too much sense upgrading your set in my opinion. I don't even know what kind of upgrade options are even available for 3 x 8. Maybe somebody can chime in with some suggestions about better shifters for your drivetrain. My opinion is that I would save the money for a future upgrade of the entire drivetrain or a new bike.

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    Agreed. All shifters are fairly fragile and complicated, regardless of what they cost. I brought my first "real" mountain bike used, and it had a broken SRAM twist-grip shifter.

    You will get better at it and crash less, but otoh there is no one who really rides that isn't going to break stuff occasionally. Better to break a cheap part than an expensive one.

    Just replace it with the same thing for now, and get a 10-speed setup in a couple of years when it comes time to replace everything.

  4. #4
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    I appreciate both of your answers. I'll probably go ahead and buy the same type of shifter, I guess it makes sense to buy cheap parts at my current skill level. Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillianOC View Post
    I appreciate both of your answers. I'll probably go ahead and buy the same type of shifter, I guess it makes sense to buy cheap parts at my current skill level. Thanks!
    It all depends what bike you have. If it is an entry level bike it doesn't pay to upgrade parts.
    I had x4 shifters on a hardtail and I found them quite nice for low end shifters. They are very precise and shift with a decisive click. The shifts were quick and accurate and easy to adjust. I really like the firm feel of the low end SRAM vs Low end Shimano's vague feel. I didn't have any durability issues with the X4s. This is coming from someone with X0 and XTR shifters on my current bikes.
    The high end shifters are lighter, feel smoother, and are a bit more precise than the x4s. I don't know if they are are really that much better in the reliability department. I'm sure they would break if I had a medium intensity wreck and they hit something.

  6. #6
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    You can try tightening the shift lever clamp just enough to keep it from moving when you shift, but not so tight that it won't move in a crash instead of breaking.

  7. #7
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    yeah, just get another 8 speed shifter. they all break. cheap ones are less painful to replace.

  8. #8
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    You can get any 3 speed shifter- Shimano or Sram. They all work the same on front derailleurs.
    Shimano Deore XT SL M780 Front Trigger Shifter 2 3 Speed Left MTB New in Box | eBay
    This would work and also go on your next bike.
    One of the best.

  9. #9
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    I didn't realize that front shifters are universal. So what EB says makes a lot of sense.

    I have the same shifters -- they are great. And when you upgrade the rings, the shifter will convert to 2-speed at the flick of a switch. A 3x will work for 2x, but it makes for a cleaner job to have an actual 2x shifter.

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