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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    20" shifter questions??

    I have my son(7 yrs old) on an older 20" hotrock i thinks its an 04' model. The brakes were in bad shape and I replaced with Avid speed dial 5 levers and brakes. I'm not looking to spend a lot of money, but I want him to have a safe and good functioning bike(as we all do). The stock shifter is a 6 speed twist grip its getting pretty beat-up. It is tough to turn sometimes(might need a good tune-up), when he is shifting he wants to look down at it and take his eyes off the trail. I not sure yet if likes to know what gear he is in or that it is not an easy thing to do and has to look and think about it. I have been thinking about maybe switching him to thumb shifters or replacing with a new twist style. My questions are has anybody's little one had better luck with the thumb over the twist? Also could i just pick up the shifter(thumb) and not have to replace everything on down the line. It currently has Shimano Revo, twist (right only) with Shimano Tourney rear derailleur and Shimano HG, 6-speed, 14x28t freewheel. I dont think i need to add anymore gears he seem to do fine with 6 for now. I'm just looking for a little advise and maybe some recommendation on shifters. Thanks

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    I replaced the shimano twist-shifter on my daughters 20". She was unable to shift into the lowest gears herself using original twist shifter but has no problem now with using a thumbshifter. I just found a cheap used 6-speed thumbshifter form local bike co-op. THere were better deore quality 6-speed indexed thumbshifters made back in the 80's. Most all of the newer 6-speed tumbies are from lower end bike but can still work fine, for example Shimano SL-TX30 Tourney 6 Speed Shift Levers: Sports & Outdoors . The rest of the original 6-speed drivetrain parts can remain unchanged, should work fine with any shimano compatable 6-speed thumb shifter. Note that 7-8-9-10 speed index shifters all use different spacing so you do need a 6, not sure if there were ever any 6-speed rapidfire style shifters made.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I just got my daughters bike back from recycled cycles they built me a rear wheel for an 8spd hub and I had an alvio rapid fire shifter for my youngest daughter(just turned 6) she loves it she now has a 34tooth cog in back for climbing= me not pushing up hills anymore

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Plenty have done it

    I originally took the really cheap way out, and pulled the cable thru and ran oil down it to make it work better.
    I was hesitant about my kids being able to reac the thumbies with their small thumbs, so decided to stick with gripshifts.
    Eventually I found an SRAM X-7 Grip shift and a SRAM X-9 short cage rear derailleur. I also upgraded to an 8 speed freewheel though.
    This was on a budget also, sourcing the shifter and derailleur uses, and buying chain and freewheel off Amazon.
    I'm not sure about staying with 6 speed, but there are grip shifters out there that a kids can operate easily.
    Just most kids bikes come with junky ones.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Thanks everyone for the advise!! Its great having input from people with the same situations. I'm thinking i might just pick-up a new grip shifter, cable and replace them both. Thanks again

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