Retro shifters return - Bike Magic

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Retro shifters return

Once all shifters were like this

If you’re some sort of mountain bike Methuselah you may remember thumbshifters. Rather than a lever for downshifts and a trigger for upshifts, thumbshifters were just… a lever. Push it one way to change up, the other way to change down. They sat on top of your bars and lasted for ever. The march of progress left them by the wayside, though, with various incarnations of under-bar shifter coming and going over the years.

Shimano haven’t made any decent quality thumbshifters for the better part of a decade, and thumbie fans hoard their supplies and scour bargain bins and classifieds for “new” ones. But soon you’ll be able to get a brand spanking new thumbshifter thanks to the chaps at Forge.

They’re not making the whole thing from scratch, but taking advantage of the presence in Shimano’s range of 8 and 9-speed compatible bar-end shifters (as seen on touring and ‘cross bikes) and working on a new mounting bracket for them so they can be positioned on flat bars.

It’s not an entirely new idea – in the pursuit of the holy grail of nine-speed compatible thumbies this chap made his own brackets – but this is the first time anyone’s looked seriously into actually producing the things to sell. At the moment Forge have just the one prototype but so far they’re pretty happy with the performance and they certainly look tidy. Production models are expected in the Spring. Pricing has yet to be finalised but Forge are aiming for around £55 including the Shimano bar-end shifter.

And why are they doing this? Because we asked them to. This forum thread is just one of several enquiring about thumbshifters, and BMer Si McNally has done his own conversion. The Bultillo brackets looked neat, we idly mentioned to Forge that there might be a market for something similar and barely a fortnight later they’ve got working prototypes. Brilliant…


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