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Professional Tweaks, Tips & Reviews By "AJ" Picarello
I hope you find my Tweaks and Tips section helpful. If there is something you want to know about, send me an email and I will try to add that to one of my upcoming articles.
Pauls Components Thumb Shifters

I decided to build up a complete bike from spare parts I had lying around my shop. I had everything to set the bike as a 9speed except shifters. However, I did have a pair of Shimano 9 sp bar end road bike shifters. Although this style shifter is designed for road, bar end shifters are also considered prehistoric and are not used very often. Typically, road bike have dual control shifters. You sometimes see cyclo x racers using bar end shifters thanks to their simplicity and ability to shift perfectly when covered in dirt.


Paul’s Components has designed machined adapters that convert these road shifters into a mountain thumb shifter. Simply mount the Shimano road shifters (available in 3x8 speed and 3x9 speed) to the Paul’s adapters and you have yourself a pair of thumb mountain bike shifters!

Thumb shifters were state of the art until trigger shifters hit the market. Above the bar shifters began to disappear as new style triggers evolved. The year of the trigger shift was a dark time for thumb shift fans. Thumb shifters became hard to find years ago. 7 or 8 speed was all you could get if you were lucky enough to hunt them down. 9 speed riders were force to use the “friction” mode on a thumb shifter. “Friction” mode disables the shift “index” (that click noise you feel and hear during a shift).

Thumb shifters were never difficult to shift and should have never been phased out. They are fairly ergonomic and work flawlessly. Their simplicity is pure genius. It’s no wonder a company like Paul’s have designed a unique way to reintroduce the beloved “Thumbies”!

Let’s face it; despite the fact that thumb shifters are a better design than any other shifter, you will not see them flood the market. My guess is, because riders have this unquenchable thirst for new technology.

Converting you bike back to basics will set you back around $150 (for road shifters and Paul’s adapters). The Paul’s adapters alone sell for $64.00. Like original thumb shifters, the Shimano shifters work by friction (no index) for front shifts and a choice of friction or indexed for rear shifts. Today’s road bar shifters are available in 8 speed (Shimano 105) or 9 speed (Shimano Ultegra). Paul’s offers adapters that will fit road handlebars as well.

My old thumb shifter instincts came back instantly! Shifting into the big ring up front is a pain, but all other gear changes are a breeze! Most people have a bash ring that takes the place of the big ring anyway eliminating the annoying shift. Install the Paul’s Thumbies and never buy a shifter again. Most surprising was how well my bike shifted! Your shifts will be more precise and faster. Installing new cables takes only seconds. Thanks to Paul’s and Shimano, thumb shift riders can stop searching on e-bay and can start using 27 indexed speeds! I’m a lifer.

Pauls Components Thumb Shifters
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Pauls Components Thumb Shifters
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AJ Picarello

7 Updates


I agree..
things to add.. if you're a racer.. these are the secret weapon.. if you have a crash and bend your rear derailleur.. with most shifting systems you'd be done.. with these, you just flip the switch to friction and you're back in the game.. great for mud fests too.. once you get a little too much mud in the 'train, friction mode allows you to overstep the tension.. Another benefit: Back to index mode- cresting hills is awesome.. a simple swoop and you shift 6 clicks..

Finally.. you can "feel" what gear you're in.. don't have to look down... similar to typing.. in a way.

Update from: austincyclist [Visitor] — 02/27/06 @ 22:32
This is the first time I have ever seen this type of shifter and I am intrigued...

How do you think this will work for more "downhill" specific riding?

Update from: JB [Visitor] — 03/06/06 @ 09:55
This is fantastic. I have two nice 1990 era MTBs that have served me well. They both have thumb shifters. Lifespan of the Shimano XT / Suntour XC Comp generation seems to be about 20k solid miles per shifter. Can't beat thumbies for reliability. Thanks for the post.

Update from: SFK [Visitor] · — 11/24/07 @ 19:58
My thumb shifter for the rear derailer isnt working properly. Its not grabing the pawls to downshift.i think it needs a new spring or does it need to be replaced.thanks steven

Update from: Steven [Visitor] · — 06/20/09 @ 18:52
I doubt if these shifters would work for DH. Besides, the too far to reach lever, the push pull design would not be practical.

Rear derailleur mis shifts could be caused by too many issues to list. I suggest "Steven" should bring his bike in for an evaluation.

Update from: ajdowncycles [Member] · — 08/19/09 @ 21:01
i found this bike on this site i have a simialr bike its a shwinn breeze i believe it is a 3 speed not shure how to fix the shifting mechinism there is a piece of wire that broke off that comes out of the rear axle so i am guessing the gears are inside it is ridable but i cant shift any imfo would be helpfull thaks rod branfield

Update from: r branfield [Visitor] · — 08/30/09 @ 00:20
with these, you just flip the switch to friction and you're back in the game. this are the new model of bike that even in a toughest situation you can actually used i normally.

Update from: garmin portable friction mount [Visitor] · — 12/10/09 @ 00:45

You are not authorized to write a update.

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