What are shifters?

A bicycle shifter is the component that allows the rider to switch between gears. The shifter is normally located on the handlebars. The shifter has a level that is pulled up or down to select a gear ratio.

Why are shifters important?

A shifter provides the rider with the functionality of changing gears. The changing of gears can then give the rider adaptability for his/her terrain.

How do shifters work on a bike?

Shifters move a derailleur of internal gear mechanism to change gears. A cable (normally wire) connects the shifter to the device that does the shifting. Normally there are two shifters on the handlebars. The right shifter has control over the rear derailleur or shifting device. The left shifter allows control over the front derailleur or shifting device. The right shifter also controls HUB gears.

How do you choose the right shifter for your bike?

Choosing the right shifter all depends on personal preference. Some shifters come attached to the handlebars and some even to the bicycle frame below the handlebars. The most common type of shifter is the attachment to the right and left side of the handlebars. The newest method of shifting, is electronic shifting. This type of shifting includes pressing a button or two to select your preferred gear.

Two types of Shifting:

There are also two common type of shifting mechanisms. These include, but are not limited to, friction shifting and index shifting. The only differences between the two are how the shifting is done. Friction shifting is the most common type of shifting. Friction shifting is the act of pushing or pulling a lever to make the derailleur pull the chain to the desired gear.

Index shifting is more dependent upon how the rider is riding. The index shifter automatically shifts to the gear that will be the most advantageous to the rider’s current situation. When the index shifter shifts, there is an unnoticeable stop that only lasts a few seconds. For example if Tommy is riding really fast the shifter will move to a gear that will allow Tommy to continue to ride at his desired speed.