INVERTING TWIST GRIP SHIFTERS AND BRAKE LEVERS ON HANDLEBARS


twist grip shifter vertical reducedor twist grip shifter vertically inverted reduced

Some of us use twist grip shifters and some of us who use them complain about difficulty twisting them using the little finger and palm of our hands. Certainly on a diamond frame upright bicycle (which is what they were designed for) they are installed so that our thumb and opposing finger are positioned on the twist shifters making them much easier to twist. Trike manufacturers who installed these on their trikes have inverted them so that they are facing down instead of up. I have often wondered why they did this. Surely they know it is not how they were designed to be used and inverting like they did creates problems twisting them. But, hey, there is nothing that says we have to have them that way. We are free to invert them. The same is true of the brake levers if we want them inverted. It is likely that we will need longer cables if we invert these.

Some homemade trikes have the twist shifters and brake levers inverted. When I made my first trike I positioned my twist shifters and brake levers inverted from the “industry norm”. Here is a picture of it during construction.

inverted twist shifter and brake lever

I have to admit that I liked it this way and I have been seriously considering changing my setup around on my Catrike Trail trike.

brake cable noodles

An available option is the use of “brake cable noodles” to help make the sharp bends without binding or damage to cables trying to curve them more sharply than one might normally have them. Although they are made for brake cables I have read that they can be used on shifter cables as well. Although the image below is not of an inverted shifter it still serves to illustrate the use of a noodle on the brake lever. Notice how tight and neat the curve is keeping the cable from being stuck out into outer space so to speak.

using brake lever noodle on trike handlebar 3

BTW, the brake lever does not need to be inverted unless one desires to have it inverted. It will function fine the other way around when the twist shifter is inverted. Indeed, if your handlebars are positioned fairly close to the wheels/tires you may not want your brake levers inverted from the industry norm.

Yep, I just might invert  my twist grip shifters. How about you? They are easier to use that way. I don’t know about you, but I am very much in favor of ‘easier’, especially as I age and get a bit weaker. 🙂 I am all for most anything which will help me …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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About Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, and truthtoponder) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at stevenewbauer at outlook.com

Posted on May 13, 2016, in components, options, rider comfort, tadpole trikes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’m guessing the industry norm is driven mostly by aesthetics, and maybe a little by performance; sharp bends in the cable can’t help. I tend to agree, but also agree that typical twist shifters are too hard to turn in this position. Try shifting with bare hands in a rain storm.
    There’s no technical reason why twist shifters couldn’t be made to operate with less force. In fact it’s possible the new-ish SRAM “rolling thunder” ball-bearing twist shifters acheive this. I haven’t tried one. But at the end of the day they’re still designed to be operated with the thumb and index finger.
    Another option that can work pretty well is to mount twist or trigger shifters the normal way on a horizontal “wrist rest” attached to the upright handlebar.
    By far the best shifter I’ve found for trikes is the Alfine pushbutton shifter used with Shimano’s Di2 electric shift system. It’s ergonomically just about perfect.