I have a 6 speed freewheel on a Diamondback. I tried to replace some busted shifters with an 8 speed indexing shifter that was on clearance. It appears that each shift's spacing of the shifters is going to be a little smaller than that of the gears.( It takes about 7 shifts to cover the 6 gears ) Can I turn off the indexing in the shifters so that they work as a friction shifter? If not, I will have to check out recycled cycles for and old 6 speed set. Should have done that first. Don't know if 6 speed shifters are even made/sold new anymore. Thanks

  • Yeah, this is a problem these days, with so many different "standards" for gears. One suspects that the bike companies are doing it on purpose, to more quickly obsolete older bikes. Apr 25, 2015 at 21:56

2 Answers 2


Typically not -- a few index shifters (like my Shimano 105SC 7 speed ones) have this option, but its primarily downtube and bar end ones for <=8 speeds. I don't think there exist any other shifters that do this other than possibly some grip shifts since they pretty much are letting pawls catch.

However, you can buy friction shifters pretty cheaply these days from companies like Sunrace.

  • Older mountain bike thumb shifters also have a friction option.
    – Eric
    Apr 25, 2015 at 22:17
  • Yeah, but by 8 speed, they were long gone. On the other hand, you could get downtube/barcons whcih could switch from friction and indexed til 9 or 10 speed.
    – Batman
    Apr 25, 2015 at 23:46
  • OP need 6 speed, not 8.
    – Alexander
    Apr 26, 2015 at 2:58
  • Yes, OP realized that on their own. But, if you have a friction shifter, it doesn't care about speeds.
    – Batman
    Apr 26, 2015 at 11:11

If you're talking about a twist shifter, they DO make those still! Sram makes a shimano compatible version. Know that the MRX is shimano, and the other models that have numbers are sram only. If thats not to your liking, the thumb-shifter that Batman was mentioning is a solid option for a few bucks!

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