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I want to move my brake levers and gear shifters around a bit. The problem is my gears (Shimano Alivio, bought 4 years ago) have a large gear indicator on it. This is meaning that either the brakes are too far in from my hands, or the gear shifters are too close to my hands and I bump into them and find it awkward to change gears.

I have taken the cover off of the front shifter which comes off nice and easily, but the mechanism is slightly exposed below, so think I need some sort of cover plate or the gears will get damaged over time.

Is there such a thing? Has anyone had any experience with this?

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Nope - there is no cover option. You can live without the indicators - I don't think I have ever looked at mine in earnest. Given the situation you can just tape it up as best you can to make sure none of the internals are exposed to the elements.

There are plenty of other shifter options that all cost money that will be considerable compared to the 'OEM' cost that your cycle manufacturer paid.

If you are willing to spend some money then you can get some very fancy Shimano shifter/brake lever combos that will have the required ergonomics. Or you may want to consider the 'unfashionable' gripshift option. Gripshift are fantastic for everyday riding and compatible with Shimano 8 speed (which I presume your Alivio setup is). People do get rid of the gripshift and put the parts on ebay. They are frequently found on 'affordable' kids bikes and can vary externally in condition, however the internals are invariably sound as there are no moving parts. Give them a go, they are fun!

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  • Thanks Mathew, I popped into my local bike shop and they said basically the same thing. I have put some electrical tape over the exposed bits and all should be good from there. Can't stand grip shifts and don't have the cash to get new gear atm. – Jon May 20 '11 at 6:14
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I've cleaned up a couple of sets of alivio shifters lately. The more modern one had the gear indicator in one plastic part that lifted off after taking out two screws. The shifter mech worked perfectly, so I suspect it was designed and intended to be part of an integrated brifter. No photo, but a couple of dabs of RTV Silicon sealant should keep the water and spiders out.

The older unit was a combined brake/shifter. It was much more fiddly and exposed heaps of the internals. The full breakdown is in this question/answer. enter image description here

Long term you might be better off looking for a combined unit that feels right.

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