I have a department store bike with a twist grip shifter (3 chain rings, friction shift and 6 sprockets, index shift - Torque Drive One derailleur) and I want to replace it. I am not able to get sufficient advice on bicycle forums because it is a Bicycle Shaped Object apparently and not worth any money on fixing.

I have my reasons, and basically I am looking at something like http://amzn.to/papmPF or http://amzn.to/osZcI0 .. Is it possible to replace my current twist grip shifters with this? Is it a difficult process?

I particularly want a friction shifter, so is this possible?

  • Hari, welcome to Bicycles.SE. It's certainly true that it seldom makes financial sense to upgrade one of these bikes, but money shouldn't be the only consideration in these matters. I've had the kind of shifters you describe, and they're a joy to use. (I suspect that the challenge in your case will be simply a matter of finding the right part, but we have plenty of mechanically-minded folks here who can say for certain.) Jul 9, 2011 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


I've done it, on donated bikes we were rehabbing for Christmas Anonymous. (Those twist grip shifters seem to fail pretty quickly.) Don't recall any special problems, other than you have to refigure the cable routing, and you may need a different length cable.


There is something to know about thumb-shifters: ergonomics.

The better thumbshifters placed the pivot forward of the handlebar, the more affordable ones did not have this.

Here is a pair of Suntour classics from back in the day:

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See how the forward placing of the pivot works to place the thumb-shift lever where you need it for the thumb. The other variety lack this subtle detail.

Here are some retro Shimano classics:

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These beauties have the option to switch between index and non-index. They are made of top-quality forged alloy parts with no stamped-out tin in sight. The adjusters are particularly satisfactory.

A set of these picked up from e-Bay will grace your BSO and make it have a touch of class as well as be more ergonomic. Both the Shimano and Suntour classics were exceptionally well engineered, for my money I would prefer the lever shape of the Suntour models.

P.S. I introduced 'BSO' to this Q+A site, it is a good-humoured thing. I don't mind BSO's that get actually ridden, however, most of them get land-filled to the detriment of the LBS (Local Bike Shop).

At the moment I am considering getting a Kona Africabike3 - a deluxe BSO. I am also considering getting an actual BSO, however I would have to upgrade the tyres before I took it anywhere.

  • I am actually afraid of giving my BSO a touch of class, since it is most likely to get stolen. My BSO looked like a bicycle, pedalled like one and took me between classes in college and didn't get stolen, so it was good enough for me .. but the shifters get on my nerves and I love friction shift simply because I get the feeling of "control" , typical when driving a manual as opposed to automatic or when using Linux as opposed to Windows, if you know what I mean. But I will take a look at these, thanks ! Jul 10, 2011 at 3:01

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