My wife has a hard time turning the Revoshift grip on her Electra Townie 7D due to arthritis issues in her hands. Is there a way to help with this issue?

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    More info please. Arthritis is severe? In fingers, wrists, or other? Other health issues? Type of gearing?
    – zenbike
    Jul 28, 2011 at 17:09
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    The answer I put is based on it being a 7-speed bike (one gear in the front and seven in the back). That's what I found the Electra Townie 7D to be, but if I'm wrong, please let me know so I can answer your actual question.
    – raabidfun
    Jul 28, 2011 at 20:31

3 Answers 3


I recommend getting a rear Shimano trigger shifter. This would mean getting both a trigger shifter and a grip because I think your current grip is designed for the Revoshift shifter.

The part I'd recommend for this use is the shimano acera 7-speed trigger shifter, which costs about $15, if you're in the US.

If you are mechanically inclined, it's pretty easy to do the work yourself, and it's a lot of fun when you get it working.

If you're not mechanically inclined, bring it to your LBS to install. This will save you the effort, and you eliminate the chance of irritating your wife for breaking her bike.

  • Thank you for your prompt and courteous reply. We will try it.
    – Sam
    Jul 28, 2011 at 23:45
  • The reason I asked about the arthritis' location and severity before answering, is that a trigger shifter may alleviate the issue, or a exacerbate it, depending on its location.
    – zenbike
    Jul 29, 2011 at 3:53
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    Go to your lbs with your wife and have her try bikes with any shimano trigger shifter. If she can shift comfortably, swap out the part. If she can't, it's back to the drawing board. Good luck!
    – raabidfun
    Jul 29, 2011 at 6:52
  • @zenbike Do you have an answer involving electric gear-shift?
    – ChrisW
    Aug 3, 2011 at 4:16
  • @chrisw electronic shifting setups are likely to be prohibitively expensive for this purpose. They cost upwards of US$1500, and to my understanding, the shifting mechanisms mimic their cabled counterparts.
    – raabidfun
    Aug 3, 2011 at 22:22

After a while all shifters get a bit harder to work due to the cables drying out of lubrication, getting dirt in them and the cable strands oxidising. Replace the cable - both inner and outer - and you may get silky smooth shifting again. This could do the trick.

As @thajigisup says, go to a shop and find the shifter that works best for her. 'Old fashioned' top-mount levers might not be in the shop but they are definitely a consideration.

More generally I am very disappointed by the exceptionally conservative bike trade that only allows mainstream sports-fad products of zero innovation level to get into showrooms. Shimano have created several groupsets with electric push button gears for the recreational market and even tried to get a fully automatic gear system accepted by those manufacturers that are stuck in tradition dictated by the UCI governing body for cycle sport. Fair play to Electra for creating some bikes with geometry that suits non-racers, however, they could do with focusing a bit more on functionality, to make bikes that do suit those who do have small hands with arthritis like my own mum.

Maybe get something that will work for now, e.g. new cable plus track-mitts might provide the easy-leverage. Research the cool electric components that Shimano do offer, beg your distributor to get them or source them from the Netherlands (one of the few markets for such parts). Then, maybe for Christmas or a birthday, deck your wife's bike out with ultimate luxury electric gearing. You will enjoy the project and be able to share your experience of putting it all together with others that don't suit the tired race only geometry offered by most of the trade.

Everyone on these forums is going to end up with arthritis or worse one day, pioneer the technology for the rest of us so we get better than a choice of zimmer frames in our old age.

  • Thanks for your insight. Since it's a new bike, we will try your idea of track mitts. Sam
    – Sam
    Jul 29, 2011 at 15:07
  • Track mitts are really important for safety. When anyone comes off a bike, before they realise what is going on, their arms are instinctively out there ready to receive a dose of gravel rash. Track mitts take a bit out of the shock of landing, they also keep the gravel rash at bay, well recommended. I think it is important to try before you buy with gloves+mitts, there are different strap options, look out for the ones with extra loops on the fingers to take them off (without turning them inside and out). Jul 29, 2011 at 15:54
  • Yeah, it's a good point to lube up things. The twist shifters often do bind quite a bit, but likely lubing the cable and shifter would help a lot. Jul 29, 2011 at 19:44
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    @ʍǝɥʇɐɯ When my dad and I were riding bikes this morning, we were approaching a red light. I clipped out with my right foot to put it on the curb, but a road hazard I saw only at the last moment required that I swerve left. The sharp swivel of the handlebar at about 0.5mph caused me to tip over, and I ended up on the ground. It so happened that I had forgotten my gloves this morning. I had some minor scrapes on my left leg and forearm, but I'm lucky my hands were okay. So, yeah, gloves are important. Take it from someone who knows....
    – raabidfun
    Aug 3, 2011 at 22:35

I'd say get any cheap thumb shifter. Much easier to operate than grip+twist shifter.

Click down is very easy. Shift up requires a firm push with the thumb.

My daughter when learning to shift gears had a big problem. She's a tough cookie but more delicate hands than average and the twist shifts were just too stiff. You don't notice this with big strong adult hands. We replaced her twist shift with cheap thumb shift and it made a huge difference.

Also make sure gear cable is well oiled and moves smoothly and derailleurs cleaned and oiled for smooth operation.

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