My Rohloff Speedhub is pretty slick, but unfortunately so is the twist shifter when I'm sweaty. In southern Florida, riding my trike, that's pretty much all the time. Switching gears already has higher resistance than your standard derailleur; when under a bit of load it takes even more effort, and there are times when I literally cannot shift gears because my grip slips. I don't have many options to change out the shifter (it's custom to Rohloff) and it's irregularly shaped so I don't think I could use bike tape or anything on it. I'm hoping someone can give me a solution that will give me a good grip even when sweaty or wet that isn't going to look ridiculous or be unwieldy.

  • 2
    maybe wearing bicycle gloves will help ?
    – Max
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 20:00
  • ... and a bit of hand positioning technique that might enable a better hold of the shifting ring.
    – Carel
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 20:44
  • Well, in regards to hand positioning there's not really a bunch of options with underseat steering. It's a tadpole trike. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 1:39
  • Can you add a picture of the shifter on the bars to your question? I'm guessing that your USS means you grip the shifter with your little and ring fingers, not your thumb and forefinger ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 19:14
  • @Criggie I did, but as the first step to addressing this problem, I switched it around. The grip is now between my thumb and forefinger, which definitely increases my grip strength, but it's still sometimes impossible to shift with sweaty hands. Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 2:52

5 Answers 5


Cycling gloves are designed for comfort and to improve grip by absorbing sweat and providing a contact material that provides grip even when damp or wet. Typically, hands do not sweat much so most cycling gloves will help in this regards.

  • hmm. They seem like they'd be hot, but I guess I'll have to give them a try. Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 20:27
  • 3
    Finger-less cycling gloves with thin fabric or mesh on the back may help keep you cooler.
    – renesis
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 20:36
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    @JeremyHolovacs most cycling specific gloves are made of thin material. I personally never found them to be too hot, even riding in the desert. I can however easy recall the what sweaty hands on the bike feels like, and how this can also be a safety concern as it is easy to lose grip on the handle bar.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 21:22
  • Even cheap cycling gloves can be good for grip and quite cool (mesh backs). I use these at ~£7 (<$/€10) on ebay, including for all day rides (250 km). The suede-effect palms are good for grip. In fact this question/answer prompted me to order a new pair as the ones I've got are showing signs of wear after something like 8000 km. (Meant as an example rather than a recommendation)
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 9:33
  • 1
    Fingerless cycling gloves have padded palms and thin backs. Your fingers cool just as much as they would without gloves (obviously), the backs of your hands cool almost as much and your palms are in contact with the bars anyway, so whatever thickness of the glove there doesn't make much of a difference. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 10:57

A thumb /trigger shifter has been developed for the Rohloff speed hub. It has been manufactured by Cinq5 and is called Shift:R. It involves two levers one for up-shifting and one for down-shifting. I assume it will take some ride time to get used to the new and some what unusual methodology. They are not inexpensive. Reviews have pros and cons so you would want to read a few and decide for yourself, as product recommendations are off topic here.

  • Having two separate levers on a thumb shifter is not "an unusual methodology" -- it's completely normal. Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 16:59

Gloves ought to do the trick, but if want a solution where you don't wear gloves, you could use sugru, the "moldable glue" to make the shifter more ergonomic: https://sugru.com/about


How worn is your shifter? When new they should be grippy and tactile, but with age, sweat, ozone and UV the rubbery grip will break down just like the hoods on a brifter.

I've successfully used electrical heatshrink to cover cheap MTB grips where the rubber has gone tacky or otherwise failing. Perhaps you can fit a short piece over your shifter then heat it with a hairdryer to tighten onto the shifter neatly.

It should simply fall off once cut, if you don't like it.

In the same vein, you could use a piece of bartape or adhesive hockey tape, but those have a sticky back and will be harder to remove cleanly.

Minor benefit, increasing the effective diameter of the shifter will make shifting feel easier because of increased leverage.

  • 1
    The shifter is less than 3 months old at this point, I only have a few hundred miles on it. I thought about the bartape, but the shape of the twist grip is... irregular. I couldn't imagine getting that to work properly. Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 2:55

I have the same issue and am going to try a remedy I came across online. Wrap a couple of those big, fast broccoli rubber bands around the shifter. Tape of any kind is a bad idea -- the adhesive sticks won't come off and trust me, do NOT use goo-gone to try to remove it. It'll melt the grip. I got mine reversed with quick action and it dried/hardened again, but I thought I'd ruined it.


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