My current back gear has a shifter without a gear number display, with only the + and - signs on the ends.

I was thinking to replace it with a numbered one. Would using a numbered one cause any issue? Do you have an idea? thanks

  • 1
    It's not numbers-versus-no-numbers but, rather, checking that your new shifter is compatible with your derailleur. This might be something to get a bike shop to do for you. Jun 25, 2019 at 11:04
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    This post is tagged "fixed-gear". Do you have a multi-speed, fixed-gear bike? Jun 26, 2019 at 0:37
  • Fixed tags blah
    – ojs
    Jun 26, 2019 at 6:49
  • Multi-speed fixed-gear bikes do exist, though it is unlikely anyone would be worried about numbers on a two or three speed shifter. classiclightweights.co.uk/designs/hsasc.html
    – armb
    Jun 26, 2019 at 8:24

2 Answers 2


There are two things that you need to check to be sure that the shifter will work. The shifter needs to have the same number of gears as your bike. If you have 7 gears on the back, then don't go buying a 10-speed shifter. The second thing is that the pull-ratio of the shifter has to match the derailleur. This is why not all shifters with the same number of gears are interchangeable. This information can be found online or you can update your question with details of the derailleur on your bike and the shifter that you're looking at.


If you want to be creative, consider making something like this:

enter image description here

That's a 9 speed Dura-ace inline visual gear display, which is intended to sit inboard of the STI brifter. The gear inner cable passes through the clear view-tube, and rider can see the red marker move left and right as the cable moves. There are graduated lines to help see where your marker is.

Its essentially an extension to the outer cable of your gear line, and would need to resist shifting forces without collapsing.

More photos:

enter image description here enter image description here 3 speed VGD.

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    It's very nice! however I also want to change my shifter because it is extremly hard to change gear and I wanted to switch from hand grip to one with levers
    – 3nomis
    Jun 26, 2019 at 6:40
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    @3nomis: If it’s hard to change gears it’s usually because of issues with the cables (and cable housing). They could be badly routed, worn or dirty.
    – Michael
    Jun 26, 2019 at 7:48
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    @3nomis sounds like you have other issues there too - a full re-cable would be wise given you're changing the shifters anyway. I agree that grip shifters are generally rubbish, and pod/trigger shifters are much better.
    – Criggie
    Jun 26, 2019 at 9:24
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    @Michael Agreed, but grip-shifts are inherently quite stiff. It shouldn't be "extremely hard to change gear" but any other kind of shifter tends to have a lighter action. Jun 26, 2019 at 9:46

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