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Bought a cheap RoadMaster MTB's as a first "grown up" bikes for my daughter. For the price (~$60 in a sale) they play nicely, but it shows the poor quality of the components.

The biggest gripe is the grip shifters (as in each and every Walmart bikes). I'd like to change the shifters to trigger type. The rear cassette is 6-speed and the derailleur (as the rest of components) is some "TD ONE" generic brand. I know the shifter must match the actual derailleur type, due to differences in the pull ratios between brands.

Any suggestion on what type of shifter would be compatible with the TD ONE derailleur?

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You need a 6 speed shifter. These are likely to be rare, so a 7 or 8 speed shifter should work, but will have 1 or 2 ghost positions which may be confusing.

Another possibility is to use a friction shifter, where the rider has analogue input and can put the chain where it needs to go.

But from another point of view, you're throwing good money after bad. A cheap bike is okay while they're still growing, but at some point you're better off saving for a good bike.

If there's a bike cooperative in your area then they may be able to assist with take-off parts or similar.

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    Thanks. Yes, I agree this is a bad "investment" in terms of the money, but given the very cheap price for entry level components, I thought it may be a good and affordable upgrade to get her used to a more acceptable shifting solution (grip shifters should be outlawed!). There are actually cheap 6-speed shifters (Shimano Alivio, for example), but I am not sure those will fit. Anyway, I want her to get committed to biking before shelling out the real dough on "real" bikes. – ysap Jul 1 at 2:45
  • Are you sure that all 6 speed shifters have the same actuation ratio? – ojs Jul 1 at 5:44
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    @ojs mostly - 6/7/8 are all the same width between cogs and 1.7:1. The limiting factors are how far the rear mech and shifter can physically move (ie how much cable they can take total) There were some whack Dura Ace road shifters in that area but they'll be way out of the price range for this project. – Criggie Jul 1 at 7:10
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    @ysap: “Anyway, I want her to get committed to biking” I understand your reluctance to “risk” more money, but a bad bike can ruin the experience. At least make sure it’s properly adjusted for her height and properly maintained (tire pressure, chain lube etc.). – Michael Jul 1 at 12:07
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    @Michael - thanks. A veteran MTB rider myself, I am aware of all this. She is growing fast, and soon the 24" wheel size bikes will need to be replaced with something bigger. So any real investment would be futile. She seems to do very well on the current bikes, as a street rider. – ysap Jul 1 at 12:26

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