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I have Shimano Acera shifter and Shimano MT200 hydraulic brakes. The brake lever is mounted outside and shifter is mounted inside of handle bar. See picture below.

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I want to swap position of this two so that I can have better brake position as well as shifting position. Local bike shop said this can not be swapped.

Is it possible to swap positions of the shifter and brake levers? If it is not possible, then how can I adjust brakes so that I can use only index finger at the end of brake lever for braking without pushing the shifter too far inside?

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    They can't be swapped because the shift mechanism housing under the bar leaves no room for the brake lever clamp. – Argenti Apparatus Aug 18 at 14:18
  • Swapped how? Are you thinking of putting the brake lever on the inside of the handle bar? So that the brake levers are between you and the handle bar? NEVER DO THAT. That will create a positive feedback condition where the harder you brake, the more weight gets pressed upon the brake lever, causing you to brake even harder, which puts more weight on the levers, causing you to brake harder... That's a level of "better braking" you don't want. Don't do that unless you want to endo. – Andrew Henle Aug 18 at 15:46
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    @AndrewHenle OP means inboard of the shifter in the handlebar – Argenti Apparatus Aug 18 at 20:39
  • @ArgentiApparatus Currently I have my index position placed on brake lever like this s14761.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/… but to gain maximum leverage I want to place my index finger on brake lever like this s14761.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/… If it is not possible to swap their positions, can I shift them both inward without affecting my thumb reach to sifter trigger? – Bhavesh Jadav Aug 19 at 16:29
  • @BhaveshJadav You could experiment with moving both lever units inboard, and see if it affects reaching he shift levers, it will depend on how for you move them. – Argenti Apparatus Aug 19 at 16:33
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You have to remove everything from the handlebar and then reinstall again, in a changed order. Whether or not you will be able to achieve a more comfortable levers position after that depends on how close the "reversed" shifter and brake lever can be mounted, and that depends on the model you have. The same operations have to be performed at both sides of the handlebar, of course.

  1. Remove the grip. Depending on the type of the grip, it may require unscrewing one or two small bolts which hold a lock-on grip, or pumping some water/alcohol under the grip if it is held by friction alone. There are instructions on the net available, look them up if you are uncertain.

  2. Unscrew the bolt holding the brake lever to the handlebar and slide it out. In most cases you don't have to unscrew the cable as its length should be enough to allow you to free the lever; if not, first make sure that you know how to properly disconnect a hydraulic cable and how to install it back.

  3. Unscrew the bolt holding the shifter and slide it out. Again, the shifter cable length is typically long enough to allow it; if not, you might have to loosen it as well.

  4. Put the brake lever on the handlebar, then slide the shifter, align everything to your liking and screw the bolts holding them. Use recommended torque values for bolts, do not overtighten them.

  5. Reinstall the grip.

This was a general way of how to do it, a pretty much straightforward one. There are many details however that may alter the procedure, make it impossible or undesirable. To name a few:

  1. Certain groupsets e.g. Shimano Tourney, have an integrated brake/shifter pair which is monolithic and cannot be adjusted, as they have one clamp holding onto the handlebar. In your picture, they do have separate clamps and thus can be moved relatively to each other.

  2. Certain shifters have an indicator of currently chosen gear, like yours on the picture. It takes up space near the handlebar and may prevent sliding the brake lever too close to the shifter. Sometimes the indicator is absent, sometimes it can be unscrewed, sometimes it can be destroyed (filed down) to free up the space.

  3. Certain shifters have a clamp with a hinge which opens fully by pressing a small button. It allows to remove them without removing the grip. I have not seen similar clamps on brake levers, however, so removing the grip is still required to free them.

  4. Certain shifters (branded Shimano Ispec and similar from other vendors) are bolted directly onto the brake lever, thus sharing a single clamp with them. In such cases, the adjustability is defined by a sliding window where the shifter can be moved.

  5. The instructions above do not apply to systems with a grip shifter, only to thumb shifter.

To sum up, cheap groupsets are monolithic or have indicators standing in the way of swapping brake/shifter levers, and Acera is one of those. Middle-level groupsets may allow it, although it is not an officially supported configuration. Top-end groupsets typically have integrated adjustable shifter/brake lever pairs on a single clamp, so there is nothing to swap.

  • Thank you for your detailed reply. I will look into removing gear indicator display to make up some room. Can you recommend some good cheap shifter from shimano which can be mounted either inboard or outboard? – Bhavesh Jadav Aug 22 at 9:40
  • @BhaveshJadav You'll need a compatible shifter, not just a cheap one. If you have a candidate, just find a picture/diagram of it and you will see whether or not it has an indicator. I have SRAM X5 10-speed shifters, which are cheap and do not have indicators at all, and I was able to swap them with brake levers. – Grigory Rechistov Aug 22 at 11:03
  • This is an excellent answer to the question that was asked. Basically "try it and see" – Criggie Aug 23 at 8:35
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OK I understand. I have managed to swap the brake and shifter as you suggest, however, not his exact model and the components were worn - the gear shifter clamp had some play. If it fits, there is no reason not to. In the case I mentioned, I had to file down the cover of the indicator unit a little to accommodate the brake lever clamp. I also had to adjust the reach for the owner as the end of the brake lever was a little too far for safety. See page 64 for reach adjustment. https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/dm/DM-UABR001-03-ENG.pdf

  • Hi, welcome to bicycles. This doesn't really answer the question that was asked; comments should be used for asking for clarification of the question. (Note also that you are assuming that reach is the problem and providing a link-only answer which is also discouraged.) Please read How to Answer. – DavidW Aug 19 at 16:01
  • @Krijsh I want to swap them because currently I have my index position placed on brake lever like this s14761.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/… but to gain maximum leverage I want to place my index finger on brake lever like this s14761.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/… – Bhavesh Jadav Aug 19 at 16:26
  • What do you mean Swifty, are you wanting me to give a step by step explanation of how to remove the grip, unbolt the 2 components swap them on the bar etc? My answer does answer the question - Can it be done? I have been fixing bikes and instructing others how to do so for 30+ years. What clarification has the OP asked for since I edited my answer? – Krijsh Aug 20 at 0:42
  • @Krijsh consider Gregory's answer, and compare it to this one. His is not literally step by step but does explain the order and the main considerations, and that its reversible later. I'm of the opinion that if someone has an idea for improving their bike then trying it out is the best way to understand the implications (as long as its not stupid) and OP's idea may work for him. – Criggie Aug 23 at 8:37
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    Thanks Criggie. In general I think Grigory's answer is sound, however, he goes on to add points not relevant to this situation regarding integrated shifters and brake units - the picture shows, and a quick search could confirm - the OP has separate brake & shifter. The main issue is whether or not there is room to accommodate the shifter indicator under the brake lever clamp when the positions are swapped. To "try it out" is exactly what I'm suggesting, along with the possible adaptations he might have to make (filing the indicator housing). I will try to be more directive with future answers – Krijsh Aug 24 at 9:11

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