Hey all thanks in advance for help on this matter. 

I have a Diamondback mountain bike that uses shifter set Shimano ST-EF51-8R and ST-EF51-L 3x8 disk brake. Son broke them on a jump, apparently snapped gear shifters off. As Shimano used same model number on two styles of these. I am looking for levers for mechanical disc brakes and 4 finger brake handle (not the 2 finger one). Of course I have been looking for over 6 months bike season is almost here and there has been absolutely nothing available to purchase to replace.   so with that said is there a compatible set that I can actually find to purchase online that will work properly no problems decent quality and price?  ​​​​​​​again ty

I am in Windsor Ontario Canada so for now going to Michigan to purchase or possibly pickup an order is out of the question. Unless shipped USPS to canada less customs hassle USPS.

Ty all with the so much help and understanding in this. I have decided to go seperate brake shifter instead of combo unit. After a lot of help and so much research v brake does work with mechanical disc brakes. It was so confusing with all the reads at the beginning. Ty for the edit to make it more sense lol I'm bad at explaining things properly. Again ty all for the very much appreciated help info and ideas.

  • 4
    Easiest way will separate shifter and brake levers, both are readily available. No real advantage in combined units, and as you have found out, break one part you need to replace all of it.
    – mattnz
    Apr 15, 2020 at 1:01
  • Can you clarify? Does it have disc brakes or cantilever brakes? It has a 3x8 drive train?
    – mikes
    Apr 15, 2020 at 18:56
  • I have disk brakes and 3x8. I am getting so confused on all the research on this. So much conflicting reads of do and don't cant have v brake shifter. Some local bike shop says vbrake shifter will work others say no it won't. I just want to get right parts which I don't know what to get that's decent and will work as it's been a long time out of the game lol. It'll take probably 6 more weeks to get parts in shipped from china more likely aliexpress best prices. Again ty so much
    – Bad Bear
    Apr 16, 2020 at 2:56
  • I edited your question to specify levers for mechanical disc brakes as we have established that you do not in fact need canti levers Apr 17, 2020 at 12:55

2 Answers 2


You do not need replacement combined shifter and brake units. Those were popular at one time but separate units are the norm now.

So you have two separate issues: Finding compatible brake levers and finding compatible shifters.

As other have said you need V-brake compatible levers for mechanical disc brakes. This should give you a wide choice and the ability to find 4-finger levers.

Literally any Shimano 3x8 shifters will work with your existing derailleurs. The expected sprocket spacing and derailleur actuation ratio (ratio of length of cage pulled to lateral movement of the cage) has remained constant for Shimano MTB drivetrains at 9 rear speeds or less. It would be nice to upgrade from the EF51 shifters but Unfortunately Shimano now only makes 3x8 shifters for their lowest level groupsets, but searching on Ebay might net you some earlier but higher level items.

  • The OP does NOT need a V-brake compatible levers when they have cantilever brakes. Those are not compatible with linear pull brakes also known under the proprietary name V-brakes. Apr 17, 2020 at 12:33
  • @VladimirF, correct, but it's established in comments that the OP in fact has mechanical disc brakes. They were incorrectly under the impression that mech disc brakes required cantilever levers. Apr 17, 2020 at 12:41
  • I have just found that out. Unfortunately, it is not possible to change the vote unless the answer is edited. Apr 17, 2020 at 12:42
  • @VladimirF I did a quick edit on the question, as it was obviously confusing, edited my answer as well. Apr 17, 2020 at 12:55

Regarding the brakes, mechanical disc brakes for a MOUNTAIN bike utilize long-pull levers, which are also used for V-brakes (aka Linear Pull). Thus, you need long pull/v brake/linear pull levers. See this link

Here is a link to ST-51 3x8 shifters. Note that the correct mode must be selected (namely vbrake or long pull mode) for use with mechanical disc brakes.

Dealers Manual for ST-51


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