I retrieved the Shimano bar end shifters from some old handlebars and now I want to fit the shifters to new bars.

However strangely I can't fit the shifters in the new bars. See the following photo:

Bar ends which do not fit

I don't understand why this happens: I have loosened the stick of the bar end shifter enough so the the clamps can "fall" to the centre. Here a photo to illustrate this:

Loosened bar ends?

Some more details:

  • The new bars should have the same inner diameter than the old bars.
  • Even more important; The shifters don't seem to fit back into the old bars either.

Do I overlook something? Do I do something wrong? Or are the shifters just broken?

Update 2 days later

I have payed around with the shifters - and noticed that apparently the area of the handlebars which is on the inside wide enough differs between the old and the new bar:

I found this out by using the screw with the cone head which goes through the clamps of the shifter: With an allen key I held the srew as far into the hanldebars as possible.

In the old handlebars I can fit the whole screw in:

Handlbars OLD with bar-end screw

However in the new handlebars only approx 2/3 of the screw fit in:

Handlbars NEW with bar-end screw

It explains why I cannot fit the whole shifter in the new bar even with grease and lots of wiggling!

Not sure what to make it tough: I can think of two explanations for the difference:

  1. Either it is a manufacturer fault. (The new bar is from the same manufacturer as the old one and both are designed for bar-ends.)
  2. Or newer Shimano bar-ends have a shorter stick part than older versions of Shimano shifters have.

Any ideas? (Particularly abot explanation 2.)

  • you can lookup the part number. It should be stamped somewhere on the lever, usually starting with "sl-xxx". find the manual on si.shimano.com and look up wich inner diameter this lever is made for..
    – user430
    May 16, 2020 at 12:54
  • @user430 The new handlebars are from the same manufacturer as the old ones, so they should have the same inner diameter - and I had seen the shifters in the old bars, so I know they had fit... ;-)
    – halloleo
    May 16, 2020 at 13:14
  • 1: Not all bars have the same inner diameter. 2: Often there is a lip inside the bar that will need to be filed smooth (with a round file) before the bar end will fit. May 16, 2020 at 13:59
  • You'll have to move the clamps much further away from the 'visible' part of the shifter. The gaps in the drum part should be almost fully closed.
    – Carel
    May 16, 2020 at 14:04
  • @Carel I don't understand: If I move the clamps further away from the visible end of the shifter (in the photo on the right side) then the clamps hit the cone on the other side (in the photo on the left side) and expand even further.
    – halloleo
    May 16, 2020 at 14:18

3 Answers 3


I think your picture shows that the expander wedges are riding up on the ridged part of the shifter pod, which keeps them from being able to get small like they're supposed to, hence not fitting the bar they just came out of. You need to twist them around so they're not riding up. Also at the very least grease inside the bar, but ideally grease the threads and every surface of the expander wedges.

  • Thank you, but it is not clear to me: What do you mean with "twist them around"? Sorry, I'm sometimes a bit slow...
    – halloleo
    May 17, 2020 at 14:18
  • They're not contacting the smooth part of the pod like they need to. You need to rotate the group of expanders around together until they do. May 17, 2020 at 14:47
  • In other words, your second picture shows a gap between the expander wedges and shift pod, but also shows that the bolt is applying some force on the expanders, hence them being expanded and not able to fit. The only way for all that to be true at once is if the expanders are hitting the guide ridge of the pod, not the smooth part. May 17, 2020 at 18:53
  • I found out more about the handlebars, @NathanKnutson. Please see the update at the end of the question.
    – halloleo
    May 18, 2020 at 13:10

Try the dirty finger gauge - push a finger into the ends of the old bars, and draw a line on your skin. Then do the same on the new bars - the line should be pretty much the same place relative to end of bars. And the inside should feel about the same. If there are ridges, or if the new bars close up inside quicker then that could be the cause.

I wonder if your old bars were steel, and the new ones are aluminium. I have cut down some aluminium handlebars to make squirrel-bars, and found that the barplugs did not go in because the metal gets much thicker toward the middle. Upshot - the alloy bars were only thin in the outer 2 cm whereas steel bars were consistent thickness.

  • 1
    Did the finger test, @Criggie - and I can push my finger into both bars to the same extend in.... BTW, both bars are the same material, black anodised aluminium, I think.
    – halloleo
    May 17, 2020 at 14:22
  • 1
    I found out more about the handlebars, @Criggie. Please see the update at the end of the question.
    – halloleo
    May 18, 2020 at 13:11
  • @halloleo looks like you found the cause - the bars are tapering on the inside Diameter earlier than on the old bars. Might be time to ask the maker what to do. I''ve used a small flapwheel on the inside but it didn't take out much metal.
    – Criggie
    May 18, 2020 at 19:55

After a while I'm back on this question, because finally the issue is solved.

A local frame builder (Thanks Myles!) did the following:

  1. He reduced the diameter of the main bolt's conus.
  2. He shortened the bolt a bit
  3. Hi cleanend the inside of the handlebar (and possibly filed it slightly thinner).

Now the bar end shifters fit well:

The happy handle bar with the happy bar end shifters

  • 1
    Nice work - thank you for coming back to provide closure, its really appreciated .
    – Criggie
    Jun 22, 2020 at 3:48

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