I'm using bullhorn bars and I wanted the cable routing to be along the handlebars for a cleaner look. While I can use crosstop levers for the braking, I'm having trouble for the shifters. I'm not too keen on using the bar-end style of shifters and much prefer paddle-based, indexed shifters. I also don't wanna resort to electronic shifting.

I tried looking for 180-degree cable noodles and handlebar-mounted cable stops and cable pulleys in order to redirect the cable routing but I haven't found any.

Are there any trigger shifters that route towards the grips rather than away?

EDIT: I use MTB components on my bullhorn commuter so I've got no problems on shifting compatibility. Also, my bullhorns have 22.2mm diameter, as weird as that may be.

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    @Criggie I'm a bit hesitant to use flexible noodles as I've heard they have similar effects to brake housing where they're not compressionless. What is your experience regarding this? Mar 15, 2022 at 9:31

2 Answers 2


Shifters like you envision do not exist.

Also, most normal bullhorns and TT/tri base bars use the same bar diameter for the control areas as drop bars so all the same things can clamp to them, 24.6mm. Trigger style shifters for this clamp diameter also do not exist; they use the 22.2mm flat bar diameter. In many cases you can hog out the radius a bit if you want with files and sanding. Forcing it is a very good way to eventually cause the (usually forged aluminum) clamp area to crack. There have been some bullhorn type bars made that use 22.2, but they're weird because they can't go on normal TT/tri bikes.

What does exist that might be a little closer to what you envision are the SRAM R2C bar end shifters that return to center, so that the hand motion is a little more like a trigger shifter (among other purported benefits). These could be a good answer here if having a SRAM road drivetrain matches the rest of what you need the bike to be.

Note that what your question leaves unclear is what you would intend to do about road/mountain front derailleur incompatibility. If you want your hypothetical inverse trigger shifters to work with a road front derailleur, then that's another stipulation in what you're looking for, because most trigger shifters won't (it would need to be a flatbar road model). If you're building up a bullhorn bike that uses a front derailleur but isn't a straightforward off the shelf road drivetrain, using a friction bar-end for the front has the massive advantage that it will shift anything pretty well, including non-manufacturer-intended setups.

If it's a bullhorn only bike (no aerobar) and the finished product looking clean is a goal, it's pretty hard in my mind to get away from using something like the Jtek Aerobrake (again depending on whether there's a way of making the shifters it works with also adapt to the rest of your drivetrain parts).

  • Sorry about the lack of information. I edited my question to clarify about the drivetrain compatibility and bullhorn diameter. I guess I'll have to try Criggie's suggestion, see if the drag and any inconsistent shifting is tolerable enough. Thanks! Mar 16, 2022 at 10:03

Alternative idea: in this situation I've used both flexible brake noodles, and Nokon cable outers to achieve tight turns that wouldn't be possible with normal outers.

I have two on my folder, one for the front brake and one for the rear shifter, so both on the right hand side of the bars. Due to the fold, I'd need a ridiculous amount of cable outer and with the sharper turn I can save half a metre.

enter image description here

As you can see below - the two cables from the left hand are ridiculously long for the folding mech to work. The right hand two cables are almost not visible.

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This is not my photo, but shows how the segmented links of Nokon outer can be used to turn corners without being crushed. enter image description here

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    I'll try these flexible noodles then. If I don't get along with them, I guess I'll have to deal with either the bar-end shifters or the dangling cable housings. Mar 16, 2022 at 10:06
  • @GregoryLeo For completeness, this folder is an 8 speed tourney rear mech, so not as fine-tolerance as a 10-11-12 speed shifter.
    – Criggie
    Mar 16, 2022 at 19:44

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