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I have a bicycle with stem mounted friction shifters, and I really like the way they work. I would like to use a similar friction shifter on another bike, but that bike has a threadless headset and the shift levers can't be mounted there. I have considered bar end shifters, but the bike has flat bars. I also considered thumb shifters, and like the idea of being able to access the shifter and brake lever in the same position. But friction thumb shifters all seem to be designed to be mounted on top of the handlebar, above the brake lever. This seems less ergonomic and intuitive than mounting below the bar and lever, where the lever can be accessed without changing hand position, similar to how trigger shifters are typically designed.

My question: has anyone experimented with mounting normal top mount friction shifters below the bar, or found a different way to achieve the same effect?

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    How many headset spacers do you have between the underside of the stem, and the top bearing? It may be possible to strap stem-shifters around there, but you'd need to come up with a much larger clamping band.
    – Criggie
    May 10, 2023 at 20:39
  • @NathanKnutson a flat or swept bar, like an MTB or touring bike, not a road/drop bar. It is a 9-speed Microshift Advent shifter and derailleur, and I don't like the shift control. I would prefer a friction lever, but those commonly available all mount so that the lever is above the brake lever, and I'd rather have it below. But it can't just be flipped upside down can it?
    – SamA
    May 11, 2023 at 1:00
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    @Criggie there isn't a lot of steer tube to work with and I don't think it would look nearly as nice on the stem of the new bike.
    – SamA
    May 11, 2023 at 1:02

2 Answers 2

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A stem shifter sounds exactly like what you want.

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Downside is that they will all be designed to clamp around a ~22mm quill stem. Your threadless steerer will be at least 25mm and around that will be at least one spacer.

It may be possible to extend the clamp's band, or even make a custom steerer spacer ring that has provision for mounting the stem shifters to the sides.

Last resort might be to attach a stub-mount, something like a single bullhorn bar and use that as an intermediate mount. However it would be ugly.

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How would you feel about a downtube shifter? Too far away possibly. Some clamp-on bosses will give you somewhere to mount downtube shifters.

https://problemsolversbike.com/products/shifters-derailleurs/downtube_shifter_mount_-_31244

It may be possible to mount this to the top tube, but it depends on the cable path. Maybe you could use a cross pulley on the downtube to turn the cables upward and aim at the very front of the top tube for the shifters to mount, with https://problemsolversbike.com/products/shifters-derailleurs/cross_clamp_-_17312

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