You Are At: AllSands Home > Sports > The 4 types of bike shifters
There are four types of shifters on your bike.
1. Down tube shifters: Used on speed bikes are either clamed tap the bike's frame or mounted on studs called bosses.

2. Thumb shifters: Found on mountain and hybrid bikes are mounted on the handlebars. They feature one or two levers and sometimes a switch for changing from index to friction mode.

3. Dual lever shifters under handlebars: May be thumb operated or have both a thumb operated main lever and an index finger operated release lever.

4. Grip shifters: Designed for mountain and hybrid bikes with straight handlebars. They allow you to change gears with a twist of the wrist.

How Do They Work?

Most modern bicycles have 10 to 24 speeds. The variety is achieved by a rear freewheel cluster of five to eight cogs with a front cluster of two or three chain rings. They are connected by cable to the shifter on the left side of the handlebars or frame. The front derailleur shifts the chain from one chain ring to another. The rear derailed, controlled by a similar shifter on the right side of the bike, moves the chain from cog to cog on the freewheel.

Shifter levers have four basic designs (see above) and have two basic types. A friction shift lever allows you to feel your way from one gear to another. Index shifters, which are sometimes made to also operate with friction, shift gears automatically, clicking from gear to gear. Most bicycles made after 1987 have index shifters.

A derailleur that fails to operate smoothly or causes the chain to jump gears needs to be fixed immediately. Use the tension adjusters on the shifter and the derailleur to tighten or loosen the cable. You also can adjust the cable at the anchor bolts on the derailleurs. Replace worn or damaged cables immediately.

With this in mind, you can now find out which shifter your bike has and how to use it correctly. This way you can fully use all of your 10-24 gears on your bike!