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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have Shimano Alivia shift levers on my Giant Stance. I'm starting to have problems with my thumbs. Even though it doesn't seem that it takes much pressure to shift, shifting my bike makes it much worse. Is it possible to change the shifters to a higher end model without changing the drive train? From the research that I've done so far, I've learned that I should change out the cables and casings, since the bike is two years old, and they haven't been changed yet. But aside from changing the cables, would a shifter upgrade be an improvement? Is it feasible? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve
 

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Have you tried changing the shifter positions, both rotational and distance to the brake lever? The person who assembled the bike had no idea what might be the most comfortable for you.

It is possible to change to other 9sp Shimano shifters without changing the drive train. However, Shimano no longer makes better 9sp shifters. You will be limited to older used models deore, slx, xt and xtr. While better shifters are more precise, lighter and last longer, the thumb pressure is about the same since that is more related to the derailleurs and cable friction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks rlouder. I haven't tried this. I'll experiment to see if I can find a more comfortable position for them. So, with new cables/housings, the most relevant factor to thumb pressure is the der?
 

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There is no getting around the Der spring by design. Companies often pinch pennies on bikes by using cheap cables/housing. Check the drive train section to see what quality cables and housing people recommend. The better cables last longer besides having less friction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I took it in to the shop to replace cables/housings. They said they would use shimano parts. When I get it back I'll experiment with the positioning. The problem with the Alivios (for me) is the throw on the levers as much as the pressure. At the shop they suggested I hold out for e-shifters. The Giant rep happened to be there and he said that they would be offering them on some models by next year. I'm a little skeptical, but they sound interesting.

Thanks again.
 

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Sounds expensive. What about grip shift?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have grip shifters on an old bike that I ride around the neighborhood with my wife. I just replaced them actually. They’re not too precise. Maybe there are better quality models.

Thanks,
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Owl,

Thanks for the tip. These may be better than the srams I have on my old bike. A commenter on Amazon said that he replaced his Alvios with these and they are working great. I am concerned about inadvertent shifting though - lots of rocks and roots around here. Something to think about none the less. Thanks for the offer as well, I'll let you know if I decide to go this way.
 

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Triggers usually work fine unless someone has a medical issue. Is it possible that your current setup is concentrating the hand pressure to the part of the palm next to the thumb instead of spreading the pressure evenly, causing numbness and reducing thumb range and strength?
 

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If the shop can’t get it sorted out to your liking, and $120 is in the budget, you may consider a new Sram x9 9 speed rear derailleur and some XO shifters off eBay. The difference will be significant. I can’t advise whether spending money on 9 speed is a good idea - that’s on you.

For comparison, upgrading to 11sp full XT would run you $360 for a whole new drivetrain. This might be a better way to go but that’s up to you.
 
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