switching gear shifters right to left

raffesmythe Posts: 3
edited May 2012 in Workshop
My 6 year old daughter has only one hand - the left one. She wants to get a geared bike so I need a solution for gear shifters.
Does anyone have advice or experience?
There has been chat on this topic elsewhere on the forum but no real solutions.
I could swap a 7 gear shifter over but it would be upside down and the wrong way round.
Could I take a 7 gear twist shifter apart and put the inner mechanism in a left hand 3 gear casing?
What are the implications of a 7 gear twist shifter operating the opposite way.

I have given up looking for a purpose made left hand rear gear shifter.

All advice and help gratefully reiceived



  • freezing77
    freezing77 Posts: 731
    Would it matter being the "wrong" way round. If she only uses it as set up she will not have to unlearn it being the other way.
  • warpcow
    warpcow Posts: 1,448
    I'd doubt running a twist-shifter on the wrong side would have any implications other than it working 'backwards'.

    Another option might be old-style thumb-shifters. Some were interchangable left/right, but I suspect they'd work just as well upside down too, if you had to use a right on the left. It could be a little weird ergonomically though.
  • How about a bar end shifter? I suppose they might work with straight handlebars too. Not sure how fiddly it would be trying to operate one of these with one hand though - just an idea.
  • chrisw12
    chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    This may seem way overkill but it could be a lifetime solution for her, so how about electronic, something like they use on the timetrial bikes.

    I know it might seem expensive but you are in quite a unique position and electronic shifting might be worth the outlay for the safety it would give her, also as she gets older and changes bikes you can always perhaps shift the components along, in other words see it as a long term (all be it an expensive) investment.
  • mamba80
    mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    I ve just been out to my workshop and experimented with my daughters twist gripshifters and yes it will work fine, the only issue is that the gear indication numbers are upside down (the shift direction is also different but works just fine)

    I have a Gripshift in 6 sp which you can have if you want? and poss a 7sp if i can find it. PM me.

    The only thing i would add is that Shimano style gripshift are easier to operate than Sram Gripshift, or so my daughter found, so if you are buying her a new bike, might be worth getting the shop to swop it all over for you, a good shop will do all that for nowt.
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    Another alternative would be to go for bar end shifter in friction mode.
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  • P_Tucker
    P_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    Theres a roadie from South Wales with a similar issue - he mounts two STIs on the left, the right one upside down on the underside of the drops. Seems to work for him, hes a decent 2nd cat who has no trouble getting around the hilliest of courses.
  • Thanks for all the replies. I am going to go for swapping the right hand twist shifter over and have it operate backwards.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    How about fitting a MTB integrated brake/shifter lever vertical on the left side? Just a thought... Both Shimano and Campagnolo road systems will be difficult to operate the wrong way round. Best thing is to contact somebody who can take the lever into parts and rebuild it... maybe it's possible to fit the right 10 speed ratchet on the left lever...
    left the forum March 2023
  • sufferingpete
    sufferingpete Posts: 524
    Probably a bit expensive but I seem to remember some one taking a campagnolo LH lever and making a RH ratchet to use for rear.

    The internal design for the LH and RH are similar.
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