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Retroshift combines bar-end shifters with brake levers


March 14, 2013

Retroshift's cyclocross brake levers incorporate bar-end-style shifters

Retroshift's cyclocross brake levers incorporate bar-end-style shifters

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Cyclocross bikes typically have paddle-style shift levers integrated into their brake levers, like road bikes do. While this setup his its advantages, cyclocross riders generally like things to be simple and tough enough to stand up to a lot of mud and abuse. That’s where Retroshift CX comes in – it’s a line of brake levers with built-in bar-end-style shifters.

Actually, buyers can get the levers with Retroshift’s own house-brand 9 or 10-speed shifters included, or they can order them “bare” and add their own bar-end or down-tube shifters. Needless to say, not all third-party shifters will work, although Shimano 8, 9 and 10-speed models should do the trick. A list of other compatible shifters can be found on the company website.

Shimano-compatible derailleurs are required on the bike receiving the levers.

There are three models of Retroshift CX – one for bikes with no front derailleur, one for bikes with cantilever or caliper brakes, and one for bikes with linear-pull, V-brakes or disc brakes. Prices for the second two models are US$129 for the bare version, and $189 with shifters included. Weight with shifters is 388 grams.

The system can be seen making some cyclocross-style fast, multi-gear shifts in the video below.

Source: Retroshift via BikeRadar

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Terry - The Shimano shifters you refer to are indeed excellent but aimed at road riding. Retroshift are designed for cyclocross and so are a little different. Retroshift CX levers provide some extra ability from the hoods with the ability to shift across 10 gears instantly (the Shimano can do just 3 going down and only 1 at a time going up). The particular Shimano shifters you point to are also quite a bit heavier and more complicated. Don't get me wrong, if you are road racing go with the Shimano! If you are racing CX then consider these and you can save some money, weight and headaches! :)

The Goats

Both Campagnollo and Suntour produced shifters like this in the past, and both had better designs than this. The Suntour shifters mounted on the inside of the brake hood, and were shaped like a large wing nut, with 2 levers. The rider could shif The cable ran through the brake hood and under the handlebar tape. Suntour eventually stopped making them when STI shifters became popular.

Hagay Vider

Hagay and Terry, how can you say that the Campy and Suntour shifters are superior if you haven't tried these? Outward appearance can be and often is deceiving as to what is 'under the hood' - all puns intended. Get back to us once you have ridden with RetroShift on our bike.

Noel Frothingham

It is likely no surprise that we are were fans of the Suntour Command Shifters and also the Kelly Take Offs (Have not tried the Campy ones referred to above). These are viable and excellent alternatives to bar-ends.

While you are easily forgiven for comparing these to our CX shifters as we do utilize a bar-end or down-tube shifter as the shift mechanism they are really very different. Our CX shifters are not a bar mounted shifter like those but another take on the fully integrated shifter. The primary difference between our CX shifters and Shimano/Campy/SRAM is that our patent pending shifting system utilizes a shift lever on the leading edge of the brake lever (not in or behind it).

Hope you get to try them. If you can get past the quirky looks there are a number of advantages to be had!




The Goats

Ideal. The frictionless option is no doubt included (or would be if you used your own) - I'm not a cyclo-crosser (though I still have my Ultegra bar-ends in a box) but I can see the obvious benefits of such a simple solution.

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