custom bike - gears on left?

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custom bike - gears on left?

Postby gavin » Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:44 pm

hi everyone. I want to buy a road bike to get fit, i guess a mountain bike would be ok as well.

My question is mainly - I have a buggered up right arm and whilst it can hold the handlebar and help steer no worries, it's not able to change gears/brake very effectively.

Does anyone know anywhere (preferably nsw) that could custom setup a bike so all the gears can be controlled from left handlebar?

Same prob applies to brakes

cheers & thanks
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by BNA » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:00 pm

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Postby Bnej » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:00 pm

You can get hub geared bikes with one handed shifting, but the shifters are generally right handed. You could use the grip type shifter on the left but it'd be upside down - gear indicator may not be visible.

Brakes, I'd suggest you get a Nexus gear hub with a coaster brake, then use a cantilever brake on your front wheel. This way, you'd back pedal to get rear brakes, and use your left hand to operate the front brake, and left hand to use a twist shifter.
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Postby Hotdog » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:13 pm

The brakes part should be easy, it's just a case of swapping over the cables so that the left lever controls the front brake. Under most circumstances you shouldn't be using the rear brake anyway.

Shifters will be a bit more tricky, largely due to needing to use two sets of levers to control front and rear derailleurs. Drop handlebar road bike integrated 'brifters' seem right out, and even with trigger shifters on flat bar road or mountain bikes fitting both sets on one side in a way that you could still use them would probably be difficult. It might be possible using one of the clamp on extra sections of bar (can't remember their name) that some cyclists use to fit loads of lights and cycle computers though, and I suspect if you find a helpful bike shop person they've be able to come up with something workable for you.

An alternative approach would be to consider internal geared bikes instead of derailleurs. These give a similar total gear range to a lot of derailleur geared bikes, albeit with slightly larger intervals, and have the advantage of using a single (normally twist grip) shifter. In that case it would be easy to move the shifter to the left handlebar, though it would then work 'backwards'. Internal hub gears have generally only been found on a few city/comfort bikes but there a few nice looking flat bar road bikes with internal gears now too (GIant CRX City, Avanti Blade 8 ).

Edit: Beaten to it by my fellow hub gear user Bnej, and his answer is better too! (the coaster brake is a very good idea) On the issue of mounting a twist grip shifter for hub gears on the left I can't see why it couldn't be done so that the gear indicator is still visible, but the display would be upside down.
Last edited by Hotdog on Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cludence » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:21 pm

Hi, where in NSW are you located? I know of a few places that could help but depends on where you are. What road bikes had you been looking at?

Karen.
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Postby gururug » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:24 pm

What about the old frame shifters?

You could use your left for both of these?
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Postby gavin » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:27 pm

hi karen I live near sutherland but am happy to drive a pretty long distance!

thanks to everyone else for the comments - I'm noting them down.

cheers

cludence wrote:Hi, where in NSW are you located? I know of a few places that could help but depends on where you are. What road bikes had you been looking at?

Karen.
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Postby Hotdog » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:39 pm

gururug wrote:What about the old frame shifters?

That's a good idea, though it's rare to find a new bike with braze ons for attaching down tube shifters (Surly Cross Check is the only one I can think of, though I'm sure there are others).

A weird combination of a brifter for the rear derailleur and a bar end shifter for the front derailleur (both on the left, of course) might be another way of doing this with drop bars.
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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:54 pm

Gonna have to do some research for a better answer...

A lady MTBer lost most of her hand, left I think, in a MVA. I recall she wore a wristbrace fitted with an SPD cleat on what was left and fitted a pedal to the bar. The controls were flipped over to the other side and she seems to operate them with little problem.

There's also a bloke called John Pinnell who rides in 12/24hr marathons too, can't remember his setup, but I've found a photo, pity it doesn't show much :oops:

I'll repost if I can find the details.
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Re: custom bike - gears on left?

Postby mikesbytes » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:13 pm

gavin wrote:hi everyone. I want to buy a road bike to get fit, i guess a mountain bike would be ok as well.

My question is mainly - I have a buggered up right arm and whilst it can hold the handlebar and help steer no worries, it's not able to change gears/brake very effectively.

Does anyone know anywhere (preferably nsw) that could custom setup a bike so all the gears can be controlled from left handlebar?

Same prob applies to brakes

cheers & thanks


BicycleWA has exactly this problem and has made a custom solution that would provide what you want. Send him a PM.

Another solution for a road bike is to use the left brake leaver shifter for the front chain rings as per normal and to put a bar end (end of handle bar) shifter in the left handlebar.

Have a nice day
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Postby Bnej » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:29 pm

Oh, the cheapest Cell road bike has down tube shifters you might be able to get by with:

http://cellbikes.com.au/product.php?id=211

Still got the problem of brakes though, maybe put a flat bar lever on the horizontal bar as an emergency brake should the front brake fail?

If it were me, I'd still do trekking bars or flat bars & extensions + Nexus coaster brake & 8 speed hub + single front brake. It'd be an easier setup to use than down tube shifters (single shift rather than a two-step), and you'd still be able to use both brakes at the same time for poor traction conditions.
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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:47 pm

Ok, found it. Her name is Kirsty Busch, she's from Jindabyne NSW. Here's a photo. The website might be helpful too.

There's an email addy too: kirstyyouknowwhatwmi.net.au

Hope this helps Gavin, ride on. :D

Shaun
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Postby cludence » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:53 pm

I just found the same link on the bike modifications for mountain bikes. If you have no luck let me know as I contacted a place I know that makes bike modifications for disabled children in Sydney. They are closed now, so will call them back in the morning and let you know what they come up with. I am hoping this place might offer to do it as it is volunteer based so would not cost you any money.

Karen.
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Postby mikesbytes » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:00 pm

Bnej wrote:Oh, the cheapest Cell road bike has down tube shifters you might be able to get by with:

http://cellbikes.com.au/product.php?id=211

Still got the problem of brakes though, maybe put a flat bar lever on the horizontal bar as an emergency brake should the front brake fail?

If it were me, I'd still do trekking bars or flat bars & extensions + Nexus coaster brake & 8 speed hub + single front brake. It'd be an easier setup to use than down tube shifters (single shift rather than a two-step), and you'd still be able to use both brakes at the same time for poor traction conditions.


Forgot about the braking, you need to put the front back on the good hand. the 8 speed hub with internal back brake is a good idea, you won't be able to use the front deralier with it but. However, stopping is more important, so you need to know that you are ok with braking and then find a solution.
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Re: custom bike - gears on left?

Postby heavymetal » Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:44 am

mikesbytes wrote:BicycleWA has exactly this problem and has made a custom solution that would provide what you want. Send him a PM.


I have a bike with drop bars. I had to make a modification to fit a handlebar bag under the aero bars. That mod is detailed here http://www.bicyclewa.com/biketips/hbagaero.html

Because I then had some room left on the extra bar I fitted some old gooseneck shifters sideways on the bar so that both are controlled by the left hand. This mod can be seen here http://www.bicyclewa.com/biketips/frictionshifters.html

This would work for any bike with drop bars, or alternatively a bar end shifter and brifter.

However for a mountain bike the above mentioned modification would be a bit hard to do. There is probably one solution.

For the gears, buy friction shifters and then buy a set of these http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?catalogId=39&id=2173 (Don't know availability in Australia) and mount them both on the left hand side, one above and one below the bar.

For brakes, I still have enough feeling in the hand to operate the brake, but there are brake splitter kits and for a road bike a lever could also be placed up on the left hand top of the bar. This could operate the other brake.

The best set up would be to buy a splitter kit and modify it so that one lever operates both brakes. The adjustment of the brakes has to be exact, but it does work.
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