Stuff We Like: Silver Shifters

These are my favorite shifters. In my opinion they’re much nicer than Shimano bar-ends. They’re longer than the Shimano for better leverage, the ratchet is velvety smooth, and they have a subtle contour that lays nicely across the palm. Friction only. Nearly perfect.

Silver Shifters

23 Responses to “Stuff We Like: Silver Shifters”

  • Dottie says:

    These are the shifters I have on my Betty Foy. My first experience with friction shifters and I’m in love. Super smooth movement with only a caress of my palm needed for the rear derailleur.

  • Spanky says:

    I bought an old lugged framed Italian road bike last month, put on noodle bars, nitto forged stem and those shifters, all from Rivendell, as well as the requisite Brookes B-17, and I really love it. I’ll probably restore it bit by bit, as the parts I haven’t replaced look pretty jaded, and looks are important! I’m awaiting some cloth bar tape, which I’m going to try shellacing (can’t get these things at all in NZ). The shifters really are lovely–they look elegant and they won’t discolour after a couple of years the way barcons do.

    I envy you that beautiful bike . . .

  • Jon Grinder says:

    I had those on my 650b StumpJumper conversion, and I liked their performance, and the polished alloy is quite pretty.

    I would recommend, though, some kind of covering (rubber, PlastiCote, etc.) on the ends, after having stood up from making some minor adjustment on the bike and catching the unprotected metal end of the shifter in the temple. It hurt a bit (enough to suit me, thank you) and drew blood.

    Q: “Why do brake levers have balls on the ends?”

    A: “Ask the one-eyed mechanic.”

    If I ever get any more of these, I will be dipping then in PlastiCote before installation.

    I notice that Grant Petersen has what appear to be the rubber feet from kickstands covering the ends of his, in recent pictures.

  • Jim says:

    Huh. I prefer the Shimano version.

  • Alan says:


    How come?

  • doug says:

    I bought a pair of these about two years ago and have been installed on three bicycles so far.

    I am pretty rough with my bikes, so they are covered in scratches and have been ground against all manner of abrasive surface countless times. The little plastic friction discs have both broken in half, but the shifting is still excellent.

    I love these to death. I prefer their feel to the Shimano variety, but that might have more to do with the fact that my hands more or less grown around the Silvers like an old tree…

  • keithc says:

    the silver shifters are a direct copy of a old suntour downtube design. I personally think they are too long for bar ends. regular suntour barcons work better IMO.
    I’m running shimanos in friction on mine, they work fine.

  • Alan says:


    I currently have Shimano 9-speed bar-end shifters on two of my bikes and they certainly work fine (I can count at least a dozen bikes I’ve owned over the years that were set-up with Shimano bar-end shifters), but I find the Silver shifters smoother and more comfortable in the hand and just generally more aesthetically pleasing than the Shimanos (which I find a bit clunky and rough).

  • Joel says:

    Longer would be a problem for me – I bump my bar-ends enough as it, so adding something longer would leave me with holes in my legs. Darn pretty though.

  • yangmusa says:

    I have these on my recumbent – I love them! Soooo smooth. I’m 90% through the decision to upgrade to a new bent, which will come with top of the line SRAM shifters. I guess I’ll give SRAM a fair try, but am thinking that I may have to put the Silver shifters on my new bent too :-)

  • kww says:

    I use them on my rotary shift Sturmey Archer 3 speed. Shifting is silent and instant. I laugh at indexers and derailleurs….

  • tdp says:

    I had a pair and loved the way they felt and looked but am not keen on friction shifting so eventually put back on my ugly Shimanos… When Silvers are made with optional index, I’ll be first in line to get another set!

  • Doug says:

    I like both. When I built up my Ellis this spring I started with the Silver Shifters on the downtube. Hated them even though I used downtube shifters for years. I fell in love with the Silver Shifters when I switched them over to the bar ends.

    However, I still equally like my Shimano Barcon shifters on my LHT. They have a nice feel in the hand, and sometimes it’s nice to have the indexed shifting. I also use the barcons set up on Paul Thumbies on my Xtracycle and my Pugsley. Most of the time, on both of those bikes, I have them set to friction shifting.

  • Aaron says:

    Ha! I just mounted these last week and have been loving them. Their shift’s are smooth and effortless compared to my 3 year olf shimano’s dura-ace bar-cons in friction mode. I bought these shifters from Velo-orange after my set of dura-ace bar-cons finally died after 8600 miles. I bought the down tube version and reused the shimano bar con pods with a little bit of filing to make things work. The filing took about 10 minutes and saved me enough money to buy a fancy bell and some other doo-dads!

  • Jim says:

    I prefer the feel of the shimano shifters in my hand, and I like the indexing option. Also agree with others that the silvers are too long and pointy for bar-end use.

  • Saddle Up says:

    Silver shifters and shortened drops are just about perfect.

  • Hercule says:

    DIY: I needed a set of 7 speed bar end shifter. I got a pair of old 8 speed Shimano bar end shifters from eBay, removed the levers from the mounting, and fitted a pair of downtube 7 speed shifters in their place. Works perfectly, although I would second the comments about their length, pointiness, and proximity to certain sensitive anatomical areas. So far I’ve not had a problem, however.

  • Bob says:

    I have to plug and say that they sell these shifters for $69.95. $12 less than some other people. We also have the down tube version for $34.95.

  • Alan says:

    Hey Bob,

    Thanks for letting us know – that’s a great price!

    The Bike Biz


  • Kay Rigg says:

    I just bought a pair from Velo Orange for $60.00. Replaced the Shimanos on my trike and they are very smooth.

  • Martin Hartley says:

    I just bought a paid of these and am going to put them on my touring bicycle. I bought a second-hand Fuji Touring frame-set and have had the opportunity to select every component piece by piece rather than have to modify a stock bicycle. Their action is fantastic. They never go out of adjustment. All you need to do is set your derailleurs top and bottom limiters and then forget about them. The perfect shifter for a bicycle that you want to perform minimal maintenance on!

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Long-Term Road Test: Rivendell Sam Hillborne says:

    […] adjustment; the Sugino XD2 triple which is still the nicest crank on the planet for the money; the Silver shifters which feel great in the hand and impart a classic look; and, of course, who doesn’t love a […]

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Paul Thumbies says:

    […] who read this blog know I’m a long time fan of bar-end shifters set to friction mode. I’ve been using bar-ends for over 25 years and I still find them to be the most intuitive […]

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