Saddle Slang is sponsored by Rehook. Check out our tools, bike care and apparel


noun, plural

Shifters are the gear-changing mechanisms used to control a bicycle's gears.

Example usage: I need to use the shifters to change to a lower gear for this hill.

Most used in: Mountain biking and road cycling.

Most used by: Cyclists who need to adjust their gear to suit the terrain.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 3/10

Also see: Derailleurs, Gear Levers, Gear Shifters, Gear Selectors, Index Shifters,

What are Shifters in Cycling?

Shifters are an essential part of any cycling setup. They are used to control the gears on the bike, allowing you to shift up or down depending on the terrain. Shifters work by changing the tension on the drivetrain, which in turn changes the gear ratio.

Typically, there are two types of shifters: trigger shifters and twist shifters. Trigger shifters are the most common type, and are usually found on mountain and road bikes. They are operated by using the index finger and thumb to move a lever, which shifts the gear up or down. Twist shifters are operated by turning a grip, which shifts the gear up or down.

Shifters are an important part of cycling, allowing riders to adjust their speed and effort depending on the terrain. According to a survey by the National Bicycle Dealers Association, almost 90% of cyclists use shifters on their bikes. The survey also found that the majority of cyclists prefer trigger shifters to twist shifters.

Shifters are an important part of cycling, and can make a huge difference to your ride. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cyclist, getting the right shifters for your bike will help you get the most out of your ride.


The Origin of 'Shifters': A History of Cycling Terms

The term 'shifters' first appeared in the late 1800s and early 1900s, associated with the development of the internal-gear hub. This device allowed cyclists to shift gears while riding, making it easier to traverse different types of terrain. The term 'shifters' was used to refer to the levers used to change the gears.

The internal-gear hub was first developed by a German company, Sturmey-Archer, in the late 1890s. It was initially used on tricycles, but was later adapted for use on bicycles. The term 'shifters' was first used in the United Kingdom to describe the levers used to shift the gears of the internal-gear hub.

The term 'shifters' eventually spread to the United States, as the internal-gear hub became more popular. By the mid-1900s, the term was used to refer to the levers used to shift the gears of any type of bicycle. Today, the term is used to refer to the levers used to shift the gears of any type of bicycle or motorcycle.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Saddle Slang

Find definitions for all of the technical terms, slang, and acronyms used in cycling. From the different types of bikes and their components, to training techniques, racing terminology and put downs, this dictionary has it all.

Talk the Talk
1 of 3