The X is one side, the O is the other. Sometimes the X goes on the left, sometimes the O does. We'll make that clear by the end of this.
They're our 2020 model version of SunTour’s 1982 XC mountain bike thumbshifter. We copied what was perfect: The idea, the guts, and the shape. We surgically inserted the SILVER1 guts (the light ratchet inside, which SunTour dubbed “power ratchet.” It’s a slight improvement over the original SunTour ratchet.
We polished them better and designed a more versatile mount, so now you can put them nearly anywhere, super conveniently—thanks to the hinged clamp—and most wonderfully, you can point the cable exit barrel in sixteen different directions, instead of three. Sixteen is ridiculous, of course, but we wanted the fineness-of-increment, not the quantity. There's no drawback or complication, it's just a bunch of notches, like more teeth on a cog.
These have been a long time in the making; more than five years, and three and a half years of designing and prototyping. They’ve been stupidly expensive, the details of which we’re not going to divulge, because it would make us look like stupid businesspeople. But they are worth it. They came out better than we’d hoped at our most idealistic, because they took so long and we discovered theretofore unrealized possible improvements on the way.
You get more than a widget. Buying these means buying into an approach to gear that is curiously freakish these days, and has been for 35 years. It’s the idea that a mechanism or tool can be mechanically perfect and virtually unimprovable, while at the same time allowing its user to flub up a shift.
Is a hammer less of a tool than an automatic nail gun? Is a campfire worse for cooking wieners than a microwave just because you can burn it or drop it? Is a shifter a worse shifter because it doesn’t reduce shifting to pushing levers until they click?
The SILVER2 X & O shifters are beautiful, mechanically honest (they don’t shift for you), and are anachronism in 2020, bound to baffle archeological bike geeks in 2060, when they can't find references to them in the'70s or '80s, yet they're clearly weird for any time after that.
Friction shifting isn’t hard, but it takes practice, and these are the days when you can buy shifters that shift for you. It can never be said that these X & O shifters suck. They’re as good as you are, and not everybody can handle that. One of the images tomorrow is the best shifting advice ever published, and it will make friction shifting a breeze. You have to practice, but practice THIS way, and you'll be a more skillful shifter than any click-shifting pro.
And here's how you install these on our thumb mounts
Here’s how to buy shifters, depending on how you set them up:
SILVER2-X: Bar-end LEFT, Down tube LEFT, Outside or Top of bar LEFT, Inside the bar (the groovy Rivendell way) RIGHT.
SILVER2-O: Bar-end RIGHT, Down tube RIGHT, Outside or Top of bar RIGHT, Inside the bar (the groovy Rivendell way) LEFT
These will shift up to 10 speeds and no more.