Hack! Make Your Road or Mountain Bike Front Shifter Activate a Dropper Post!

Thanks to the increasing popularity of 1x drivetrains for mountain bikes and cyclocross, there’s a growing collection of sad, lonely front shifters sitting around feeling unproductive.

Now, thanks to the folks at Re:Cycles Bike Shop and Seasucker bike racks, we’ve got two hacks that show how they’ve used their front shifter to work two different models of cable-actuated dropper seatposts. It’s a fairly basic hack, but does require a little disassembly to remove the pawls and a few other parts. The end result should be a spring loaded lever that won’t catch or ratchet anything – it only need to pull cable in order to actuate the release on the dropper post, then let it spring back to lock the post into position.

Above, the Charles Casagrande at Seasucker took a crashed SRAM road shifter to work a Thomson dropper post. Below, one of our local shops made an XT shifter work with an LEV…

XT-shifter-converted-to-LEV-dropper-post-remote

To make it work, Re:Cycles owner Merritt disassembled his XT shifter to remove the release trigger and its pawls:

XT-shifter-converted-to-LEV-dropper-post-remote2

The release trigger, the ratchet teeth, it’s spring and retaining bolts were all removed, along with the C-clip that held it all in place.

The catch points on the wheel inside the shifter are still there, but the teeth they catch on are removed. Now, the thumb lever is free to move, pulling the cable end’s cradle without it getting stuck at intermediate points.

XT-shifter-converted-to-LEV-dropper-post-remote3

The return spring inside the post and one inside the shifter pod pulls the lever back into place. All in all, he said it took him just 10 minutes. I’ve played with it and it works flawlessly with much smoother action and a more intuitive position than any stock dropper lever I’ve tried.

Thanks to both for sending in their hacks!

Comments

Joe - 07/21/14 - 2:10pm

Raceface staff did it first. Eh Jon.

Jeff - 07/21/14 - 2:16pm

Why does one need a dropper on a roadbike?

chasejj - 07/21/14 - 2:18pm

I have the same post and use the stock remote for it.
I converted the XTR front shifter to toggle between my 2 Fox 36 Talas positions. Works flawlessly. 2014 version of that fork works quite well.

ken - 07/21/14 - 2:33pm

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mechineer - 07/21/14 - 2:40pm

I’m gonna hook up an old gripshift to my dropper so I can twist back & drop a** in one fluid Jacka** ™ movement. Braaap.

saddlesniffer - 07/21/14 - 2:56pm

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chrisinrenton - 07/21/14 - 3:20pm

I did this back in early 2013. No need to remove anything in the shifter either. Push in the smaller lever, add a small screw to hold the release mech in place and boom, full range large lever that doesnt engage.

On my fatbike I use a 2x grip shift. I didnt want to take it apart so pushing forward on the grip shift unlocks the seat and click back locks it. Simple and easy to use!

Jeff - 07/21/14 - 3:25pm

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Burnt Orange - 07/21/14 - 4:05pm

I have been using a grip shift for my drop post since XX1 came out , you can search it up on Ridemonkey

warthog - 07/21/14 - 5:24pm

Jeff, it’s not a road bike. It’s on a cross bike.

groghunter - 07/21/14 - 5:30pm

I was planning on doing this until I actually got my fox post: I actually like the Fox lever, the middle position lever is really handy.

That said, If i find a cheap shimano front shifter, I’ll probably give this a try just to compare.

Stamps Transou - 07/21/14 - 5:40pm

Heard about your setup Merritt. Good to see Re-Cycles getting some love on the web.

groghunter - 07/21/14 - 6:12pm

Oh, and then there’s the other thing: I use the dropper enough that if I ever run a front shifter again, it’ll be with one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Shifters-SL-TX30-Tourney-Pair/dp/B001NVAI7U/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1405980636&sr=1-1&keywords=thumb+shifter

Jeff - 07/21/14 - 6:23pm

@Warthog.. I thought it was a road bike, the video isn’t very clear. But why would someone need a dropper on a CX bike?? I haven’t ran into any place that would require one. It is a cool idea though.

gerald t. - 07/21/14 - 7:10pm

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buriedundersnow - 07/21/14 - 7:30pm

Good show by both blokes…..me likey.

@Jeff – Why not, I’me sure a lot of people never thought discs would appear on CX/road bikes.

dullknives - 07/21/14 - 8:12pm

stock right hand above bar lever flipped to the left under bar position on my dropper works fine and is lighter, if that’s a concern.

Ajax - 07/21/14 - 9:43pm

Why?

Simon A - 07/21/14 - 10:12pm

A cheap, non-indexed thumbshifter works really well too and requires little to no modification as long as your post is a kind where the ball-end of the cable is in the lever.

stack - 07/21/14 - 10:15pm

Dropper on a CX bike would make a lot of the UltraCX courses way, way more fun.

Noodles! - 07/21/14 - 11:18pm

Is this not old news.

John Hansen - 07/21/14 - 11:47pm

The owner of the bike wanted the dropper post on his CX bike.
It was not my job to ask why, it was my job to make it work.
The lever that comes with the post was designed for MTB bars.
Using a cross lever was my first thought, but heck anyone can do that
and its not very “trick”
Then came the I wonder if I can make the front shift lever work… ohhh and while
I’m at it run the cable internally …. as Emeril would say …. BAMMM

The result is a super clean install.

Johann - 07/22/14 - 2:30am

Nothing new here. I’ve done that a year ago and it seems Graves rides the same set up for even more….

Wayne Lee - 07/22/14 - 8:41am

Way to go Merritt……I may just try this. Seems more natural…..

Luke - 07/22/14 - 4:19pm

I watched this yesterday, and thought I would give it a go. I got an old 2 Speed Sram x5 shifter to work, just took out the ratchet mechanism and it works mint, 20 min job maybe.

John Hansen - 07/22/14 - 6:16pm

Simon,

is there any cool factor or out of the box thinking with a old thumb shifter?

Chuck Casagrande - 07/22/14 - 7:40pm

Hey that’s my cross bike! just wanted to try the dropper post and this is the bike I loan out the most with a guest rider so it’s quick and easy to set ‘em up for a ride….Gonna try it for cx and see if it makes any sense there…what the heck…

B Muller - 07/30/14 - 12:49pm

I converted an SLX shifter to work with a Gravity Dropper post. Similar conversion as discussed above, removing non-needed parts from shifter, but the cable stop end of the cable is needed in the post, so I needed to find an adjustable stop. The smallest of the stops that came in this kit (pictured front center) worked perfect with a hole drilled through the cam disc of the shifter.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009YEYN6A/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Battlestag - 08/14/14 - 2:34am

Can someone make a video explaining the mtb shifter hack in a little more detail?

John W - 11/06/14 - 10:05pm

Yep, I’d love to see a video of the hack b4 I butcher my XTR lever!

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