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The 4 best 9-speed thumb shifters

I’m looking for a 9-speed thumb shifter to convert the 3×7 drivetrain of my 1997 Mongoose Tetra SX into a 1×9 one. I have a 9-speed Deore XT RD-M772 rear derailleur which came from my Killer V.

Shimano Sora crankset

The bike has a classic 68 mm bottom bracket shell with a standard square taper bottom bracket. I’ve bought a Shimano BB-RS501 bottom bracket and Shimano RS510 Hollowtech II crankset to upgrade to a one-by drivetrain.

Obviously the 7-speed shifter currently sitting on the Mongoose won’t work with this setup, and since I’m such a fan of thumb shifters, I’m looking for a 9-speed thumb shifter to get with the rest.

adjust shimano thumb shifter

There aren’t any vintage 9-speed thumb shifters, only 7-speed like the Shimano Deore XT SL-M730 ones I have on my Koga Miyata Adventure from 1986. Although I guess since there’s a friction mode on the right shifter, you could actually use it.

So I’ll be looking into all new options. Here’s what’s currently available on the market for 9-speed thumb shifters.

9-Speed thumb shifters

The following 9-speed thumb shifters can be bought as-is.

SunRace SLM96 R9 Thumb Shifter

SunRace thumb shifter
SunRace thumb shifter

The SunRace thumb shifters are offered in a 9-speed version and are indexed. There’s no option to set them to friction. They look nice and are the cheapest thumb shifters from a reputable brand.

The top screw doesn’t loosen or tighten the shifting-feel of the thumb shifter. It only serves to tighten or loosen the clamp.

They fit handlebars with a 22.2 mm diameter.

MicroSHIFT SL-M19-R thumb shifter

MicroSHIFT SL-M19-R thumb shifter

The MicroSHIFT SL-M19-R thumb shifter is a premium shifter with a CNC-machined 22.2 clamp.

They can be better fine tuned to suit your specific shifting needs with the bolt to control shifter drag.

Depending where you buy them, they are 2 to 3 times the price of the SunRace thumb shifter.

There’s a small dial to turn and operate the shifter either as a friction one or an indexed one.

The shifter is meant to be used with the Advent groupset and/or rear derailleur, but you can use it with a Shimano cassette (or SRAM) as well.

IRD XC-Pro Thumb Shifter

IRD XC-Pro thumb shifter

The IRD XC-Pro Thumb Shifter is a 9-speed shifter very similar in design as the microShift one. The biggest difference is the clamp, since this one has a CNC-machined hinged version.

The original XC-Pro shifters were friction only, whereas these ones are indexed only.

Dia Compe ENE thumb shifter

Dia-Compe Ene thumb shifter black
Dia-Compe Ene thumb shifter silver

The Dia Compe Ene thumb shifter has a standard 26.0 mm CNC-machined clamp with optional shims to get it to either a 23.8 or 22.2 mm diameter.

It’s a friction shifter, not an indexed one, which makes it compatible with 8, 9, and 10 speed drivetrains.

It has a gorgeous vintage look with the ringed nut, and comes in black anodized or silver.

It’s very pricey at over 100 USD.

Specifications 9-speed thumb shifters

Name
shifting
clamp diameter
clamp
SunRace SLM96 R9
index
22.2 mm
stamped steel
MicroSHIFT SL-M19-R
index/friction
22.2 mm
CNC-machined
IRD XC-Pro
index
26 mm / 22.2 mm
CNC-machined
Dia Compe ENE
friction
23.8 mm / 22.2 mm
CNC-machined

Thumb shifter mounts

Paul components thumb shifter mount

There are also thumb shifter mounts available. These mounts turn shifter levers originally mounted into the handlebars into those that can be mounted on your handlebars.

It means that the likes of Shimano and SRAM can also be turned into thumb shifters clamped onto handlebars.

These mounts can be had from Pauls Components. They offer more flexibility both in colors as in handlebar diameter.

bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

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