Continued from .

Back from the dead — it lives!

Last of the 8-speed thumbshifers
Last of the 8-speed thumbshifers by ajft, on Flickr

After a long, leisurely, walk over to Carnegie this morning with the pram and Jo’s bike we picked up a newly revitalised Norky bike. Dropped her Norco Magnum off for a service and to sort out the gears and picked up the grandfather’s axe that is my Java1.

A bit of a comedown in the world, the only replacement 8-speed Shimano shifters left are Altus; LX, XT and XTR are all 9- or 10-speed nowadays. The thirteen year-old XT shifters had performed wonderfully, well past their expected life, so anything now is a blessing! According to the mechanic “The XT and XTR shifters that year — 1996 — were a real problem, very fragile, amazing they lasted this long at all” I seem to always hear this, or something similar, about my gears, or my wheels, or my forks, or something. I’m never sure whether its true or whether its just the mechanic genes at work — always wanting to sound knowledgeable about — and slightly disparaging about — the equipment that I have got.

Yada yada, Norky bike needs new chain, new cassette, new sprockets… a set of new sprockets costs as much as a new crankset so they’d probably advise that instead… only the frame remains.

Surprisingly cheap for the work, and what a pleasure to have gears again! Single-speeds may be all the rage, but only on bikes designed for it please.

Coffee and cake and then some lunch at Rita’s to celebrate the reanimation, then back home for another thirteen years’ life in the second set of shifters… I hope.


1 I’m fairly confidant that the only original parts now are the frame, XTR brakes, headstem, handlebars and bar-ends. All else has been repaired, replaced or swapped over the years.