Seeking Budget-Friendly Shift Lever Advice for MTB Setup

Yassfen

New member
Hello Fellow Cyclists,

I trust you're all enjoying your cycling adventures haha. I'm here with a question about my current MTB configuration and plans for a mullet setup. Here are the details:

  • Shifting Lever: SL-M5100-R
  • Rear Derailleur: RD-M5120-SGS
  • Cassette Sprocket: CS-M5100-11 (11-51t)
  • Chain: CN-HG601-11
  • Hydraulic Brakes: Shimano MT410
I'm in the market for new shift levers and would love your recommendations on budget-friendly options. Specifically:

  1. Compatibility with my existing rear derailleur, cassette, and hydraulic brakes.
  2. Suggestions for shifters that offer good performance without breaking the bank.
  3. Any potential challenges or considerations I should be aware of.
I'm open to exploring choices from Sensah, Sram, Shimano, or Microshift. The goal is to find an option that balances performance and affordability.

If any of you have experience with similar setups or can provide insights into compatible, budget-friendly shift levers, I would greatly appreciate your input.

Thank you all for your time and happy riding!
 
Solution
Hi,

Thank you for your detailed response and valuable suggestions. I realized I omitted a crucial piece of information in my initial query. Apologies for any confusion.

To provide more context, I'm currently working with an 11-speed MTB setup and, indeed, I'm looking to install drop bar shifters. Specifically, I'm seeking recommendations for drop bar shifters compatible with Shimano 11-speed MTB derailleurs.

Considering your expertise, could you kindly offer advice on drop bar shifters for an 11-speed MTB setup?

Any insights or suggestions you can provide, especially regarding the compatibility of these drop bar shifters with my existing MTB components, would be immensely helpful.

Once again, I appreciate your assistance and...
Hi,

As far as I can see, you have an 11-speed MTB setup. So, in order to only change shifters, you'll need shifters compatible with Shimano 11-speed MTB derailleurs.

What I use and recommend are used friction shifters (Microshift still makes some new, that aren't too bad, but I run Shimano used ones). Local bike shops and used parts markets are the place to go for those. Old, metal ones, by Shimano are pretty good.

For indexed shifters, as far as I know, Shimano Deore 5100 series are the cheapest ones that work well.

Any other Shimano 11-speed MTB shifters should work fine (SLX and similar).

Microshift sells these, which can work both as indexed and friction, but I haven't tried them:
They also make matching front shifters for 2 and 3 chainrings.

Relja
 
Hi,

As far as I can see, you have an 11-speed MTB setup. So, in order to only change shifters, you'll need shifters compatible with Shimano 11-speed MTB derailleurs.

What I use and recommend are used friction shifters (Microshift still makes some new, that aren't too bad, but I run Shimano used ones). Local bike shops and used parts markets are the place to go for those. Old, metal ones, by Shimano are pretty good.

For indexed shifters, as far as I know, Shimano Deore 5100 series are the cheapest ones that work well.

Any other Shimano 11-speed MTB shifters should work fine (SLX and similar).

Microshift sells these, which can work both as indexed and friction, but I haven't tried them:
They also make matching front shifters for 2 and 3 chainrings.

Relja
Hi,

Thank you for your detailed response and valuable suggestions. I realized I omitted a crucial piece of information in my initial query. Apologies for any confusion.

To provide more context, I'm currently working with an 11-speed MTB setup and, indeed, I'm looking to install drop bar shifters. Specifically, I'm seeking recommendations for drop bar shifters compatible with Shimano 11-speed MTB derailleurs.

Considering your expertise, could you kindly offer advice on drop bar shifters for an 11-speed MTB setup?

Any insights or suggestions you can provide, especially regarding the compatibility of these drop bar shifters with my existing MTB components, would be immensely helpful.

Once again, I appreciate your assistance and expertise.

Best regards,
 
Hi,

Thank you for your detailed response and valuable suggestions. I realized I omitted a crucial piece of information in my initial query. Apologies for any confusion.

To provide more context, I'm currently working with an 11-speed MTB setup and, indeed, I'm looking to install drop bar shifters. Specifically, I'm seeking recommendations for drop bar shifters compatible with Shimano 11-speed MTB derailleurs.

Considering your expertise, could you kindly offer advice on drop bar shifters for an 11-speed MTB setup?

Any insights or suggestions you can provide, especially regarding the compatibility of these drop bar shifters with my existing MTB components, would be immensely helpful.

Once again, I appreciate your assistance and expertise.

Best regards,

OK, I see. That's a more interesting (complicated) problem. Especially since you are also using hydraulic MTB brakes.

As far as I know, most Shimano hydraulic road bike STI levers (integrated brake and shifter levers for drop bars) will work OK with MTB hydraulic brakes. However, they won't shift well with an MTB derailleur.

At the same time, I don't know of any hydraulic drop bar brake levers that don't have integrated shifters.

So, on a budget, it might be cheaper to get some high-quality road bike mechanical brakes. Alternative to that is to get hydraulic STIs to use just for brakes, and get separate shifters.

For shifters, bar-end shifters are what I used for my gravel bike build (mine work in friction mode, as I like it :) ). They have a downside: for technical tracks, I would prefer to have nothing protruding out of my handlebar ends. Unfortunately, my down-tube is too wide to easily mount any down-tube shifters.

Guevenale shifters are another interesting option (too expensive for me to import to Serbia). According to their site, they have also started making Hydraulic levers with shifters, for most available MTB and Road derailleurs:
https://www.gevenalle.com/product/hydraulic/
I have no idea whatsoever about how durable those are (their mechanical brake levers and shifters are highly regarded as very reliable and durable). They certainly are expensive.
For the mechanical levers, I think they are machining a square hole inside the $30 Tektro levers, for mounting some good-quality Microshift downtube shifters. I can't confirm that until I see a sample in my hands. Machining in USA costs a lot, so the price is what it is. I'm not sure about their hydraulic stuff.

Microshift also makes bar-end shifters:
https://www.microshift.com/models/bs-m11/

Shimano bar-end shifters are indexed for road derailleurs so that's not an option. Having said that, if you get a derailleur hanger extender, you could use an 11-speed Shimano road derailleur with the MTB cassette - we did that for my friend Starča's bike:
Pairing Shimano 11speed MTB cassette with a road groupset

Those are some options that I could think of. Can't really say which option is the optimal choice (and am happy and thankful that it's not my call, as it's a tough choice :) ). I've completely "switched back" to rim brakes and friction shifters for all my bikes. It's very cheap, robust, durable and hassle free to adjust or replace, even on the road, and it's robust enough to not need any fixing on the road almost never, even though I fall down a lot. :)

I hope I've explained this well - let me know if you have any other questions.

Relja
 
Solution
Thank you very much for the detailed response! I appreciate your insights. Considering the options you mentioned, I'm curious about your thoughts on the Sensah SRX PRO and Microshift SLX shifters. Some people suggest they work well with Shimano MTB derailleurs. What's your opinion on these shifters, especially in the context of a mullet setup with Shimano MTB components?
 
Thank you very much for the detailed response! I appreciate your insights. Considering the options you mentioned, I'm curious about your thoughts on the Sensah SRX PRO and Microshift SLX shifters. Some people suggest they work well with Shimano MTB derailleurs. What's your opinion on these shifters, especially in the context of a mullet setup with Shimano MTB components?

I don't have enough experience with Sensah stuff to recommend for or against it.

Microshift is generally a bit lower quality compared to Shimano, but it is compatible. They make Shimano MTB RD compatible 11-speed shifter/brake levers, but only for mechanical brakes:
https://www.microshift.com/models/sb-m110/

I don't know how robust and durable those are, but when Microshift says it's compatible, it usually is (yet to see an exception).

Relja
 
thanks! i work with all the info that you brought.

Sure. Let me know if you have any other questions - and what you decide to run with (and how it fares).

I'm not sure if your frame could fit a front derailleur, but another option of course could be to run a "normal" road cassette paired with a double or triple cranks (that should provide the needed gearing range even with road derailleurs).
Based on your cassette choice, I presume you are running a 1x drivetrain - correct me if I'm wrong.

Relja
 
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