Eco-friendly gear shifter that uses just six parts

By Oli Woodman | Tuesday, October 1, 2013 2.30pm

Designed to benefit those who rely on their bicycles, Sue Knaup's gear shifter aims to be a more durable, affordable and repairable alternative to common shifters.

She now wants to mass produce it and has put a pledge on the crowdsource funding website Kickstarter. She aims to raise $10,000 - the amount she needs to design and produce the correct casting molds as well as the first production run.

Produced from just six components, the shifter consists of two cast aluminium pieces alongside four parts you'd likely already find in your garage. The aluminium parts can even be cast at home from scrap in a process involving household charcoal and a flower pot. It's symmetrical too, meaning this can be used to operate both front and rear derailleurs. With most broken shifters getting replaced rather than repaired, these should also have a positive environmental impact.

Knaup herself is the executive director of One Street, an international bicycle advocacy organisation, and she was previously the long-term owner of an Arizona bike shop. After producing prototypes of the shifter, Knaup has since worked with experts in aluminium casting and CAD design to produce the final prototype that's pictured above. It's worth noting that the shifter photographed was produced using a CNC machine rather than the casting process.

One Street don't intend on stopping here. They've got plans to produce a rear derailleur and chain to benefit cyclists in need.

Should the Kickstarter pledge be succesful, any backers putting forward more than $50 will receive one of the first batch of levers. Those contributing $100 or more will also receive a signed copy of the forthcoming production manual - a guide that will explain all the steps needed to produce the shift levers, including in-depth guidance on the primitive aluminium casting method.

Visit the Kickstarter page for more information.

One street components' bike shift lever uses just six components - four of which you are likely to find in your own garage:

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One Street Components' Bike Shift Lever uses just six components - four of which you are likely to find in your own garage

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