For some reason, when Gevenalle first launched, I didn’t want to like their shifting mechanisms. They just seemed too contrived. A solution for a problem that didn’t exist. Perhaps it was their marketing, claiming to be designed for cyclocross racing. Sure, I read the product descriptions, the PR, looked at the photos but I still wasn’t convinced.
It wasn’t until I began to see the Gevenalle shifters on touring bikes that my interest was piqued. “Now that makes sense” I thought. Not running traditional road shifters on a touring bike is completely reasonable. The same can be said for barcons or downtube shifters. Why take your hand off the lever to shift? Sure. I get that.
The Gevenalle shifting system I recently spent time with is the GX shifters for mountain bike derailleurs. More specifically, a shifting system ideal for long-cage, dirt tourers like the Elephant NFE.
Gevenalle is addressing the need for a drop bar integrated shifter that is compatible with Shimano’s Dyna-sys 10 speed mountain bike derailleurs. Why is this a need? Well, because Shimano doesn’t even offer a shifter that’s capable of that. Womp womp.
So why do these make sense for a touring bike? Traditional shifters will interfere with your handlebar or front rack bag. Some, like the Shimano levers, seem to throw a great distance. If you have a bikepacking bag strapped to your drop bars, that means you lose a lot of real estate due to paddle interference. If you’re running a large Wald basket or other rack and bag system, the same applies. The GX shifters remove any interference. If you’re used to barcons, just imagine having that control at your fingertips without having to move your hands.
The GX shifters offer the control of indexed shifting at your fingertips, but it takes a bit to get used to. By “a bit” I mean like 15 seconds. It’s simple, really. Want to dump your cassette? Just swipe. No hassle, nothing. If things start to get sloppy, use the easy barrel adjuster for fine tuning.
I was running these on Salsa Woodchipper bars, so my hand position was a bit different than a traditional drop bar but the translation and transition would be just as simple on the latter. The GX shifters provided a more than stable shifting experience on the road as well as the trail. The only time I didn’t appreciate their positioning was when I’d be in the drops going down a steep trail, only to face a wall of a climb right ahead of me, forcing me to change hand positions to shift. Granted, this only happened once and I adjusted my riding accordingly.
So… here’s where I tell you that I’m still not convinced the Gevenalle system is ideal for racing cyclocross but I am sold on their application for touring or even commuter bikes. They’re easy to setup, require very little maintenance and most importantly, they shift precisely!
The pricepoint ain’t bad either. $219.00 for the pair. If you run a 1x setup, you can easily remove the mechanism from the left lever.