One Scrap Shifter

One Street is a non-profit organization based in Prescott, Arizona. They have come up with a cool shifter that was Kickstarted last year, made from scrap aluminum and other household parts. Based on the age-old idea of the friction shifter, it can

The lever has only six parts, four are normal items and two are cast out of scrap aluminum. The shifter is ambidextrous, and works for either the front or rear derailleur.

Amazingly, this working shifter only costs $19.99. And on top of that, the money you spend is going to a non-profit that helps other cycling organizations, and also sells them licensed kits so the other groups can sell the shifter too. Check out the specs by clicking more…  

kickstarter prototype

The original CNC machined prototype to design the shifter

There are a lot of different derailleur pull ratios, but all those are is specific measurements of cable that each click pulls. When you change over to a friction shifter, it can literally be compatible with any derailleur since you shift it by feel and sound into the proper gear. Pretty cool idea to make one from simple parts that can be replicated around the world, and then help other organizations make them too.

The mission of One Street is “To serve, with kindness and respect, leaders of organizations working to increase bicycling, including pedestrian, transit and social equity needs.” It is always good to know that your purchase can also help a good cause.



  • Symmetrical – works on right or left side.
  • Compatible with all bikes and all gear ranges, front and rear.
  • Uses only six parts.
  • Easily repaired and customized with common parts.
  • Primitive casting using scrap aluminum.
  • Simple, durable design for people who depend on their bike.
  • Lever is slightly longer than others with a broad face for people with weak or injured hands.
  • Supports upside-down bike during repair.
  • Hose clamp is a common item found throughout the world.
  • Friction is created by spring of stainless steel hose clamp and adjustable bolt tension.
  • Bolt and nut are a common size, coarse thread; fits either an 11mm or 7/16” wrench.
  • Nut rests inside recessed hex hole in bottom of base so bolt can be tightened easily from the top.
  • Bottle cap visually emphasizes DIY design and functions as a slippery washer; customizable.
  • Holes in bottle cap and hose clamp can be punched with large nail for easy repair and replacement.

It can also work to pull cables on yard equipment, small motorcycles, and boats. Those machines also use similar cables to pull throttles or chokes.



  1. Alex on

    This is a great idea and I applaud the people who came up with it. I wish we could come up with more parts like this that could be compatible with existing parts to mix and match as needed. Bicycles as a tool for everyday use is such a great thing to support and push forward. Thank you for reporting on this!

    I love my plastic bikes from the future, but damn it is nice to know that we can push simple, practical ideas forward that can live on in so many environments.

  2. pilf on

    I am really glad that she pulled this off, good for her, etc. I really hate to be that guy, because I support the mission of this product, but how is this different than the pair of SunRace thumb shifters that you can easily buy for $19.99 (other than that this is made out of scrap aluminum)?

  3. Nash on

    The concept is sound, but the main part of the shifte lever is overly engineered, should have used the handle of a bent fork or something similar.

  4. Dave B on

    I recall the first report on this product was based on the developer’s raising money for molds to allow people in remote third world areas to melt scrap aluminum over their cooking fires and cast the lever and base for local use. Then it was pointed out that; a) casting aluminum is not nearly as simple and straightforward as that, b) a campfire or cooking fire is totally inadequate and c) how many third world utility bikes need a gear shift anyway?

    Apparently they decided that there was no market for the molds and have switched to making and selling the shifters domestically as a fund raiser.

  5. JBikes on

    Why are people giving credit to “sound concept”.
    Its a friction shifter. That concept has been and is still with us today, and it is successful.

    Regarding the piece itself, as many have noticed, it seems a crude example of something that already exists for basically the same price (or even cheaper). The only credit I will give is that most friction shifter are designed for downtube bosses. But it then raises the questions as to how much it would cost for a mfgr of an existing downtube shifter to retool to allow it to be clamped via a pipe clamp.

  6. Kark on

    I’m puzzled by how this helps change the world when two points already made make it seem irrelevant. 1) basic utility bikes where a part of this caliber would be suitable are usually single speed. and 2) if they’re not, there are cheaper versions of this readily available.

    I think $20 to a food bank might go way further to helping someone out, but maybe I’m missing something here.

  7. JBikes on

    Also, do rich westerners think the poor don’t know how to modify and make simply machines?
    In my experience, people with limited mean tend to be the most creative and create some of the most amazing solution that work best for them, given their normal resources.

    I think a better project would be a donation center to allow cyclist to donate spare parts, even if broken. They can be repaired or used by those in less fortunate situations to improve or keep their bikes functioning.

  8. bz on

    Wow… many negative people have the Niner beer cap holding device on their stem? It is this much $$. How about a bottle opener headset spacer?
    Dang,Maynard-you can have a retro steampunk looking shifter and put your trendy micro-brew cap on it!
    Joking aside….maybe not for the 3rd world-but they donate to them. I think I will have them in my shop for fatbikes-run 10sp clutch derails on 9sp systems and fun stuff like that!

  9. Sue Knaup on

    Wow, thanks so much for featuring our Bike Shift Lever – great article!

    To answer some of the questions:

    We have indeed completed the mold design. This allows us to easily replicate the mold and send them to qualified partners around the world who want to make these shifters themselves.

    And yes, the entire design centers on the ability to melt scrap aluminum with a simple charcoal furnace. Every part of the furnace is also made with common items.

    Regarding the existing, cheap friction shifters, they only last a few months of daily use and cannot be repaired. Bicycle programs we work with around the world are abandoning them because they are so fragile and turning geared bikes (yes, geared bikes are prevalent even in the remotest areas) into single speeds. In hilly areas, this wastes the usability of these otherwise excellent bikes

    If you’re interested in learning more about the project, please visit:

    Also our blog, called Defying Poverty with Bicycles, has several articles about the process of developing the project:

    Thanks for your interest. Please learn more about the project. It’s been lots of fun and we’re hearing from many relieved partners that these shifters and the licensing program are finally ready for showtime!

    Sue Knaup
    Executive Director, One Street


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