words by Jeff Rosenhall, photos by Andrew Yee
We’ve reviewed the Gevenalle shifters in the past and found much to like, and saw the latest from the Portland company at NAHBS 2016. They’re not for everyone, but if you are a rider who prioritizes reliability, simplicity and are on a budget than you should take a look. I tried out Gevenalle’s most affordable option, the Audax shifter mounts two weeks ago at the 2016 Lost and Found gravel race’s 60-mile route and came away with these impressions.
I tested the Audax without the Gevenalle-supplied shift levers, which meant I used my own existing shift levers (9-speed Shimano) from a prior barcon setup. Moving to the current millennium, it was to have the shifting action up on the hoods like all modern shifting systems. But I also appreciated the solid, indexed feel of the right shifter as I waved my fingers through the gear range. Gevenalle’s systems are usually all black, which looks nice. Aesthetically, my old silver 9-speed levers weren’t as slick.
The initial set up was straight forward, so much so that Gevenalle includes scant instructions about the install. The company does however have several videos on its website that fills in the blanks. The shifters are essentially Tektro-branded brake levers with the shifter receptacle and cable mount built into the face of the lever. After threading the cables, adjusting the housing length, and dialing in the shift lever angles to account for the full sweeping motion, I was good to go.
Initially my front shifter was set at too high of an angle. But after a campfire side wrenching session brought it down into a comfortable range, I felt better about it. The Tektro-branded levers did seem to have more side-to-side play than I am used to, but while riding it was less noticeable and I couldn’t sense any performance impact. Having the shift levers out front even provided another level of security by hooking an index finger under the shift lever when braking down the long, jangly descents. The brake levers with mounts and without shifters when assembled weighed in at 340 grams and felt hardly any heavier than the brake levers and hoods themselves.
The Audax system definitely got a workout over 60 miles of the High Sierra's finest (roughest?) gravel and dirt. And this test pilot tends to shift…a lot. I didn't miss a shift or drop a chains occurred over the washboard roads and hand-numbing downhills last weekend. In fact, the system improved my overall enjoyment and allowed me to focus on staying upright, not flatting, and enjoying the scenery.
If you are used to and happy with current SRAM DoubleTap or Shimano STI levers, the Audax might not be your cup of tea. However if you have those levers, and want a simpler setup that allows shifting through the entire cassette and won't get jammed up with mud, sand or fine gravel, Gevenalle's setups are worth a look.
If you're looking for an affordable option to build up a gravel or ’cross bike, or if you're like me, and are curious about dumping your barcons or down tube shifters (or just moving them north on your bars), the Audax is a solid option.
Material: aluminum levers, composite hood body, rubber hoods, with machined aluminum shifter mounts.
Weight: 340 grams, as measured out of the box without levers or bolting hardware
Cable routing: external
Warranty: 30 day returnable and $34 crash replacement policy
Price: $149 USD (with Tektro levers, without shift levers) $179 USD (with Dia Compe levers). Levers with shifters are also available.
More info: gevenalle.com