How to Use Ultegra Shifters

Updated March 28, 2017

Shimano Ultegra SIS levers are made for road bicycling. These levers are combination gear shifters and brake levers. SIS stands for Shimano Integrated System. Ultegra parts (second from the top in the Shimano component road bicycle hierarchy) are found on many higher-end road bicycles. If this is the first time you are using SIS Ultegra levers, there is a very small learning curve.

Hop on the bicycle and head out for a ride. Grip the drop bars in a way that is most comfortable for you. Start to pick up speed and push the entire right hand lever to the inside of the bicycle for one full "click" on the rear cassette (the gears). Continue to push the whole lever to the left (toward the bicycle) to increase the gear with each click.

Push the inside lever on the right-hand SIS levers one full "click." Notice the gear downshift one full gear. Continue to push the inside SIS lever one full click to go down through the entire gearing.

Push the entire lever on the left-hand SIS lever. This increases the chainring one full ring. A road bicycle may have two or three chainrings. Push the entire lever left one more time if you have a three-ring bicycle.

Pull the SIS lever on the right-hand side in toward the drop bars. This applies the rear brake. Pull the left hand SIS lever in toward the drop bars to engage the front brake. Grip the left lever gently, as too much results in unwanted pitching forward, resulting in sending you OTB (over the bars). Use the front brake gingerly.

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About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.