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Update: Last night I was back at the co-op to make a DIY version of the Wolf Tooth ReMount 22 by hacking off the excess length from an old barend with similar clamp shape and offset, hoping to verify if it provided any better ergonomics and cleaner cable routing with the old style vertical mini dropper remote. In some ways I think it is a good option for those who are trying to tinker with/make the best of recycled parts for the absolute minimum cost. With the stubby KS vertical remotes its a bit uncomfortable on the thumb due to the short lever length, but certainly better than the standard orientation, and hides the ugly noodle housing below the brake lever body quite well with the right bend radius. But it's still nowhere near as nice to operate as the below-the-bar shifter paddle style options, but for the miniscule number of people who want an ambidextrous remote it sure is a hell of a lot cheaper than even a used CBros Highline remote.
I gave it several actuations in the parking lot and then decided to dig through some bins to do one last search for a better solution. I think modifying an old shifter provides an attractive ergonomics:cost ratio for the low low price of a few bucks or an hour or so of volunteer time (if someone has access to a decent co-op) but aesthetically it's quite bulky. But in a stroke of luck (mostly due to someone taking the initiative to organize and dedicate a bin to dropper remotes) I uncovered the X-Fusion BAT that I thought was already freed from the confines of the shop. I rescind my previous comment about it feeling plasticky, my memory has failed me because it is actually a quite nicely machined and minimalist aluminum clamp, and the lever has a pretty svelte profile and reliefs along the length to provide thumb purchase. The omni-directional deflection of the lever certainly is a unique feeling from the constrained planar rotation of a traditional remote, but it does not allow for any slop/play/backlash to develop like a bushing or bearing assembly as long as the cable tension is set properly. The simplicity of this mechanism does dictate the baseball-bat-like shape of the lever (it pretty much has to be symmetrical about the axis) and doesn't feel as nice on the thumb as a wide paddle, but otherwise I think the ergonomics provided by being able to push it in any direction by my thumb or pointer finger are wonderful. Not having a wide paddle doesn't feel great, but a bit of heat shrink helps. Now, I don't really think I would choose to use it on my more serious/capable mountain bikes, but for my singlespeed/townie/rigidfuckaround bike it is perfect and satisfies what I was looking for with right handed actuation, clean cable routing, and minimalist aesthetics. I'm bummed that they discontinued it but it's admittedly "worse" than almost all the current under-bar paddle remote offerings, and the number of cockpit-aesthetic-fixated singlespeeders who demand an ambidextrous lever to install on the same side as their rear brake for the sole purpose of marrying the housings with heat shrink is miniscule.
Now, if I only had a lathe I could really get into some fun stuff with this lever...
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