Definitely just need to feel it out. That’s what is so fun about them!
If they are friction shifters, you need to learn them just like a violinist learns to play notes without frets to guide them. Becomes intuitive. It’s a feeling; a communion with the bike and drivetrain that is aided by understanding when to shift, too. <3
On my friction shifters I tend to overshoot the gear I’m shifting into, then “fine tune” the shifter the opposite way until it smooths out. Takes a little getting used to but it makes you develop a much better “feel” for your bike than index shifting
Just practice. Are you are having issue with having to move your hand to shift? I grab the bar right above the shifter then shift with my pinky to shift up and edge of my palm to shift down (as the lever moves). Plan your shift ahead. ;)
Yes - I have these ‘Silver’ shifters, and they took a lot of getting used to - but now I want them on all my bikes! Probably took several 20-mile rides to learn them.
I had some on my Trek 520. They had an index/friction shifter option, but I liked friction. I shift past the point I need to, then back it up a little - works great. Bar end shifters are still my fav shifters to date.
Yeah, it kinda just takes some getting used to. Some shifters have an option to change them from ‘friction’ to ‘index’, which makes it a bit easier to shift since all you have to do is push up or down till it clicks.