OK, here's the deal. I have described the beautiful mint condition old Bianchi I lucked onto. I have a dilemma. In the not too distant future, I hope to be in condition to start doing some rides with a local racing club. But right now I do not really have a suitable bike. My commuter is a great bike but far too heavy with all its commuting stuff. The Bianchi would be adequate. Though old, it is pretty light at 22 pounds. However, it has downtube shifters which I love but would be very uncomfortable, mentally not physically, reaching down for in close quarters. I am used to STI on my commuter.
Mike, I know you have mentioned that you use bar end shifters. Do they operate in index and friction mode? Could I use one in friction mode on this 6-speed rear? Might this give me more comfort since my hand will pretty much stay in contact with the bar? Or should I consider going on to STI, even just 8-speed? I realize I would have to have the dropouts spread. Any change would be a stopgap until I can get a contemporary bike. Eventually the old Bianchi would be returned to original condition except I would continue to use a 7 or 8-speed cassette hub on the wider dropouts.