'''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
For strictly friction shifting there is probably no reason not to get the Dia-Compes. The Shimano's will give you the option of indexing (7700=9-speed, 7800=10-speed) if you ever decide to try it and will also work in friction mode so they are potentially more versitile.
The grey plastic washer on the Dia Compes tends to crack. Rivendell says that if that bothers you, don't buy them. It bothers me, so I won't.
I actually have yet to see a pair where the washer hasn't cracked. Of course, even afterwards, they still shift beautifully. It is a little ridiculous though, that rivendell won't sub in something that isn't going to fail.
see if you can find sun tour power ratchet bar end shifters . ebay, swap meets,
or back bins in an older bike shop ..
that is what I've been using for over 20 years and they are still fine..
I've still got a horde of them...
the dia compes were a suntour product , the sprint, a down tube shifter,
Grant/Riv sells them as 'silvers' , may have been a big enough buyer
to get them made again.
expect the diacompe are the same thing sold under their name
may be the same parts.
ask Wiggle if theirs are all metal first, ..
the bar mounts are just like Shimano's ..
which have a square interface to mount down tube levers .
You could get just the pods and use most any friction downtube shifter
FWIW, Lots of Japanese companies outsource too, to Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.