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  1. #1
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    Why are bar con shifters so $$$?

    Looking at some bar con shifters and well didn't expect the sticker shock. I thought these are old archaic stuff compared to STIs. So far I found Shimano DA and Ultegra. Any cheaper alternatives?

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    I would guess they don't have a large of as a market share like STI's and Ergos do. Mostly for retrogrouches, TT'ists and touring.

    I've found the ultegra 8 speeds as low as $65 @ niagra cycles.

    Another cheaper option if you don't mind friction shifting is the bar end shifter pods from Rivendell. These let you mount normal downtube shifters like bar ends.

    http://www.rivbike.com/products/show...ts-pair/17-068
    1993 Cannondale T700 - 1994 Specialized Rockhopper - Actionbent T1 (Electrification in progress!)

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    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    i can't tell if the op is serious. 8speed barcons are $56 on jensonusa.com; 9 speed are $84. You can't touch new brifters for that price. Factor in the longer service-life of the barcons, and comparing the prices becomes outright silly, even compensating for the brake levers.

    -rob

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    When STI became the norm Shimano discontinued all lever shifters except Ultegra and Dura-Ace (at that time Dura-Ace used a dufferent cable pull than everything else). When 9 speed shifters came out the Dura-Ace used the same cable pull as everthing else so Shimano discontinued the Ultegra.

    Shimano views lever shifters as a premium item.

    Microshift makes a set of cheap indexed shifters and Dia-Compe makes a nice set of friction shifters.

  5. #5
    Senior Member shouldberiding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    i can't tell if the op is serious. 8speed barcons are $56 on jensonusa.com; 9 speed are $84. You can't touch new brifters for that price. Factor in the longer service-life of the barcons, and comparing the prices becomes outright silly, even compensating for the brake levers.

    -rob
    I remember a thread just like this one some months back and those who posted in it eventually concluded that the OP was being serious.

    I know, I know...

    The only thing cheaper than bar-end shifters with the words "Dura Ace" on it still made is a 9-spd chain! Perhaps cleats too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    i can't tell if the op is serious. 8speed barcons are $56 on jensonusa.com; 9 speed are $84. You can't touch new brifters for that price. Factor in the longer service-life of the barcons, and comparing the prices becomes outright silly, even compensating for the brake levers.

    -rob
    I beleive there was a time that shifters cost less than brake levers.

  7. #7
    AEO
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    you just have to know where to buy them

    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/pp/roa...ad-and-TT/GRSH
    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/pp/roa...Sets-Road/GRSS

    campy ultrashift ergo levers are the best deals as far as shifters go.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  8. #8
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you just have to know where to buy them

    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/pp/roa...ad-and-TT/GRSH
    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/pp/roa...Sets-Road/GRSS

    campy ultrashift ergo levers are the best deals as far as shifters go.
    Uh exactly what are you referring to as cheap? The Ultegra 8spd is $73.33!

    I guess I always thought for such seemingly low tech devices, they should be around $30 or something.

  9. #9
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    I asked around until the shop manager at my LBS here found a couple of pairs, one of ancient Shimanos and one of ancient Suntours. I took the Shimanos for $20. Probably too much, but I wanted barcons that badly for my commuter... I don't have time to screw around with indexing anymore, there was no way to fit downtube shifters on my MTB frame, and bar-tops weren't cutting it on drop bars. I do not regret this decision. They are bulletproof, if a little prone to getting loosey-goosey and needing to be tightened periodically.

    Also, Rivendell has the Silver Shifters downtube shifters, and the matching bar-end pods available separately, but it's still $70ish. I ran into a guy at the GranFondo with a set, and they look very nice.

    Edit: or these (but still... $50+):
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Di...Set/5360043252
    Last edited by bigbenaugust; 10-27-10 at 10:28 PM. Reason: added info
    --Ben
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
    Also, Rivendell has the Silver Shifters downtube shifters, and the matching bar-end pods available separately, but it's still $70ish. I ran into a guy at the GranFondo with a set, and they look very nice.
    The one advantage to the pods is that downtube levers are more common than bar ends. If the OP could find a coop I bet a pair would be found rather cheaply.
    1993 Cannondale T700 - 1994 Specialized Rockhopper - Actionbent T1 (Electrification in progress!)

  11. #11
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corkscrew View Post
    The one advantage to the pods is that downtube levers are more common than bar ends. If the OP could find a coop I bet a pair would be found rather cheaply.
    +1 for asking around and dumpster diving!
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    yup, ask for help.

  13. #13
    I likes to ride
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    I just picked up a brand new set Dura Ace Bar cons from Amazon for 79.99 and don’t forget they include cable and cable housing and other mounting hardware . If you are a Amazon prime member shipping is free also

    http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-SL-BS7...8261538&sr=8-2

  14. #14
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    It's a conspiracy: A company in the 1970's actually came up with a super-efficient bar con shifter, but the government bought the patent and pulled it off the market so the price would remain inflated.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

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    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    all i'm say is, the barcon is the best shifter i've used, and i imagine that it's the best shifter for all cyclists, excepting competitive racing cyclists. the shimano ones are well-finished, trouble-free, adaptable to many set-ups, and all but the rubbery thing that covers the tip will last forever. (The rubbery/plasticky cover will last half of forever, or until my cat decides he wants to chew it.

    And, they cost half of what a comparable set of brifters costs, and they allow you to use whatever brake levers you want.

    You're right; total rip-off

    -rob

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    i understand the op's beef. You would think for the simplicity that they would be $20 or $30. However compared to brifters they are dirtcheap. Of course, I think brifters are hands down the MOST ridiculously overpriced part of the bike, especially when you consider that they are an absolute necessity on every road bike. At least with barcons there is a very limited market so your not selling nearly as many and the price should be a bit of a premium. But brifters are out of control.

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    well.. brifters are hilariously expensive considering they're the first things you'd probably destroy in a crash.. seems like the perfect place to put an outrageously expensive part, of course!

    i dunno.. is $60 too expensive for the silvers? i mean.. they're friction.. but that's a win as far as i'm concerned, but apparently i'm a 'retrogrouch'... but why is $60 too spendy? you can reframe it and consider it a savings over those exorbitantly priced bar end caps... .

    all kidding aside-- whats 'too expensive' about them? gads... everything else nowadays seems so INexpensive compared to when i was racing in the 80's and campy stuff and framesets were seemingly insurmountably expensive for a teenager..

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    17yrold in 64yrold body
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    Quote Originally Posted by |3iker View Post
    Uh exactly what are you referring to as cheap? The Ultegra 8spd is $73.33!

    I guess I always thought for such seemingly low tech devices, they should be around $30 or something.
    You are right--but that is $30 EACH! I agree that they are priced too high, but in a world where gas costs $3.00 or more a gallon, I'll take the bar ends if it keeps me riding!

  19. #19
    Senior Member SJX426's Avatar
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    They are priced to what the market will pay. The cost if very low. I can blieve that brifters are labor intensive to build but not what the pricing indicates.

  20. #20
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    Heh. Can't help to but detect a defensive stance on bar-con lovers. That is fine. I was just experiencing sticker shock on what looks to be an 70s or 80s thing. Atleast to me. I can kinda see why STIs are expensive since it integrates shifting and brakes in one unit. Especially STIs are more ergonomic than bar-cons in terms of ability to brake and shift at the same time. Also Flightdeck compatible.

    Anyhow, I will continue to search. I know of no local Co-op nearby. MEC a coop but that's like REI type. Maybe I'll visit my LBS to see if they have used bar-cons. Then again, they seem to specialise on racing bikes.

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    A grip shifter is very cheap ($10), but it's a little bulky if mounted at the end of the bar. I now have an 8-speed Rapidfire at the end of the bar. Flick up the lever for a higher gear, and push down the lever for a lower gear. Only minor complain is the need to over-shift by about 20% after the initial "click" when selecting a lower gear. This ensures that the rear derailleur is positioned directly beneath the cassette cog...common problem with Shimano 2:1 pull ratio. May try to experiment with a different brand of compression-less cable to see if I can reduce the over-shift to less than 10%. Upshift is dead-on with all gears.

  22. #22
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    Rapidfire shifter eh?
    Was it awkward for the mounting position?

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ... Weak $ and several layers of margins in distribution and retail markup add up.

    . order a pallet of cases and you get manufacturer's price.
    then price per unit is low.

    . Forgo indexing, get used or old stock, and they are pretty cheap..
    I have several ratchet Sun Tours and a couple old Campag ones on my bikes ..

    . Wait till the dollar really goes further in the terlet,
    and all things imported will really go up.

    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-29-10 at 12:09 PM.

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    Senior Member m_yates's Avatar
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    If you are willing to go with friction-only shifting, the least expensive option is the bar-end shifter pods sold by Rivendell (already suggested earlier). If you buy some really cheap downtube shifters to mount on the shifter pods, it will likely only cost around $50-$60 total. That is WAY cheaper than most any other shifter option.

    Another alternative is to mount downtube shifters on a pair of Kelley take-offs. They cost about the same as the bar-end pods from Rivendell, but position the shifters up next to the brake levers. That way, you can shift with your thumbs while keeping your hands on the brake hoods.

    I own two bikes. One has Dura-Ace bar ends, the other has Kelley Take Offs. Both work well enough for me, and there is little to go wrong or break with those set ups.

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    :
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-29-10 at 12:08 PM.

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