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Thread: Newer is better

  1. #1
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Newer is better

    One thing that I have never understood is the huge combined shifter and brake conbination. They are actually huge and heavy. They also put more shift cable out in the wind.

    In the middle to late 80s we had the down tube shifters. They were out of the slip stream and had very little drag from internal drag in cabling. All they had was the under BB guide and the turnaround at the rear derailer. With so little in the way of cabling and guides the derailer adjustment almost never needed attention. Besides that the the shifter levers were quite light. The bottom line was to make the bike much cleaner lighter and less cluttered. The reach down to the levers was no big deal to racers as they are all hunched over anyway.

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    ?

    What's wrong with STI's, they keep you hands on the bars, which means more control than if you have to bend down for DT shifters. That bending down will mean a lot of time saved for racers than in they can do it all with a flick of the wrist.

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Have you tried integrated shifters ?
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Engineers need to pay their Mortgage, so they keep making new stuff..
    + there is annual Bike trade shows to keep the sizzle going...
    New gets Press coverage.

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    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    I Don't Know

    I don't race, so I'm not qualified on the difference that STIs make. I'm guessing that it's a significant advantage to not have to reach down, particularly when front-back combinations are involved.

    From a recreational perspective, DT shifters, bar ends, and STIs make no practical difference at all. It's just feel and aesthetics. I have all three on different bikes. I like all three for different reasons.

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    Most of what you say indicates a complete lack of experience with combined brake/shift levers (aka brifters) and a theoretical but not practical belief in how things were better in the past.

    Since you live in Nebraska you apparently have never experienced the huge advantage that brifters give in hilly areas where being able to shift without letting go of the bars or while standing on the pedals is a major plus. And, modern brifters shift very fast and accurately so there is no downside in precision.

    Also, current brifters have nearly no weight or bulk penalty compared to separate brake levers combined with downtube shifters and modern bikes are much lighter than their predecessors.

    The aerodynamic drag of exposed cables is almost zero and both Campy and newer Shimano brifters run the cables under the bar tape so they are out of the wind anyway.

    Fietsbob would have us all riding 5-speed freewheels with friction downtube shifters on steel frames and driving '53 Chevrolets if his postings reflect his actual life style.

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    Since I don't race I have down tube shifters on my bikes. I have had brifters on a bike and they are fine, but not necessary. Now they are so expensive I am happy for the simplicity.

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    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    One thing that I have never understood is the huge combined shifter and brake conbination. They are actually huge and heavy. They also put more shift cable out in the wind.

    In the middle to late 80s we had the down tube shifters. They were out of the slip stream and had very little drag from internal drag in cabling. All they had was the under BB guide and the turnaround at the rear derailer. With so little in the way of cabling and guides the derailer adjustment almost never needed attention. Besides that the the shifter levers were quite light. The bottom line was to make the bike much cleaner lighter and less cluttered. The reach down to the levers was no big deal to racers as they are all hunched over anyway.
    Your user name SHOULD be Retro Grouch. But that one is already taken...

    Even when I was riding a road bike crouched down to the drops my height, my general lack of ability to "bend that way" and the need for a larger frame (60 to 62cm) made the reach to the down tube shifters a stretch and a half. And at a good turn of speed this stretch produced a very dicey bit of stability issues with trying not to crash from wobbling the bars. So all in all I'd say that the extra bit of cable and housing is MORE than welcome for folks such as myself.

    And since actual true blue racers and folks that do pleasure rides on such bikes and in the same bent over riding position make up a rather small percentage of the riding community it's no wonder that we have so many bar mounted shifter solutions for all styles of bikes. Road bikes included.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

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    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    Have you tried integrated shifters ?
    Grumpy recumbent riding trolls typically run Gripshift.

    (says the guy with two Gripshift-equipped bikes in his sig)

    I ran Ergos for a couple of years. Loved the easier access to shifting. Disliked only being able to shift one or two cogs at a time.

    BUT, if I ever get enough scratch for a new race bike it will likely have brifters of some sort.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 04-06-11 at 11:51 AM.
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    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    uh ohhhh, another brifter vs everything else.

    It's a matter of preference and situation. I can smoke riders just the same on any shifting system, but many can smoke me too. That doesn't say anything about the shifting systems themselves though.

    Personally, I like campy Ergos... the ability to pressure the system and shift at the same time going uphill is a great thing when racing... not that it's great form or anything. If I were to go do a tour, I'd probably take some bar ends just in case something breaks in the lever. DT shifters are somewhat of a lost art. I think a lot of people can benefit from learning how to use them, but I don't think everyone should use them.

    I'll second HillRider. From a weight perspective, arguing that DT shifters are lighter than brifters is not valid. Entire bikes can be made well below legal racing limits with or without brifters, steel or carbon frames, etc... We are talking grams and ounces here.

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Grumpy recumbent riding trolls typically run Gripshift.

    (says the guy with two Gripshift-equipped bikes in his sig)

    I ran Ergos for a couple of years. Loved the easier access to shifting. Disliked only being able to shift one or two cogs at a time.

    BUT, if I ever get enough scratch for a new race bike it will likely have brifters of some sort.
    That's what I like about much (but not all) of the Campy line .... mulit-cog shifting: 5 higher, 3 lower
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    Heres an idea op, keep your stinkin downtube shifters and go out and race. just let us know when it is so we can all laugh as you get your ass kicked!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Most of what you say indicates a complete lack of experience with combined brake/shift levers (aka brifters) and a theoretical but not practical belief in how things were better in the past.

    Since you live in Nebraska you apparently have never experienced the huge advantage that brifters give in hilly areas where being able to shift without letting go of the bars or while standing on the pedals is a major plus. And, modern brifters shift very fast and accurately so there is no downside in precision.

    Also, current brifters have nearly no weight or bulk penalty compared to separate brake levers combined with downtube shifters and modern bikes are much lighter than their predecessors.

    The aerodynamic drag of exposed cables is almost zero and both Campy and newer Shimano brifters run the cables under the bar tape so they are out of the wind anyway.

    Fietsbob would have us all riding 5-speed freewheels with friction downtube shifters on steel frames and driving '53 Chevrolets if his postings reflect his actual life style.
    Snob alert.

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    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    Heres an idea op, keep your stinkin downtube shifters and go out and race. just let us know when it is so we can all laugh as you get your ass kicked!!
    So components win races? Time to get myself some newer stuff.

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    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    That's what I like about much (but not all) of the Campy line .... mulit-cog shifting: 5 higher, 3 lower
    5 higher? nice.

    I could only manage about 3 up and two down on my 8-speed Mirage, IIRC. Of course my memory's not all that great.

    Is it the higher end of the line you can coax 5 cogs out of or maybe just the newer 10-11 speed stuff?
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    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    5 higher? nice.

    I could only manage about 3 up and two down on my 8-speed Mirage, IIRC. Of course my memory's not all that great.

    Is it the higher end of the line you can coax 5 cogs out of or maybe just the newer 10-11 speed stuff?
    I can get the 5 up and 3 down on all of my campy's but the three sets that I have are 10 and 11. But one of the 10's is pretty old. Also mine are chorus and record shifters.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    5 higher? nice.

    I could only manage about 3 up and two down on my 8-speed Mirage, IIRC. Of course my memory's not all that great.

    Is it the higher end of the line you can coax 5 cogs out of or maybe just the newer 10-11 speed stuff?
    All Chorus & Record have 5-3 shifting. Veloce & Centaur had it, then it was taken away for a couple of years and called "escape", then 5-3 was brought back through 2010, now for 2011 it's 3-1 and called "Powershift". Athena 11 was 5-3 through 2010, and 2011 is also "powershift" .... or "powersh!t"

    If you go shopping, verify what you're looking at before you buy.
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    I personally think brifters are one of the great improvements in bike design from the last thirty years... clipless pedals, indexed shifting, freehub style hubs, mtb suspension, and brifters can make bikes easier and more fun to ride - although none is right for everyone.

    The real problem is that, often when a new product came out, the (still perfectly good) old products all but disappeared - like top-mounted thumb shifters, down tube shifters, rigid mountain bikes, etc.

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    I've done many 200k rides, all on bikes with brifters. Last Sunday I did one on my 1973 Atala with downtube shifters, just for fun. While the ride went great and I had no trouble, I can certainly say with experience that brifters are less fatiguing and require far less mental energy than downtube shifters do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
    So components win races? Time to get myself some newer stuff.
    No, not by them selves they certainly don't but they can be a deciding advantage when you are racing aginst equals. The old saw "Lance could win while riding a Huffy" was true if he were racing typical riders but not against the worlds best and he knew it.

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    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    No, not by them selves they certainly don't but they can be a deciding advantage when you are racing aginst equals. The old saw "Lance could win while riding a Huffy" was true if he were racing typical riders but not against the worlds best and he knew it.
    Well I'm not arguing there. I was just pointing out the fact that people can and still win races on DT shifters. Maybe not CAT1 and the tours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    One thing that I have never understood is the huge combined shifter and brake conbination. They are actually huge and heavy.
    They're great. It's nice to be able to shift without moving your hands whether they're on the hoods or drops. With Campagnolo you can even shift to a smaller cog with your pinky from the tops. They're sized just right for those of us without little girl hands. They weigh less than downtube shifters plus brake levers - Campagnolo ergo levers are 337 grams (except for Super Record which looses another 10g with titanium internals) vs 210g for Record brake levers and 163g for Record bar-end shifters (it's pretty hard to find down-tube shifters) at 373g total.

    They also put more shift cable out in the wind.
    They put very little extra cable out in the wind (the six inches between bar tape and cable stop). Campagnolo ergo levers have had under tape routing since 1992.

    With so little in the way of cabling and guides the derailer adjustment almost never needed attention.
    I adjust my derailleurs when I replace the shift cables - every couple years for the rear and a lot less for the left lever.

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    The most awesome thing about downtube shifting is when you take the bike out in the cold and the levers can suddenly no longer hold the cable back and you have to ride home cross chained in small/small.

  24. #24
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I now own 2 Rohloff IGH bikes , couldn't be happier with them,
    all the gear sequencing is in the hub.

    shifting is pull-pull with 2 cables.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Most of what you say indicates a complete lack of experience with combined brake/shift levers (aka brifters) and a theoretical but not practical belief in how things were better in the past.
    I think this is worth repeating. I ran downtube shifters for years. I always figured they were "good enough." But for racing they are less than ideal. Ever try accelerating on a rough road while trying to shift? It's not fun and seriously slows you down having to take a hand off the bars. I can't afford brifters yet, but I put bar-end shifters on my road bike and it's a huge difference. I would have no problem using downtube shifters on any bike, other than a race bike. For racing having the shifters on the bars is definitely an advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerull View Post
    The most awesome thing about downtube shifting is when you take the bike out in the cold and the levers can suddenly no longer hold the cable back and you have to ride home cross chained in small/small.
    Friction shifters? You need to tighten them for more friction. This is not a problem with the downtube shifters, but rather with how they're setup.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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