I ride a an '07 Novara Randonee with Tiagra brifters. I've put about 20,000 miles on it and I still like the shifters and most everything else about the bike, but have heard from others that brifters this old can break out in the middle of nowhere and leave one shiftless. Does anyone have experience to shed light on this potential problem? I will be doing some long distance touring and don't want to get stuck with no gears while loaded and far from a shop. I am old and have a crapped out knee so I shift a lot to stay in an easy, knee friendly gear. I've thought about carrying a set of downtube friction shifters with me just in case. They are light and I have years of experience installing them and shifting with them. Any thoughts?
Usually its the cables that go, or the shifters get gummed up. If your cables are in good condition and the shifters still work smoothly you should be fine.
You can usually use the RD limit screws to pick which gear (especially if you loosen the cable screw). Basically, you can easily arrange to get stuck in your lowest gear, and then only shift the front.
A front shifter is an even simpler fix, remove the FD and pick which chainring you want. I had a friend who rode for months with a busted FD. At the bottom of a climb he would stop and manually shift, then switch again at the top.
My experience is that STI shifters gum up with extended non use and I haven't had a set fail outside of a crash. A set of DT shifters would be an inexpensive and a lightweight repair item that might just make you feel better.
'''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
I concur. STI brifters don't normally fail suddenly unless wiped out in a crash. They get sluggish and shift more slowly but you usually get plenty of warning and can solvent wash and relube them at leisure. If a cable breaks, that's a show stopper but it can happen to any style shifter and, as gsa103 described, there are "limp home" emergency fixes.
Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder
Adding lube to an old STI pod is a preventative maintenance procedure. This is the same that one does to revive one already gummed up. Except then the lube added is light weight and has some solvent function. So prior to gummy action I have used middle weight oil and compressed air to drive the lube into the nooks and crannies. Do this with replacing the cables and casings every few years. Andy.
Thanks, everybody. I think I'll just keep on using the old Tiagras and keep doing the maintenance I already do as suggested by many. I do take care of my stuff and perform maintenance and change out cables regularly so I think I'll be okay. Thanks again.