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Old 12-02-10, 11:56 PM   #1
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Stem Shifters

Just out of curiosity...

Why are stem shifters so frowned upon?
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Old 12-03-10, 12:11 AM   #2
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I always felt like I lost power when I reached up to shift, as my position on the bike changed (and not for the better ). DT shifters I just drop my arm right onto them with no real loss. But its been years since I've ridden a bike with them.
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Old 12-03-10, 12:26 AM   #3
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Like he said, not a big fan of DT's either, but much better than stems. I like the bar-ends or modern brifters. Dealing with stem shifters throw off my center of balance for a short period if i'm coming out of the drops for a gear change or even just toodling about town.
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Old 12-03-10, 04:04 AM   #4
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I always thought they would be better oriented on the horizontal part of the stem (pushing down to climb gears.) I think they came on a lot of lower end bikes, and so are equated as such (low end) Cheaper to manufacture-I'm sure. I've used both, but am partial to the dt as it presents a cleaner look-and less cable. I do wonder if it is a myth or actual that you could impale yourself on thos tall schwinn shifters.....
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Old 12-03-10, 04:07 AM   #5
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For me, the problem with stem shifters is that they cause one's center of gravity to rise slightly when shifting, as opposed to lowering one's c of g when using down tubes. It is the upwards c of g change that causes the awkward feel of the shifters.

And, they look awful, in my opinion.

I, too, love Barcon shifters though I do not have many bikes with them mounted these days:-(
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Old 12-03-10, 06:10 AM   #6
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i like em
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Old 12-03-10, 06:25 AM   #7
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Only because they tended to be put on cheap bikes. So its not so much the stem shifters, its the heavy, cheap bike attached to them (yes, there are exceptions).
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Old 12-03-10, 06:49 AM   #8
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Just out of curiosity...

Why are stem shifters so frowned upon?
Just speaking for myself, long ago I read how stem shifters and brake extensions were a sure way to id a NON-CLASS BIKE!!

Evrery since then, I don't even consider any bike with stem shifters and brake extensions.. you can add kickstand in with those also..
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Old 12-03-10, 07:24 AM   #9
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They were used on entry-level bikes in the bike boom, when a lot of newbie riders wanted a 10-speed, but were more accustomed to riding upright (cruiser-style), so they rode on top of the bars instead of in the drops.
- Just like the added safety levers, the stem mounted position was more convenient.
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Old 12-03-10, 07:33 AM   #10
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Huret stem shifters came standard on my '74 Raleigh Super Tourer--full 531 frameset, Huret Jubilee mechs, Stronglight 93 cranks:



In other words, they weren't always found on low-end bikes (though they mostly were).

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Old 12-03-10, 07:53 AM   #11
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Just speaking for myself, long ago I read how stem shifters and brake extensions were a sure way to id a NON-CLASS BIKE!!

Evrery since then, I don't even consider any bike with stem shifters and brake extensions.. you can add kickstand in with those also..
Be careful with any hard and fast rule. You could get a nice Paramount in the 1970s with turkey levers. But 99.9% of the time, it is a sure sign of a cheap bike.

Consider adding QR hubs to your quick glance list. As a minimum, a decent bike will almost always come with at least a QR front, and usually, both ends QR.
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Old 12-03-10, 07:55 AM   #12
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Huret stem shifters came standard on my '74 Raleigh Super Tourer--full 531 frameset, Huret Jubilee mechs, Stronglight 93 cranks:

....
Neal - Your Super Tourer is one slick bike.
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Old 12-03-10, 08:52 AM   #13
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My wife has a 1985 Bridgestone 300 mixte with Shimano Light Action stem shifters (and derailleurs). She likes the position of the stem shifters. That bike shifts as good as any bike I've owned or worked on.
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Old 12-03-10, 08:56 AM   #14
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But 99.9% of the time, it is a sure sign of a cheap bike.
haha - arent those the best kind
maybe its just me but i love riding junk
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Old 12-03-10, 09:02 AM   #15
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My wife has a 1985 Bridgestone 300 mixte with Shimano Light Action stem shifters (and derailleurs). She likes the position of the stem shifters. That bike shifts as good as any bike I've owned or worked on.
I put them on my wife's bike as well--SunTour Power Shifters--and they work great. The left one is just a dummy as this bike is set up with RD only:



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Old 12-03-10, 09:04 AM   #16
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There he goes again with that inside chainring only business. Tsk tsk.
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Old 12-03-10, 09:06 AM   #17
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There he goes again with that inside chainring only business. Tsk tsk.
Ha! I'm an unrepentant functionalist!

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Old 12-03-10, 09:11 AM   #18
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I like a guy who sticks to his guns! It's the only thing we have to pick on you about around here.
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Old 12-03-10, 02:35 PM   #19
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I had them on one bike, a Nishiki International. I was prepared to really hate them but wound up neither loving or hating them. SunTour Power Shifters they were, and I knew just how to bump them to shift. I would prefer barcons, or thumb shifters on a tourist, but I really don't care for downtube shifters as I ride very large frames.
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Old 12-03-10, 03:04 PM   #20
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One additional item is stem shifters require a longer cable so that could impact shifting especially with index shifters. It's not a big effect, but it's there. Personally, I prefer stem to downtube. I havn't tried barcons, but I will soon.
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Old 12-03-10, 03:17 PM   #21
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I have seen stem shifters on paramounts
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Old 12-03-10, 03:56 PM   #22
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Because they're awkward to shift unless you're in a super upright position.
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Old 12-03-10, 04:05 PM   #23
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I have seen stem shifters on paramounts
Yeah, and they offered turkey wings as an option as well. Shows how out of touch they were with the developing market in the '70s IMHO.
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Old 12-03-10, 04:07 PM   #24
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Don't care for stem shifters because it clutters the cockpit. My wife, however, loves the stem shifters on her bike because it's an easy reach with upright bars.
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Old 12-03-10, 04:59 PM   #25
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I've actually had requests to put stem shifters on several bikes. One was a mixte, set up for more upright riding. another had clamp-on down tube shifters, and the rider wasn't comfortable reaching down to shift. I think they work great, and if that's the preference, I'm happy to oblige.
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