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  1. #1
    Canadian Chick Aquakitty's Avatar
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    Pardon my blasphemy, but I really don't like down tube shifters.

    Just before winter I picked up a good deal on a vintage Kuwahara Titan. The bike is nice and fits me well, but I cannot nor do I enjoy the down tube shifting. Up to this point I have just flipped vintage road bikes, this one was finally my size and so I kept it.

    However I am wondering if I should just sell it and get something more modern or maybe convert the shifting? This seems wrong to me though, I think I would rather keep it original.

    It actually has indexed shifting already but I can't get used to bending over and shifting, even on a trainer it's annoying. My shifting is very slow and non-intuitive. Main problem is finding the gears and remembering which way to shift on the fly, it's just kind of sluggish.

    You think I should just stick with it and get better with practice?

  2. #2
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Riding a bike should be fun. If you don't like it, change it. Bar ends might be a good choice, although most of the vintage ones are friction. How many gears/what kind of RD/are you adamant about keeping it indexed?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Miyata110's Avatar
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    I say, keep it original either way. If you can practice, get used to it, maybe even end up enjoying it, than keep it and ride it. If you just can't live with the DT shifters, than I think you should sell it and find yourself something more modern to ride.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    If you don't like using downtube, why beat your head against the wall trying to get better at it? Since I got a bike with modern bits I never looked back to the old stuff.
    I still have bikes with original parts, eg 78 Schwinn Paramount, but I don't ride them regularly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member theblackbullet's Avatar
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    Convert the bike to either barends or brifters. If you're concerned about keeping it original, just hold on to the original parts so you can throw them back on if you want.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JReade's Avatar
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    How much have you ridden it? When I got my first dt shifter bike, I switched it to bar end. On another I left as dt shifter, and got used to it after riding a few hundred miles on it.
    Jesse

  7. #7
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    It becomes intuitive. Give it time.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Drummerboy1975's Avatar
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    Downtube shifters are great. People having been using them, and still are(me and many others on here included)for years. Try giving them time and get use to them. If not just buy you two shifter bosses and put you some bar ends or something up top.

    Honestly you get use to them.

  9. #9
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Look into retroshift or Kelly Take-offs. Those will let you use the same indexed levers at a more natural feeling (to me at least) position. Of course, they'll run you $50-100 plus new cables/bar tape. Or just pass the bike along. No need to fight with something you don't like.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  10. #10
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    How many speeds are we dealing with here ?

  11. #11
    Fast+Bulbous thinktubes's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with hating on DT shifters. Brifters are defintely a technological improvement. Don't think it makes sense to upgrade given the bike. Give yourself some time to practice and figure it out. If you don't like it, move on.

  12. #12
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Plenty of options. I always keep one DT-shifted bike around.
    I train/teach newbies on the road, and they often have them as their entry-level bike.
    When we go out, I make sure I'm on the same type of bike, so when I ride with them, it's easier to relate.

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  13. #13
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquakitty View Post
    ..... just stick with it and get better with practice...
    +1
    - Auchen

  14. #14
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Doesn't VO sell adaptors to move DT shifters to the end of handlebars to become bar end shifters?? At least, using that, you can maybe minimize the costs and retain the indexed shifting sytem already on your bike.

    Chombi

  15. #15
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
    Riding a bike should be fun. If you don't like it, change it. Bar ends might be a good choice, although most of the vintage ones are friction. How many gears/what kind of RD/are you adamant about keeping it indexed?
    +1. Friction bar-end shifters (I prefer SunTour Bar-Cons), when mated to a modern ramped freehweel, results in very smooth shifting. I have 5 bikes right now. One is an English 3-speed, one is an old Varsity with stem shifters, one is a single speed, and the other two I went out of my way to convert to bar-end shifters. Short of going to a modern brifter, I think bar-end shifters are my favorite.

    I'm okay with indexed DT shifting. I actually like it, but it is a little less than intuitive to me since I have multiple bikes I ride. The bike I had that had indexed DT shifters I traded for a bike that had friction DT shifters. I didn't feel like I could shift precisely enough so that's one of the bikes that has the Bar-Cons now.

    And if you go with Suntour Bar-Cons, you can keep your C&V cred.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  16. #16
    Senior Member jbkirby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    It becomes intuitive. Give it time.
    +1
    1971 Raleigh DL170 International, Chartreuse; 1972 Raleigh DL170 International, Champagne

  17. #17
    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    Don't forget people raced with those things for many, many years. If you get good at using them you can become surprisingly efficient and fast. If your position on the bike isn't very aggressive I guess it might be difficult to reach them.

  18. #18
    Wookie Jesus inspires me. Puget Pounder's Avatar
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    Ride them for a month and see if you like it. Don't feel pressured into keeping them on there, it is your bike. Just keep them on hand in case you want to restore the bike/sell it in the future.

    Saying "get use to them" is the wrong idea here. If you know it's not going to give you as much enjoyment as another system would, even if you have adapted, why would you keep it on there?

  19. #19
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    It becomes intuitive. Give it time.
    Quote Originally Posted by jbkirby View Post
    +1
    -1

    For some people, it never feels natural.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  20. #20
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    As a lot of the others have said, give it time.

    Apart from the obvious cost savings of keeping
    your bicycle as is, there are some simplicity, longevity,
    and mechanical dependability issues that you might not
    yet fully appreciate, wherein DT shifters are superior
    in many respects to your alternatives.

    At least that's my feeling on the issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
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  21. #21
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
    Ride them for a month and see if you like it. Don't feel pressured into keeping them on there, it is your bike. Just keep them on hand in case you want to restore the bike/sell it in the future.
    I concur. I didn't like them at first, but I came to appreciate them. But if I didn't, I'd switch to bar ends in a heartbeat. Whatever makes the bike a good ride.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  22. #22
    Senior Member Miyata110's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
    Saying "get use to them" is the wrong idea here. If you know it's not going to give you as much enjoyment as another system would, even if you have adapted, why would you keep it on there?
    Because he would, "rather keep it original". There are other enjoyments to riding/owning a bike than just the function of riding.

  23. #23
    Tyrannosaurus Rexitis Harlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
    Doesn't VO sell adaptors to move DT shifters to the end of handlebars to become bar end shifters?? At least, using that, you can maybe minimize the costs and retain the indexed shifting sytem already on your bike.

    Chombi
    Sure do, converted a bike to bar ends using them recently.

  24. #24
    Curmudgeon in Training 20grit's Avatar
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    Am I the only one who finds it odd that a person was flipping bikes but cannot remember which way to shift? I mean really, that's like buying a nuke from a used car salesman.

  25. #25
    Steel80's vinfix's Avatar
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    I don't know how old the OP is, but it's easy to forget there's a whole generation of cyclists who've never used DT shifters, indexed or friction. I guess it's like playing a fretless instrument in tune! Just practice.

    I've tried bikes with brifters, and of those, preferred the SRAM, but they are all far less intuitive than a DT shifter. Push it all the way forward, top gear, pull it all the way back, bottom. With 5 gears in between it's not at all hard to find the one I want. Sometimes I look just to be sure, but it beats tap-tap- woops, wrong way tap-tap-tap.

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