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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-20-09, 09:04 AM   #1
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Bar end shifters - pro and cons

What is the reason to use bar end shifters?
I don't understand their appeal.
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Old 10-20-09, 09:28 AM   #2
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For touring and randonneuring, the appeal is field serviceability. Especially the D-A barcons; they're low on moving parts and can be set to full friction mode for compatability with a huge range of cassettes. They're inexpensive to replace, difficult to break, and easy to operate even when wearing heavy gloves or lobster-mitts.
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Old 10-20-09, 09:31 AM   #3
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Plus, they don't make the annoying clack-clack noise that indexed shifters do.
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Old 10-20-09, 09:39 AM   #4
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Plus, they don't make the annoying clack-clack noise that indexed shifters do.
The last time I used bar ends they were louder than other shifters I've used.
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Old 10-20-09, 09:43 AM   #5
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The last time I used bar ends they were louder than other shifters I've used.
Hmmmmm......mine are friction-shifters; the only noise I hear is the chain interacting with the cogs.
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Old 10-20-09, 09:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
For touring and randonneuring, the appeal is field serviceability. Especially the D-A barcons; they're low on moving parts and can be set to full friction mode for compatability with a huge range of cassettes. They're inexpensive to replace, difficult to break, and easy to operate even when wearing heavy gloves or lobster-mitts.
Pros: ^^^

Cons: they are a bit more of a PITA when the terrain is rolling and on fast group rides.
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Old 10-20-09, 10:05 AM   #7
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Personally, I never saw the upside even though I've considered the virtues listed here.
The exception being the lobster mit , heavy gloves, I can see that. I have them on one bike now and honestly haven't given them enough of a chance.
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Old 10-20-09, 10:17 AM   #8
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Cons: they are a bit more of a PITA when the terrain is rolling and on fast group rides.
I suppose it's because I don't have any basis for comparison, other than dt shifters, that I don't consider them to be problematic on rolling terrain. Everything out here is rolling, with the exception of the bike path.
It could also be that I use a wide span cassette (11 - 32) and tend to shift infrequently. I'm perfectly OK with altering my cadence to match a gear to the terrain, rather than shifting like a madman to find the "right gear" so I can keep a constant cadence. Force of habit from riding a lot of fixed/singlespeed miles, I guess.
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Old 10-20-09, 10:22 AM   #9
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Another reason is that bar-end shifters are easier to shift than downtube shifters for most people.

Lots of us old farts still have old bikes with downtube shifters. Most old-school roadies don't change-out the downtube shifters unless the old derailure group dies for some reason (usually breakage from being dropped or in an accident), or if the rear hub wears out (the right new hub will still work well with old gearing, but people often just go for it and change the whole drivetrain).

People that tour also like them a lot, for the reasons that CliftonGK1 mentioned.

Still another reason, is that the same shifters are also used on time trial and triatholon bikes, at the end of the arm-rest bars in front.
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Old 10-20-09, 10:26 AM   #10
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I suppose it's because I don't have any basis for comparison, other than dt shifters, that I don't consider them to be problematic on rolling terrain. Everything out here is rolling, with the exception of the bike path.
It could also be that I use a wide span cassette (11 - 32) and tend to shift infrequently. I'm perfectly OK with altering my cadence to match a gear to the terrain, rather than shifting like a madman to find the "right gear" so I can keep a constant cadence. Force of habit from riding a lot of fixed/singlespeed miles, I guess.
get back to me next time (or the first time) you are recovering from a knee injury.

Being back on the bike for the first time in two weeks, I took the Bianchi to work today instead of the Fuji specifically because the Bianchi has brifters. My knee really appreciated it, since I always tended to avoid needless shifting too. At the moment, it's needed!

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Old 10-20-09, 11:25 AM   #11
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Got bar ends on our tandem. I really like them, back is index shifting and front is friction which is great for dialing in the front derailleur without having to use the limited trim adjustment of brifters.

A bud was commenting on it just the other day. Said it looks difficult. I find it rather easy to shift. I shift with the palm down with the palm of my hand and up with a pinky finger. There is really no need to remove the hands from the drops, it all about technique!

I have to agree, much more quiet than brifters!
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Old 10-20-09, 12:10 PM   #12
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It's mostly a preference thing. The biggest difference its that most people shift more with brifters. They are just much more convienent.
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Old 10-20-09, 12:11 PM   #13
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Do you guys have the best hearing in the world, or the loudest brifters? There is not much noise on brifters, and the 10th of a second that is does make a noise, is not loud.
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Old 10-20-09, 01:10 PM   #14
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Do you guys have the best hearing in the world, or the loudest brifters? There is not much noise on brifters, and the 10th of a second that is does make a noise, is not loud.

Hmm, that's strange. When I installed my DA brifters, they came with a long nylon type channel that is used to reduce noise. I'm guessing it's to reduce cable rattling noises.


So apperently, we aren't the only ones that have noticed noise along with the entire Shimano engineering crew....Plus ther are a amillion threads throughout the cycling world on rattling noises coming from brifters. I believe a large number of them stem from the top plate and ususaly threads usually asking how to tighten them down. That's after they have tightened the small screw on the top plate.

Maybe I just read too much?

For the record, my DA brifters are not as loud as my 105 brifters. But then, I didn't install the 105's, the shop did!
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Old 10-20-09, 01:27 PM   #15
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Ok I'm confused, I have nothing other than brifters so I have no experience with bar ends but have friends that ride them, I find them no quiter than mine but a lot slower to shift. They definately have their place in the TT world, touring and have seen a lot on tandems.
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Old 10-20-09, 04:16 PM   #16
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Ok I'm confused, I have nothing other than brifters so I have no experience with bar ends but have friends that ride them, I find them no quiter
Clarify on my comments. The rear shifter ticks as it's friction and the front, no noise at all on the shift. But that wasn't what I was referring to.

My comments about being quieter would be the rattling while rolling on not so smooth pavement.
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