I'm seriously thinking about buying a new inexpensive bike for a short (5 miles each way) commute, and for some weekend back road exploring. This is for an out-of-town work assignment, and I would prefer to not fool around shipping one of my other bikes out there. I am most likely going to buy from Bikesdirect.com, as I can get one sized to fit me, which may be hit or miss on Craigslist or whatever. I'm fairly tall at 6'-1" with a 36" standover clearance.
Also I really, really dislike indexing shifters - I have them on a mountain bike, and it seems like they either shift not far enough or too far, even after being tuned-up by my LBS. I actually crashed about 1-1/2 years ago after the chain shifted off of the FD about two years ago, and broke my kneecap. I'm just getting "back in the saddle" after that, and I've decided I'm through with indexed shifters - I'm not racing anybody, and I would rather have reliability over speed. I'm and old-fashioned type anyway.
Anyway, of the two bikes I'm thinking about, one has stem shifters and the other has downtube shifters. I have an old 10-speed bike that I bought new about 30 years ago that I recently fixed up, and it has stem friction shifters, so I am familiar with them. I also currently have a touring bike (Surly LHT) with bar-end shifters, and like them. I've never ridden a bike with downtube shifters.
With my likely choice being between a bike with stem shifters and one with downtube shifters, I wonder what would be the best choice. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?