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  1. #1
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    Anybody use stem mounted friction shifters?

    I've heard that stem mounted friction shifters can be nasty in an accident, especially for the man-plums. But what is the risk really? Anybody had a bad experience? Who uses stem mounted friction shifters?
    Personally I used suntour ratcheting power shifters for ages with no problems, had no serious accidents though.

  2. #2
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    I also have 'heard' this. I have them on one bike, well two, but the other is in the process of being converted to bar end, index shifting. The 'issue' isn't one I am very concerned about.

    While I am certain that in a 'perfect storm' situation the shifters might cause the problem folks describe, I really doubt the problem is all that serious. All one needs to consider is that given how litigious the US, companies still sold these stem mounted shifters for over a decade. Since alternatives were available, I doubt they would have done so, if the described problem was all that common.

    I suspect that this issue is comparable, and possibly a precursor, to the myth of saddle caused impotence...

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Do you land with your crotch on the stem, often? Had a GF , X, she liked them. as that was her Normal..

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    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    They're fine. If you like them, keep them.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    I ride one bike with stem shfiters. Not saying it cant happen, logic and its postion looks like its a possibility. But also there is a possibility that your end up with a brifter in your groin too. There is probably a situation where a bottle cage may end up where the sun don't shine.

    I have crashed with my bike that has stems shifters, the shifters didnt hurt me at all it was the pavement the did all the damage.

  6. #6
    Living 'n Dying in -Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rest_assured View Post
    I've heard that stem mounted friction shifters can be nasty in an accident, especially for the man-plums. But what is the risk really? Anybody had a bad experience? Who uses stem mounted friction shifters?
    Personally I used suntour ratcheting power shifters for ages with no problems, had no serious accidents though.
    I still use 'em. The "risk" is all BS: The default position is with both shift levers in the "fully-upright" position (levers perpendicular to the top tube, with smaller/est front chainring, largest rear sprocket), so any lever position in which the levers stick outward (toward the rider) require either larger/est front chainring and/or smallest rear sprocket (with either or both levers parallel to the top tube). The "risk" claim is just a non-starter... bubba-meises (in Yiddish). I've been reading this (and [gasp!] other) forum for a donkey's years, and I've never read about anyone (or anyone's friends/family) having been involved in such an incident... never.

    But, if you're worried about those pesky "man-plums" (and it's a real risk, given the presence of a bicycle's top tube), get a mixte.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    used them for years and loved them but now I use integrated brake/shift levers and love those more!!!
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  8. #8
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    A couple of summers ago, I taught a cycling skills class. For the last session, we went out riding. One of my students fell while she was behind me. I didn't see her fall, and no one can explain exactly how it happened, but the upshot was that one of her brake levers impaled her thigh and was entirely submerged. She had upright handlebars, and the brake levers had bulbous ends. So precautions are good, but weird, unexpected things happen. There's no way to make bikes totally safe, and I think it's reasonably safe to use stem shifters.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  9. #9
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    I've never liked stem shifters because it seems like a very inconvenient position to me. Even with barcons you have to reach to the end of the handlebar.

    For these reasons, I've gone with Shimano STI and SRAM double-tap . . . much better, pretty much right at my finger-tips all the time. My folder has Shimano Nexus (think twist grip) and that works fine too.

    But stem shifters? No, I don't think so.

    Rick / OCRR

  10. #10
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Do you land with your crotch on the stem, often? Had a GF , X, she liked them. as that was her Normal..
    What was her Normal that she liked? Man plums that had landed on a stem, or not?

  11. #11
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    A couple of summers ago, I taught a cycling skills class. ... One of my students fell while she was behind me. ... one of her brake levers impaled her thigh and was entirely submerged.
    Wow!! Remind me never to take a cylcling safety course from you!

  12. #12
    imi
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    aka Timi imi's Avatar
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    Anybody use stem mounted friction shifters?

    I've had my fair share (and then some) of tumbles with stem shifters while commuting and touring for the past 25 years or so. Never been hurt by them.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    I've never liked stem shifters because it seems like a very inconvenient position to me. Even with barcons you have to reach to the end of the handlebar.

    For these reasons, I've gone with Shimano STI and SRAM double-tap . . . much better, pretty much right at my finger-tips all the time. My folder has Shimano Nexus (think twist grip) and that works fine too.

    But stem shifters? No, I don't think so.

    Rick / OCRR
    yeah I understand your gripe, but I've had them on a few of my older commuters (from the bike boom) and you get used to them. Some find them preferable to DT shifters for commuting, don't have to reach down.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    I've had my fair share (and then some) of tumbles with stem shifters while commuting and touring for the past 25 years or so. Never been hurt by them.
    Yeah, same here. After hearing it at first though I was quite nervous, I kept worriedly looking down at the little blunt spears while I was riding. Maybe that's how stem sifter related accents happen...

  15. #15
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rest_assured View Post
    Yeah, same here. After hearing it at first though I was quite nervous, I kept worriedly looking down at the little blunt spears while I was riding. Maybe that's how stem sifter related accents happen...
    I have them on one bike now, and have had them on others. I wouldn't worry about them. They flip forward when you touch them. It's the stem in between them that's the danger.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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