Originally Posted by RubeRad
I'm late to the thread here, but I would have recommended the Cross-Check as well. I think you'll acclimatize to bar-ends before you know it, but meanwhile you can save up $129 for a pair of Retroshift CX2
, then you could move your bar-ends up to the hoods and be super-cool and unique. Or, you might consider spending a couple more dollars on some V-brakes (or find a co-op and trade your cantis for V-brakes?) and getting CX2v.
Here's my review of Retroshifts
(on my CrossCheck)
There are pros and cons to V and Canti brakes. Modern Canti brakes are extremely good and well made with none of the problems that the old school had if it's main cable broke which allowed the stirrup cable to catch the wheel and providing more riding excitement unless a fender or reflector bracket stopped it which is why most better vintage bikes used a long reflector bracket.
Canti brakes work better with cross bikes then V brakes because V brakes require a roll a ma jig so that the V brake would work with a road setup, but this roll thing a ma jig would clog up with mud and fail to work, and they were difficult to install and never worked right. Plus Canti brakes have a lot more mud clearance and better clearance for damaged wobbly wheels to clear the brakes then the V brakes.
V brakes are a pain to center, I have a set on my Kona and I want to pull my hair out when I have to attempt to center the damn things, not so with the Canti's I have on the Schwinn. Earlier I mentioned the supposed fact about V brakes being more powerful than Canti...hmm, I'm not completely sold on that, the brake lever on the V's do react much faster but all that does is lock up the wheels faster, the braking performance is the same at tire adhesion limits. When I first got the Schwinn the Canti's were stiff and took quite a bit of hand pressure to get them to react, but I was able to have a local LBS in town correct all of that with new cables, pads, proper adjustment and lube, and a slightly different stirrup cable, once all that was done I actually like the Canti's far better than the V's. I hate the V's though mostly due to the pain of centering the brakes, the faster almost instant grab of the V can be gotten use to.
The retroshift seems like a great idea, but bar ends work fantastic too, in fact most touring bikes use bar ends because it's easier to handle a loaded bike on the drops and thus with bar ends your hands can make the shift without having to move them off the drops. I haven't done extremely heavy touring so I don't have that problem, in fact I use downtube shifters on my main touring bike and never had an issue with the 45 or so pounds I carry to move my hand off the bar and make a shift, but if I started to carry 65 to 75 pounds that could be a problem? Also if touring and something breaks in the shifter you're pretty much screwed trying to fix STI, not sure about the retro shift idea though, on the road, whereas with bar end their real simple to fix in the field, but their so simple stuff rarely goes wrong with them anyways, and their way cheaper to fix then STI. And bar end can be changed to friction mode if something damaged the derailleur preventing indexing or STI from working. Also when touring you don't tend to shift as much as you would riding a road bike.
But what all of this comes down to is what the rider who is using the bike prefers, one could go on and on about the benefits of barends or STI but at the end of the day it's the rider who needs to be comfortable with what he uses, if he is bred on STI bar ends may be a bit odd. Even though most touring bikes use bar ends, more and more tourists are using STI, mostly because that's what their accustomed to in todays world. Me personally...I want something that can be fixed in the field easily and parts are cheap should in the unlikely event it fails; the ability to go from index to friction doesn't bother me because the bike I use for touring is friction anyways. I'm accustomed to all sorts of shifters, from down tube, to barends, to briftors, from friction to index to STI, and none of it bothers me...although index shifting is faster than STI!! in fact STI is closer to the speed of friction shifting.