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View Poll Results: HOW RELIABLE ARE YOUR BRIFTERS?

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  • I have had brifters for up to 1,000 miles and they haven't broken

    9 23.08%
  • I have had brifters for up to 1,000 miles and they have broken

    2 5.13%
  • I have had brifters for up to 5,000 miles and they haven't broken

    15 38.46%
  • I have had brifters for up to 5,000 miles and they have broken

    0 0%
  • I have had brifters for up to 10,000 miles and they haven't broken

    4 10.26%
  • I have had brifters for up to 10,000 miles and they have broken

    2 5.13%
  • I have had brifters for up to 20,000 miles and they haven't broken

    4 10.26%
  • I have had brifters for up to 20,000 miles and they have broken

    1 2.56%
  • I have had brifters more than 20,000 miles and they haven't broken

    2 5.13%
  • I have had brifters more than 20,000 miles and they have broken

    0 0%
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Okay, it has been charged


    Quote Originally Posted by garth
    If a brifter breaks it will sometimes cost $150 to replace one and they are so delicate and complicated that this will be a frequent and unavoidable event. When 10 speed or even 9 speed shifting goes out of adjustment the effect is devastating as the sound is simply annoying
    that brifters break frequently. What is your experience? Add up all the mileage of brifter use on multiple bikes.


    (In case someone doesn't know, a brifter is a combo brake/shifter used mainly on road and similar bikes. It is not the typical indexed shifting found on mtn bikes, and is not downtube friction or indexed shifting nor is it bar end shifters.)
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 12-17-05 at 05:50 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  2. #2
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    Perhaps you could point to somewhere where someone made that claim?

    I had the second pair of STI Dura Ace shifters (retail, not those given to racers or test riders) in northern California. Those are probably still working for the SOB that stole that bike.

    I have used the early Campy Veloce which were crap and broke in the first 1,000 miles. The Chorus and Record stuff never broke and I still have a set of the first 8-speed record as well as a couple of pairs of 8-speed Mirage which were just as reliable.

    I used the early 105 STI levers which looked ugly but worked fine.

    I've used ALL of the present day 9-speed levers both Campy (except for Record) and Shimano.

    All of the early 9-speed Ultegra shifters I had broke. ALL of them. But whatever inside was breaking Shimano addressed and they don't seem to fail now. I had three sets that failed and they were on bikes I built up for other people. Kind of embarassing. They worked when they went out and then failed within a very short time and needed to be replaced. They were used when I got them but nevertheless they looked new.

    The Campy stuff has always worked perfectly save the earliest stuff didn't have really stable hoods and the hood could slide around and block the downshifts. You'd just roll the hood back to where it belonged and it would work fine. Campy addressed that by putting keys and slots in the hoods and they then stayed in place.

    Today I'm changing back to barend shifters. While Ergo and STI are kitchie unless you're road bike racing you don't need to shift a lot very rapidly. And the prices of STI and Ergo are getting rediculous.

    I think that I'll write up a 'build' using cheap stuff that nevertheless makes a good bike.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    More than 21000 miles on Dura Ace and Record. Never a single problem.

  4. #4
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    Perhaps you could point to somewhere where someone made that claim?
    Sure - right there in the other thread (from which this poll originated) discussing this topic:


    Quote Originally Posted by garth
    If a brifter breaks it will sometimes cost $150 to replace one and they are so delicate and complicated that this will be a frequent and unavoidable event. When 10 speed or even 9 speed shifting goes out of adjustment the effect is devastating as the sound is simply annoying
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 12-17-05 at 05:40 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  5. #5
    sch
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    Out of 2 8spd and 3 9 spd Ultegras, 4 of the R hand brifters have broken. On my compact conversion I decided to try a Campy setup. I had sticker shock when I looked at the 40% price increase for sets of 9spd brifters and the 80% increase in 10spd price over the 9spds in Shimano parts. Campy is not cheap but Shimano is really jacking up the prices so Campy looks a bargain by comparison. AEBike has a R brifter only for 9spd for $110, so I have one of these in reserve. 3 of the brifters broke between 8 and 11 Kmiles, the 4th broke at less than 2000mi. PITA.
    Steve

  6. #6
    You know you want to. Eatadonut's Avatar
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    I'm inclined to believe that $150 levers will not break "frequently", though I wouldn't trust a $30 pair in a grand tour. sch sounds like he's had a string of bad luck, or maybe an iron grip he crushes his brifters with.
    Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.

  7. #7
    sch
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    It would be nice if there were such a thing as $30 brifters but even on ebay that would be a low price. With Shimano retailing 10spd DA brifters with cables for $430
    and Supergo selling Scattantes with DA gruppos for $2200 there is more than a little discrepancy here. They must have an auto part group somewhere in the corporate heirarchy.
    Steve

  8. #8
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Well, so far, it appears that brifter breakage has occurred in 20% of cases. I would not call that a high degree of reliability, IMHO.

    I'm glad mine have been fine so far. Don't need to spend a bundle of $$ to fix them, thank you!

    I suspect that early brifters were less reliable than the current models.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  9. #9
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    I had a rear Ultegra brifter (2003 model) break in the first 1000 miles. The pawl refused to engage in downshifts. My LBS replaced it under warranty.

    I also had a rear Campy Daytona (1999, now Centaur) brifter quit after about 20,000 miles and had to be rebuilt. It would bind up when trying to downshift and finally locked up necessitating a trip to the LBS.
    Dennis T

  10. #10
    sch
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    Which is why I decided enough was enough with Shimano and switched to Campy.
    Campy is repairable, parts ARE available, Shimano is not and parts aren't.
    Steve

  11. #11
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I have no desire to buy a new bicycle with brifters or to convert any of my current classics. I am still running the original 1959 and 1980 Campag. downtube shift levers on my Capo and Bianchi, respectively. The 1971 SunTour downtube shifters on my PKN-10 have well over 40k miles / 65k km on them; they have outlasted the American Eagle [Nishiki] Semi-Pro [Competition] frame and SunTour Mighty Compe crankset with which I got them.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  12. #12
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    4200 miles on my RED WHIE AND BLUE Medone 5.2 with Ultegra...no problems other than a bit sticky right a few weeks ago and I sprayed it with lube. Problem solved. I assume I have "brifters". Never heard the term before today

  13. #13
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    So far 5 of 33 have broken = 15% breakage rate.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  14. #14
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    Yeah - that's pretty surprising isn't it? I would have assumed failure rates below 5%.

  15. #15
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    Yeah - that's pretty surprising isn't it? I would have assumed failure rates below 5%.
    Yes. I would think that anything above 1-2% would be unacceptable to the manufacturer.

    Perhaps we are getting a biased input - those who have had broken brifters want to have their votes counted?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  16. #16
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Would you like to have this thread moved over to the mechanical area? I don't see anything that is over 50 related and lots of good mechanical stuff. just ask the moderator or SYSOP.

  17. #17
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken cummings
    Would you like to have this thread moved over to the mechanical area?
    No, please.

    However, now that it has been mentioned, it is more likely to happen.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    So far 5 of 33 have broken = 15% breakage rate.
    I don't think so. Not even close. If the breakage rate was anywhere near that high we'd be hearing about them breaking all of the time. I'm not getting that. They are, however, a part that I'd be cautious about buying used and, when I built my low maintenance "Retro Grouch" bike, I decided to use bar end shifters.

  19. #19
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    ... when I built my low maintenance "Retro Grouch" bike, I decided to use bar end shifters.
    Barcons rule!
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

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