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  1. #1
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Take the plunge to STI ??

    I'm upgrading a bike for the new season and need new shifters. (Friction dt shifters seldom wear out and rarely break, so its more an emotional "need".) Does anyone have a compelling testimonial for STI? I'm pleased with my DuraAce bar-ends on another bike, but would pay the extra for STI if comfort or convenience was markedly better. Any "I'd neve go back" statements...or, for that matter, a "don't bother to switch" comment?

    FiftyPlussers do not resist change....how could we be accused...we've seen so much of it and changed so much ourelves.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I'm a retro grouch but....

    I can still remember my first bike that had a down tube indexed shifter. I remember that the ability to switch to friction on the fly was a capability that I demanded. During my first ride I thought to myself "What have I been missing?" I never did find it necessary to use that friction-on-the-fly feature.

    I felt the same way about STI. "What could be the big deal about shifters on the brake levers?" One ride was all that it took to change my mind. Several years ago I seriously contemplated using Magura hydraulic brakes on my tandem. My decision not to was solely based on having to give up my STI shifters.

    I still have friction bar cons on one of my bikes but, if I had to do with only one bike, it would have STIs.

  3. #3
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    I'd never go back... but it is not a cheap upgrade and may be worth just getting a newer bike that already has STI (depending on what you have now).

    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I never did find it necessary to use that friction-on-the-fly feature.
    I actually did use this feature on Shimano bar-end shifters once, in a race. I swapped my entire handlebar system for a bullhorn and aero bar setup with the bar-end shifters. Even though I rode the setup a few times before the race, the indexing started to not line up any more, so I used friction. It helped a lot.

    Now if they'd use a friction front shifter on STI...
    Steve

  4. #4
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I've only had STI on one bike, a tandem, and after a few weeks, I swapped it for barends. It worked fine, I guess, but I never liked the indirect feel of the rear shifting or the trouble with trimming the front. I put the STI levers on a bike I built for my son and he loves it except he has trouble shifting the front.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DaveTaylor's Avatar
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    Just replace the DT shifter for the rear derailer with a indexed shimano shifter. Your LBS may even have a set of used DT indexed shifters. Indexed shifting for the front derailer is a waste of time, especially for a double. (Note that even Lance used a DT shifter for the front derailer on mountain stages.) Indexed shifting on freewheels/cassettes with more than 6 or 7 cogs is almost a must have for me and definately a nice to have even on 6 or 7 speeds.

  6. #6
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveTaylor
    Indexed shifting for the front derailer is a waste of time, especially for a double. .
    I know Shimano STI indexes the front derailleur with their system of clicks & double clicks. I agree that's over-engineering a simple task and "disconnects" you from the bike.

    BUT.........doesn't Campagnolo Ergo keep front shifting simpler, more natural with its series of "micro-clicks"?
    Last edited by GrannyGear; 01-19-06 at 08:43 AM.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  7. #7
    Pat
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    I rode for years with friction shifting. The nice thing about friction shifting is it is bullet proof. STI does wear out but it takes a fair number of miles. When I shifted, from downtube to STI, I found that I was shifting much more often because shifting was more convenient. There is an advantage to STI. You will just have to decide whether the extra cost and the more limited lifespan are worth the advantage of instant shifting.

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    I have Shimano bar-ends on both my road bikes, and I shift both in friction mode even though they'd index if I turned the knob. Can't really say why, except that's the way I like 'em. All my cars have manual transmissions, too.
    I'm not racing--I'm not even going that fast anymore--and maybe if I were, I'd see some value in STI. At the moment, though, for the kind of riding I do, if I could have STI just by nodding my head, I wouldn't do it.

  9. #9
    Roadie
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    If you have the money go with STI, they are much more convenient. My set (ultegra) have been maintenance free so far and I would be loath to "go back". One disadvantage is that if they need repair I would have bring it to the LBS since I have no idea how the things work. DT Friction shifters on the other hand are simple to understand and easy to maintain.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Life's short, especially from our perspective! Go with STI, you love it.

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveTaylor
    Indexed shifting for the front derailer is a waste of time, especially for a double.
    If you think that index shifting is a waste of time for a double- then try it on a triple. Not a problem on any of my bikes except for the Tandem. That is almost an impossiblity to set up but it can be done. It takes very carefull setup of the cable and the stops. Currently it is working fine, but as soon as we get that warning of a slow change occuring, then that cable is minutely adjusted as soon as possible. If I had the choice, I would stay with indexed shifting- when it works it is fantastic, but that adjustment takes too long and is too fiddly for ease of riding.
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  12. #12
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Indexed front shifting does not permit proper feathering of the cage position, and I remain absolutely opposed to the entire misguided concept. This is a huge advantage of Campag. Ergo over Shimano STI. Other Campag. advantages are aesthetics and aerodynamics (cable routing), and longevity/durability. However, I have never seen any indexed system which can compete with a friction system for longevity and versatility/customizability.

    Even for the rear derailleur, I still strongly prefer friction shifting; I keep the Accushift SunTour thumb shifter on my mountain bike in friction mode.

    My bottom line: 1) Indexed front shifting creates a problem where there was none before. 2) Indexed rear shifting solves a non-problem. If you don't like taking your hands off the bars, get barcons. I am delighted with the old ratchet SunTour units on my UO-8.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  13. #13
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    I rode my red racer with a while with Campagnolo Chorus 10-speed brifters. They were OK. Worth replacing existing levers for? No. But they were OK.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Red Baron's Avatar
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    Ain't Technology wonderful. Like many above- won't go back. So easy and handy. Agreed though - would replace bike before just levers.
    **Fate is a fickle thing, and in the end the true measure of a person is not fate itself, but how they master it**

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    Well, I guess it's time for my bi-monthly post! I've ridden TONS of miles with both friction and STI shifters. Now the friction type were down-tube shifters so I cant speak for bar-end types, but with friction type you definitely sacrifice a bit of control of the bike when you reach down to shift. I would think that bar-end shifters are better but not as good in this respect as STI. If you ride alone, this may not be a big deal, if you ride in a group this is more important. STI front shifters can throw the chain (rarely) when going to the small chainring.

    Sooo, as for me, I'm never going back. STI is the best. Till they come out with some better technology.

  16. #16
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie47
    ...with friction type you definitely sacrifice a bit of control of the bike when you reach down to shift. I would think that bar-end shifters are better but not as good in this respect as STI...
    Having used both bar-ends and brifters, I agree with you. For convenience and control, brifters are tops. The question is: How much do you actually shift? In a 50 mile ride on flat terrain, I found that I shifted a total of two times. Since flat terrain is all of my riding, there's no strong incintive to change shifters for any reason unless they've stopped working.

    If I were building a new bike (and wanted a nine or ten speed drive train), I'd probably use brifters. For my 8-speed touring bike that I'm currently building, I've opted for bar ends. For others who shift more frequently, priorities may differ...

  17. #17
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    I have recently gone back to DT shifters on one of my Centurions that had 9 spd sti setup. I also reset the rear back to 126mm and went back to a 7speed Hyperglide freehub setup. I find the bike to be much more fun to ride and I dont shift all the time.
    I have a Bianchi Veloce that just does not seem to be as satisfying to ride. Im waiting on a Raleigh USA grand prix with 531 tubes and friction shifters in a week or so. Cant wait for that one.

  18. #18
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I'm a retro grouch but....

    I can still remember my first bike that had a down tube indexed shifter. I remember that the ability to switch to friction on the fly was a capability that I demanded. During my first ride I thought to myself "What have I been missing?" I never did find it necessary to use that friction-on-the-fly feature.

    I felt the same way about STI. "What could be the big deal about shifters on the brake levers?" One ride was all that it took to change my mind. Several years ago I seriously contemplated using Magura hydraulic brakes on my tandem. My decision not to was solely based on having to give up my STI shifters.

    I still have friction bar cons on one of my bikes but, if I had to do with only one bike, it would have STIs.
    First time on my dads bike and had no clue how to use those things but like going clipless,once you go there,you wont go back.
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  19. #19
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    ...but like going clipless,once you go there,you wont go back.
    MAN! Can we agree to disagree on this!!!

  20. #20
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    OK, I'll throw in my $0.02.

    Up until last month all of my road bikes have been downtube mounted friction shifting bikes. Either they have been Suntour Cyclone or Campy N. Record. (I prefer the Suntour, BTW.) Last month I bought a lightly used 2002 Lemond Zurich that comes with a Shimano 9-speed Ultegra drivetrain. STI is very convenient for making the fine tuning shifts (one up or one down) and I find myself making more of those shifts now because they are easy when on the hoods or in the drops. STI is not as good as the old friction shifting when making large changes (several cogs up or down).

    I haven't experienced any problem with "trimming" the front, as others have mentioned. I never cross-chain, though, so maybe that is why I see no issue.

    Is it a "must have" upgrade? Not for me. I still enjoy riding my old bikes and wouldn't dream of "upgrading" them.

    As far as clipless vs. toe clips I also went "modern" there on my new ride. Clipless is easier to get in and out, but I don't see any advantage other than that. The big disadvantage is that the cleats are not standardized. I bought a very used set of Look PP296 pedals for almost no $'s because they had adjustable float. I found almost immediately that I preferred zero float, just like I get with toe clips cinched down tight.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  21. #21
    garth
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    There are three main systems. There is friction whether dt or bar end. There is indexed dt. There is STI Shimano or Ergo Campy brifter shifting. Each has its benefits and none are better than another.

    If you go with friction with a durable perfect set up, you will have the most reliable positive shifting there is. You will learn "feel" and have real communication with the bike. You will probably need servicing on your derailleur only as part of maintanance because these systems are trouble free.

    If you go with indexed dt shifting you will be able to shift positively and perfectly with your rear derailleur but it will take less talent but an extra step in set up and maintanance. (You must get the derailleur exactly aligned with the the cogs in addition to setting the limit screws.) Front derailleur set up will be the same as with friction- easy setup. easy trimming, which is why Lance prefers this set up for his front derailleur. Shimano is the best but Suntour is good providing you have the proper matching Suntour freewheel with varied spacing. With indexed shifting you can always switch your levers so they are on the brake levers with a clever bracket which is sold online. With this bracket you will all the benefits of STI brifters with none of the drawbacks.

    If you go with the brifter shifting... You will have the fastest shifting and most convenient but the system requires a lot more maintance and is much more expensive to maintain. You must frequently replace chains, and cable maintanance will also become an issue. Parts are more expensive, but if you do the work yourself this is less of an issue. Otherwise, a rider who rides a few times a week can not expect to go through a year without laying out a serious chunk of cash for a tuneup or overhaul. Shimano has no good provision for front derailleur trimming so you may experience cage rub. Campy has solved this problem and is prefered by many for just this reason. Or you can get STI for only the rear derailleur and stick with a dt shifter for the front (better choice).

    All told, any system you choose will be lacking something and offer some other benefit. My preference is indexed dt shifters, but I have one bike with all Suntour Superbe Pro , 7 speed 13-19 straight block in the rear, and 52/42 up front which has such incredibly good shifting that it is almost like indexed. I have two bikes with Suntour Cyclone 6 speed indexing and they are a delight. I have a Shimano Dura Ace with 7 speed indexing which is about the same and one Shimano 8 speed dt indexing which is also amazing despite the fact that it is a lower level of equipment than Dura Ace. I have ridden brifters but if I had to choose there, I would always go with Campy because it seems to function better and has a much better system for the front.

  22. #22
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    MAN! Can we agree to disagree on this!!!
    Why?
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  23. #23
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garth
    If you go with the brifter shifting... You will have the fastest shifting and most convenient but the system requires a lot more maintance and is much more expensive to maintain. You must frequently replace chains, and cable maintanance will also become an issue
    What is the source of your opinions?

    I have had an entirely different experience with my brifters - had them since 1999, I currently ride two road bicycles (105 and Sora), no maintenance problems, no "cost." Yes, I change the chain every 2,000 miles or so - but that is a function of a 9 speed cassette and a narrower chain, and would have nothing to do with the mode of shifting. To a chain, shifting is shifting, wear is wear, unless there is some factor of which I am unawares.

    So, what is your experience upon which you make your claims?

    Thanks
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 01-21-06 at 08:23 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  24. #24
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    LOL....as with so many questions at BF, there is no definitive answer to an "opinion" question. And no point in asking a "Which is better?" question either-- except to enjoy the wide range of ideas people here have. [FarHorizon and others some time ago agreed that clipless and clipped could co-exist in this world].

    My thread-starting question was meant to find out how much more convenience was allowed by a few inches difference in placement (bar-end to brakes levers) and what impact that made on riding. I've ridden mostly bar-end for years but still have a bike running dt friction.

    [Garth, I have one bike with ST barcons with XCPro in the rear and am amazed at how much slamming around abuse that system has taken and still shifts smoothly with little indexing adjustment ever needed.]

    FWIW, I've decided to pick up a pair of used DuraAce bar-ends for my currently dt friction bike, keep an eye on eBay for some used Mirage/Veloce level brifters with Shiftmate (Campy hoods fit my smallish hands better and I like the upshift button action better & the front shifting). I am putting the saved shifter $$ towards a 9spd set of wheels on the bike--it has 126 rear spacing but I've found a little thumb pressure is all that's needed to squeeze on a 130 wheel...seems to work well enough. Maybe a compact crank someday.

    FitfyPlussers, I'm over my latest crash and am heading out the door for my first significant ride this year...WooHoo...sun coming thru the Valley fog...equipment talk is fun but riding's better.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  25. #25
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Why?
    I prefer platform pedals on my bikes rather than clipless because I have biomechanical problems (I'm flat-footed & bow-legged and my toes point outward), because I like being able to IMMEDIATELY remove my feet from the pedals (I consider this a safety issue), and because I find that I get little or no efficiency advantage for the type of riding that I do by being attached to the pedals in any way.

    Your choices may differ.

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