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Old 03-04-07, 05:19 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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Modification remorse???

My '89 Trek 1500 has been in the shop all week to have some modifications done. Turns out they haven't even started but still believe they will finish by tomorrow (Monday) afternoon as promised.

They're going to raise the handlebar, retape it, and morph the downtube shifters into bar-end shifters, using some part they had to order.

All week I've been having "modification remorse" because I'm thinking I should keep the downtube shifters the way they are, the way Trek intended them to be, and the way 1,000's of riders have ridden 1,000,000's of miles.

The LBS said bar-end shifting is a little easier and a little safer, and I figure they know what they're talking about. BUT -- part of me says for the full "retro" experience, I should leave the bike, as much as possible, the way it was when it left the factory. (Okay, the saddle's not original, but you get the point.)

I have until tomorrow morning to debate this (you know me!). I'm really tempted to call them and ask them just to raise the bars and retape 'em, but leave the shifters alone.

I'd love any ideas, pros or cons.

It's a cheap bike ($125) and the mods aren't much either, so it's not about the money. It's about whether to just get the handlebars where I need 'em and ride it like that. I don't even shift that much in my urban environment. Hills? What hills?
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Old 03-04-07, 05:31 PM   #2
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The "retro" experience can still be had with bar end shifting. There were plenty of people converting down tube shifting to bar end shifting in the 80's. It's not like you're switching to (gasp) brifters or anything.

Personally, I like the DT shifters. But, hey, that's just me.

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Old 03-04-07, 05:33 PM   #3
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Get the bar ends.

After you raise the handlebars you'll have to bend farther from your normal riding position to reach the down tube levers. Set up your bike to suit yourself. The guy who designed your bike didn't know that you were going to buy it so it's set up for somebody else who probably isn't qualified to post here.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:25 PM   #4
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Besides, what's the point of going "retro" if you're not returning to something you were once familiar with. DT's would not be retro for you....they would be simply archival. Being far older than you, DG, I recall when DT's were the norm for everyone including me. Still fun to have one bike with DT's. I also have one bike with BarEnds, and one with Ergo. It's a nice spread. I wouldn't know what to do with a metal water bottle, barely remember real wool shorts, or would never again carry a banana blackened by riding in my jersey pocket. No point in going back to things that inherently don't please you...like the nasty chemical taste of early plastic water bottles.

BarEnds will set you off as "timeless" cyclist...and they are in many situations safer and more convenient.

Your bike will be a nice mix uniquely itself and belonging to you. Neither a quaint museum piece nor a Bicycling magazine trend-setter ho-hum just like all its predictable brethern. A real bike that has fit itself to your style and tastes.

End of Rant. Send pics.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:45 PM   #5
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I've had bar end shifting on two bikes, a Cannondale and a Santana tandem. The bar ends would still be there except for the invention of integrated brake/shifters that made it even easier to react to a shift while still holding the bars.

Go for it!!!!!
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Old 03-04-07, 07:00 PM   #6
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If you DON'T make the changes, you'll always wonder if they would have been better than the stock set up. I would make the changes. Because next year, you probably will change something else. That's part of the fun. Go for it DG.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:13 PM   #7
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Go for the bar ends.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:14 PM   #8
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I used bar ends from '73 until STI came out. So it's not like they're <gasp!> A NEW THING. Go with them, you'll love 'em.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:23 PM   #9
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Why go half way to the 21st century? Go for brifters!!
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Old 03-04-07, 07:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artmo
Why go half way to the 21st century? Go for brifters!!
I can think of a couple hundred reasons.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:35 PM   #11
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Do it. It's not a permanent change, so you can go back to DT shifters in the future if you want.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
I can think of a couple hundred reasons.
I was going to say a couple of thousand...
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Old 03-04-07, 07:45 PM   #13
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Besides brifters being more expensive, and you'd have to fool a bit more with the bike to match them to a 7spd...it seems fun to plug in to early style indexing and then follow the evolutionary ladder upwards later if you wish. Besides, you can always loosen the d-ring and take a trip back in time to friction, which, you never know, you might find kind of fun and can have a handful of retro as well.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artmo
Why go half way to the 21st century? Go for brifters!!
He only paid $125.00 for the whole bike! That'd be like hanging a crystal chandelier in a log cabin.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:46 PM   #15
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FWIW, I have bar ends on two bikes, and one of the sets of shifters came off another bike I bought in 1970. They count as retro.
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Old 03-04-07, 10:59 PM   #16
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I don't see any reason to keep the bike as original or retro as possible. It's a fine machine, that has already lived a life or two in its present config. You should make it into what you want it to be, take advantage of upgrades that weren't available back then, when they are reasonable.

Make it into something that you truly enjoy riding. If bar shifters move it in that direction, then go for it.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:10 PM   #17
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One pitfall (or glory-- depending) of cycling is equipment. When I was a runner, I thought more about my body...aches, pains, areas to strengthen, etc. Cyclists can fall into the hole of becoming obsessive about their gear and, sometimes, the "statement" it makes. Maybe we should fashion that individualized, fabled machine that "disappears" beneath us...and then forget about it except for maintenance.

We need to remember....... it's not the cycle, it's the cyclist.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
I don't see any reason to keep the bike as original or retro as possible. It's a fine machine, that has already lived a life or two in its present config. You should make it into what you want it to be, take advantage of upgrades that weren't available back then, when they are reasonable.

Make it into something that you truly enjoy riding. If bar shifters move it in that direction, then go for it.
+1
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Old 03-04-07, 11:53 PM   #19
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Gentlemen! The bar ends closed!
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Old 03-05-07, 06:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Go for the bar ends.
+1 I'd never used them before. Had downtub shifters 30 years ago and had trigger shifters on my MTB. After trying the barends, I like them A LOT - convenient, easy to use, shifting feels natural & I'm not reaching far away from tops of handlebars. I think there IS some kind of cool factor but being 50+, I don't think I'm qualified to identify it.
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Old 03-05-07, 06:26 AM   #21
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I love my DT shifters - but go for the bar ends - you can't figure out what you like best without trying all the options.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:14 AM   #22
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I bet you'd love brifters.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:32 AM   #23
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DT shifters were the mark of a bike that was intended for the more 'discerning' cyclist. That means, aggressive. Personally, although I have always ridden fairly aggressively, I had no use for them. Bar-ends are much more instinctive for me, set to friction mode. Heck, for that matter, the stem mounted shifters were great, too.

My Sequoia Elite has the brifters. Very handy, but the front has always seemed, well, rather clunky and imprecise. I may try to re-fit a friction shifter for the front DR.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:33 AM   #24
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Convert it to fixed gear. Less for you to obsess about.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:51 AM   #25
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OK, Deeg, I'm here to totally confuse matters: I've got bikes with bar ends, down tube shifters, and brifters. Honestly, I like 'em all. But to me, there's something uniquely pleasurable about the DT shifters. Sort of like driving an old stick shift VW. Of course, that's far from everybody's cup of tea.
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