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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 12-28-06, 04:59 PM   #1
DogBoy
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Brifters dead...considering a change

My 105 9-sp brifter on my brevet/commuting/light touring bike is dead. I'm considering making a few changes and want to know what others think of them.

My primary change is to use a handlebar bag and eliminate the interrupter levers. I want to do this to have an easier spot to hold my maps/cue sheets, hold my headlight batteries (2 sets of 4-D-cells total of 16 hrs runtime), spare helmet light batteries (up to 3 sets of 4 AAs for 6 hrs of runtime) and keep glove/head-warming stuff & snacks right up front so I don't have to dismount to get them out of the rear pack. I'm thinking of getting an Arkel big bar bag.

Here are the options:
1) Just replace the brifters with shimano 9-sp brifters (eliminate interrupter levers & try to fit a handlebar bag in there by using 2 rollamajigs to direct the shift cable down right off the shifter).

2) Replace the brifters with ergo-shifters (I like the feeling on my hands better, and like the front derailleur trim), use a j-tek shiftmate, install handlebar bag with no worries.

3) Replace brifters with bar-end shifters and ergo brake levers. Again, no handlebar bag worries.

4) break the bank and go for a full-on dedicated bike with all the bells and whistles.

If it were your bike, what would you do and why? They are all well within my budget constraints (except option 4 ), so I'm looking for opinions on functionality, reliability and ease of riding. Right now I'm thinking of going with option 2 because I like having the shift levers avilable from the hoods, but most of my riding is from the bar top, so I'm not sure if its that much better than having the bar-ends. I'm leaning away from option 1 because I've had some issues with trim driving me nuts (and not because I'm crossing the chain).

Otherwise, my bike setup is thus:
Kona JTS, triple setup with 28-38-50, 11/32 cassette. 105 triple FD, XT long cage RD (not rapid rise). Shimano canti brakes. Rear rack/fenders and battery powered lights.
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Old 12-28-06, 08:32 PM   #2
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Couple considerations for you:

1) Bar bag is THE highest place to put the weight on bike. Generally speaking, the lower you put the weight, the less you'll affect the bike's handling

2) The triathalon crowd use "munch boxes" which attached to the stem and top tube. Use this to access food etc w/o going in the back.

3) You have to take hands off the bar to use barcons.

4) There are options other than bar bag to mount your cuesheet/map to the bar.

5) Campy brifters (and components in generally) are FAR more rebuildable than their Shimano equivalent. A $15 spring can often refurbish a worn Campy Ergo brifter, and you're back in business for a bunch more years of use.
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Old 12-28-06, 10:35 PM   #3
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Bar end shifters are your cheapest solution. They're reliable and work fine. Not the best solution for racing where quick shifting is vital, but for your uses they'll work fine.

However, keep in mind that storing all those batteries in a front bag will affect your stability. Consider keeping the heavy items like all those batteries in the rear bag. Most of us need to stop to change out batteries anyway, so access to a rear bag shouldn't be an issue. However, storing maps, camera, snacks, and other sundry items in a front bag can be pretty convenient.

8 D cell and 12 AA batteries? That's some significant weight!
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Old 12-28-06, 10:47 PM   #4
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I might be joking here, and maybe not...

Go the bar-end shifters as a cheap replacement for the busted brifter (bar-ends are not my desired choice... I'll always favour brifters)...

... then use the change you would have spent on an entire new set of brifters for a new SON dynohub and Ovalplus or E6 light... so you can ditch all those batteries and settle for more savings with a smaller handlebar bag!!!!!!

There's a financial win-win in every step -- cheap shifter solution, no more dead batteries, cheaper handlebar bag (or none to buy at all). I like it...
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Old 12-29-06, 07:05 AM   #5
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I like Rowans idea... get rid of the batteries!

...and instead of a full on new bike, you could also spring for the ergo levers, and the SON with lights.

I also use a bento box on the top tube when not using my h-bar bag. I like the way the bike handles without the h-bar bag.
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Old 12-29-06, 11:07 AM   #6
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I hadn't thought of the handling aspect...

I am pretty sure I'm going ergo (volce(sp) ergos are like $130 on sale, so its about the same cost as new bar-ends + new brake levers) but now I'll rethink the bar bag. Thanks for the input.

As to the weight...There is so much extra weight on me, that 3 lbs of batteries is hard to notice. Also, the only time I'd carry all of them is on longer brevets. For shorter ones, I can get buy with much shorter run-times, and hence only 8 AAs total. I already have the lights for commuting and figured I'd use them for brevets also. I almost bought a SON, but then the brifter died and so I didn't want to spend more money just yet.
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Old 12-29-06, 02:07 PM   #7
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I have Chorus shifters paired with an XT drive train through the JTech shiftmate. The whole setup has performed flawlessly for 6000 miles since I built the bike in March, including riding cross-country without even an adjustment. I highly recommend the setup.
As for the handlebar bag/battery problem. I'd put them anywhere but on the handlebar.
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Old 12-29-06, 02:20 PM   #8
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After considering all options, I elected to go back to downtube shifters. I wanted to use a handlebar bag and did not like having to bend Shimano style cable around the bag. I wanted a wider range of gearing than was available from Campy. I also don't like having to install little thingies and patches to get differing brands of components to work with each other. I do not and have never like bar end shifters, going back to the 1970's when SunTour have a great set of ratchet bar cons. I don't like the way the cables come out of the bar con shifters. I have no issue taking one hand off the bar to shift, in fact I take one hand off to eat, to drink, and to stretch anyway. So I have downtube shifters. I don't have any issues with the DT shifters, although I cannot say I am wild about the silvers I got from Rivendell, and I can micro adjust my derailleurs on the fly.
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