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Old 07-18-11, 12:14 PM   #1
BadKarma62
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Need advice on shifters

I'm in the planning stage on a Century/Metric only bike, no tours for this one. I have a lower back issue so drop handlebars are a no go. I'm thinking bull horns with aeros. The bull horns will be rotated back a tad for a little more upright position. I'm not a speed demon, just the "little" engine that wants too.

My question:

Brifters or barend shifters? Pros and cons? I'm thinking barends for versatility and ease of operation.

Thanks all.
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Old 07-18-11, 12:20 PM   #2
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Can't use brifters without drop bars. You can use bar ends on various road bars or mountain shifters on flat bars.
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Old 07-18-11, 12:26 PM   #3
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Old 07-18-11, 12:30 PM   #4
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IMO, bar-ends are more "compatible" with the bullhorn/tt bar setup than brifters. That said, the way most such setups are configured, they've got inverse brake levers plugged into the bullhorns, and the shifters in the aero bars. Is reaching out that far to shift going to work for you?

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ps - I've seen brifters set up on bullhorns. The brake cable routing was, ahem, "less than elegant", but it appeared to work...
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Old 07-18-11, 12:51 PM   #5
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I was kinda thinking turn the brakes around and have them both on the bullhorns. Instead of the pivot point in front have it behind the hand.
Is that stupid?

Maybe MTB levers close to the stem?

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Old 07-18-11, 01:04 PM   #6
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Like the bars on this very weird ride.

http://cruzbike.com/vendetta
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Old 07-18-11, 01:30 PM   #7
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Can't use brifters without drop bars. You can use bar ends on various road bars or mountain shifters on flat bars.
Wrong. I know a few people that do without any problems at all. It's just different. Works best if the bullhorns have the little end part that tips up. Bar ends are probably the best way to go, though I have down tube shifters on my geared road bikes. Just my preference.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:01 AM   #8
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You could make flop & chop drop bars and put the brifters on the end of those... it looks kind of funny but I think it'll work alright, the levers won't have the bars to bottom out on, but otherwise it'll work. something like this is what I'm talking about, but I hope you'd do a nicer job on the whole setup. Get a stem with a nice rise and you'll be golden. Use a nice wide bar and you'll have plenty of room for clamp-on aero bars too.
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Old 07-19-11, 09:43 AM   #9
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Like the bars on this very weird ride.

http://cruzbike.com/vendetta
"Weird" is such a judgemental word - let's say "unique". And EFFING FAST!

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Old 07-19-11, 09:45 AM   #10
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10 Wheels recumbent is cool, but the shape of those controls is similar to drop bars. If you have back problems, down tube shifters are not an answer. Rather than hacking something weird, why not use something like moustache bars with barcons? They give you multiple hand positions without drops.

You would need to put on a stem that brings them up high and close and change your cables and housing and you would be in business.
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Old 07-19-11, 10:08 AM   #11
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Instead of assuming that drop handlebars are a 'no-go', why not raise the handlebars so they're as high or higher than your seat? Then get some shallow drop bars. You'll have more hand positions, but still won't be leaning over THAT far when you're in the drops.
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Old 07-19-11, 10:35 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone for the ideas and food for thought. I just bought a LeMond frame so I will be building the bike soon. I will give this some trial and error to see what works the best for me. I must say that the reversed brakes on the bullhorns is growing on me.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:25 PM   #13
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I agree with Richard Glover. Back problems are no reason to avoid drop bars. Flat bars end up in the same place as the tops of drop handlebars. The only difference is that now you only have one hand position, instead of the multiple positions offered by drop bars. I have neck problems, and I find that forcing myself into one position for long periods of time exacerbates those troubles. Being able to move around a bit really helps. And of course, you have already discovered that flat bars limit your choice of shifters, as you have discovered.
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Old 07-21-11, 01:47 PM   #14
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I've tried drop bars and to get into the drops causes me a lot of discomfort, it's just a tiny bit too far. I have trekking bars on my knockaround Univega and I'm fine with those. The bullhorns would be tilted back just a tad to offer a little bit more upright position. I'm also considering a little taller stem to aid in that too.
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Old 07-21-11, 08:22 PM   #15
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A few things to consider.

My understanding is that an upright position is actually worse for your lower back. Think about it: When your bars are higher and closer, you are putting more weight on your back. When you're sitting forward, you're putting more weight on your arms, upper body and core.

Aero bars, obviously, puts most of the weight on your forearms. However, aero bars also degrade the handling of the bike and can cause serious neck problems and require a significantly different fit.

Nothing about drop bars automatically requires an aggressive fit. You can easily use a shorter stem with some rise and ltos of spacers to bring the bars up and back. Bullhorns -- or flat bars with bar-ends -- will essentially put your hands in the same position as what you can achieve with drop bars. Flat bars alone will reduce your hand position options.

"Tilting the bars back" is actually not a great plan, because as the ride goes on it will start to cause mild discomfort or pain in your hands.


My guess is that your real problem isn't that you're using drop bars, it's that your bike doesn't fit. The best solution is to get a good fit.
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Old 07-21-11, 09:36 PM   #16
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As my neck problems have worsened, I've simply been raising my handlebars. I rarely use the drops, because they are indeed too low for comfort, but I shift my hands frequently between the tops, the ramps, and the hoods. This makes my neck, arms and hands much happier than when I am forced to maintain a single position for an extended period.

Obviously it's not my place to tell somebody what kind of bars they should use - but in my experience, choosing flat bars for the reasons outlined by the OP will lead to regrets.
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