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  1. #1
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    Downtube shifters on a Cross Bike?

    So, I'm trying to put a cross bike together and I'm running out of cash. The Cannondale cross frame I have has bosses for downtube shifters. Would downtube shifters be a bad idea? I know they are cheap, which would helpme out a lot right now. What do you all think?

  2. #2
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Why not just do bar end shifters? Better location and about the same cost?
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

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    Senior Member greybeard87's Avatar
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    Potential problem with DT shifters is accidental shifting when carrying/shouldering the bike. As already mentioned bar ends would make a good alternative.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Peace and Bike Grease

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    OK, I've tried all these things. Barends work OK but downtube shifters actually aren't all that bad on a tight cyclocross circuit since you don't shift much anyway. But if you're on a wide open circuit where you've got to shift a lot you'll be losing 10 yards per lap just for shifting.

    It's really difficult to beat brake lever shifters if you intend to race. You never have to take your hands off of the best place on the bars for control.

    If you are just building a recreational cyclocross bike then I agree with seely that barends are the way to go.

  5. #5
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I've been racing with bar ends for 3 years now and I think they work great. The first race I ever did was with DT shifters and I never did it again. If you value your front teeth get bar cons or STI. It’s not so much shouldering the bike that’s bad but it’s trying to shift on bumpy bouncy grass going 15-20 MPH that is treacherous.

    I almost exclusively ride on the tops so whether I use STI or bar ends I have to make a hand positioning change to shift but at least while shifting I am also holding the bars for stability. I run my barcon in friction mode which allows me to use my older campy 8 speed wheel as well as a newer Shimano 9.

    I have seen some people run an STI or bar con for the front changer and a single DT for the rear. That is not a bas set up since it lightens up te bike and you will hardly ever use the big ring anyway.

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    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna
    I have seen some people run an STI or bar con for the front changer and a single DT for the rear. That is not a bas set up since it lightens up te bike and you will hardly ever use the big ring anyway.
    Isn't that backwards? Wouldn't you want the DT shifter for the front since it's infrequently used.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

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    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber
    Isn't that backwards? Wouldn't you want the DT shifter for the front since it's infrequently used.
    Yes thank you I am a dyslexic

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    Okay, fair enough. But, if the bike was set up with downtube shifter bosses, how do I set the bike up for STI shifting, or barcon shifting?

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    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    New STI shifters come with a cable stop that mounts to the shifter boss. I'm not sure about barcons.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynikal
    New STI shifters come with a cable stop that mounts to the shifter boss. I'm not sure about barcons.
    Brilliant thanks! Now I just have to find some cheap sti shifters.

  11. #11
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    Yes, shifter stops come with barend shifters from Shimano as well.

    And for cross you wrap the barend cables completely under the tape as you would with Campy Ergo shifters. This does cause one problem - the inner cables are too short most of the time and you have to use Tandem rear shift inner cables. I always leave a couple of inches of cable showing outside of the rear derailleur so that I can use and reuse the inner several times.

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    I don't completely wrap the bar end shifter cables. I wrap about halfway up the drops and let the cable stick out towards the front. that way I avoid additional bends in the cable housing. This seems to be the typical set-up.

    Last year I tried running the cable completely outside of the bar wrap. This worked okay, since I seldom used the drops, but it did leave the cable vulnerable in a crash.

  13. #13
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    Bar ends, they dont shift when you shoulder it, I would think down tube shifters would be in the way, there was 2 ways to wrap them, I wrapped mine half way and had them come outta the handelbar tape and curved back to the bike like lunacycle did, but then I didnt like how it was in the way so I had it come out of the top of the bar, next to where the brake line would come through I like this way better although the quality of the shifting decreased a bit and in my opinion looks a lot better, Going with bar end shifters also makes your bike more reliable because if you dump your bike in the sand and the sand gets in your sti shifter you could mess it up.

    Get some Cancreek,soma, or shimano brake levers and a barcon, Thats a lil cheaper then sti shifters.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jimmat's Avatar
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    Im no experienced cross racer but I tried a few on an old touring frame with down tube shifters. In the last race I was out sprinted by a dude on a mountain bike because I was too skered to let go of the bars to shift up, so I spun out the gear and he shifted up and closed it out...no more down tube shifters for me.

  15. #15
    Senior Member asterisk's Avatar
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    bar ends are great, but what happens when you get up to sprint your knee knocks your shifter?

    an owie on the knee, not in the right gear, and a busted ass shifter.

  16. #16
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asterisk
    bar ends are great, but what happens when you get up to sprint your knee knocks your shifter?

    an owie on the knee, not in the right gear, and a busted ass shifter.
    Typically in cross you run wider bars then your road bike. I have 44's on my road and 46's on my cross. If you are bending your legs outward that much in a sprint to where you accidentally shift the barcon (even on 44's) then I think you will need to visit your knee surgeon

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