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  1. #1
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    Opinions on Surly's C.C. Bar-End Shifters?

    I've heard so may good things about the CrossCheck, but I've never seen those bar-end shifters.

    What do people think of them? I always thought that whenever I bought a new bike, I'd want those shifters on the brake levers. How do the two compare?

  2. #2
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Most likely if you buy the complete bike you will have the 'brifters' - brake shift levers.

    I prefer bar ends. I am used to them. I tried STI this last cross season and went back to bar ends. I like several things about them. One is that they are simple and work in the worst of conditions. I use friction mode which allows me to use any combination of cassettes; 8-10 speed, Campy Shimano what ever. I also can dump the whole cassette in one shift motion. I don't really care to ride the hoods in cross preferring the bar tops or the drops so I like the location of the bar cons.

    The only disadvantage for me is that I cannot shift while standing. But that is not too much of an issue for me in cross since I sit 95% of the time. Also some times you need to trim your shift a bit to prevent rubbing while STI clicks to the right place. But you get used to this. It's really a matter of personal preference and what you get used to. You are probably better off getting used to the STI brake shift levers but bar ends may be worth a try. You can get them fairly cheap.

  3. #3
    sVe Bikkhu's Avatar
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    I am running my Cross Check as a fixie, but had bar-ends on my Surly LHT. I just love them, esp. running them in friction mode with 8 speed casette and chain
    I got nothing to do
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    I guess it's natural that way

  4. #4
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    Not that it may matter much, but almost all the 'cross racers use brifters now. I'm sure that there are some, like jfmckenna, that prefer barends. There's nothing wrong with that, but there are reasons why brifters have become the norm. I think it's mostly because brifters have become commonplace and everyone is used to them now. And they have become reliable and sturdy enough for 'cross.

    If you don't want the barends for the stock Surly Cross-Check build, go the DIY route with a frameset or sell the brake levers and shifters for a pair of Tiagra STI's.

    Now, as to how they compare, it's hard to answer. It depends on what aspects of a comparision you're looking for. In my first season of cross, I used barends and hated them. I kept on hitting the front shifters while mouting/dismounting and hated the fact that I had to move my hands from the bars to shift. Now that I've been using STI, I can ride the same courses a lot faster and more aggressively - but it's mostly mental since I like being near the brake levers and there really isn't a whole lot of shifting during a race anyways. So it's just a matter of comfort level. It sounds like you already know/like brifters - in that case, you may have the same reaction as mine.

    But if I wasn't racing this bike, but rather keeping it as a commuter or something like that, I'd keep the barends. They are reliable, super easy to maintain and you can use them with big fat gloves.

  5. #5
    Portland, OR i_r_beej's Avatar
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    Couple of weeks ago i was in an MTB race on my cross bike. One part of the course featured a long muddy downhill. At a relatively slow speed, my front end washed out in thick goopy mud and i just keeled over.

    Ker-plop.

    The left STI lever got magically tweaked somehow and now pivots the wrong way.

    This wasn't some gnarly, over-the-bar, dust-up at 30 MPH.

    STI levers are too fragile. Sure-- many use them on 'cross bikes and they manage to survive. But for real off-road use in the long-term i think they're just too fragile. Plus there's the insane replacement cost! US$400 for a set of Ultegra STI levers?? 105 is over US$300. Puh-leeze! You can purchase nice aero brake levers and bar-end shifters for under US$100. A little more if you go with Ultegra or DA.

    When my STI's bite it, i'm switching to Ultegra or DA bar-end shifters.

    Bar-ends are awesome-- simple, nigh indestructible. You'll love them. If you install them on a Midge handlebar you'll have the hot set-up.
    Despite the fact that I constantly recommend Kool-Stop brake pads-- no, I don't work for Kool-Stop. (Although their factory is just a few blocks from my house!)

    I ride drop bars off-road. (The excellent On-One "Midge.")

  6. #6
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    My Crosscheck came with Dura Ace bar ends, pretty standard for this bike.. I thought I would hate them and switch to brifters like my other bikes.. After about 3 rides I learned to really like them..

    They are definitely much less expensive than brifters..

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    What kind of bar end shifters come stock on the crosscheck?

    Also, anyone ever use the plug in mounts from Rivendell that allow you to mount downtube shifters on the ends?
    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon
    The correct response is "I live with your mom."

  8. #8
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moki
    What kind of bar end shifters come stock on the crosscheck?

    Also, anyone ever use the plug in mounts from Rivendell that allow you to mount downtube shifters on the ends?
    You don't really need those if you already have Bar Cons or can scrounge up an old used pair. I had a set of Ultegra bar cons and crashed breaking the right shifter. All you need are the 'pods' that the shifters come with. I now have a set of DT shifter levers mounted to my Ultegra pods. I really like the added length of the DT shifters but be aware that the DT shifters are straight while the bar con shift levers have an angle in them. What this means is that your DT shifter will point up higher when in your lowest gear. At first it felt awkward but I got used to it.

    You may have to be Shimano or Campy specific on choice of levers to match the pods.

  9. #9
    blacksheep the blemish
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_r_beej
    Couple of weeks ago i was in an MTB race on my cross bike. One part of the course featured a long muddy downhill. At a relatively slow speed, my front end washed out in thick goopy mud and i just keeled over.
    I can't believe you did that race on a cross bike. I'm pretty sure I saw someone (you?) on a lemond poprad (orange) warming up and then in the sport start (which I was a part of). I think I raised an eye-brow.

  10. #10
    M_S
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    I have the Dura-Ace bar ends on my touring bike (Jamis Aurora). It's not a cross bike, technically, but I do cross-like things on it (trail riding). I also have interrupter levers, and I was concerned I would be too far from the shifters up there but it doesn't feel that way at all. They also seem very reliable, but then I haven't had them that long.

    Some people also say they prefer the look of bar ends, though I don't really see why, since they are "bigger" looking that STIs.
    Quote Originally Posted by endform
    I can't believe you did that race on a cross bike. I'm pretty sure I saw someone (you?) on a lemond poprad (orange) warming up and then in the sport start (which I was a part of). I think I raised an eye-brow.
    Couldn't have been him if it was aLemond with a carbon fork, could it? I thought he was against carbon.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    Couldn't have been him if it was aLemond with a carbon fork, could it? I thought he was against carbon.
    For whatever reason, the poprad comes with an aluminum fork. Actually, I know the reason. The guys at Lemond said it eliminated brake chatter. One of my bikes has an aluminum fork. I ride it on the road. It's not as bad as you'd think.

    Oh, and my Giant TCX has brifters. I like them, but if you don't mind not being able to shift from the hoods, or if you spend a lot of time in the drops, bar ends would be great. They're definitely more durable.

    I think the best approach to this is to not overthink it. You'll probably ride very well and have a very nice bike, brifters or bar ends, especially if you're not already predisposed to either. It's like the debate between buying a baileyworks bag and a reload bag. They're both very good, probably both great, and if you just pick one, it doesn't matter which, and use it consistently, you'll be very happy.

    The important thing is that you ride.

  12. #12
    Portland, OR i_r_beej's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuckinatx
    Oh, and my Giant TCX has brifters. I like them, but if you don't mind not being able to shift from the hoods, or if you spend a lot of time in the drops, bar ends would be great. They're definitely more durable.
    With conventional drops, this could be an issue, but not really. The hot set-up is a handlebar with shallow drops-- like the On-One Midge bar.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckinatx
    I think the best approach to this is to not overthink it. You'll probably ride very well and have a very nice bike, brifters or bar ends, especially if you're not already predisposed to either.

    The important thing is that you ride.
    +1 on that!

    Oh, and Endform-- that WAS me. After lap 2, once the sun came out and started congealing all the mud, i was wishing for a 34x30 instead of my Poprad's 39x28. Whew! At one point a dude passed me and said that i "won the ironman award". Then i noticed he was on a singlespeed!! High praise indeed.
    Despite the fact that I constantly recommend Kool-Stop brake pads-- no, I don't work for Kool-Stop. (Although their factory is just a few blocks from my house!)

    I ride drop bars off-road. (The excellent On-One "Midge.")

  13. #13
    Composed Mainly of Beer
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    I bought my CrossCheck after riding a thumb shifter equipped MTB for years.
    It took me a little while to adjust to the bar end shifters but I like 'em.
    In fact, I like them a alot. You can shift multiple gears quickly and the levers are easy to get to.
    I haven't done it, but I've read if you shorten the length of the drops (ie saw them off) then the bar ends are even easier to use. You could conceivably shift with your pinkie or the rear of your hands while the rest of your hands remain on the drops. It wouldn't be as convenient as brifters, I imagine but pretty darn close.

    I've never ridden a bike with brifters.

    I don't mind bar ends at all. Compared to the friction downtube shifters on my road bike, they're a breeze to shift.
    1984 Centurion Comp TA
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