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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 01-19-10, 11:49 PM   #1
pedalpedalpedal
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Bar-end shifters: Pros & Cons

I'm planning to go 1x9 on my JTS, but I'm not sure if I should keep the STI (Shimano 105) and potentially have "uneven" feel compatability with a new brake lever + hood, or just get a set of matching brake levers and get a bar-end shifter.

I know that bar-end shifters are lighter, cheaper, and operate under worse conditions than an STI-type shifter, but what are the cons? Would the reaching down to shift during a race be that much worse performance-wise compared to an STI?
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Old 01-20-10, 04:26 AM   #2
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I used bar end shifters for my hybrid when I converted it to drop bars. Now I am putting some campy levers on it. I couldn't get used to the bar ends, they weren't as safe for me to use while cycling in traffic as it meant removing my hand from the front brake. In a race situation I wouldn't have thought they'd work so well either - you want full control at all times (especially on off-road conditions) and moving your hand around doesn't give you that.

I'd go for using the STI levers on both sides but just use the shifter on one of them.
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Old 01-20-10, 06:26 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by pedalpedalpedal View Post
Would the reaching down to shift during a race be that much worse performance-wise compared to an STI?
Not that much; the quality of the engine is far more important, and even with STI you still have to anticipate your shifts during a race. But if you're used to STI it will probably annoy you.

Being asymmetrical isn't a huge deal IMO but that's a personal thing.

This year, anyway, I'm switching to SRAM and they have singlespeed levers that are shaped just like their integrated.
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Old 01-20-10, 09:10 AM   #4
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I raced for years on bar end shifters. For me it was odd to start using STI and quite frankly I don't care for it. I love it in road racing yes absolutly but in cross I don't see much of a difference. In either case you have full control of the handle bars while shifting. In either case you have to anticipate your shifting. The one thing I liked a lot and miss about having a bar end shifter is that Icannot dump the whole cassette in one move. With STI I have to click through all the gears but with a barcon in friction mode I can change from the smallest cog to the biggest in one shift. You run into situations in cross where you need to do that a lot.

My advise is this. If you like to ride the hodds then you may as well stay with STI. But if you are like me and like to ride the tops or the drops mostly then a barcon is a good choice. It will lighten your bike as a benefit too. They are cheap too, you can find a used one maybe just to try it, it's really the only way to know for youre self.
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Old 01-20-10, 12:05 PM   #5
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Another option is bar-end shifter with Paul Thumbie. I use the tops a lot and also have sissy levers so it was a good combo for me. (But am still switching to Sram integrated.)
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Old 01-24-10, 01:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by pedalpedalpedal View Post
potentially have "uneven" feel compatability with a new brake lever + hood
I have such an unsymmetrical set up on my cross check and it felt weird for about 10 miles and that was it.
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Old 01-24-10, 08:37 PM   #7
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I'm running bar ends in friction on a 10 speed cassette. Works perfectly. They're cheap, rugged, and work with any setup. I switched from running a 6 speed cassette with a vintage dura ace RD to the 10 speed cassette no problem. Once you get used to figuring out where your gears are, friction really becomes second nature. Especially with these finicky nine and ten speed setups that go out of adjustment every other ride with run indexed. No it's not as fast as flicking your hand on the STI, but I find it much less annoying than listening to click click and slipping gears at the end of a long dirty ride.

My setup consists of cheap Dura ace 9 speed down-tube shifters setup on bar end adapters bought from Rivendell/Bridgestone. The picture is old as well, since I now run a V brake up front with a Tektro V brake lever.
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Old 01-24-10, 08:47 PM   #8
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my girlfriends bike has a shimano bar end shifter set on friction, an 8spd campagnolo RD, and an ultegra 9spd cassette. the whole thing was/is a parts bin build and the bar ends made it all possible. i can virtually use any RD and cassette i want or have.
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