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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 03-03-14, 02:37 PM   #26
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How many of you "brifters absolutely" folks have actually ridden 2300? I am curious why you so highly recommend it over DT.

After thought, the primary reason I stand by friction DT is that it is quiet, if you know how to ride it. Heck, that's the primary reason my single speed sees the majority of the miles I ride (not that I can't ride friction DT, but that it is always quiet). You can always make a DT bike quiet. Can you always do that with 2300?
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Old 03-03-14, 02:54 PM   #27
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How many of you "brifters absolutely" folks have actually ridden 2300? I am curious why you so highly recommend it over DT.
...
I think it is more that there is a whole generation of cyclists who have never used modern, quality DT shifters and can't imagine a life without brifters, no matter the quality of the components.

I'll admit that I am old school in many ways. One rule I have though, that has served me well, is I favor quality over features. A top-of-the-line, modern, 10-speed Dura Ace downtube shifter set is $88 and it has marvelous action. An $88 brifter is crap. I know how to shift with both, and if I was buying a bike and only had $88 budgeted for shifters, I'd buy downtube.
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Old 03-03-14, 02:57 PM   #28
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DT wins hands-down over low-end brifters that you're going to outgrow anyway.

Not being able to shift in the drops is something that's impossible to work around.

Especially given this:

http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/roa...es/shimgrss650

Those are only $34 more than the Sora shifters...
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Old 03-03-14, 03:00 PM   #29
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The lower-end Shimano stuff (Sora, 2300, etc.) can run smoothly and quietly when it's setup properly. Granted, you'll *never* get the minute adjustability you would out of friction DT, but that's besides the point.

There are two main considerations, I think, for the OP to consider: how hard do you plan to be on this bike, and do you feel comfortable taking your hands off the bars when you need to shift?

If you are planning on riding this bike to the ends of the earth and back and you're going to ride it hard, go for the DT shifters. The lower-end Shimano stuff uses a lot of plastics (instead of metals), tends to feel a little "cheaper", and have a greater chance of breaking than do the DT shifters (I speak from experience; I used to run 8 speed Sora shifters almost exclusively because they were less expensive. Three sets later, I could have bought a really good set of 105s or above...)

If you don't feel comfortable enough on a bike to take your hands off the bars to shift, definitely do NOT get the DT shifters.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:03 PM   #30
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Thank you all! Hearing all the different perspectives on this topic is very helpful. At this point, I'm probably going with the DT's since this is my first road bike. For now something simpler and reliable will be better as I learn how to maintain a road bike on my own (up to this point I've only ridden and maintained mountain bikes).
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Old 03-03-14, 03:06 PM   #31
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brifters changed my life ... just sayin' ...
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Old 03-03-14, 03:08 PM   #32
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...

If you don't feel comfortable enough on a bike to take your hands off the bars to shift, definitely do NOT get the DT shifters.
Or, and this is a radical suggestion, but if you don't feel comfortable enough on a bike to take your hands off the bars to shift, learn to get comfortable enough on your bike to take your hands off the bars to shift. If you can't ride with one hand off the bars, comfortably and smoothly and without thought, and are not willing to learn, then you should stop riding your bike, for your own safety. Because, you will crash eventually, and it'll be a hard crash. 100% guaranteed.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:08 PM   #33
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if you are so unstable on your bike that taking your hand off the bar represents a risk, I wouldn't take my chances in traffic on any bike.
+1 Moving my hands off the handlebars doesn't bother me at all.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:14 PM   #34
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Whenever I see folks fret about taking their hand off the bars to shift, I wonder how they drink on a ride.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:15 PM   #35
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Ask your self if you would by a car with ABS brakes or Fred Flintstone brakes.
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??? We are talking about bikes, not the Flintstones.
And shifters, not brakes.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:17 PM   #36
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Whenever I see folks fret about taking their hand off the bars to shift, I wonder how they drink on a ride.
If they're like my wife they stop the bike, put their feet down, and then take a drink.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:18 PM   #37
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Or, and this is a radical suggestion, but if you don't feel comfortable enough on a bike to take your hands off the bars to shift, learn to get comfortable enough on your bike to take your hands off the bars to shift.
I don't disagree. But if one is not comfortable enough to take one's hands off the bars to shift, one is probably lacking in other cycling skills which should be addressed first. And the way to learn those skills is not to take off on a bike using an older approach to shifting. DT shifters are great and I love them (I keep a set of Dura Ace DT shifters in my toolbox just in case), but brifters are safer for beginners and novices specifically because they don't require releasing hold on the bars to shift.

Not everyone is a cat 2 track, cat 3 road level cyclist.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:18 PM   #38
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And shifters, not brakes.
Pretty sure they were talking old tech vs new tech...
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Old 03-03-14, 03:25 PM   #39
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I don't disagree. But if one is not comfortable enough to take one's hands off the bars to shift, one is probably lacking in other cycling skills which should be addressed first. And the way to learn those skills is not to take off on a bike using an older approach to shifting. DT shifters are great and I love them (I keep a set of Dura Ace DT shifters in my toolbox just in case), but brifters are safer for beginners and novices specifically because they don't require releasing hold on the bars to shift.

Not everyone is a cat 2 track, cat 3 road level cyclist.
I wasn't always a racing cyclist. Noobs can easily get over their heads, particularly if they think they are skilled enough to venture out into the wild road prior to knowing how to balance with one hand. I am a big believer in earning your way into convenience. Particularly for cyclists, where the consequences of overconfidence can be quite nasty.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:26 PM   #40
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Pretty sure they were talking old tech vs new tech...
Analogies are great for teaching; not so great for trying to make an argument.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:26 PM   #41
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How many of you "brifters absolutely" folks have actually ridden 2300? I am curious why you so highly recommend it over DT.

After thought, the primary reason I stand by friction DT is that it is quiet, if you know how to ride it. Heck, that's the primary reason my single speed sees the majority of the miles I ride (not that I can't ride friction DT, but that it is always quiet). You can always make a DT bike quiet. Can you always do that with 2300?
I slum quite a bit lower than 2300, all the way down to A070 and I still think at a 50 dollar price difference go with the brifters.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:27 PM   #42
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How many of you "brifters absolutely" folks have actually ridden 2300? I am curious why you so highly recommend it over DT.

After thought, the primary reason I stand by friction DT is that it is quiet, if you know how to ride it. Heck, that's the primary reason my single speed sees the majority of the miles I ride (not that I can't ride friction DT, but that it is always quiet). You can always make a DT bike quiet. Can you always do that with 2300?
A lot of people seem to be making this mistake, so let me correct it: these are INDEXED downtube shifters. Not friction! Indexed. With clicks. 90% of what's challenging about DT shifters are eliminated with indexing. The disadvantages are reduced to having to take a hand off the bars (not a big deal most of the time) and the resulting delay between thinking about shifting and executing it.

I think this is kind of a toss-up. I really like indexed downtube shifters. A lot. But I think shifting in the drops is about equally difficult for both. You either reach your hand down to the downtube, or up to the top of the hood. The latter is probably a bit more awkward, but you have to move a hand either way. I do think downtube shifters are unfairly maligned by those with little experience with them, or by people thinking about crummy friction shifters, but I also think that integrated shifters are an improvement. I don't have a lot of experience with the non-group Shimano stuff, but I do know it's better than ever and also probably unfairly maligned by people who remember the early days of Sora and haven't used the cheap stuff since then. But it's hard for me to make an actual recommendation.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:34 PM   #43
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I am a big believer in earning your way into convenience. Particularly for cyclists, where the consequences of overconfidence can be quite nasty.
So someone getting into road cycling shouldn't get a bike that comes with the benefit of all the R&D that goes into cycling, all the new technology and features which makes it safer to not only be a cyclist but learn how to be one, because they haven't earned it? They should instead ignore all the advances in cycling over the last 20 years or so until they learn how to properly ride on old-school technologies and keep their confidence in check?

Wow. That's, uh... that's a viewpoint.

OP, you should get the DT shifter bike because you haven't earned your way into a bike with brifters yet. You better make sure that you don't get clipless pedals, either. And keep that bike under 7 speeds! You haven't earned better yet.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:37 PM   #44
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OP, you should get the DT shifter bike because you haven't earned your way into a bike with brifters yet. You better make sure that you don't get clipless pedals, either. And keep that bike under 7 speeds! You haven't earned better yet.
+1
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Old 03-03-14, 03:52 PM   #45
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This.

The main advantages of brifters is that they're a little safer since you can shift with your hands on the bars. They're also more convenient. DT is simpler, lighter, and more reliable and you can use it with a greater variety of systems.

Thirded.
I just started riding on Downtube shifters, and it's not that hard. The immediacy of STI's is not there, but it feels reliable. I feel like I'm riding a bike.
Unless you're racing, there's something to be said for the reliability and durability of DT shifters. Also, you may set it to friction and go any speeds you want.
Weird to see folks act like it's terrible. It's a bike. It should be simple.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:53 PM   #46
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So someone getting into road cycling shouldn't get a bike that comes with the benefit of all the R&D that goes into cycling, all the new technology and features which makes it safer to not only be a cyclist but learn how to be one, because they haven't earned it? They should instead ignore all the advances in cycling over the last 20 years or so until they learn how to properly ride on old-school technologies and keep their confidence in check?
...
Umm... yes. I said this straight up. Weren't you listening?

If you've never ridden, why would you spend a lot of money for the latest and greatest? Buy something which is inexpensive, durable, and simple, learn your preferences and then advance into new tech once you know what you like. A noob to cycling doesn't have to spend $2k on equipment just to get rolling on wheels. Instead, spend $300 on a simple road bike; learn to ride it and maintain it. Then get some cycling shoes and pedals. Adjust the fit to where you are comfortable and fast. Then some shorts. A jersey. Then bibs. Learn to ride the white line without wobbling all over the place. Drink from a bottle. Ride no hands. Find a group to ride with, etc. There's a learning curve and a long tradition of equipment upgrades matched to skill upgrades.

Just because you start an activity as an adult, with an adult bank account, doesn't mean you gain any benefit to jumping the learning curve. In most cases, it pays to start slow. Cycling, road cycling in particular, suffers from an overwhelming array of stuff to spend money on. Nothing funnier to me than a middle-aged guy who went to his local Performance bike shop, dropped $2k on random equipment the salesman told him he needed, and doesn't know how to ride.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:55 PM   #47
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... because you haven't earned your way into a bike with brifters yet. ...
Hey, brifters are excellent. Half-crippled brifters that limit you to only shifting from the hoods are deal breakers though, that that's really your only option at the lower price points. Also, nothing beats the reliability of downtube.
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Old 03-03-14, 04:00 PM   #48
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A lot of people seem to be making this mistake, so let me correct it: these are INDEXED downtube shifters. Not friction! Indexed. With clicks. 90% of what's challenging about DT shifters are eliminated with indexing. The disadvantages are reduced to having to take a hand off the bars (not a big deal most of the time) and the resulting delay between thinking about shifting and executing it.

I think this is kind of a toss-up. I really like indexed downtube shifters. A lot. But I think shifting in the drops is about equally difficult for both. You either reach your hand down to the downtube, or up to the top of the hood. The latter is probably a bit more awkward, but you have to move a hand either way. I do think downtube shifters are unfairly maligned by those with little experience with them, or by people thinking about crummy friction shifters, but I also think that integrated shifters are an improvement. I don't have a lot of experience with the non-group Shimano stuff, but I do know it's better than ever and also probably unfairly maligned by people who remember the early days of Sora and haven't used the cheap stuff since then. But it's hard for me to make an actual recommendation.
For what it is worth, I assumed that they could be either indexed or friction, as a Shimano can. IMO, 8 speed is still nicer friction, 9-10 indexed. This is specific to DT shifters, and the last bike I built was 10 speed DuraAce DT, and it shifted brilliantly indexed. My brother has it now, and it moved him from 5 speed stem shifters to DT, and I have had nothing but positive feedback from him.

And also, I am not trying to be snobby against 2300. My current new build is 3500 Sora, and so far I am impressed with the group. I am not impressed however with how I have seen it set up at LBS'es. Often times it seems that less "nice" groups and bikes get slapped together with less care, and a quick test ride reflects poorly on the group, when it should more reflect poorly on the assembler.
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Old 03-03-14, 04:02 PM   #49
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+1 Moving my hands off the handlebars doesn't bother me at all.
pisses my wife off when I do it on the tandem.
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Old 03-03-14, 04:02 PM   #50
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If you've never ridden, why would you spend a lot of money for the latest and greatest?
We're not talking about the latest and greatest though; that's never factored into this conversation. We're talking about trickle-down advances in technology vs. the tried and true methods of yesteryear and whether one "deserves" the former without having used the latter. The latest and greatest had not been mentioned in this thread until you brought it up.
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