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-   -   Brifters vs. Downtube shifters (http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling/936553-brifters-vs-downtube-shifters.html)

RJM 03-17-14 07:22 AM

We shouldn't have the brifter vs. integrated shifter argument....again. It is what it is. Both communicate the idea fine. I prefer brifter, I also prefer derailer instead of derailleur, poser instead of poseur...ect. Whatever.


Downtube shifters are inexpensive, intuitive to use, easy to set up, rarely ever go out of adjustment, you can dump the entire cassette in one motion, which helps when you start going up a really steep hill and didn't realize it....in other words, you weren't paying attention.

Brifters have a clear advantage by putting the shifting levers/buttons right under your hand so you don't have to move them. Also, the new hood shape from Shimano is awesome and the front shifting of the new Ultegra and Dura Ace is really awesome.


Quote:

Originally Posted by v70cat (Post 16570431)
I think on of the side benefits of Di2 is the ability to add additional shifters (switches) so that you shift when you are in the bars or other positions.

totally true. There are a lot of good benefits to electronic shifting....wave of the future!:50:

buffalowings 03-17-14 07:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RJM (Post 16584644)
We shouldn't have the brifter vs. integrated shifter argument....again. It is what it is. Both communicate the idea fine. I prefer brifter, I also prefer derailer instead of derailleur, poser instead of poseur...ect. Whatever.


Downtube shifters are inexpensive, intuitive to use, easy to set up, rarely ever go out of adjustment, you can dump the entire cassette in one motion, which helps when you start going up a really steep hill and didn't realize it....in other words, you weren't paying attention.

Brifters have a clear advantage by putting the shifting levers/buttons right under your hand so you don't have to move them. Also, the new hood shape from Shimano is awesome and the front shifting of the new Ultegra and Dura Ace is really awesome.



totally true. There are a lot of good benefits to electronic shifting....wave of the future!:50:

When I, "dump" too many gears, I end up feeling like I lose a lot of speed and reach an overly high cadence.

Bob Dopolina 03-17-14 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buffalowings (Post 16584676)
When I, "dump" too many gears, I end up feeling like I lose a lot of speed and reach an overly high cadence.

That was always the trick with DT shifters. You had to shift not for where you were but for where you were about to be. You had to anticipate what gear you were going to need before you needed it.

A perfect example is the idea of shifting before the corner so you would already be in the right gear to exit the corner. When racing against kids who never used DT shifters I would always hear them shifting after the apex, as they stood, exiting the corner. I would already be in the correct gear nd wouldn't have to stand or jump and could just spin it back up, gaining a few positions in the process and using less energy. I could do this because I learned to race on DT shifters.

This advantage dissapears once you move up the food chain or ride with more experienced riders.

RollCNY 03-17-14 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina (Post 16584715)
That was always the trick with DT shifters. You had to shift not for where you were but for where you were about to be. You had to anticipate what gear you were going to need before you needed it.

A perfect example is the idea of shifting before the corner so you would already be in the right gear to exit the corner. When racing against kids who never used DT shifters I would always hear them shifting after the apex, as they stood, exiting the corner. I would already be in the correct gear nd wouldn't have to stand or jump and could just spin it back up, gaining a few positions in the process and using less energy. I could do this because I learned to race on DT shifters.

This advantage dissapears once you move up the food chain or ride with more experienced riders.

Recognize that everything you wrote is why DT shifters are fun, sometimes. I don't believe anyone has said that they are superior to integrated shifters, only that in the choice the OP listed, some of us would choose the DT build.

I primarily ride a single speed anymore, even though I have a road bike with Campagnolo Centaur, which works flawlessly. The single speed brings a certain simplicity to always being in the wrong gear. DT shifters mean occasionally in the wrong gear. IMO, cycling can be very pleasant when you aren't always in the optimal gear. There is this whole "smell the roses" thing.

And despite all of the positive posts about 2300, given the same OP choice, I would still take the DT shifter bike.

Bob Dopolina 03-17-14 08:38 AM

^^^ I understand Your point. I had a fixed bike I used to train on in winter and loved it. I also lament the lost art of DT shifting, as I pointed out. But given a choice I would go with Integrated shifting in a heart beat unless the stuff was crap.

RaleighSport 03-17-14 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina (Post 16584715)
That was always the trick with DT shifters. You had to shift not for where you were but for where you were about to be. You had to anticipate what gear you were going to need before you needed it.

A perfect example is the idea of shifting before the corner so you would already be in the right gear to exit the corner. When racing against kids who never used DT shifters I would always hear them shifting after the apex, as they stood, exiting the corner. I would already be in the correct gear nd wouldn't have to stand or jump and could just spin it back up, gaining a few positions in the process and using less energy. I could do this because I learned to race on DT shifters.

This advantage dissapears once you move up the food chain or ride with more experienced riders.

Slightly OT, but I wouldn't mind your opinion/experiences with barcons if you have them?

Bob Dopolina 03-17-14 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RaleighSport (Post 16584932)
Slightly OT, but I wouldn't mind your opinion/experiences with barcons if you have them?

I never really rode barcons so I don't have much to say about them.

banerjek 03-17-14 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RaleighSport (Post 16584932)
Slightly OT, but I wouldn't mind your opinion/experiences with barcons if you have them?

All of this stuff largely boils down to personal preference.

Advantage of barcons (a dumber and less descriptive word than brifter even if everyone knows what they are) is that hands stay on the bars while you shift. However, you have to run more housing with more bends so it's easier to make your shifting less responsive.

I strongly prefer barcons to *any* other shifting method for trikes and certain types of recumbents because the hand position is ideal (identical for riding and shifting) and control is excellent -- double shifting is very easy. Plus, I love the tactile feedback.

Brian Ratliff 03-17-14 10:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina (Post 16584871)
... unless the stuff was crap.

This was actually my point, not to re-litigate the argument. The OP was choosing between two bikes: one with shtty, bottom-of-the-barrel, plastic shifters; one with mid-range downtube shifters. I recommended the downtube to save $50, decrease maintenance hassles, and improve reliability. The larger point is to always buy good quality stuff. Choose a price point and buy for quality rather than chasing features.

buffalowings 03-17-14 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina (Post 16584715)
That was always the trick with DT shifters. You had to shift not for where you were but for where you were about to be. You had to anticipate what gear you were going to need before you needed it.

A perfect example is the idea of shifting before the corner so you would already be in the right gear to exit the corner. When racing against kids who never used DT shifters I would always hear them shifting after the apex, as they stood, exiting the corner. I would already be in the correct gear nd wouldn't have to stand or jump and could just spin it back up, gaining a few positions in the process and using less energy. I could do this because I learned to race on DT shifters.

This advantage dissapears once you move up the food chain or ride with more experienced riders.

I should better defined dumping too many gears, sometimes while halfway up a climb, I realize the gearing is too tough, (big ring in the front, low gear in the back, when I drop down to the lower ring, I end up with an overly low gearing.

RJM 03-17-14 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RaleighSport (Post 16584932)
Slightly OT, but I wouldn't mind your opinion/experiences with barcons if you have them?

I run friction barend shifters on my Sam Hillborne and have used indexed Shimano 9 speed bar end shifters on other bikes. I prefer shifting using friction on the Sam because the simplicity of it and that bike is used as my commuting/touring bike, so simplicity trumps convenience of indexing. (plus I run 7 speed freewheel rear wheel). The 9 speed indexing is pretty nice, very positive clicks into gear and easy to use, plus the bend in the lever is nicer than the straight silver shifter I have on the friction setup. If it gets out of adjustment you can always flip it into friction mode. Good shifter setup. I prefer barcons to downtube mostly because you don't have to leave the handlebars to shift, but also because my bike doesn't have downtube shifter bosses.

Some cons to Barcons - they add those two loops of cable out from under your bars...some hate the look and they could get in the way of some front bags if you use them. You also shift from the drops, which works very well when in the drops, not so much when you are on the tops. No big deal to move your hands though.

Long Tom 03-17-14 11:12 AM

I've been looking at several bikes for an upcoming N+1 purchase. I've eliminated a couple of them, even though they are an otherwise suitable frameset, because of the shifters on the bikes. Mr. Bdop: what type of shifters do they have? :)






I think brifters is a doofy-sounding word but it sure git's 'er done.

joe932 03-17-14 11:32 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina (Post 16584643)
The video shows a NOVICE using DT shifters. There are several shifts I would have done that would have followed the gear inch progression that would have involved double shifting with one hand using both levers. But heck, believe what you want.

I was a bike racer during 1985 to 1990. I am not a novice. If you still think that I am a novice, then you are actually helping my argument because you are admitting that downtube shifters are easy enough for a novice to use.

Brifters are very important for racers. Brifters are overkill for non-racers.

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=369358

Long Tom 03-17-14 11:49 AM

Overkill?

I guess having disc brakes on a car is overkill for non-racers... but I'll take 'em, every time. :)

Overkill or not, brifters simply rock and represent the current state of the art. This non-racer loves them.

joe932 03-17-14 11:55 AM

Tom, a $10,000 road bike is also overkill for non-racers, but a lot of non-racers have $10,000 road bikes because they want to own the state of the art. To each his own.

A Ferrari is much better than a Mazda 3, but I love my Mazda 3, and I would never buy a Ferrari even though I can afford one.

redlude97 03-17-14 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joe932 (Post 16585507)
I was a bike racer during 1985 to 1990. I am not a novice. If you still think that I am a novice, then you are actually helping my argument because you are admitting that downtube shifters are easy enough for a novice to use.

Brifters are very important for racers. Brifters are overkill for non-racers.

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=369358

If a bike racer fumbles with the shifters and/or handlebars that much while sitting on a stationary trainer I'd hate for a novice to be in my paceline

joe932 03-17-14 12:07 PM

redlube, the video clearly stated that I was shifting much more often than practical for the purpose of demonstration. Had I shifted every five minutes, the video would not had served its purpose.

RJM 03-17-14 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redlude97 (Post 16585613)
If a bike racer fumbles with the shifters and/or handlebars that much while sitting on a stationary trainer I'd hate for a novice to be in my paceline

I will say that downtube shifters probably have no place in most club pacelines across the country. Not that you can't do it, but if you are going to take up riding "like you are racing" then you should probably have the same sort of gear that the other riders have.

Bah Humbug 03-17-14 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina (Post 16584643)
Roll. Of. Eyes.

1. If "Brifter" is a generic term that requires adjectives to add clarity how exactly is it superior to the already existing word, shifter?

"Brifter" refers to the combination of a brake lever and shifter. "Shifter" is a term that includes downtube shifters. And stem shifters. And grip shifters. And anything else that might have been cooked up at some point in history. It's a new word that accurately and succinctly describes a specific type of component, across different brands.

Not that I expect to persuade you, of course.

joe932 03-17-14 12:15 PM

It's a free country. I'm not going to stop using the word brifter because someone else does not like the word.

redlude97 03-17-14 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RJM (Post 16585636)
I will say that downtube shifters probably have no place in most club pacelines across the country. Not that you can't do it, but if you are going to take up riding "like you are racing" then you should probably have the same sort of gear that the other riders have.

there are plenty of guys that show up to some of the group rides that with DT/barends/retroshifts that I have no problem riding with, and subsequently plenty with brifters that I not sit behind. I just thought it was funny that he posted a video showing how "easy" it was with so much poor execution

RPK79 03-17-14 12:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bah Humbug (Post 16585639)
"Brifter" refers to the combination of a brake lever and shifter. "Shifter" is a term that includes downtube shifters. And stem shifters. And grip shifters. And anything else that might have been cooked up at some point in history. It's a new word that accurately and succinctly describes a specific type of component, across different brands.

Not that I expect to persuade you, of course.

Yeah, if you say brifter everyone knows exactly what you are talking about. I see no reason not to use it. Especially since it cuts down on confusion. The only problem is when its use causes pages and pages of discussion as to weather it should be used.

joe932 03-17-14 12:18 PM

"I just thought it was funny that he posted a video showing how "easy" it was with so much poor execution"

Oh brother.

iamtim 03-17-14 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joe932 (Post 16585507)
Brifters are overkill for non-racers.

:rolleyes:

Long Tom 03-17-14 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bah Humbug (Post 16585639)
"Brifter" refers to the combination of a brake lever and shifter. "Shifter" is a term that includes downtube shifters. And stem shifters. And grip shifters. And anything else that might have been cooked up at some point in history. It's a new word that accurately and succinctly describes a specific type of component, across different brands.

Not that I expect to persuade you, of course.

Yeah, I was trying to illustrate that above. I'm in a bike shop, looking at NEW bikes, and a couple of the drop-bar road bikes aren't interesting to me because they have shifters.

Wait! What's that you say? I need to define it more in order for that to make sense? Hmmm. If I said downtubes or barcons or brifters everyone would know exactly what I meant.

For the record the two bikes I'm talking about are touring frames with barcons. If they had brifters I'd be very interested because the bikes otherwise are perfect. But I'll be shifting lots, at lower speeds, stop and go, on crappy pavement where taking a hand off the bars is not so good. I want brifters.

Sorry Bdop- I respect your opinion greatly and agree "brifters" is a doofy word buuuut... so is barcons or downtubes for that matter. In FACT, lots of biking lingo is doofy. You just need to get with these newfangled times sir! :D


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