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View Poll Results: Bar-cons or Down Tube shifters?

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  • Bar-con shifters

    32 68.09%
  • Down Tube shifters

    15 31.91%
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    Bar-cons or Down tube shifters?

    Bar-cons or Down tube shifters?

    Which do you prefer and why?

    When I got my first 10 speed it had down tube. I stopped riding when I went into the Army and just started again a couple of years ago. Now I just bought a 1984 Trek 720 that has Bar-cons.

    I think I will try the bar-cons for awhile, but may switch them to down tube, not sure yet. I will not upgrade to any thing more modern, until I bought this bike I forgot the joys of friction shifters.

    Which do you prefer and why? is there any advantage of one over the other for touring/commuting? My race/go fast bike has STI so I am only asking about touring/comutting type riding.

  2. #2
    Videre non videri
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    Bar-end shifters. I can't believe how much nicer they feel compared to the indexed thumb shifters I used to have.
    Haven't tried downtube shifters, but I would think shifting is slower, as you have to move your hands all the way there.

    Front is friction, but the rear is still indexed, but I'm thinking of testing friction there as well.

  3. #3
    brain damaged bovine muccapazza's Avatar
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    Downtube shifter pros: Cleaner looking, don't have that onerous extra cable weight, and easier to wrap them handlebars

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muccapazza
    Downtube shifter pros: Cleaner looking, don't have that onerous extra cable weight, and easier to wrap them handlebars

    This is kinda of what I was thinking, mostly cleaner looking. I think my Bar-cons can be converted to downtube, or maybe I just read that wrong. If I decide to change it, down tube shifters are pretty cheap to buy I think.

    Still undecided

  5. #5
    Pedalpower clayface's Avatar
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    Bar-ends for a loaded tourer. Down tube shifters require your hand off the bars and this can compromise handling.

  6. #6
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolo Grubb
    Bar-cons or Down tube shifters?

    Which do you prefer and why?

    Bar end'ers !!
    If you need to shift often and quickly its the only way to go !

  7. #7
    brain damaged bovine muccapazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayface
    Bar-ends for a loaded tourer. Down tube shifters require your hand off the bars and this can compromise handling.
    Doh!
    Good point! I demand a revote, I couldn't understand the voting instructions, etc, etc, ...!

  8. #8
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    I don't know how to vote, I'm assuming that your talking about restoring a vintage tourer, so I guess I would go with what came on the bike originally.

  9. #9
    Along for the ride.
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    I used downtube shifters for 20+ years, then bought a bike that had bar end shifters. I rode it for 6 months or so before changing it over to downtube shifters like I used before. For me, the issue was double shifts. With the bar end shifters, shifting the rear and then shifting or trimming the front required a lot of hand movement on and off the bars. Going back to downtube shifters allows me sometimes trim/shift the front right handed, in the same movement as the rear shift.

  10. #10
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregw
    I don't know how to vote, I'm assuming that your talking about restoring a vintage tourer, so I guess I would go with what came on the bike originally.
    It might not be a restoration. It might be an update.

    An old tourer can be made into a very serviceable modern tourer with a few changes.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed
    It might not be a restoration. It might be an update.

    An old tourer can be made into a very serviceable modern tourer with a few changes.

    Mostly a clean with some slight restoration needed. Right now the bike has bar-cons that it came with. I will stay with those for now, but may switch to Down tube shifters later. Depends on how much I end up liking or disliking the bar-cons

    I am going to use this bike for touring and commuting

  12. #12
    Veni, Vidi, Vomiti SteveE's Avatar
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    Bar end shifters are grat on touring bikes. Let's you shift without taking your hands off the bars. They are less complicated than brifters. Totally reliable and less likely to break at an inopportune time, such as touring somewhere off the beaten path.
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ...'holy *****...what a ride!'"

  13. #13
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    I've used both but came back in the end to down-tube shifters. Why? Well they are precise, after so many years I can change gear and trim without thought and moreover after coming off due to tram lines I recieved the barend in my thigh. While this caused a nasty bruise I hate to think what the effect would have been with pointy barend shifters. Again down-tube shifters free up my handlebars for my "mirrycle" and I regard this as invaluable for loaded touring.

  14. #14
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Wait a moment, folks. The rapid-fire shifters (such as STI) are the greatest advance in bicycling in decades. There is no reason to ever again consider down tube or bar end shifters, for touring, commuting or recreational cycling.

  15. #15
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown
    Wait a moment, folks. The rapid-fire shifters (such as STI) are the greatest advance in bicycling in decades. There is no reason to ever again consider down tube or bar end shifters, for touring, commuting or recreational cycling.
    DANG! WHAT ON EARTH WERE WE THINKING?!!
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    1970 Mercier



    This is not my bike but a good picture of how I plan to wrap my bars with the bar-con cables comeing out near the stem. I will try this for a bit and see how I like Bar-cons.

    I am also thinking of upgrading to newer brakes and Aero brake levers.

  17. #17
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown
    Wait a moment, folks. The rapid-fire shifters (such as STI) are the greatest advance in bicycling in decades. There is no reason to ever again consider down tube or bar end shifters, for touring, commuting or recreational cycling.
    Maybe for you. I like to think of them as overpriced junk.

  18. #18
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    DT shifter are very fast and positive, esp for dual shifts of the front and rear.
    Bar ends let you change on tricky descents esp on tracks and trails. They are more vulnerable to damage if you drop the bike, but not very.
    The problem with brifters is when you trash the rear mech and need a replacement. You probably can't buy the latest x-speed model but the cheap steel SIS rear mechs can be had almost anywhere. You have no friction mode to make the mech work with your cogs.
    I carry a spare DT shifter when touring with brifters.

  19. #19
    Ha Ha! Boss. SpokesInMyPoop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfbiked
    Maybe for you. I like to think of them as overpriced junk.
    yeah really... i saw an exploded diagram for a brifter, and damn does that look complicated or what?!
    Roll of quarters... wait, that's not a roll of- AH! There it is!

  20. #20
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown
    Wait a moment, folks. The rapid-fire shifters (such as STI) are the greatest advance in bicycling in decades. There is no reason to ever again consider down tube or bar end shifters, for touring, commuting or recreational cycling.
    Ken, you are of course correct, that's why I thought they were talking about a vintage restoration. But remember on this board it is heresy to make the comments that you made. Bar-end, down-tube, canti-brakes, steel anything are all sacred. So apologize now before they attack both of us.

  21. #21
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregw
    Ken, you are of course correct, that's why I thought they were talking about a vintage restoration. But remember on this board it is heresy to make the comments that you made. Bar-end, down-tube, canti-brakes, steel anything are all sacred. So apologize now before they attack both of us.
    Not sacred, just tried and true. Brifters are expensive and front indexing is just effing stupid. Touring is about reliability so suspicion of racing bike fads is sensible.

  22. #22
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    If your passion is long-distance self-supported touring the it is wise to have components the are durable, reliable and that you can fix yourself. For me that is the priority as it is with other cyclists in the same category. Can you fix your own brifters?

  23. #23
    Pedalpower clayface's Avatar
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    Just one example why STI should be avoided in a touring bike (from Adam K's cycling site):
    http://www.adamk.ca/tourbike.htm

  24. #24
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    I told you!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayface
    Just one example why STI should be avoided in a touring bike (from Adam K's cycling site):
    http://www.adamk.ca/tourbike.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by onbike 1939
    If your passion is long-distance self-supported touring the it is wise to have components the are durable, reliable and that you can fix yourself. For me that is the priority as it is with other cyclists in the same category. Can you fix your own brifters?

    THanks for the info, but I am not asking about STI. Only asking about the pros and cons of Bar-cons vs Down-tube.

    The bike in question will never have STI/brifters.

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