I take a Suntour DT shifter in case the Ergo lever gets damaged or I have to replace the Campy rear mech with something non compatable.
The front shifter is not indexed on campy and breakdowns are less common so I will take my chances with that.
Never once thinking about my Campy STI shifters snapping off, I would have never given this a thought.
Everyone knows finding Campy is a real pain, even when you live in a Big City. So of course, when my STI shifter just snapped in two in Cape Breton, with my limited knowlege on repairs, I was at a loss. Luckily it was the front shifter, and so after two days of riding in a fixed ring, also fine as I generally ride pokey, I finally reached a bike shop. Now, I have a downtube shifter as the work around. Oddly enough, the day my shifter snapped off, I met a fellow also travelling on Campy, whose rear shifter broke, and the same shop did a work around with a Shimano 8 speed mountain bike contraption.
My downtube shifter works fine and I probably won't get the shifter fixed till Spring, when I also do major cleaning after winter and prepping for touring.
From now on, I am going to carry this odd little bit.
And the other thing I'll be doing is not having Campy on my next touring bike, whenever that one enters my life.
Atlantis, Bleriot, Waterford,Steamroller, Big Dummy
I use downtube shifters and prefer them over "the fancy stuff." I like them because there aren't as many cables up front (I use a handlebar bag)... and they are relatively simple and dependable. It helps that they're cheap as well.
True North tourer (www.truenorthcycles.com), 2004; Miyata 1000, 1985
I toured with friction, downtube shifters for fifteen years, and managed well enough. Then I switched to a rear indexed shifter, and much prefered that. Two years later, I retired my old bike. My new bike has STI shifters. I adore them. But they make me nervous.
I am slightly paranoid about depending on non-serviceable components, like STI shifters. Since buying my new bike, I have planned to buy downtube shifters and parts in case of STI failure, but have not got around to doing it yet. Yet I am not sure I would be able to install them myself. My maintenance/repair skills are only so-so. I feel like a mechanical genius if I manage to fix a flat tire or take in the slack in a brake cable without getting totally frustrated. So ultimately, I need to go to bike shops when things are seriously wrong. So far I have been lucky with my STI shifters. My gut tells me I really should bring back-up downtube shifters, and maybe I will next time!
Unless you tour from up market bike shop to up market bike shop, it really makes sense to have simple stuff that can't break. It is such a pain to be stranded with mechanical problems. Bar ends are fine, but downtube shifters work great, and while both are different than brifters, I'd be hard put to believe you end up with more than a 100 yards difference at the end of the day. The big advantage to downtube shifters are that there is less to go wrong, and anything that does need service can't require taking your bar wrap apart.