I've just got my new custom touring bike, a Marinoni Turismo Extreme, and rode it for the first time today. I ordered it with Shimano Dura-Ace Bar-end shifters (barcons) along with compact brake levers. However, they weren't able to get these components quickly enough so they've temporarily installed Shimano Ultegra STI shifter/levers. So now I have a choice to either keep the Ultegras or switch to the barcons when they arrive.
I know that many people on this forum prefer bar-end shifters for touring. I believe one advantage will be friction shifting on the front which I'd like. Another advantage will be that I can use compact brake levers for my small hands. But, the Ultegra's are easy to shift while keeping hands on the handlebar particularly on hills. However, I think that a front friction shifter would enable me to move the derailler a bit to prevent rubbing when the chain is in the smallest or largest cog. Is this correct? My gearing is: 11-34 9-spd cassette and 22-32-44 on the front... great for fully loaded touring on hills.
Should I keep the Ultegras or switch to barcons? I'd appreciate hearing advantages/disadvantages from people who are familiar with these choices.