I am in the process of choosing components for a new Rivendell Touring bike that will be ready sometime in January. I have really struggled with the shifter issue. I have made the decision to go with friction vs indexed, but I realize that Shimano offers both options in a barend shifter. I have never used barend shifters and wonder if I would not prefer downtube instead. I have used downtube on a road bike and I like them. I spend more time on my hoods than the drops. Therefore is there really a difference in convenience to shift from the barends vs the downtube? It seems you still have to remove your hand from the hoods to shift. I know STI or ERGO would solve this issue, but I want to use friction shifters. I have to admit I like the clean look of downtube shifters, however I really want to make a decision based on application vs just looks. I recognize this may be just a matter of personal preference, however since I am new to the touring world I would appreciate the voice of experience! Thank you for your insights! Take care!