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  1. #1
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Got Dem Bar End Blues...

    Singin' dem ole bar end blues.....

    I have a new Co-Motion Americano (nice!!) which I spec'd with Dura-Ace bar end shifters, Race Face Deus crank (46-34-24), XTR rear derailleur, 9 speed chain and an 11-34 cassette. While the bike is still new to me, I am not convinced that I'm going to be happy with the shifting system. A friend with a Co-Mo tandem has Ultegra STI shifters, 10 speed chain, XTR rearr derailleur and 11-34 cassette- and he just finished an 1800 mile tour along the west coast with no problems.

    I am very interested in converting to STI (I know all of the arguments for bar ends- but they seems to be a really slow and inefficient way to shift to me) but only if I can maintain my current gearing (I plan on loaded touring and live in a very hilly area....so gearing, at the end of the day, makes all of the major decisions around here). My LBS seems disinclined to configure the bike like this- he says it won't shift properly, but my buddy's experience belies this.

    Thoughts??

  2. #2
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I've got STIs, bar end, and down tube shifters on different road bikes. All are Dura-Ace, 9-speed.

    Personally, I would not put 10-speed STIs on a bike. Chain wear is much worse with 10-speeds, and shifting quickly degrades. I had 10-speed Chorus on one of my bikes, and I finally removed it and replaced with 9-speed Shimano.

    Bar-end shifters take a little getting used to, but are great unless you are trying to keep up with a pack in a paceline and shifting a lot. For touring, they should be fine and much more durable and reliable than STIs.

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I think you'll be fine with bar-end shifters. After all, you aren't doing crits.

    And if you don't like it, then change to STI. There's no rush, so you might as well give it a month or so.

    (By the way, I've used both downtube and bar-end shifters in moderately fast group rides without any major issues.)

  4. #4
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    I'll push back a tad-

    I don't do group rides with pacelines much, but have in the past. What I'm worried about is climbing and riding rollers, both of which require (for me) a bunch of shifting. Again, I just got the bike and will give the bar ends a shot- but it seems to me that there's a reason that 90% of all road bikes are sold with STI brifters- they are easier to use. As durable?? Of course not, but I did a transamerica with STI's (with 70 other people similarly equipped and NO ONE had any issues I was aware of). I think this durability issue with STI vs. bar ends is over blown ....unless you are going around the world- which I am not. I probably have 15-20,000 miles on my STI shifters and they operate flawlessly. Where's the issue?

    BTW, 10 speed vs. 9 speed is not an issue with me- I'd be happy with 9 speed STI if that was an option.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    I think you'll be fine with bar-end shifters. After all, you aren't doing crits.

    And if you don't like it, then change to STI. There's no rush, so you might as well give it a month or so.

    (By the way, I've used both downtube and bar-end shifters in moderately fast group rides without any major issues.)
    Exactly what I plan on. Just trying to understand my options now. Thx.

  6. #6
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    When I bought my 2006 Americano, I got the STI's and ROAD BB7's that Co-Motion offered at the time. I have over 21k miles of loaded touring and both upgrades are doing fine.

    Now, in fairness I am not in bicycle nirvana with the choices I made. First of all, as in all triple chain ring arrangements, the front derailleur rubs in some gear combos. No matter how well the bike is tuned, there will be some slight rubbing even when shifting and trimming properly. When the bike is ridden for a few thousand miles and goes out of tune, this problem gets worse.

    Bar ends allow variable adjustments of your derailleurs so there just isn't a rubbing issue.

    Second, the 2005 ROAD BB7's return springs are not stong enough to fully retract the calipers. (Yes, its true even when the spring tension bolt is fully tightened). I am trying out the external spring idea described elsewhere. In the interim there can be a very annoying brake singing sound especially when the loaded bike is flexing while I stand in the pedals. (Total rig including rider can be as much as 250 lbs.)

    OK, so nothing is perfect. The reason I brought up the brakes is that if you want to switch to STI from your current arrangement, you will also need to either use a Travel Agent (http://www.problemsolversbike.com/pd...avel_agent.pdf, http://www.problemsolversbike.com/pd...avel_agent.pdf) to increase cable pull or get new brakes that are compatible with short pull road levers. The ROAD BB7's are one such brake. Here are others http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/cantilevers/index.html

    In my experience, the much wider range of my rear cassette (11-34) makes me shift much more than I do with the cassette I use when riding unloaded (11-21). IMHO, I view STI's as more finicky for sure than friction shifters, but they are definitely a step forward for tourers who feel comfortable doing their own wrenching. Same with mechanical disc brakes BTW.

  7. #7
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    BTW, in theory you can get 10 speed rather than 9 speed Ultegra brifters and use a SRAM XX 11-36 10speed cassette. Of course, you might need a SRAM XX rear derailleur too.

    http://www.speedgoat.com/product.asp...t=28&brand=240
    http://www.speedgoat.com/product.asp...t=33&brand=240

    Of course if you can afford these, you can probably also afford a skilled and experienced sherpa to carry your stuff, flying him/her in from Nepal, providing a nice salary and generous health plan.

  8. #8
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    You can get Tiagra 9 speed STI brifters and not need to change your gear setup at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobframe View Post
    Singin' dem ole bar end blues.....

    I have a new Co-Motion Americano (nice!!) which I spec'd with Dura-Ace bar end shifters, Race Face Deus crank (46-34-24), XTR rear derailleur, 9 speed chain and an 11-34 cassette. While the bike is still new to me, I am not convinced that I'm going to be happy with the shifting system. A friend with a Co-Mo tandem has Ultegra STI shifters, 10 speed chain, XTR rearr derailleur and 11-34 cassette- and he just finished an 1800 mile tour along the west coast with no problems.

    I am very interested in converting to STI (I know all of the arguments for bar ends- but they seems to be a really slow and inefficient way to shift to me) but only if I can maintain my current gearing (I plan on loaded touring and live in a very hilly area....so gearing, at the end of the day, makes all of the major decisions around here). My LBS seems disinclined to configure the bike like this- he says it won't shift properly, but my buddy's experience belies this.

    Thoughts??

  9. #9
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobframe View Post
    My LBS seems disinclined to configure the bike like this- he says it won't shift properly, but my buddy's experience belies this.

    Thoughts??
    Having invested big bucks in your Americano, you can spend ~$300 for a set of Ultegra 9 speed shifters. ~$250 if you went with 105. Put them on, try them out, see how they work. If they don't work you can get some of your money back selling them.

    Speedo

  10. #10
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Well, I may be eating some crow here (certainly not the first time in my career).

    I just got back from my first ride on the new Americano- a route with moderate rollers and a pretty good headwind from time to time. My impressions:

    1. First off, the bike is dreamy smooth, stable beyond words and very comfortable. I'm used to a Giant TCR and a Cervelo Soloist (both carbon/racing geometry) and riding this bike is like sliding into an old worn leather couch. With the upright riding position and lumbering weight, it encourages one to actually look around instead of just trying to hammer. I enjoyed the ride and the scenery...just cruised. Very different riding experience altogether and one I enjoyed.

    2. The Brooks B17 (my first Brooks was 30 years ago or so) was much more comfy than I expected. Granted I only rode 15 miles, but not bad. I may look into having the center carved out as they do with the Imperial (wonder if a cobbler could do that??) as the irritation I did experience was in that center/plumbing region. A cut out might help that- I currently ride a saddle with a substantial center cut out and I suspect I am going to need that (ah the joys of being 60ish).

    AND FINALLY>>>>>

    3. Ok, Ok...the bar end shifters weren't bad. In fact (voice lowers and he stares at his feet), I actually liked them. Found an advantage: pull up to a stop and you can move the chain from the 11 cog to the 34 cog with one movement- with an STI it would have been: click, click, click.....click. I still found myself wanting to shift with my middle finger a lot, but the ability to move the chain immediately to the cog you want is a pretty neat advantage. I expected to hate them on any kind of incline where multiple shifts would have been needed, but it just wasn't a big deal. I am still wondering what it will be like if I am climbing Hog Pen (one of Six Gaps in north GA mountains with pitches of 15% and better) and need to go down a gear while maintaining forward momentum-taking a hand off the handlebars in that situation concerns me.

    Conclusion: I will definitely give this a chance and do not feel an urge to rip them out just yet.
    Last edited by bobframe; 10-24-09 at 09:57 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    Now, in fairness I am not in bicycle nirvana with the choices I made. First of all, as in all triple chain ring arrangements, the front derailleur rubs in some gear combos. No matter how well the bike is tuned, there will be some slight rubbing even when shifting and trimming properly. When the bike is ridden for a few thousand miles and goes out of tune, this problem gets worse.
    I'm using Ultegra STI shifters, Ultegra SL FD, Ultegra SL RD, Deore M532 trekking crank, and Shimano 105-series 12-27 cassette on my touring/commute bike. I think the FD rubs in 1, or maybe 2, of the 30 gear combos. I have far more rubbing on my normal road bike, which uses a 50/34 compact crank.

    It almost sounds to me like you're not using the FD's trim positions or the system isn't adjusted properly. My setup never seems to go out of adjustment, BTW.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I'm using Ultegra STI shifters, Ultegra SL FD, Ultegra SL RD, Deore M532 trekking crank, and Shimano 105-series 12-27 cassette on my touring/commute bike. I think the FD rubs in 1, or maybe 2, of the 30 gear combos. I have far more rubbing on my normal road bike, which uses a 50/34 compact crank.

    It almost sounds to me like you're not using the FD's trim positions or the system isn't adjusted properly. My setup never seems to go out of adjustment, BTW.
    The 2006 Americano had a 11-34 cassette, XTR RD, an Ultegra triple FD, Ultegra 9 speed brifters, and a Raceface 46 34 24 crank. The 2010 Americano now has an XT triple FD. Maybe I should swap out for an XT FD? But its also very possible that I just don't have the Ultegra FD set up right. My frame is off getting painted now, but when I build it up again for next season I won't accept less than perfection on the FD and disc brakes!

  13. #13
    Crazyguyonabike
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    One possible compromise between bar-end and STI might be the Kelly Take Offs:

    http://www.kellybike.com/2nd_xtra_takeoff.html

    I installed these on my Salsa Fargo recently and they seem to work very well. You can use the bar-end shifters you have, or upgrade (as I did) to some Dura Ace downtube shifters (they have a slightly longer and straighter shifter). I like this setup because it gets the shifter up closer to where my hands usually are on the bars. I find shifters on the bar ends always seem to end up being bumped by my knees at stops - which both shifts them into unexpected gears, and also irks my knees.

    (Note: The pics below also show a second straight handlebar segment mounted on a second stem - that is simply for getting the handlebar bag a little lower and also freeing up more real estate on the top bar, and has nothing to do with the Takeoffs - though I did discover by accident that having the second bar there allows me to use it as a base for my hands sometimes when shifting from underneath the top bar - you might do this sometimes depending on the position of the gear levers).

    Neil
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Ride #2 just finished and I am really warming up to the bar end transmission. It seems appropriate for the kind of ride that I am finding myself engaged in.....slow down, take in the scenery, oh yeah- shift occasionally. Today, while climbing a long grade (probably 6-7%) I was in my middle (34) chainring and decided that I'd go down to the 24 ring. I screwed up and shifted to the 46 and then moved my hand back to the brake hoods. I immediately realized I was going to get myself in trouble if I didn't react pretty quickly. I was able to move my hand back to the bar end, quickly shift from the 46 to the 24 and salvage the effort without toppling over.

    I may have a second helping of that crow.

  15. #15
    Used to be fast surfjimc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobframe View Post
    2. The Brooks B17 (my first Brooks was 30 years ago or so) was much more comfy than I expected. Granted I only rode 15 miles, but not bad. I may look into having the center carved out as they do with the Imperial (wonder if a cobbler could do that??) as the irritation I did experience was in that center/plumbing region. A cut out might help that- I currently ride a saddle with a substantial center cut out and I suspect I am going to need that (ah the joys of being 60ish).
    This might help: Brooks cut out service

  16. #16
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    I've got the Barcons on one of my bikes. True, I don't shift as often as I do my brifters, but I slipped into the following technique: When in the drops, you push the lever down with the heel of your palm, then pull it up with your pinky. It's all right there, no reaching. If you're on the hoods, I'm afraid you've got to reach.

  17. #17
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I would not discount the chain-wear factor. The life of 10-speed chains is considerably shorter than 9-speed, and cassettes are much more expensive. I can easily get 5,000 miles of use with an Ultegra 9-speed chain, and my cassettes last 10,000 miles. With my 10-speed group, shifting started degrading noticeably at 2,000 miles and I was lucky to get 5,000 miles with a cassette. Although the cost may not be an issue to you, it is very annoying when your shifting starts degrading (jumping gears, not shifting) as your chain starts to wear out. The purpose of 10 and 11-speed groups is to make Shimano and Campy more money, not to improve your bike performance.

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