Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 36
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,407
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Bar end shifters vs. Brifters on cost

    I have seen lots of thread comparing these systems on points pro and con for touring bikes. But this question is about cost and product choices.

    I have a build that is going to be a 9 speed, or maybe an 8, and index shifting is an advantage. My question is what are the most cost effective systems for bar ends, and brifters. Seems bar ends are getting expensive and brifters are getting cheaper. I need a practical level of quality. What are my options?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    My Bikes
    Hollands Touring Bike, Schwinn mountain bike, folding bike, tandem and triple
    Posts
    545
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When I have looked at prices, he barcons have been cheaper. I just prefer them to the brifters, perhaps because I have been using them, both indexed and non-indexed, for 40 ys.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    On the road-USA
    My Bikes
    Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG
    Posts
    16,084
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In the long run I think that bar ends are going to come out cheaper. I have some Suntour (non indexed) that are still working after some 40 years of service. I have had inexpensive brifters (Sora) crap out after 4-5 years and they can't be repaired, replacement only, at that rate, if I can even find a set of 6 speed brifters I will spend about 10 times the amount of money for brifters that I spend on bar end shifters. YMMV.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  4. #4
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Parkville, Md
    Posts
    7,484
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Personally I wanted to like bar ends but found I really didn't like them in practice. They seemed to get bumped out of gear when parked, they banged my knees, they were not as convenient to reach as I expected. In fact to me they were no more accessible than down tube shifters. While I like really like STI brifters, I used down tube shifters on my last 31 day road bike tour. They worked out very well. I used Shimano 105 ones and found them to be more than adequate.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Pearland, Texas
    My Bikes
    Cannondale, Trek, Raleigh, Santana
    Posts
    5,393
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
    I have seen lots of thread comparing these systems on points pro and con for touring bikes. But this question is about cost and product choices.
    When buying from scratch a set of bar end shifters and a pair of brake levers can approach the cost of a set of a lower end integrated system. Sometimes the cost difference can be small enough to base the choice by personal preference.

    Brad

  6. #6
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    My Bikes
    Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Gunnar Crosshairs, De Bernardi SL
    Posts
    6,097
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    I've got STIs, bar-ends and downtube shifters on various bikes. STIs are the easiest to use but wear out sooner and are more expensive to replace. Bar-ends are probably the most cost effective and convenient option. They are nearly as easy as STIs to use but cost much less and are considered more durable. Downtubes are the least expensive and most durable but also the most inconvenient to use.

    BTW, if considering bar-ends, check out the ones sold by Velo-Orange. They are indexed like Shimano Dura-Ace but less expensive and nicer looking, IMHO.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NE Tx
    My Bikes
    Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial
    Posts
    2,603
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Personal preference is much more important than upfront cost, especially when the difference is rather small. On a build out, you want your choices in components to match your riding needs as much as possible.

    I've done both and much prefer non indexed barends. Mine are at the tips of cow horn bars, thus very convenient. Not so much with drops and down tubes, but folks manage.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 10-17-12 at 05:35 PM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Madison, WI
    My Bikes
    2004 LHT, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 1961 Ideor, 1972 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, Perfekt 3 Speed of unknown age.
    Posts
    1,115
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Some non-standard chainring setups will work best with friction. I use a 52/42/24 front and there is no way that an indexed shifter would work for this as the upshift from the 24 to 42 is not a very smooth shift. Thus, I need a friction front shifter.

  9. #9
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Des Moines
    My Bikes
    1974 Huffy 3 speed
    Posts
    9,055
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Personal preference is much more important than upfront cost, especially when the difference is rather small. On a build out, you want your choices in components to match your riding needs as much as possible.
    The extra cost of brifters isn't really all that much. Probably less than $100. I use downtube and bar-end shifters, friction mode, though as I'm a cheapskate. They last longer and are good enough.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    38,912
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have a build that is going to be a 9 speed, or maybe an 8, and index shifting is an advantage
    Current disadvantage is in bar con shifters, there are few choices , new? Shimano.. at 1 pricepoint.
    SRAM and Campag make some too, but for 10 cog /20 speed racing no friction option .
    only 1 per brand.


    but the Bar end set, having a left friction shifter allows FD cage trim after rear shifts,
    so no dragging chain .. if you pay attention..

    As there are OEM kits, mass produced, to build up lower price road bikes,
    there are lower tier Brifters. and the Ultegra D-A, & Force/Red tier as well.

    Now if you lose the 'it has to index', synched with the rear derailleur, requirement,
    then you have some more choices in how to go about the shifting.
    just that the target is narrower as that 9th cog has to go in the space of 8.

    Note: there is also Retroshift.. those brake levers can fit a down tube shift lever on their front.

    My own drop bar Derailleur Touring bikes have Bar end shifters..
    friction/ratchet, some I got from discard bins because they were old,
    but I have decades of further use out of those.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-17-12 at 10:13 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    My Bikes
    Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Schwinn Typhoon, Nashbar touring, custom steel MTB
    Posts
    4,977
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    STIs are the easiest to use but wear out sooner and are more expensive to replace.
    I've yet to wear out a decent set of brifters, and I shift a lot! Heck, I'll shift 5-6 times going over a 50-foot hill just so I'm always in the optimal gear. I think good brifters are more durable than people expect...

    That said, I don't think there's any way that brifters can compete with bar-ends on cost. Shimano Tiagra and SRAM Apex are the lowest-priced brifters that I would consider well-built and reliable. If you're buying new in retail packaging, they're probably 2-3X the cost of expensive bar-end shifters (ex: Dura-Ace 7900 10-speed bar-ends @ $117 vs. Tiagra 10-speed brifters @ $275 vs. SRAM Apex 10-speed @ $364). You can buy Shimano 2300 or Sora brifters for quite a bit less money, but quality takes a fairly big drop in the process.

    If you're willing to buy used shifters or watch eBay for take-off parts you can often save yourself quite a bit of money. I paid $189 for a set of brand-new Shimano Ultegra ST-6603 brifters on eBay back when they were selling for $400+ at Internet bike shops.

  12. #12
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Des Moines
    My Bikes
    1974 Huffy 3 speed
    Posts
    9,055
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Current disadvantage is in bar con shifters, there are few choices , new? Shimano.. at 1 pricepoint.
    SRAM and Campag make some too, but for 10 cog /20 speed racing no friction option .
    only 1 per brand.
    Velo Orange and Rivendell both sell a friction-only BE shifter.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,463
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I prefer STI "brifters" over bar end shifters. Bar ends are even less convenient to shift than down tube shifters. Both hands have to be moved to make a double shift with bar end shifers(rear cassette and front chain ring). I believe that most people ride with their hands on top of the bars or on the hoods as their cruising position. The drops are use less frequently, usually as a break and riding into a headwind. Moving the hand from the top of the bars or hoods takes substantially more movement to reach a bar end shifter. When I'm riding on the hoods with STI shifters, I can shift without changing my hand position

    We use Shimano Tiagra on all our touring bikes. I have never had a problem with them. My wife's touring bike and my bike have close close to a combined total of 22,000 touring miles on them. All with out any shifting issues. Most of my riding is done with my hands on the tops of the bars or on the hoods; and like sstorkel, I shift a lot. STI shifters are much easier to use.

    I have not had any durability issues even with several crashes, numerous fall overs, and shipping by almost every conveyance. Granted, if a brifter breaks, it may be more of an inconvenience than bar end or down tube shifters; but that would not be a skidding to a halt event.

    Eight years ago I bought a lower end road bike as my winter and commuter bike. The bike was ridden almost every working day since it was purchased, except the last year since I retired. I planned on replacing the "cheap" Sora brifters when they wore out after the first winter. I'm still waiting to change those shifters! I actually like them better than the brifters on my "good" road bike.

    I think there are a couple of reasons that most touring bikes come with bar ends: one is cost. They are cheaper. The other reason is that brifters are harder to set up with low gearing, especially with mountain bike crank sets (50mm chainline) with road front derailleurs (designed for 45-47mm chainline). They are a little more finiky to set up and keep in adjustment. This may be an issue for a lot of people that the manufactures did not want to contend with.

    Bottom line is that it is personal preference, and to some extent economics.
    Last edited by Doug64; 10-19-12 at 10:34 PM. Reason: MATH ERROR

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    38,912
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Velo Orange and Rivendell both sell a friction-only BE shifter.
    if you partner with someone who does not need the bar end pod,
    because they got a set of Paul's thumbies, and put their levers out of
    the bar end kit on those, you can build up the same thing..

  15. #15
    Garlic
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Golden, CO
    My Bikes
    Old REI touring bike
    Posts
    486
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It sounds like brifters will be more expensive, period. It would be hard to argue for brifters based on economy. The bigger question being debated here is whether that extra cost is worth it.

    One big variable is where you're going to be cycling. If you're out for week-long vacations in a developed country, you don't really need rugged shifters, like you would on a round-the-world trip, in my opinion.

    Since I got my first set of brifters, I do a lot more shifting and I really like the two-handed shifting I can do now. I just finished a nice long tour with 15-year old mid-quality brifters (Shimano RSX) that have many tens of thousands of miles on them. I had a plan to replace them with down tube shifters if needed, but I didn't miss a single shift in months of riding, and in the terrain I was riding there was a lot of shifting. I took a little risk starting that tour with them, and I thought they'd be a weak link, but they're good. I need to clean and oil them well every few years, and I hope for many years to come.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,407
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I knew people would want to argues the benefits, but I really only care about the costs for now. But carry on and have fun.

    One of my dream bikes would be built out on a Phil 7 speed freewheel hubset. With something like that, friction shifters are a good fit. But with this 9 speed wheelset I ended up with, I think not having index does not make sense. And index bar ends are expensive, though I now see the brifters are still way more expensive.

    So here is another idea, what about half and half. I shift the rear 10 times for every time I shift the front. You can buy right or left, and there are a lot of left bar ends cheap from cross bikes people have blown up. So the cheapest option with considerable functionality would be bar end left, and brifter right. Probably won't appeal to someone who came after brifters, but if you came when bar ends were the only thing, it might make sense for you. My MTB is sorta like that, because it has brifter like quickfire, but the left hand is crap and works worse than a thumbie. So I am pretty much baked in to this level of functionality.

    I would say that knowing they sell individual brifters, and reading what non-sponsored cross guys say about brifters, pretty much opened my eyes to the reliability issue. Pretty crap basically.

    By the way, there are 300 dollar bar ends... To bad there aren't 69 buck brifters that are as durable as my MTB set.
    Last edited by MassiveD; 10-17-12 at 04:04 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,407
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Does a Tiagra 9 speed shifter work with an LX longcage, or do I need to buy a rear deraileur also? Tiagra seems to be one of the few 9 speed, and 3 front, and it is only 100 for the right hand. So the next question would be whether there is a decent match lever for the left side.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1,374
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You can still get new 8 speed Shimano bar ends. That would be your cheapest option and you get friction front shifting in case you want to use a "non-standard" front crank. Next would be 9 speed Shimano bar ends, still around $100. For brifters, your least expensive would be Campy 10 speed to shift a Shimano 8 speed cassette.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    My Bikes
    Bianchi cyclocross decked for touring and commuting, Downtube folder w/16 speed internal drive train
    Posts
    304
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When my 105 integrated brake/shifters gave out I decided to change to bar-ends mounted on Paul’s Thumbies over cross brake interrupter levers. By the time I bought the Thumbies and new Dura Ace non-integrated brake levers, and Dura Ace BE shifters there wasn’t a lot of difference in price. After three years of touring with this set up I would never go back to integrated shifters. I like to tour on dirt roads and even single track and having my shifters on the bar top makes all the difference especially on steep descents.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,407
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Despite what I said, I would probably just buy the brifters, and only go to a split set up if the left brifter broke, which is not particularly likely. If they made handles that looked similar to the brifters, it might not be too silly to just buy the right one.

    The whole "they still make thing" is kinda annoying. Not only is there the possibility that the gear may break, but that it will not necessarily be replaceable. It is for now, but touring bikes can hang around for a while without really needing an update.

    And further annoyance is the compatibility thing. My bike guy tells me I can't probably run the cassette I want to, which really isn't any too surprising since I was looking at a 12-36 one, still it is made by shimano, but it is an MTB product.

  21. #21
    Je pose, donc je suis.
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Back. Here.
    Posts
    2,898
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
    And further annoyance is the compatibility thing. My bike guy tells me I can't probably run the cassette I want to, which really isn't any too surprising since I was looking at a 12-36 one, still it is made by shimano, but it is an MTB product.
    It is not difficult to find an STI shifter + MTB derailer + MTB cassette that work together.

    For example, I have Tiagra 9-speed STI + SRAM 11-32 cassette + Shimano RD (M5?? -- forget the number) and it works great. I'm guessing the M592, which can be used with 36T cog (I think, don't quote me) would work.

  22. #22
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    My Bikes
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Trek 900, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '92 Schwinn Crosscut, '03 Diamondback Tandem, '94 Yokota Grizzly Peak
    Posts
    2,499
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have Brifters on my road bike (Campy 9 speed) and bar ends on a MTB converted to drops, with an 8 speed on it. The brifters are faster and more convenient because that's where my hands already are. The bar ends are still plenty convenient, though and mechanically simpler. Just pull the lever until it goes into the next gear. Nothing to get out of adjustment. If I were touring, I would have more confidence in the friction shifting bar ends to not give me any trouble. I do find when I hammer uphill out of the saddle, I wave to watch my knees to avoid bumping the bar ends, but it's not a biggie.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  23. #23
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Parkville, Md
    Posts
    7,484
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
    And further annoyance is the compatibility thing. My bike guy tells me I can't probably run the cassette I want to, which really isn't any too surprising since I was looking at a 12-36 one, still it is made by shimano, but it is an MTB product.
    I have always mixed and matched road and mtb components just fine. That is with everything up to and including 9 speed. I have not done so with 10 speed.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8,401
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
    Does a Tiagra 9 speed shifter work with an LX longcage, or do I need to buy a rear deraileur also? Tiagra seems to be one of the few 9 speed, and 3 front, and it is only 100 for the right hand. So the next question would be whether there is a decent match lever for the left side.
    Yes, it does (that's what came on my tourer, a Rocky Mountain Sherpa).

  25. #25
    Has opinion, will express
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    12,437
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Bar-end or downtube shifters still need brake levers to go on the bike. So all that has to be incorporated into the costings.

    Bike shop guys won't give good advice on mixing and matching MTB and road parts because of warranty issues.

    There are plenty of guys and girls on here who ride with mixed and matched MTB and road parts. All the distance on my old Fuji Touring was with TB rear cassette, Deore derailleur and Tiagra shifters (circa 2000 -- which I mention because I think they were of better build quality than successive models).

    I have two or three pairs of bar-end shifters are home, and only one pair has been used -- on a frankenbike emergency build for Machka after her bike was stolen, and she didn't like them).

    I have used downtube shifters and quite frankly, I liked them. I don't know about bar-ends until I have used them.

    The thing is, two of the bar-end pairs are Dura Ace varieties and they were picked up off eBay for pretty well brand new. The thing is that 9sp stuff is getting rarer and rarer by the day off the LBS shelves, and you might have to hunt around for them in the electronic marketplace... look particularly on triathlete forums and such like as competitors upgrade from 9sp to 10sp.

    That being said, you shouldn't have to pay anywhere near retail for them.
    Last edited by Rowan; 10-18-12 at 10:04 PM.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •