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brifters vs bar ends for touring

Old 10-11-16, 10:37 AM
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brifters vs bar ends for touring

Many people support the use of bar ends for touring, saying they are easier to fix if you break down somewhere in the boonies. My thought is that neither break down very often, certainly not enough to worry about. And if you need parts, you're gonna wait for parts no matter what. Personally I hate bar ends and very much like brake lever shifters.
Any thoughts on the subject?
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Old 10-11-16, 10:45 AM
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I bought barcons because I'm cheap and already had a perfectly good set of Cane Creek brake levers. Picked a set of BS-77 off the bay for $40 like new. Took a little while to get good at shifting them, takes a little extra beyond the actual index point to get my long cage MTB derailleur to grab the next cog . Now that I have it down I find they're not too bad. OTOH, I'm always looking for a bargain set of 9 speed brifters on ebay, eventually I'll replace the barcons.

I agree with you about the "middle-of-nowhere" scenario. If one keeps up with one's bike neither are an issue.
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Old 10-11-16, 10:47 AM
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I've used both and far prefer "brifters" for ease of use and the ability to shift with my hands on the hoods. Barends require you have your hands on the drops or remove one hand from the bars and this is very awkward if you have to shift while climbing and nearly impossible if you are standing on the pedals. It is true barends are less likely to malfunction to say nothing about being a lot less expensive.

A great compromise are the Gevenalle "Retroshifters" which mount barend or downtube shift levers right on the brake levers. I have them on three bikes and they combine the accessibility of brifters with the durability and lower cost of barends and can be upgraded (say from 9 to 10 or 10 to 11-speed) at low incremental cost. Highly recommended as the best of both worlds.
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Old 10-11-16, 10:48 AM
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You should go with whatever you like. The difference in reliability and maintenance requirements between the two is probably negligible. The exception is the fact that most bar ends can revert to friction shifting if an issue arises anywhere in the system. You can never use a brifter in friction mode.

I like bar ends and recently upgraded an old bike with them. (It previously had levers on the down tube.) If you hate them, you should not consider using them just because they're supposedly easier to repair.

A third option for a touring bike is thumb shifters on top of the bar. They sort of incorporate the best of both others.
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Old 10-11-16, 10:52 AM
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it's just another preference opinion, Hamster-wheel .. read the archives where this has been brought up before, repeatedly.

if your Shimano road brifters stop working , you just replace them, too much machine assembled clockworks to do otherwise..





'/,
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Old 10-11-16, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon
You can never use a brifter in friction mode.
Modern spacing is so tight that you can usually over-come it by double shifting or over-shifting (things like +2-1, instead of +1). Friction issues usually result in sub-par shifting, but you can almost also get it to run reasonably in most of the gears, with it only being noisy in a few. Not ideal, but certainly something you could manage.
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Old 10-11-16, 11:52 AM
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A not yet mentioned reason for bar end levers is the lack of index compatibility concerns with a friction ft shifter. You can mix cranks, rings, ders to your gearing heart's content and still shift well with no rub after. I ran Ergo for many years because of this feature. Andy.
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Old 10-11-16, 01:27 PM
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For breakages, I have had a pair of 6700 STI's fail on me (F&R at different times) after between 15-20000km, have a pair of Campag Daytona Ergolevers from the year 2000 which have about 10k on them, apart from a few sets of hood covers, they are as good as new, have about 5k on 6800's with no issues yet.
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Old 10-11-16, 01:56 PM
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then, Repeating again , gear heads may recall, there is Gevenalle levers, combining 2 simple mechanisms.

Shifters | Product Categories | Gevenalle
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Old 10-11-16, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by broctoon
you should go with whatever you like.

+1
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Old 10-11-16, 05:02 PM
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I like barcons for a coupe of reasons:
1) Brifters make the brake lever sit further from the bars.
2) Brifters can be fragile and difficult to adjust
3) Using a Rivendell bar end adapter, I can use ANY downtube shifter, indexing or not. And, if the shifter fails, I only need to replace the shifter.
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Old 10-11-16, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch
I like barcons for a coupe of reasons:
1) Brifters make the brake lever sit further from the bars.
2) Brifters can be fragile and difficult to adjust
3) Using a Rivendell bar end adapter, I can use ANY downtube shifter, indexing or not. And, if the shifter fails, I only need to replace the shifter.
Gevenalle "Retroshifts" also overcome all of your objections to brifters. They offer the ability to use nearly any downtube or barend levers, are equally cheap to replace after crash damage and are as easy to adjust as any downtube or barend. And, yes, i'm a fan.
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Old 10-11-16, 09:09 PM
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So why do you say brifters are fragile? Personally I've never heard of a broken one. They are easy to adjust with a barrel adjuster. Although it is easy to make those assumptions.
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Old 10-11-16, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox
So why do you say brifters are fragile? Personally I've never heard of a broken one. They are easy to adjust with a barrel adjuster. Although it is easy to make those assumptions.
I've broken a couple, and plenty others on BF have, now you have heard of some broken ones
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Old 10-11-16, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox
Many people support the use of bar ends for touring, saying they are easier to fix if you break down somewhere in the boonies. My thought is that neither break down very often, certainly not enough to worry about. And if you need parts, you're gonna wait for parts no matter what. Personally I hate bar ends and very much like brake lever shifters.
Any thoughts on the subject?
I've had brifters stop working suddenly, without warning. I'd never use them for touring, even though I've managed to disassemble and fix one brifter at home once.

Friction shifter option is good for less worries IMO, so I'd go with friction shifter bar ends any time.
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Old 10-12-16, 09:26 AM
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I've also busted a bar end shifter (on a travel bike) to the point it would not shift, period. I still like 'em, but they're not guaranteed trouble-proof.
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Old 10-12-16, 09:30 AM
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Sun tour power ratchet bar ends still working after 35 years of service.. including several international cycle tours.

hands always on the handlebars.. friction shifting .. keeping the speed count to a realistic 6 or 7 in a wide range 13~34t.



Rohloff has a back up ultimate cable broken, shifter , turning the gear sequencer at the hub using an 8mm wrench.






'/,

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-12-16 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 10-12-16, 09:51 AM
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Maybe its me, but bar-ends have all the disadvantages of downtube shifters with few of the advantages. I'd just as soon (and do) run downtube shifters and eliminate 3' of cable housing each side, and enjoy the crisp, direct, lower friction shifting action. You have to take your hand off the bars to shift anyway. 9sp brifters are still above my pay grade new, and I'd be real leery of buying a pair someone is flogging on Ebay or C'list. We're weird that way in PDX. There are a LOT of DT shifters in use here.
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Old 10-12-16, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by andrew r stewart
a not yet mentioned reason for bar end levers is the lack of index compatibility concerns with a friction ft shifter. You can mix cranks, rings, ders to your gearing heart's content and still shift well with no rub after. I ran ergo for many years because of this feature. Andy.
+ 1.
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Old 10-12-16, 10:25 AM
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Just my opinion, but of the two bikes I ride most frequently (one with brifters and the other with barcons), I slightly prefer barcons and I do think they're more reliable - I've never had any issues with several big-mile barcon bikes and the high-mileage (10K+ mile) brifter bikes I've had all eventually have disabling brifter problems, albeit after many, many miles. If you prefer one or the other, I wouldn't make reliability a deal breaker, but it could certainly be a consideration if you're on the fence.

The comment about downtube shifters being just as easy to use as barcons doesn't jive with my experience. I have two old Treks that are virtually identical except one has the original downtube shifters and the other has barcons and reaching down to the downtube is a lot more troublesome and less safe that just sliding your hand to the end of the handlebar. On a fast/bumpy downhill with these somewhat flexy bikes, I have no desire to take one hand off the handlebar.

All in all and without special circumstances, for a touring bike, I'd prefer barcons, but I'd go brifters on anything else. Downtube shifters are when you want to stay classic, but they suck in an ergo comparison.

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Old 10-12-16, 10:40 AM
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If you're worried about being stranded on a tour, bring a bar-end shifter as a spare, along with cable & housing.
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Old 10-12-16, 10:58 AM
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Bar ends can fail after a crash.

STIs, at least Shimano ones, can stop working without a warning, just from regular use. Sometimes even when rather new. It's happened to me once, and to an acquaintance. I've installed and set up lots of STIs and know how to do it properly, it's just the mechanism - very sensitive.

I'm yet to have a friction shifter stop working from regular use, especially suddenly, without a warning.
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Old 10-12-16, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar
STIs, at least Shimano ones, can stop working without a warning, just from regular use. Sometimes even when rather new. It's happened to me once, and to an acquaintance. I've installed and set up lots of STIs and know how to do it properly, it's just the mechanism - very sensitive.

I hesitate to respond, it might be like mentioning the p*ncture fairy. My Shimano brifters have 25,000 miles on them and still work. I did squirt some spray grease in there a few years back, might be time for some more. I do have a set of spares, just in case.

I'm yet to have a friction shifter stop working from regular use, especially suddenly, without a warning.

Here we've been comparing apples and oranges (brifters and bar-ends, presumably indexed), and you come along and start comparing them to blueberries!
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Old 10-12-16, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
I hesitate to respond, it might be like mentioning the p*ncture fairy. My Shimano brifters have 25,000 miles on them and still work. I did squirt some spray grease in there a few years back, might be time for some more. I do have a set of spares, just in case.




Here we've been comparing apples and oranges (brifters and bar-ends, presumably indexed), and you come along and start comparing them to blueberries!
My first post on the topic mentioned friction bar ends - I'd not consider others for long rides. At least ones that have a friction option.

Haven't played with Campy, or SRAM a lot, but Shimano STIs are not reliable enough IMO and experience. It's not they can't and never last. But the fact you can never tell if they'll stop working rather suddenly. Maybe just bad luck.
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Old 10-12-16, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
I've used both and far prefer "brifters" for ease of use and the ability to shift with my hands on the hoods. Barends require you have your hands on the drops or remove one hand from the bars and this is very awkward if you have to shift while climbing and nearly impossible if you are standing on the pedals. It is true barends are less likely to malfunction to say nothing about being a lot less expensive.

A great compromise are the Gevenalle "Retroshifters" which mount barend or downtube shift levers right on the brake levers. I have them on three bikes and they combine the accessibility of brifters with the durability and lower cost of barends and can be upgraded (say from 9 to 10 or 10 to 11-speed) at low incremental cost. Highly recommended as the best of both worlds.
I'm with him!

As much as I understand the simpleness of bar end shifters (and that they are cheaper as well) I can't imagine how you would do what is mentioned above with them.
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