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Help Decide - Thumbies or Keep Down Tube?

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Help Decide - Thumbies or Keep Down Tube?

Old 10-27-15, 03:39 PM
  #1  
Velocivixen
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Help Decide - Thumbies or Keep Down Tube?

I have a 1987 Miyata One Twelve Mixte. It came with heavy steel Northroads style bars which were cracked, so I replace with VO Postino bars. Those were alright but I still wasn't riding the bike as much as I thought I would. Last summer decided to get some Soma Highway One drop bars, NOS OEM Shimano brake levers and make the bike like it was originally. Although the bike looked original I absolutely didn't like drop bars/levers. I even tried installing modern road levers thinking the more ergonomic hoods would be better. They were but marginally.

So yesterday I removed the drops and installed VO Porteur bars, along with the Miyata's original Shimano brake levers and Miyata branded rubber grips. I still have to reach down to shift and I think that is actually the issue. So my options are: 1. keep downtube shifters and practice using them more & eventually I'll get used to it. or 2. Install something like VO or Paul thumbie mounts and move the shift lever up to the handlebars.

Current shifters are friction front (triple) and indexed or friction rear (6-speed "Light Action"). I know these shifters will work on the thumbie mounts because I have the appropriate spacer piece and have the identical set on some modern bar end pods. I can't use those bar end shifters on the current VO bars because not the right size diameter, and don't want to buy another Porteur bar in order to use bar ends. I have bar ends on my other mixte, so want something different.

I have Suntour friction as well as Suntour XC Pro ratcheted friction mountain levers that I could use if I didn't mind not having indexing. I tried the XC Pro ratcheted shifter on the bar and they're very bulky and "mountain bike" looking.

Photos:
1987 Miyata One Twelve Mixte by velocivixen, on Flickr
VO Porteur Bars on Miyata by velocivixen, on Flickr
Vintage Grip & Lever by velocivixen, on Flickr
Vintage Brake Lever Clamp by velocivixen, on Flickr


So....keep downtube shifters or go for thumbies? If I keep downtube (which look so clean & neat) how long should I give myself in order to get used to shifting?
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Old 10-27-15, 03:51 PM
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I would think DT shifters would be awkward with those bars. My vote is thumbies.
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Old 10-27-15, 03:55 PM
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That is a very nice looking bike.

My Rock Hopper has the bar-mounted finger shifters, and they are so pleasant and easy to use.
I really like them, & the indexing can be switched off or on.
I agree, they definitely look mountain-bikish.

My two road bikes have the original down-tube shifters.
I would never change them for bar-end shifters, just the way I am. Of course it would be easier.

With the down-tube shifters, I don't even look down, just drop my arm to the levers.
Because of this 'inconvenient location' I don't shift often.
Mostly I use an uphill gear, a mid range gear, and a final drive gear.
But, I'm not racing, just going fast- and that is fine & the way it shall be.

Guess I am happy with the original design, entirely.
It is a very personal decision.
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Old 10-27-15, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
I would think DT shifters would be awkward with those bars. My vote is thumbies.
+1 At the risk of cluttering the "cockpit" a bit, but city bars and downtube shifters just strikes me as an inappropriate combination.
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Old 10-27-15, 04:01 PM
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Do whatever will get you to ride it more. I think the downtube shifters are pretty unique, since you so rarely see them on mixtes, especially later ones, but there's probably a reason for that...and you have discovered it.
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Old 10-27-15, 04:02 PM
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Thumbies. I suggest the cheapo Falcons from VO, at $13 a pair they work fine. On behalf of a 13 year old boy, I am converting a 62cm Raleigh Super Grand Prix to flat bar from road bar and using them to replace original barcons. Gives the bike a hipster look and should be an easier transition for the young fellow from a bso MTB.

BTW, I can't recall if we got a marathon report from you Sandra?
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Old 10-27-15, 04:33 PM
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Another thought - Suntour ratcheted shifters for stem mount (yes, I know....). It would get the shifting up higher, but not clutter the bar. I guess I could try.

I do think the downtube shifters, now that you mention it, look odd with upright bars.
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Old 10-27-15, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
Another thought - Suntour ratcheted shifters for stem mount (yes, I know....). It would get the shifting up higher, but not clutter the bar. I guess I could try.

I do think the downtube shifters, now that you mention it, look odd with upright bars.
@Velocivixen the bars look great on the bike. Actually the bike looks great. Will barcons work on a Northroad bar? That might be the key a clean cockpit and shifters close enough to work.
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Old 10-27-15, 04:53 PM
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As I was scrolling down I was halfway toying with the idea of suggesting stem shifters before I had even seen that post but I had already ixnayed it, stem shifters are also inconvenient and can be in the way, if for some reason you found thumbies unacceptable I'd be inclined towards bar ends actually even though I know that goes against your current miyata grip setup. Thumbies should be just fine I think, but my personal bias is I like having my brake levers and shifters immediately at the main hand position for a bike.
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Old 10-27-15, 04:58 PM
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Just noticed you have a straggler. How do you like it? I was considering not being a Luddite anymore. Disc brakes would be my first baby step.
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Old 10-27-15, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
Another thought - Suntour ratcheted shifters for stem mount (yes, I know....). It would get the shifting up higher, but not clutter the bar. I guess I could try.
That's just what I was going to suggest. I put some stem shifters on a small 10-speed Motobecane with upright bars that I just sold, and they really felt great.
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Old 10-27-15, 05:19 PM
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Thank you for sharing the great photos from the marathon. Congratulations on your accomplishment!

Nice tricep/bicep definition too. Looks like you can rip out stuck seat post with your bare hands. Maybe a cape imstead of wings!

Last edited by oddjob2; 10-27-15 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 10-27-15, 06:15 PM
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Tangent approved. Congrats on the half!
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Old 10-27-15, 06:43 PM
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Thumbies. Quality, though I do use the old Falcon shifters to good effect.
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Old 10-27-15, 07:00 PM
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Your Miyata looks very clean. Stem/thumbies/barcon shifting will clutter the "look". I wouldn't think it would take more than 50km of riding to get used to downtube shifting. However, if you do go for handlebar shifting the VO thumbies seem to be the most appealing.
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Old 10-27-15, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Thank you for sharing the great photos from the marathon. Congratulations on your accomplishment!

Nice tricep/bicep definition too. Looks like you can rip out stuck seat post with your bare hands. Maybe a cape imstead of wings!
Indeed. Congrats on the accomplishment. I very much identify with looking forward to sleeping in on Saturdays. I've been training for my first Marathon, and my training group persuaded me to join the one most of them are doing as well.
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Old 10-27-15, 07:42 PM
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I used deore 6 speed thumb shifters the first time i converted my bridgestone to a commuter. I have the VO milan handle bar. I like the way they looked and liked commuting with the index option.
While i was waiting for the shifters to arrive i rode with down tube shifters. Almost fell on my first attempt at shifting.
Recently i converted the bridgestone to drops and didnt really like the setup so i converted it back. I didnt have the deore shifters anymore so i used some deer head shifters. In my opnion they are the best friction shifters out there. If youre going friction i highly recomend those.
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Old 10-27-15, 08:11 PM
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Some random thoughts. I didn't enjoy stem shifters on any bike because I had to let go of the handlebar and put force on something that's in the center of of the bike. This pushing in the center of my steering axis felt....weird....unstable. So I think I'll put that on hold for now.

The downtube shift levers are long and I'm envisioning them mounted to either a VO thumbie mount or a Paul Components thumbie mount. Those levers are darned long for thumb shift levers. I have a set of Suntour Non-ratcheted thumb shifters that are less bulky looking that the XC Pro shifters. Hmmm.

How has it worked out using downtube shift levers as a shifter elsewhere? I tried some on a Shimano modern bar end shift pod and they look odd because of the length.

I have a feeling this is going to cost more than I imagined. On one hand trying to use what I already have, and on the other wanting it LO look "right" as well as being functional.
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Old 10-27-15, 08:18 PM
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Hoping the link here works.

If not, search Amazon.com for this:
[h=1]Shimano SL-TZ20 Bike Thumb Shifters Lever 3x6[/h]
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Old 10-27-15, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
Another thought - Suntour ratcheted shifters for stem mount (yes, I know....). It would get the shifting up higher, but not clutter the bar. I guess I could try.

I do think the downtube shifters, now that you mention it, look odd with upright bars.
I like thumbshifters- moreso than most other shifters.

I'm still playing around with the idea of using my stem shifter collar with some ratcheted shifters- the only ones that I've found to fit that collar mount are the ratcheted Sprint shifters. If the "Silver" DiaCompe shifters are really a direct copy of them- those'll work.
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Old 10-27-15, 08:46 PM
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@ cs1 - I like the Straggler a lot. Not as light or as lively ride as either one of my mid-'80's mixtes, but those Compass Babyshoe Pass 650b tires ride like a Cadillac - smooth and they roll for days. This is the "nicest" new, modern bike I've ever had, so brifters are totally new to me and I enjoy the reliability and crisp function of the new components so far. The stock Avid BB7 SL discs came with organic pads as well as upgraded rotors from what you'd get if you went out and bought separately - Avid "Centerline" rotor for less noise. So far, it's great! I've upgraded shifters & rear derailleur to 105's (got a deal), seatpost, saddle, stem, bar tape & tires. Oy vay.


Shimano Z 401 stem shifters were used on the Miyata One Hundred with upright bars. I don't care for Shimanos black MTB shifters.

Last edited by Velocivixen; 10-27-15 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 10-27-15, 09:53 PM
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If you don't like the down tube shifters, I would do thumb shifters. The extra cables could be attractive if color coordinated. Bar ends would interfere with those cool grips.

That said, the down tube shifters look so clean, and after you get used to them, you'll be prepared for C&V roadbikes.
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Old 10-27-15, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
...Shimano Z 401 stem shifters were used on the Miyata One Hundred with upright bars. I don't care for Shimanos black MTB shifters.
These are considerably more aesthetically pleasing.
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Old 10-27-15, 10:56 PM
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I put thumbies on my son's road bike and he LOVES them.

Shameless family bike pic...
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Old 10-27-15, 11:07 PM
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That's one gorgeous bike. I agree with above- DT shifters look best. But in this case function has to come first. Because the bars are same height as the saddle (nothing wrong with that) it will be more to reach DT shifters than a typical drop bar bike (picture supporting your weight with one very flexed elbow). Light Action thumbies are a real pleasure to use- very little force and predictable gear changes. Thumbies by nature require some awkward motion of the thumb though. So thumbies are your best bet IMO since stem mount and bar end are off the table. Oh and trigger shifters just don't belong on that bike.
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