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Bar End Shifter 'er No? That is the question.

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Bar End Shifter 'er No? That is the question.

Old 10-29-18, 01:28 PM
  #1  
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Bar End Shifter 'er No? That is the question.

I am sure this has been discussed, but quick search did not yield any recent results. I have only ever used fiction down tube shifters on my road bikes. I don't have in interest in brifters, but have thought about bar end shifters. What are the main advantages/disadvantages of bar end shifters. Seems like you don't have to look down so much and it is quicker to get to them. Am I missing anything? I would likely stay friction. Currently I have a set of new Dia-Comp ENE shifters I got in a trade a while back, so probably start with them. Also, if looking at vintage bar ends, what is the best? Suntour? Thanks in advance for your input!
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Old 10-29-18, 01:37 PM
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The main advantage is you can shift with your hands on or very near the handlebar instead of between you legs. Sun Tours were the best in their time. They were good enough Schwinn put their name on them and used them on Paramounts in the 1970s. My 1974 P10-9 has them. Again probably the best ones made in their time. Roger
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Old 10-29-18, 01:38 PM
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IMO, friction bar ends are DA bomb. I love Suntour.
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Old 10-29-18, 01:44 PM
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I had never used bar end shifters until I went on my initial short tour a few years back. I really liked having both hands on the bars while shifting for a little more stability. I've now got three bikes with Suntour bar ends including two mtb drop bar conversions. I run my cables under the bar tape because, personally, I don't like the big loop at the bottom of the bars with the shifters.
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Old 10-29-18, 01:46 PM
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The Ultegra/DA 8 speed bar ends came stock on C-dale tourers and were pretty great as well. They had a friction option and I'd choose those over Accushift 7's for everyday use. Suntour friction bar cons set the bar for performance overall.
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Old 10-29-18, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by crandress View Post
What are the main advantages/disadvantages of bar end shifters. Seems like you don't have to look down so much and it is quicker to get to them.
The main advantage over downtube shifters is that your shift hand is still on the bars during the shift. It can also be a bit quicker to get your hand to the lever.

The main advantages for downtube shifters are simpler cable routing that doesn't need to bring the cables from the bars to the frame, and the ability to make double-shifts (i.e. simultaneous front and rear shifts) with a motion from just one hand.

I don't think you should need to look down much with either style of shifter...
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Old 10-29-18, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by crandress View Post
Seems like you don't have to look down so much and it is quicker to get to them.
You don't have to look down at all. You can tell pretty much what gear you're in by feeling the levers.
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Old 10-29-18, 01:58 PM
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+1 on the Suntour bar ends. I have them on my Raleigh. I also have Campy bar ends on another bike, and I like the Suntours better. I recently acquired a Peugeot with Simplex down tubes, which actually work pretty well. I have a set of Suntours to swap out, but so far, too lazy to make the switch. I also prefer the cables under the bar tape, looks cleaner and works great.

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Old 10-29-18, 01:59 PM
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Bar ends are my favorites - bar none. I like the feel of Sun Tours better, but Shimano seems to have the corner on the market these days.
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Old 10-29-18, 02:16 PM
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If you ride in the drops a lot, bar ends are the best---Better than STI or ERGO because they are easier to reach from the drops with the heel of your hand already on them. If you are mostly on the hoods or the tops, I see no advantage to using bar ends and it complicates cable routing.
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Old 10-29-18, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
+1 on the Suntour bar ends. I have them on my Raleigh. I also have Campy bar ends on another bike, and I like the Suntours better. I recently acquired a Peugeot with Simplex down tubes, which actually work pretty well. I have a set of Suntours to swap out, but so far, too lazy to make the switch. I also prefer the cables under the bar tape, looks cleaner and works great.

@Slightspeed -- That's a nice Super Course -- Is it a 73?
Did you use any specific type of housing for the barcons? I'm working on a build that'll use them and I'd like to route the cables under the wraps.
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Old 10-29-18, 02:39 PM
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Yes less of a reach and distraction, the only Dura-ace part I have bought is the 9 speed bar ender I have on my 1x9 work horse bike and it works like a charm - I run it in friction mode. Building up a bike with Suntour bar ends is on the project list, I hear nothing but good things about them.

An older friend, since passed, was an avid roadie in his middle age and referred to bar ends as "Sneaky Petes" since you could subtly move your hand (or pinky) along the drops to shift with out the tell of reaching for a DT shifter and then jump the group in a bigger gear.

Rivendell sells bar con Pods that you can use with existing DT Shifters, read the fine print as they work with most but not all vintage DT shifters

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Old 10-29-18, 02:42 PM
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After trying a borrowed set of bar end shifters on my hybrid with albatross bars, I can see the advantage. My hand is still in position to brake. Some shifts require only a little downward pressure on the heel of the hand. It's pretty efficient. For now I'm using cheap SunRace friction thumb shifters mounted on the middle of the bar near the stem but plan to switch to bar ends soon.

But I don't see any advantage to bar ends on drop bars. I'd still need to change hand positions from the hoods or bar top. And shifting on the bar ends in the drops puts my hands off center. I suppose I could get used to it, and some friends who have bar ends on their drops love 'em. But it felt unnatural to me, while bar ends on the albatross bar felt very natural.

I feel more balanced using downtube shifters and don't need to look down to shift or check the gear position. I can hear when I'm close to cross-chaining, so there's seldom any need to look down -- although I do anyway, at least when road noise obscures drivetrain noise.
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Old 10-29-18, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by crandress View Post
I have only ever used fiction down tube shifters on my road bikes.
For anyone wondering, I assure you, the shifters of which the OP speaks are in fact real.
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Old 10-29-18, 03:42 PM
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The dia comp bar ends are as good as suntour barcons in my opinion. I have them both and they are the only shifters I use except when I use sa 3 speed stuff.
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Old 10-29-18, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
For anyone wondering, I assure you, the shifters of which the OP speaks are in fact real.
I know all about fiction bar end shifters, I've reached for them when switching from one of my bikes with bar ends to one with DT shifters. Yep, I feel a bit stupid every time...
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Old 10-29-18, 04:50 PM
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I am probably in the minority..... I tried them and I did not like them at all. First I kept hitting them with my knee. I also found them for me to be more awkward than reaching to the down tube.

so for me it is either down tube, brifter or simple friction thumbie on non drop bars

ymmv
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Old 10-29-18, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
I am probably in the minority..... I tried them and I did not like them at all. First I kept hitting them with my knee. I also found them for me to be more awkward than reaching to the down tube.

so for me it is either down tube, brifter or simple friction thumbie on non drop bars

ymmv
my son sees it the same way you do. We ride the same size bike but don't care for each other's setups at all. He hits his knees on my shifters and I hit parked cars looking down for downtube shifters on his bikes.
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Old 10-29-18, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
my son sees it the same way you do. We ride the same size bike but don't care for each other's setups at all. He hits his knees on my shifters and I hit parked cars looking down for downtube shifters on his bikes.
better hitting knees than cars

at least you son shifts......mine at almost 21 still has no use for gears, still fixie....... I am hoping to lure him onto the de rosa this summer and see if that changes......course I could lose the de rosa that way
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Old 10-29-18, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
I am probably in the minority..... I tried them and I did not like them at all. First I kept hitting them with my knee. I also found them for me to be more awkward than reaching to the down tube.

so for me it is either down tube, brifter or simple friction thumbie on non drop bars

ymmv
I was talking to our LBS owner (he's owned the shop since 1982) a couple of weeks back and he mentioned back in the day before installing theshifters they would cut an inch or so off the end of the handlebar drop so they were essentially the same length because the shifter body was approximately an inch. This kept riders from hitting their knee as much.
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Old 10-29-18, 05:16 PM
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I did not buy or employ bar-end shifters until a month or two ago, as I either worked indexed down tube shifters or STIs/Ergos. Since many of my bikes were race bikes, I wanted them to look like race bikes and to shift them like they would have been. STIs/Ergos also fit the bill as it allowed even faster shifting etc etc. Bar-end shifters were, to me, something for touring bikes, which I was not super interested in for a long time. Add to that, when getting out of the saddle to accelerate (fun!) or to climb hills (less fun), I feared ramming my kneecaps into these pointy things and having a lose-lose scenario of gear selection disaster AND injured knees. So I took a hard pass on that stuff until very recently. I found a killer deal on Dura-Ace 10s bar-end shifters and hooked them up to my evolving-winter-rider '74 Paramount, for which I had also found paint-matching matte black fenders for. As the Paramount is a P15 Touring model that would now be in service during the demanding rain/cold months, a dignified ride, ridden in a dignified manner (not racing, out of the saddle shenanigans, but in saddle 99% of the time), deserved a dignified (but updated!) C&V shifting method. Voila, bar-end shifters.

If I'm going to be hunkered down, moving quickly, DT shifters or STIs/Ergos are the way. If I'm going to be going slower, taking it easier and looking around, and am set up more upright for comfort, DTs are out and bar-ends are in. I really enjoy it now, and with the brake lever grip being perfect thanks to Cinelli Criterium bars, my hand elevation drop from hood to shifter is minimal and intuitive. To the point of grabbing air with my hand when I briefly rode a DT shifter bike!

So I think, if you know your riding style, type of bike, and how animated you get when climbing/accelerating out of the saddle (to say nothing of bar height and thus shifter height), and you know that shift cables won't get in the way of a front bag or rack, go for it. I'm always conscious of where my knees are when out of the saddle on the Paramount, which has helped me avoid getting stabbed (though I've brushed the levers a few times).
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Old 10-29-18, 05:24 PM
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When I first used barend shifters I would get a little induced steering while trying to shift, they work fine now. One days I like them I can use the bike that has them, and on the days I don’t like them I can ise a different bike. Justification for having more than one bike.
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Old 10-29-18, 05:24 PM
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Suntour bar ends...love them. I just bought a set from a forum member.
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Old 10-29-18, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rickrob View Post
@Slightspeed -- That's a nice Super Course -- Is it a 73?
Did you use any specific type of housing for the barcons? I'm working on a build that'll use them and I'd like to route the cables under the wraps.
The bar ends came with stainless steel housing which I used. The drawback of this cable routing is that the ribbed metal housing can ruin the paint from the head tube. I used a piece of rubber to tubing to protect it, or you could use tape or clear adhesive pads. Heres a better picture angle. My '64 Legnano came with Campy barcons from new and the same metal housing has been on there 54 years. Yes, the Super Course is '73, near as I can tell from the lugs.


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Old 10-29-18, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by scozim View Post
I was talking to our LBS owner (he's owned the shop since 1982) a couple of weeks back and he mentioned back in the day before installing theshifters they would cut an inch or so off the end of the handlebar drop so they were essentially the same length because the shifter body was approximately an inch. This kept riders from hitting their knee as much.
I actually did that also.....just have big clumsy knees
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