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Suntour Power Ratchet vs. Shimano Fingertip Control

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Suntour Power Ratchet vs. Shimano Fingertip Control

Old 01-08-19, 06:40 PM
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seely
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Suntour Power Ratchet vs. Shimano Fingertip Control

Any opinions on the Shimano shifters? I've used the Suntours and liked them well enough, but the Shimanos have been kicking around in a drawer for a few years. I don't quite understand the spring action, or how it would feel on the bike. They seem to have quite a bit of resistance in hand and "spring back" when shifting down.

Anyway, opinions on one vs the other are welcome.
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Old 01-08-19, 06:48 PM
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The power shifters are big, bulky, and cool to shift. You're hooked in 30 miles.

The Shimano were a level below, in my opinion. You always "wondered."
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Old 01-08-19, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post

The Shimano were a level below, in my opinion. You always "wondered."
The look of the Shimanos was most of the appeal for me -- polished and sleek. I couldn't see how they wouldn't have some "float," which is exactly what they do if I'm interpreting your comment correctly.
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Old 01-08-19, 07:15 PM
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There are many true-blue fans of the Shimano shifters but I'm not one of them. I suspect there's a reason Suntour Bar-cons outnumber Fingertip Controls by an informal 1000 to 1 ratio.
Try the Shimano's out and post your feedback. (Polished and sleek?)
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Old 01-08-19, 07:40 PM
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I really like the Fingertip controls. But....never tried any Suntours. I just got a pair of the Suntours. I will do a head to head on the same bike.
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Old 01-08-19, 07:54 PM
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I was intrigued by the reports that they were "similar" to Retrofriction shifters.

Whereas friction shifters generally have some sort of friction or a clutch of some sort- the Shimano Fingertip Control have like a "free" action and the derailleur spring is countered by the spring in the shifter.

I used the shifters for a few months on my Miyata 1000LT- so I was using them with a 7 speed cassette. They worked fine, but I prefer the Suntour Barcons over the Shimanos- and the bike is currently equipped with SIS indexed bar end shifters and really dig them.


1990 Miyata 1000LT Shimano L-600 Bar-End Shifters by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr




1990 Miyata 1000LT Front End by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr


Shifters by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
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Old 01-08-19, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by seely View Post
The look of the Shimanos was most of the appeal for me -- polished and sleek. I couldn't see how they wouldn't have some "float," which is exactly what they do if I'm interpreting your comment correctly.
Yes, and you never had any kind of confidence they'd stay put. They generally would, but just not the same as the silky Suntours
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Old 01-08-19, 11:09 PM
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I've never had barcons and probably never will but have used DTs almost exclusively for 50 years. Powershifters are to die for. It doesn't get better. My only gripe (and why they aren't on my best bike) is them being traditional DTs location wise - right in the path of my out-of-the-saddle knees. Now, if they made a top-mount DT Powershifter, I'm in! (Maybe I should look into a top mount that accommodated them. (Yet anther project, just what I don't need.)

Ben
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Old 01-08-19, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I've never had barcons and probably never will but have used DTs almost exclusively for 50 years. Powershifters are to die for. It doesn't get better. My only gripe (and why they aren't on my best bike) is them being traditional DTs location wise - right in the path of my out-of-the-saddle knees. Now, if they made a top-mount DT Powershifter, I'm in! (Maybe I should look into a top mount that accommodated them. (Yet anther project, just what I don't need.)

Ben
I've got both sets sitting here, and tried that. Didn't work.
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Old 01-08-19, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by seely View Post
Any opinions on the Shimano shifters? I've used the Suntours and liked them well enough, but the Shimanos have been kicking around in a drawer for a few years. I don't quite understand the spring action, or how it would feel on the bike. They seem to have quite a bit of resistance in hand and "spring back" when shifting down.

Anyway, opinions on one vs the other are welcome.
I've had both, and liked both on various bikes. They're similar, but certainly have some differences. The Shimano shifters have a larger barrel, leading to greater cable travel for a given throw. 1st to 5th on the freewheel might take 90 degrees on a Suntour Barcon, but only 50-60 degrees on the Shimano. The progressive nature of the spring rate on the Shimano means there is a narrow window where the shifter mostly cancels the spring tension on the derailleur. You might have to monkey around to find just the right amount of cable slack to get it right. When you do, the lever throw is very light, with hardly any friction necessary to keep it in position. The greater throw makes them ideal for 5 speeds, but tighter freewheel spacing makes them harder to fine tune than the Suntours. Also, the spring sweetspot may not put the lever where you want it. One bike needed the lever down about 15 degrees for the low gear, and down almost 90 degrees for top gear. Not really where I would want the lever if I was using a Suntour barcon. The alternative is to put the lever where you want it, then just crank the friction down tight enough to hold. I was never happy with that, as it made the lever pretty hard to use, and still seemed to creep out of gear at the worst time.

With the right derailleur, and on 5 and 6 speeds, I prefer the Shimano levers. If you don't want to do a lot of fiddling to get it just right, then the Suntours are a close second.
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Old 01-09-19, 09:13 AM
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Good info, thanks everyone. I know I like the Suntours and the info on the Shimanos seems to more or less confirm what I suspected about the action. I'll probably polish up a pair of the Suntours this weekend 👌
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Old 01-09-19, 09:25 AM
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I like the suntour bar ends better than the shimano but the honking large, downtube shimano fingertip shifters are very good. I have a set on my mid-70s Sekine SHS 272.
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Old 01-09-19, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I've never had barcons and probably never will but have used DTs almost exclusively for 50 years. Powershifters are to die for. It doesn't get better. My only gripe (and why they aren't on my best bike) is them being traditional DTs location wise - right in the path of my out-of-the-saddle knees. Now, if they made a top-mount DT Powershifter, I'm in! (Maybe I should look into a top mount that accommodated them. (Yet anther project, just what I don't need.)

Ben
By "top mount" do you mean on top of the handlebars?

Both Paul and IRD make mounts to put the shifters on the bars. IRD also makes a stem shifter mount. The advantage is you can use whatever shifter you choose-










Additionally there's things like the Gevenalle brake levers that allow you mount the shifter on your brake lever, and the Kelly Take-Offs that allow you to mount a shifter inboard of the brake levers.




kelly take offs by butterthebean, on Flickr





As far as shifters not getting any better than the Suntour Power Shifter... there's lots of really, really great friction shifters. IMO- the Simplex Retrofriction shifter is the best- buttery smooth, non-ratcheted, smooth clutched action. Suntour's later ratcheting "Sprint" shifters that came out in like 85 or so- it's a smoother action with much more fine ratcheting (more clicks, but less intense) that have the effect of feeling smoother. There's also the Sachs/Huret ratcheting shifters- those are fantastic- kind of like the Power Shifters, but with a more pillow-y clutch.
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Old 01-09-19, 11:01 AM
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I pulled out the Suntour barcons. They came with the box of parts from the Trek/Condor acquisition. (That box keeps on giving) They are the ratcheting kind. We will see how it goes.
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Old 01-09-19, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I really like the Fingertip controls. But....never tried any Suntours. I just got a pair of the Suntours. I will do a head to head on the same bike.
Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I pulled out the Suntour barcons. They came with the box of parts from the Trek/Condor acquisition. (That box keeps on giving) They are the ratcheting kind. We will see how it goes.
You haven't used them yet?

If I remember right, you said you haven't used much of any Suntour stuff... I think you'll really like them if you like bar end shifters.
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Old 01-09-19, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
By "top mount" do you mean on top of the handlebars?

Both Paul and IRD make mounts to put the shifters on the bars. IRD also makes a stem shifter mount. The advantage is you can use whatever shifter you choose-

That's just the best of two worlds right there. Silk plus convenience.

Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
IMO- the Simplex Retrofriction shifter is the best- buttery smooth, non-ratcheted, smooth clutched action. Suntour's later ratcheting "Sprint" shifters that came out in like 85 or so- it's a smoother action with much more fine ratcheting (more clicks, but less intense) that have the effect of feeling smoother. There's also the Sachs/Huret ratcheting shifters- those are fantastic- kind of like the Power Shifters, but with a more pillow-y clutch.
I almost feel dirty.
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Old 01-09-19, 01:45 PM
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Have used the spring loaded Shimano on the FD , Ideally it matches the return spring force on the FD itself.. so they balance out

but its in a bin, stored , now.. , I did not like it for working the RD..

I actually have used the Sun Tour Bar end shifters, now for 30 + years.. on my touring bike ..





...
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Old 01-09-19, 02:29 PM
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Suntour feels positive.
Shimano with spring action feels faster, less effort.
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Old 01-09-19, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
By "top mount" do you mean on top of the handlebars?

Both Paul and IRD make mounts to put the shifters on the bars. IRD also makes a stem shifter mount. The advantage is you can use whatever shifter you choose-










Additionally there's things like the Gevenalle brake levers that allow you mount the shifter on your brake lever, and the Kelly Take-Offs that allow you to mount a shifter inboard of the brake levers.




kelly take offs by butterthebean, on Flickr





As far as shifters not getting any better than the Suntour Power Shifter... there's lots of really, really great friction shifters. IMO- the Simplex Retrofriction shifter is the best- buttery smooth, non-ratcheted, smooth clutched action. Suntour's later ratcheting "Sprint" shifters that came out in like 85 or so- it's a smoother action with much more fine ratcheting (more clicks, but less intense) that have the effect of feeling smoother. There's also the Sachs/Huret ratcheting shifters- those are fantastic- kind of like the Power Shifters, but with a more pillow-y clutch.
No, I meant the little "box" that sat on top of the DT so the two levers are almost side-by-side. Shifting is the same as with conventional DT shifters (except the reach is an inch closer and one handed double shifts are easy) but those narrow shifters are much harder to bump with your knee.

And in defense of the Power Shifters, not only do they shift really well, they are incredibly simple, reliable and long lasting. Easy to set up. They need very little attention. I actually like really good straight friction also and love the shifting on my racing level SunTour top mounts. (They are just straight-forward friction, not the shifters with FD auto-adjust.) I haven't used the Power Shifters with more than 7-speed and for that, the coarse clicks work just fine.

Ben
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Old 01-09-19, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
You haven't used them yet?

If I remember right, you said you haven't used much of any Suntour stuff... I think you'll really like them if you like bar end shifters.
I am a Suntour guy. I get outbid for the barcons. Lucked into these. BTW, I have the 412 about ready to ride. Have the tubing decal ordered. I need to order the ST decal.
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Old 01-09-19, 07:45 PM
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I like both brands and the Suntour has been the prefered on three of my bikes. However, I had Shimano on a Trek with old standard shift cables. It felt less required action and a quickness between gear change. Much of this could be jibberish comparing because the difference in the bikes cable routing and type of cable.

As of late on a build, I'm using Shimano bar ends with modern slick SIS cable and minimalist cable from the shifter to the frame. A major improvement from any of the above mentioned I have, and yes over the Suntour.

The particular bike is mid 1970s a bit 18 pound hotrod (with Brooks ;-) a 3 x 6 ultra wide range 120 spaced. I want to >>keep fluid shifting with hands on the drops<< while mister Speedy Carbon is knacking away with brifters. This old schtuff is too much fun.

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Old 01-09-19, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I am a Suntour guy. I get outbid for the barcons. Lucked into these. BTW, I have the 412 about ready to ride. Have the tubing decal ordered. I need to order the ST decal.
That's right- It was Trek stuff...

I'm interested to hear your thoughts about it when you get it running- people seem to really dig them, regardless of where they sat in the lineup.
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Old 01-10-19, 09:38 AM
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I preferred Shimano's Finger Tip shift levers but that only because I dealt with them on a few thousand Sekine. They're both good shift levers and I had little trouble adapting, when switching between the two, but have ridden neither for decades.
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Old 01-10-19, 10:32 AM
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I've used both...Much prefer the SunTour bar ends. Enjoy and use the power shifters in their downtube and stem variations also. Those long SunTour stem shifters are the perfect replacement for the crude ones usually found on Schwinn Super Sports and so many makers Mixte's. Robbie says he was hooked on the SunTours in 30 minutes, for me it was probably the 1st or 2nd shift. Don
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