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Brifters: Do they all suck this badly?

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Brifters: Do they all suck this badly?

Old 04-08-19, 08:54 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by Steve Whitlatch View Post
I had a hard set to get working once. Tried flushing for hours, then gave up and walked away. Came back a few days later and the darn things clicked like new.
Sometimes they do need to marinate!
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Old 04-09-19, 04:17 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
That just means put in more WD and repeat this about 150 more times. Ask me how I know.

-Kurt
Oh how I wish that was true. I took them apart last night and there was a broken piece jammed into the works on this particular one. Now all those cute little pieces go into my wife's collection of "interestingly shaped bits of metal" that I am not sure what she is going to do with eventually. I need to decide if I want to replace the shifter or go a different direction. Sigh.
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Old 04-09-19, 05:46 AM
  #78  
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I have had springs break in them, to the point where the lever won't snap back into position. I'm not a watchmaker and don't have that kind of patience. But there are people who specialize in overhauling Shimano brifters, though IIRC, they won't touch the 9 speed versions. Working on those things is so complicated, and there are so many small pieces, it is apparently something you need to devote your entire life to.
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Old 04-09-19, 11:09 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I have had springs break in them, to the point where the lever won't snap back into position. I'm not a watchmaker and don't have that kind of patience. But there are people who specialize in overhauling Shimano brifters, though IIRC, they won't touch the 9 speed versions. Working on those things is so complicated, and there are so many small pieces, it is apparently something you need to devote your entire life to.
I have a friend (also a referee) who makes a living repairing cameras, printers, instruments. Once out riding offroad on a steep muddy hillside, 35 degrees and raining, he broke a pawl spring in his 14-38 SunTour AG freewheel. He took the freewheel apart in the mud and the cold rain with no tools but a mini screwdriver and a rock. Re-bent the spring, reset the pawl and continued riding. 5 minutes. He will work on 8 and 9 speed Ergopower. STI or 10 and 11 Ergopower, or SRAM, he won't touch it.
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Old 04-09-19, 11:38 AM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I have had springs break in them, to the point where the lever won't snap back into position. I'm not a watchmaker and don't have that kind of patience. But there are people who specialize in overhauling Shimano brifters, though IIRC, they won't touch the 9 speed versions. Working on those things is so complicated, and there are so many small pieces, it is apparently something you need to devote your entire life to.
I've successfully used appropriate gauge safety pins to manufacture replacement springs. The owner was very happy with his rebuilt STI levers and they were still working about five years later, when he moved to the Philipipines.
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Old 04-09-19, 11:44 AM
  #81  
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Never in my life ridden anything with integrated shifters.

I like old, beautiful, simple things ... that say "Campagnolo" on them.
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Old 04-09-19, 11:50 AM
  #82  
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I stuck through brifters from 8, 9, 10. 11 was my get off point. It just feels ridiculous to constantly be shifting. Now I'm down to 6 in the back. I just want to ride, and realistically, I look at hundred dollar brifters, then I look at 6 speed dt shifters that cost 10 bucks at the coop, and it's no contest what I want to use.
Brifters are convenient, especially when climbing, but there's something so.. Analog about using DT shifters, it feels like you're operating a machine made by people as opposed to just pushing a button. It feels like riding a bike.
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Old 04-09-19, 12:28 PM
  #83  
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Some real basic facts about classic and vintage. In the era when these bikes were new, men in their 60s did not ride bikes. Or very very few rode bike. Any seniors I knew in the 1960s or 70s or 80s were ex-pro and they rode fixed gear. If they wanted a new bike they got custom and made a choice about whether they would pay for it or have it given to them. Men in their 50s did not much ride bike either. Those who did would be Jack Disney, Rudy Seno, Pedro Walls, Claire Young, and their friends. Rudy did not even put a 24 on his back wheel until he was past 60 and rotten with cancer (and that would be in the non-vintage 1990s). Doing chemo he would still ride racers half his age off his wheel. My own father bought himself a new DL-22 Raleigh Sports in 1972 when he would have been 53. He just rode it around town, a little shopping. At 53 he counted as an old codger. It was so unusual for an old guy to be riding a 3speed the neighbors suspected his kids were feeding him LSD.

Who bought bikes were kids in their teens and twenties. A healthy young man can pedal a sport bike with low gear of 40x28 up a hill. If youngsters in 2019 cannot manage the same feat they should relocate the phone to the back pocket. No one expected that anyone would be pedaling a bike up 30% doubletrack. I can remember riding my bike up the steeper hills in San Fran in the 80s and getting applause from the pedestrians. All of them. No one expected that normal bikes purchased at an LBS would be good for Danny MacCaskill tricks.

My wife will soon have her 70th birthday. She is healthy, thank you, no one will confuse her with an athlete and she has never competed. Her fast bike is a '73 Colnago. Low gear is 36x28. She pedals that up anything with pavement. That 36 ring is mounted on a period correct unmodified Campagnolo crank. Because the wife is a Campy girl. If I even suggested Ergopower brifters she would divorce me. If you can't keep up with my wife the issue is not brifters or low gears.

If you do get the brifters they will change the way you ride. They changed how I rode when I had them. I already had a lifetime of riding in the legs. Tell yourself all you want it's just a choice and you are in charge. That little piece of plastic and metal will take over. Use the 12 if you think you are stronger than Eddy. Use the 11 if you think you are stronger than Greg. If you believe you will be faster or suddenly better able to keep up because you bought something there's nothing to say. Beliefs are strong.
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Old 04-09-19, 12:47 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
On the Della Santa I just picked up yesterday, it's the same 90s Shimano Ultegra brifters (haven't checked the numbers yet, though) with the same issue: no shifts whatsoever, front or back.
Forget the brifters, so you're the guy that picked up the Good Will Della Santa for a steal?!?
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Old 04-09-19, 12:56 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Unless you have some underlying hand strength issues, nerve damage, or are shifting gears several times a minute, painful shifting brifters is probably a symptom rather than the cause.
In my case, it was bars that were too narrow and / or too high that were creating pressure on the (ulnar) nerves and causing my fingers to go to sleep. The 40mm bars on 70's and 80's C&Vs, it was just annoying, DT shifters were still easy enough to manage, but STI's and moving from the 'pinch' to the hoods didn't help, until I went to 42, then 44mm bars. Just upgraded my primary 'fast' road bike with a 24° flared drop bar (Cowchipper) to angle the hoods in, and the difference in comfort is incredible; one of those "why didn't I do this sooner?" moments.
There's a current pro, Jan-Willem van Schip on the Roompot Charles team, that has an extreme inward angled setup. So you're in good company:



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Old 04-09-19, 03:09 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Some real basic facts about classic and vintage. In the era when these bikes were new, men in their 60s did not ride bikes. Or very very few rode bike. Any seniors I knew in the 1960s or 70s or 80s were ex-pro and they rode fixed gear. If they wanted a new bike they got custom and made a choice about whether they would pay for it or have it given to them. Men in their 50s did not much ride bike either. Those who did would be Jack Disney, Rudy Seno, Pedro Walls, Claire Young, and their friends. Rudy did not even put a 24 on his back wheel until he was past 60 and rotten with cancer (and that would be in the non-vintage 1990s). Doing chemo he would still ride racers half his age off his wheel. My own father bought himself a new DL-22 Raleigh Sports in 1972 when he would have been 53. He just rode it around town, a little shopping. At 53 he counted as an old codger. It was so unusual for an old guy to be riding a 3speed the neighbors suspected his kids were feeding him LSD.

Who bought bikes were kids in their teens and twenties. A healthy young man can pedal a sport bike with low gear of 40x28 up a hill. If youngsters in 2019 cannot manage the same feat they should relocate the phone to the back pocket. No one expected that anyone would be pedaling a bike up 30% doubletrack. I can remember riding my bike up the steeper hills in San Fran in the 80s and getting applause from the pedestrians. All of them. No one expected that normal bikes purchased at an LBS would be good for Danny MacCaskill tricks.

My wife will soon have her 70th birthday. She is healthy, thank you, no one will confuse her with an athlete and she has never competed. Her fast bike is a '73 Colnago. Low gear is 36x28. She pedals that up anything with pavement. That 36 ring is mounted on a period correct unmodified Campagnolo crank. Because the wife is a Campy girl. If I even suggested Ergopower brifters she would divorce me. If you can't keep up with my wife the issue is not brifters or low gears.

If you do get the brifters they will change the way you ride. They changed how I rode when I had them. I already had a lifetime of riding in the legs. Tell yourself all you want it's just a choice and you are in charge. That little piece of plastic and metal will take over. Use the 12 if you think you are stronger than Eddy. Use the 11 if you think you are stronger than Greg. If you believe you will be faster or suddenly better able to keep up because you bought something there's nothing to say. Beliefs are strong.
Now you are trying to shame me into quitting? If I am not a strong as your wife just give it up? Oh my. Next you will tell me I need to make my kids walk ten miles to school in a blizzard because that is the way it was 40 years ago. Get off my lawn!
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Old 04-09-19, 03:46 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
There's a current pro, Jan-Willem van Schip on the Roompot Charles team, that has an extreme inward angled setup. So you're in good company:





His hand position resembles the old "Spinachi" bars that the entire pro peloton were using for a few months, about 20 years ago, before the UCI outlawed them. I would expect a likely negative ruling from UCI concerning these bars as well. UCI = Party Poopers.
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Old 04-09-19, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Forget the brifters, so you're the guy that picked up the Good Will Della Santa for a steal?!?
Yup, that was me. Speaking of which, it was practically in your backyard, I'm surprised you didn't go for it yourself.
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Old 04-09-19, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
Yup, that was me. Speaking of which, it was practically in your backyard, I'm surprised you didn't go for it yourself.
I saw the posting a day late. You gonna ride the Cookie Monster on it? We could swap bikes at the halfway mark...
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Old 04-09-19, 04:02 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I saw the posting a day late. You gonna ride the Cookie Monster on it? We could swap bikes at the halfway mark...
No, not my size, unfortunately. Already sold it (within two hours!) on ebay, for a tidy profit.
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Old 04-09-19, 04:05 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by Steve Whitlatch View Post
Next you will tell me I need to make my kids walk ten miles to school in a blizzard because that is the way it was 40 years ago. Get off my lawn!
In School District #88 where I grew up they never closed. Twenty four below zero? School is open. Thirty inches of snow? School is open. High winds pushing that snow into ten foot drifts? School is open. I walked, always. Hated the bus. This has helped with hills.

Not trying to shame you. Encouraging you to shame the pedals.
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Old 04-09-19, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
No, not my size, unfortunately. Already sold it (within two hours!) on ebay, for a tidy profit.
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Old 04-09-19, 04:21 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
In School District #88 where I grew up they never closed. Twenty four below zero? School is open. Thirty inches of snow? School is open. High winds pushing that snow into ten foot drifts? School is open. I walked, always. Hated the bus. This has helped with hills.

Not trying to shame you. Encouraging you to shame the pedals.
I can honestly say I have walked to school when it was 50 below zero. It was only 3 blocks, I had a good coat, hat and gloves. It was a Beautiful sunny day, with no wind as it gets in Montana when you get a cold polar high pressure air mass moving in.
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Old 04-09-19, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
In School District #88 where I grew up they never closed. Twenty four below zero? School is open. Thirty inches of snow? School is open. High winds pushing that snow into ten foot drifts? School is open. I walked, always. Hated the bus. This has helped with hills.

Not trying to shame you. Encouraging you to shame the pedals.
Its all in good fun. I keep working at it. Actually I just now have built up a modern bike with my first compact double so I am still in the testing phase. I doubt I will be using the 12 very much. Its a 10 speed 50, 34 with a 12 to 27 cassette. With that range I should be good for anything. I get up the hills now on my 42 26 bike. It is just a lot of work. Could not imagine trying it on longer climbs.
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Old 04-09-19, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
It's okay, the proceeds are going to fund my rando build. As much as it was a VERY cool bike, I just don't ride aggressive race geometry machines any more. It was the same with the Giordana.
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Old 04-10-19, 10:55 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
In School District #88 where I grew up they never closed. Twenty four below zero? School is open. Thirty inches of snow? School is open. High winds pushing that snow into ten foot drifts? School is open. I walked, always. Hated the bus. This has helped with hills.
Before the age of litigation and heavy regulation required it, schools didn't close if they didn't have to. Plus the much higher cost now of snow removal, road maintenance, etc. Different era.

We were always open below zero, but 30" of snow overnight, we'd close for a day. School buses used chains, and if you didn't come to school due to snow, the administrators knew where you lived and if you could normally get out or not. It was normal to get up early, put chains on the bus, and clear out the driveway twice, once before they plowed and once after.

Wrestling practice? You didn't miss it. Period. Snowmobile, 4x4, didn't matter, you made it in. Dead if you didn't.

Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
I can honestly say I have walked to school when it was 50 below zero. It was only 3 blocks, I had a good coat, hat and gloves. It was a Beautiful sunny day, with no wind as it gets in Montana when you get a cold polar high pressure air mass moving in.
I walked 1/2 mile to school when I stayed in town, and parents (remember parenting?) made sure you were dressed for the cold. Every classroom had an area to store boots, coats, hats, mittens, etc. It was not uncommon to have your wet hair freeze solid on the way home from wrestling practice. 27 below plus (minus?) wind chill was about the worst I saw, but I've been out in sub-50 below, and watched my coat sleeves crack. One year, we had an entire month below zero, and for some reason, in the middle of that, Parris Island seemed like a better idea than farming...so I enlisted.

There's a movie that describes what happens to your lungs when you try to run in very cold weather, and it's not good. I ran for years, but never when it was below zero. I also had a paper route for years, and below 0, I walked it. My dad wouldn't allow me to ride my route bike when it was below zero or more than 6" of snow. Not sure why, since it lived on the outside porch.

Of course, the "right" snow, and you were late for school, because it's fun.

On the farm, waiting for the bus was worse, because we were often just standing there bickering. A lot of farmers had small plywood shelters or an old car parked where the bus stopped, to get in out of the wind. It depended on how regular your driver was and how long your lane was.

I agree, the really bitter cold days were often bright, as the high pressure system sat on the area. You could see clearly for miles, and it seemed like the cold and sunshine were cleansing the air.

Now that I'm old and decrepit, not so fun. I rode two weeks ago with @nomadmax, and into snow flurries and was sort of unpleasant, but hey, we were riding bikes.

Some of the most stable, civilized governments are in the snow band, north and south of the equator.
I think having seasons and "renewal" are psychological pluses, but I sure miss riding year round in NC.
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Old 04-10-19, 01:19 PM
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There is plenty to dislike about brifters. They are complex and nearly impossible to work on. They don't last forever. When they don't work right, getting them to work right can be a challenge. And they are expensive! Not only that, they are heavier than the alternatives, though that's a small problem.

Mine don't work perfectly. I get slow shifts, and they shift faster if I push them beyond the click. But I could go too far and get two clicks, oops. I think I should make sure the housings are on firmly. Maybe a change of ferrules will be the fix I need. I can adjust them so they downshift more eagerly, but when I do that, they are reluctant to upshift. This is on my Raleigh International with my 3x10 drivetrain with 105 shifters. My 3x9 drivetrain on my McLean works better, and it has Tiagra shifters, so go figure.

I still like them and plan to keep using them. Not everyone likes them, but they are worth all the bother for me. Lucky for me I never get carpal tunnel syndrome (CPS) or any other repetitive stress injury (RSI) in my hands and wrists. Maybe I can thank my piano training in childhood.
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Old 04-10-19, 04:57 PM
  #98  
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@ op Maybe I missed it in the thread.

Did you ever get those "brifters" unglued?
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Old 04-10-19, 06:01 PM
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@noglider, the 10s Shimano were perhaps the most sensitive to any little thing, like well-used cabling, a half-worn chain, grit on a cable guide groove, or a 3rd-party cassette or chain (SRAM chain might not even work in some cases).
The 11-28t cassette that came into vogue at that time made matters worse yet, as did the path of some internally-cabled frames. The 11-28t cassette required jacking up the B-tension, which pulled the guide pulley further away from the sensitive concave area of the cassette around the 4th or 5th smallest cog, shifting was often hesitant in both directions at that location.
It was on 10s systems (usually with 11-28t) that I would sometimes have to switch the upper and lower pulleys to eliminate the guide pulley float just to make the shifting good in all gears.
At 11s, Shimano increased the cable travel and finally eliminated top pulley float entirely.
Frequent cable breakage and loss of adjustment with the newer STI levers is something that can be reduced by adjusting the lo-limit screw last, after the cable tension is adjusted, making sure that the limit screw isn't interfering at all with the movement of the derailer toward the largest cog.
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Old 04-10-19, 06:11 PM
  #100  
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Posts: 36,731

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

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Thanks, @dddd! Very interesting. Who knew there are such drastic changes from generation to generation?

I upgraded my tandem which has MTB components. I changed the rear hub, rear derailleur, chain, and (trigger) shifter. I went from 7 speed to 11 speed (Deore XT). The shifting works impressively well. It looks and feels cheap, though, so time will tell if it's durable. But it's the best mechanical shifting I have ever tried. It can shift easily and quietly under full pressure. And I'm the only one I know with a 3x11 drivetrain.
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New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

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