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Bar end shifters

Old 10-18-11, 07:29 PM
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formicaman
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Bar end shifters

I'm a fixed and internal gear guy, but I just got a geared bike. 1978 Raleigh 12-speed, all Campy stuff. I'm not a huge fan of downtube shifting, so I would like to switch to bar-end shifters. Any suggestions or resources you can suggest? I haven't found good info online (yet). Could I just attach some friction thumbshifters I have to the bar ends? Are there conversion kits?
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Old 10-18-11, 07:36 PM
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Suntour barcons are great, but I do not know how they play with Campy. Thumbies are an option to.
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Old 10-18-11, 07:55 PM
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might i suggest just giving the downtube shifters a shot, especially as a fixed gear (aesthetics) person. DT shifters look good and are no frills. bar ends move the shifters up about 5" depending on your bar drop, so it's really not a huge difference except that you can hold the bar while you shift.
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Old 10-18-11, 07:56 PM
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I just helped a friend install a set of these on a 6-speed Super Record drivetrain, it works great!
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Old 10-18-11, 08:00 PM
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I do agree with illwafer, downtube shifters are very elegant in their simplicity, and they're easy to adapt to with some practice.
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Old 10-18-11, 08:05 PM
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I'll give the downtubes a shot, but the barely-paved streets I ride really require both hands on the bars as much as possible
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Old 10-18-11, 08:12 PM
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You can get nice period Campy bar-ends, but expect to pay for them.https://velobase.com/ViewComponent.as...m=104&AbsPos=3

Most people like the Suntours, and even those are demanding crazy prices on eBay right now.

For new stuff, the Silver shifters seem to be the way to go.
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Old 10-18-11, 08:40 PM
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My first road bike came with downtube friction shifters (mid-1970s). After using it that way for a few years, I switched to bar-ends and preferred that because the shifters were easier to reach and also easier to shift accurately (non-indexed). I've been using indexed shifters for the last 20 years, but if I were to go back to friction shifters, I would pick bar-ends again.
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Old 10-18-11, 08:52 PM
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Shimano and Campagnolo make bar end shifters. Suntour made some as well. Shop around and you will find them, at reasonable prices. I don't know if they are available in kits. All you need is extra long derailleur cable and housing. It is very easy to install.
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Old 10-18-11, 08:56 PM
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Hell, I use DT shifters off-road, and I'm not some bike-handling magician. They're easy enough to learn.

Beyond that, you can find "correct" bar ends on Ebay and specialty shops, but as other posters have noted, they're generally not cheap these days. I suspect the gods would strike you down for putting thumb shifters on a vintage bike, but that's your own business.

And finally, there are several places (Rivendell for one, IIRC) selling adapters that fit into the ends of the bars and allow you to fit your DT shifters into them. Not my cup of tea, but might be yours.

<edit> Rivendell is still offering them. Not sure if hotlinking will work with their ridiculous website, but try https://www.rivbike.com/product-p/sh13.htm.

If that doesn't do the trick, just search their site for "Silver Bar-End Shifter Pod Mounts (Pair) - 17068". They're $36 and should work with whatever DT shifters you're already using.

Last edited by Six jours; 10-18-11 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 10-18-11, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
If that doesn't do the trick, just search their site for "Silver Bar-End Shifter Pod Mounts (Pair) - 17068". They're $36 and should work with whatever DT shifters you're already using.
Be careful here, there are only some that work with these pods since there are issues with lining up the cable holes.

In my opinion, the silvers work better than any of their vintage counterparts.
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Old 10-18-11, 10:13 PM
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The Suntour bar-end shifters will serve you very well. I recommend them over the other brands. You can get them on ebay or maybe craigslist. They work very well with Campagnolo derailleurs.
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Old 10-18-11, 10:28 PM
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I'm surprised an FG guy would prefer a barend shifter over a downtube.

One reason I like DT is that there's a lot less cable on the front of the bike. Looks better.

I also, of course, have no problem shifting with DT.
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Old 10-18-11, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Puget Pounder View Post
Be careful here, there are only some that work with these pods since there are issues with lining up the cable holes.

In my opinion, the silvers work better than any of their vintage counterparts.
My understanding (reinforced by the blurb on the Riv site) is that old pre-index DT shifters will almost certainly work, but the newer you get, the worse the chances are. (I personally think anything other than the original DT shifters in their original position is ugly and stupid, but I'm then I'm a drunk bitter old man.)
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Old 10-19-11, 06:29 AM
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I was interested to learn recently that Campy introduced bar end shifters right along with the original Gran Sport derailleur in 1951. Bar end shifters have been around as long as downtube shifters. They didn't really catch on. I have also heard they weren't very good.

I agree that downtube shifters are easy to use, perfectly safe, and so on; even on a large frame (I have them on a 62 cm frame). But on other bikes, where the shifters are on the handlebar, I shift more often. For riding in traffic, in my opinion, you really cant beat a good IGH with grip shift.
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Old 10-19-11, 07:35 AM
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I installed Suntour barcons on my Mercian when I first built it up in the mid-70s, and they're still going strong and outlasted the original NR front derailleur, which eventually loosened up and got sloppy. Anyway, the Suntours work very well with Campy NR. I find them convenient, but I do agree that downtube shifters are not difficult to use, and eliminate the clutter of cables required for barcons.

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Old 10-19-11, 07:42 AM
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The Campy shifters have a reputation for being quirky and inaccurate. I think those who use them use them mostly because of the name.
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Old 10-19-11, 07:49 AM
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I use them both, have toured with them both. I prefer bar-end shifters and agree that the Sun Tour bar-cons are better than Campy. The main problem with the Campy ones is that they require more careful cable installation, as the cable wraps around the whole lever boss. They tend to break cables more frequently as well, and since you have to dismantle the whole fussy arrangement to change a cable, this becomes a big pain. That they don't have the ratchet action of the Sun Tours is less important. Campagnolos are also prettier than Sun Tours.
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Old 10-19-11, 08:11 AM
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Dia Compe

I think there's a bit of a resurgence in bar end shifter interest. These look nice:

https://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2011/10/few-things.html

But they will probably cost more than NOS Suntour barcons on eBay.
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Old 10-19-11, 08:16 AM
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Shimano, Campy, SRAM, Sturmey Archer and Zipp all make bar -end shifters. Shimano + Campy can go to a non-indexed friction mode. It looks like the SA can too, but it is sold for their internally geared hubs so you'd have to check. Personally, I like the look and feel of the Shimano, with Campy a close second. The SRAM and Zipp are really made for time trial bikes and are a little too high tech. Since you like internal gears, I guess you should look at the SA.

The Silvers work great from what I have heard, but they look like someone slapped downtube shifters onto a bar-con pod -too long and a little to DIY looking for my taste.
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Old 10-19-11, 08:25 AM
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Not sure what other bar-end friction shifters are like, but I know the old Suntour Barcons have a friction/ratcheting feature. When you relax the cable, it's straight friction, when you pull the cable, there is much lower friction but there is a distinct ratcheting; on my bike a shift typically takes three clicks. It makes for very precise friction shifting. I like them quite a bit.
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Old 10-19-11, 08:36 AM
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I have not used friction shifting in MANY years.

I thought I would replace the drive train on the vintage Trek 620
I just took in trade, but the Sun Tour barcons work so well, I'm leaving them.
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Old 10-19-11, 08:42 AM
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Gaerlan has the whole dia-compe bar-end shifter for only 50$ compared to Ben's at 80. At least VO gives you the cables and housing kit if you buy the shifters there but if you cables already it might be cheaper to go with the gaerlan. I like the idea of using the riv pods to keep the same levers with the bike but would just ask likely use the new silver shifters...
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Old 10-19-11, 08:47 AM
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The Campy shifters have a reputation for being quirky and inaccurate. I think those who use them use them mostly because of the name.
I like them. But I have a reputation for being quirky & inaccurate as well.

Seriously, I started using them when Campagnolo made the only ones around. They are fussy to set the friction properly, but they are accurate and reliable. The Sun Tours are better in every way except looks. That said, Campys are more than satisfactory.

I have never used any of their post-1970 bar-end shifters.
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Old 10-19-11, 09:39 AM
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I really like bar end shifters, Barcons to be more precise. I have used Campy, Suntour and Simplex, with my favorite being the Suntour offering. I do not like reaching down to shift my bicycles, but that is just me.

Recently I started putting them on more upright handlebars. This Legnano Gran Premio was the first to get the treatment...


My Motobécane Gran Jubileé is already fitted with Suntours, but I intend to install a different set of bars, identical to those on the Legnano...


I also plan to install bars and Barcons on my, fits me better, Legnano Gran Premio II. The Legnano will get Campy ends, this time, rather than the Suntours I used on the first Gran Premio...
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Last edited by randyjawa; 10-19-11 at 09:51 AM. Reason: oops...
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