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Can someone 'splain me bar end shifters?

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Can someone 'splain me bar end shifters?

Old 12-04-11, 07:12 PM
  #1  
cucumis.cucurbi
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Can someone 'splain me bar end shifters?

Well, I know what they are, but I am kinda confused about using them. Being a down tube shifter kinda fellow, I don't really understand the amount of leverage you need to use to shift in a friction mode. I have visions of myself veering into oncoming traffic, or into the warm bosom of a large oak tree. Plus, for someone who is more of a brake hood rider, should I just go with sti's? They seem kinda far away, but i guess they are closer than between my knees. So tell me the pros and cons. Please use simple language. Thank you.
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Old 12-04-11, 07:19 PM
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I find the shorter reach a nice thing-no stability problems, never even really considered it before.
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Old 12-04-11, 07:24 PM
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No loss of control is likely when changing gears. You grasp the bar with your index and middle finger, operate lever with the heel of your palm or ring finger and pinky.

You could go brifters. Another option is to raise your bars a couple of inches so that the drops are as comfortable as your hoods currently are. Compact bars and/or stem purchase might help in that arena.
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Old 12-04-11, 07:28 PM
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It doesn't take a whole lot of pressure to move the levers. They click almost like they are indexed, but aren't. i don't have alot of experience with them, but the paramount I recently bought was set up for touring and has them. The work good and are easy to use. I ride on the hoods alot too but find it no problem to reach down and shift.
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Old 12-04-11, 07:30 PM
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Bar end shifters have been used since the 40s. The pure friction type work well. The ratcheting type, such as the late lamented Sun Tour Bar-con are better.

The low force required to shift and the plane the lever rotates make it unlikely you'll have any trouble steering while shifting.

I like them a lot & have them on several bikes. Like any shifter, they become second nature very quickly. They also encourage you to use the drops, which is a good thing.

I'm moving to Ontario, where oak trees have warm bosoms.
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Old 12-04-11, 08:11 PM
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I've used Suntour indexed bar end shifters for 19 years. No problems alternating with other bikes with downtube levers or brifters or steering. I find they're a better location than downtube for control & convenience.
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Old 12-04-11, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by aixaix View Post
I'm moving to Ontario, where oak trees have warm bosoms.
Yes they do. I've recently moved to Southern Ontario and they say we're having an unusually warm autumn here. Sounds good to me. I'm not a barcon guy BTW. I've never graduated from downtube shifters. I think it's due to my knuckle-dragging posture - DT shifters are an easy reach
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Old 12-04-11, 08:33 PM
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Very small learning curve to use barends/barcons.
They work great, have many less moving parts than brifters and many can be used either friction or indexed.
Priced way le$$ than brifters and much more dependable.

Had a set of Dura Ace brifters fail in about 8,000 miles.
Barends have lasted me 50,000+ miles on several of our tandems through the years.
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Old 12-04-11, 09:00 PM
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I've been using them since about 1976. I can shift while braking hard and turning, all at the same time.

Brifters are a bit nicer, but they're more expensive, especially when you consider how they don't last very long. Bar-ends last a very long time. I've been using the pair on my McLean since they were new, but on previous bikes.
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Old 12-04-11, 09:06 PM
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I'm with the OP. Bar-ends always frightened me so I've never tried them. And of course that means I know I don't like them. Along with several uncommon foods and a few common ones too.
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Old 12-04-11, 09:21 PM
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I love bar end shifters, especially the rarer Shimano ones that have the counter springs. I like them better than SunTours.
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Old 12-04-11, 09:51 PM
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Cable routing preferences?

-D
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Old 12-04-11, 10:27 PM
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I route them the usual way. Some people prefer to wrap the housing all the way up to the stem. To my eye that looks forced, but ymmv and apparently either method works.

As to your fear of veering into traffic, use them once and you'll see that's a non-issue. Sort of like worrying that using your turn signal in a car will send you into the oncoming lanes. If you can handle dt shifters, barcons won't be a problem.

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Old 12-04-11, 10:41 PM
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I’m not sure what your safety issue is with barcons since you’ve used DT shifters which can be much more disorienting. I much prefer bar end shifters over down tube shifters because I ride with my hands in the drops a lot and the shifters are quite easy to slide my hands down to over taking my hand off the bars to reach down to a DT lever. I actually prefer them over brifters as well because they are relatively cheap, require little maintenance, and look good on any vintage bike.
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Old 12-04-11, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post

.
That is a cool looking bike. I particularly like the areo brake levers and the pedals. It looks very functional.

To the OP, if you know how to use DT shifters then bar ends should be a no brainer to use. I love them myself, I ride on very narrow hilly roads and have to maintain a very strait line while shifting a lot. the only time I have ever really wobbled grabbing the shifter is when there is a big hill and I keep trying to find a lower gear than the bike has
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Old 12-04-11, 11:47 PM
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I used to be one of those who thought the aesthetic of bar-ends was all wrong for a drop bar road bike. These two appendages jutting out beyond the smooth curves of the bar. Then those two antennae-like cable housings near the fork and wheels! Ugh! and what about the chance of striking them with ones' knees?!? I was a corncob-DT-racing weight wienie back in my youth.

These loops were the reason I didn't like the look of Shimano brifters too. Not to mention cost. It was no alternatives that drew me to bar-ends for my more modern rides.
This Fall I installed Shimano Ultegra bar-ends to 2 of my bikes...a CX and an aluminum road model.
To address the routing appearance, I ran their housing under the bar wrap for a cleaner appearance. There is no loss of functionality.
I had no experience with their use, but found them easy to operate just like DT shifters. I even reached down to ghost shift a DT shifter, old habits are hard to break. There is no safety concerns with them. I think they are great, and wished I had a more open mind back then. I would've used them on more of my bikes.


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Old 12-04-11, 11:51 PM
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I dont think I have EVER seen them in france.

not once. I find that very intresting

That said I am looking for a set to build a Tom simpson bike, will have to seach ebay.com
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Old 12-05-11, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by prettyshady View Post
I dont think I have EVER seen them in france.

not once. I find that very intresting

That said I am looking for a set to build a Tom simpson bike, will have to seach ebay.com
That is interesting that you’ve not seen them in France. It, perhaps, is a cultural thing; something I’ve always admired, and sometimes haven’t, about the French is their stubbornness against anything that didn’t meet a traditional standard. I don’t know the history of the bar-end shifter, but perhaps it was one of those new-fangled ‘Yankee’ inventions that was just too damned practical to be cool in Europe.
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Old 12-05-11, 12:48 AM
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Before brifters, bar-end shifters were typical on tandems precisely because they allowed you to have better control of the bike as you shift. With a 100 pound ballast on the back of the bike that has a mind of its own and the tendency to move around, taking a hand off the handlebar to shift can be risky.

The learning curve is about one short bike-ride long.
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Old 12-05-11, 01:02 AM
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I have the Suntour ratcheting bar-ends on 3 different bikes. I love them (finding them only second to brifters in convenience, and much, much cheaper) and would recommend them to anyone.
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Old 12-05-11, 04:19 AM
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I will choose Barcons every time, over down tube shifters. Barcons do not require the rider to remove his or her hands from the bars. There is never the urge to look down as one reaches. The Barcon has the exact same feel as the Suntour Power Shifter, one of the best down tube shifters ever made, in my opinion.

Once you go to Barcons, it is unlikely you will ever want to go back to down tube shifting. I ran Barcons on my Motobecane Grand Jubilee and tried them with drop bars and mustache. Perfect for either...


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Old 12-05-11, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Before brifters, bar-end shifters were typical on tandems precisely because they allowed you to have better control of the bike as you shift. With a 100 pound ballast on the back of the bike that has a mind of its own and the tendency to move around, taking a hand off the handlebar to shift can be risky.

The learning curve is about one short bike-ride long.
My ex-roommate, who only rides tourings, is car free, and enjoys months of bicycle touring excursions, cited that same reason for using bar ends on his '08 or '09 touring. He also explained that he preferred them over brifters because they are easy to fix, inexpensive to repair, and quick to get back on the road in case of failure in the instances one has to make due with what one has on hand.

So he justified bar ends rather than brifters on his modern touring based on: simplicity, cost, and control.
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Old 12-05-11, 05:20 AM
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The cost advantage of bar end shifters vs. brifters is very important to me since, like many on this forum, I build up multiple bikes each year. I could not afford to do that with brifters.
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Old 12-05-11, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cucumis.cucurbi View Post
Plus, for someone who is more of a brake hood rider, should I just go with sti's? They seem kinda far away, but i guess they are closer than between my knees. So tell me the pros and cons. Please use simple language. Thank you.
While DT shifters are just fine, one still has to remove a hand from the handle bar to shift, which most of the time will not be an issue. Bar end shifters allow both hands to remain on the bar when using. I generally grasp the shift lever between my pinky finger and the back of my hand and rotate my wrist. The motion becomes second nature quickly. Downside is that you'll have to route some cable housing from the handle bars to a housing stop on the DT.

Several of my bikes have had integrated shifters and I like them also, but they do cost much more than bar end shifters.

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Old 12-05-11, 07:18 AM
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Some of us aren't, ooohm, bendable enough to ride the drops for long. So bar-ends would mean moving a hand anyway, most of the time.
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