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shifter and brake configuration on upright bars

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shifter and brake configuration on upright bars

Old 04-25-12, 08:48 AM
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shifter and brake configuration on upright bars

Hi all,

I'm in a conundrum and not sure the best technological way to solve it. I built a city bike from a 1974 Fuji Special Road racer (which I'll post when i get this figured out). I currently have inverse brake levers on a Soma Oxford handlebar (similar to Albatross) with beautiful Arabesque downtube shifters:

Bar, brakes and shifter config

You can see from the picture that this 25" frame is a bit small and the stem is jacked up. And while I like the Arabesque downtube shifters, their location just isn't working for me. It's like I'm reaching down to tie my shoes each time I shift. I could probably leave the front shifter where it is, since that only gets switched when i pull my kids. So, to move at least the right/rear shifter (if not both), I see a few options, all of which mean ditching the arabesque:

1. get normal brake levers and bar-end shifters, which I like on my other upright bike.
2. keep the inverse brake levers and get thumb shifters of some kind.
3. keep the inverse brake levers and get a stem shifter of some kind.

I found this setup with Paul Thumbies that looks interesting:

New brake levers and shifters for my LHT by humblecyclist

I'd love to hear some thoughts and ideas! (and pictures of course)
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Old 04-25-12, 08:58 AM
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Stem mounted shifters actually work fine for that kind of build and would definitely be the least expensive option. I like the thumbies solution, but that can get pricy, between the cost of the unit and the shifters themselves. Someone (Velo Orange - I'm talking about you) should make an integrated inverse brake lever/bar-end shifter pod. That would be killer, and I'd bet they'd sell a lot of 'em.
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Old 04-25-12, 08:58 AM
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Well, any of your listed options will work. You'll just have to decide what you prefer. Personally, I'm not crazy about inverse levers.

I built my dad's bike with the Albatross bars and used the VO thumb mounts.




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Old 04-25-12, 09:02 AM
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The logical place with that much stem showing is on the the stem just to keep the inverse levers. But l understand the feeling that stem shifters scream cheap and I would probably go with regular levers and bar end shifters. At least that is what I plan on doing when I redo my city bike.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
Stem mounted shifters actually work fine for that kind of build and would definitely be the least expensive option. I like the thumbies solution, but that can get pricy, between the cost of the unit and the shifters themselves. Someone (Velo Orange - I'm talking about you) should make an integrated inverse brake lever/bar-end shifter pod. That would be killer, and I'd bet they'd sell a lot of 'em.
I agree, this is a perfect application for stem shifters. Install a nice set of ratcheting Suntour Power Shifters, and you're all set.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
Stem mounted shifters actually work fine for that kind of build and would definitely be the least expensive option.
Good point! I could likely get a cheap pair at my LBS and be good to go in minutes. I guess i was concerned that the stem shifters would be unwieldy and cheap looking. I guess I'll find out.

Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
Personally, I'm not crazy about inverse levers. I built my dad's bike with the Albatross bars and used the VO thumb mounts.
These are my first, and i was curious to try them out. they feel fine and i like the clean look, which is why adding thumb shifters seems to defeat the purpose. Oh, and your pictures aren't showing up for some reason... I was looking for those while writing this post.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:23 AM
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Suntour Power Shifters and Shimano Light Action are the best stem shifters I've seen. They both look and shift very well.

The pictures are showing for me. Anyone else?
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Old 04-25-12, 09:25 AM
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And if you want indexed, I believe Shimano did make some stem-mounted SIS shifters at one point, though you don't come across them often.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
The pictures are showing for me. Anyone else?
Not working here either
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Old 04-25-12, 09:31 AM
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With those thick spacers could you get a clamp on downtube shifter mount to fit on the stem and use your current levers up there? Probably would need to work something out with cable stops though.


Edit: Completely ignore the above, I was looking at the picture of the LHT with a threadless stem when I saw all the spacers, your new setup looks like it'll work out fine for you.

Last edited by himespau; 04-25-12 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
Suntour Power Shifters and Shimano Light Action are the best stem shifters I've seen.
Clearly this was a scenario where I was just overthinking the problem. Looking downstairs, I found a set of Suntour Power Shifters from some old bike, installed them, and they work like a charm. Now all I need to do is wrap the handgrips!

Solved shifter issue! by JPTwins, on Flickr

Thanks guys for opening my eyes.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:59 AM
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Why not just put friction thumb shifters on. Cheap and work great...right at your thumptip so to speak .

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Old 04-25-12, 11:46 AM
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No love here for downtube mounted shifters?

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Old 04-25-12, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
No love here for downtube mounted shifters?
With upright bars on a 25" frame? Not this guy. It's a long way down there.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
With upright bars on a 25" frame? Not this guy. It's a long way down there.
upright bars on a 25" with a full extended Technomic stem! and pulling my kids on a trail-a-bike.
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Old 04-25-12, 01:18 PM
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Though it takes a bit of time, the shifter cables can be run under some upright bar levers, such as this Weinmann set. The Suntour Barcon shifters are always a treat, compared to down tube ones, in my opinion. Anyway, how I did it on my Legnano Gran Premio and on my Motobecane Grand Jubilee...

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Old 04-25-12, 01:49 PM
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I would have told him to find some shimano stem shifters and swap the 600 levers to them, that way they still match!
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Old 04-25-12, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Though it takes a bit of time, the shifter cables can be run under some upright bar levers, such as this Weinmann set. The Suntour Barcon shifters are always a treat, compared to down tube ones, in my opinion. Anyway, how I did it on my Legnano Gran Premio and on my Motobecane Grand Jubilee...
That's pretty slick.
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Old 04-25-12, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by puchfinnland View Post
I would have told him to find some shimano stem shifters and swap the 600 levers to them, that way they still match!
That was the first thing I tried and it was not immediately obvious that the 600 levers were going to fit on the other stem shifter bases, even the ones from shimano. I would definitely still be interested in which bases would work!
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Old 04-25-12, 07:46 PM
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I agree Someone really needs to make a inverse lever that you canuse barends with. I really wanted inversre levers on my Hetchins but I had to settle for a pair of Euclid levers.




There would be a pic here but I am unable to copy and paste it. maybe after the next update we won't be able to post at all
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Old 04-26-12, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by puchfinnland View Post
I would have told him to find some shimano stem shifters and swap the 600 levers to them, that way they still match!
+100 I did this with my Suntour BL levers when I converted to upright bars, they looked and worked great.

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