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Vintage Power-ratchet thumbshifters vs. downtube shifters on thumb mounts?

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Vintage Power-ratchet thumbshifters vs. downtube shifters on thumb mounts?

Old 05-06-14, 06:33 AM
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1987cp
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Vintage Power-ratchet thumbshifters vs. downtube shifters on thumb mounts?

Wondering if anyone has input on the ergonomic aspects of this comparison.

I have these Suntour ratching downtube shifters mounted on bar-end pods:



and am thinking of switching to thumbshifters, possibly with the fancy VO hinged thumbshifter mounts:



They surely have some advantages over the old Suntour ratcheting thumbies:



such as the method of mounting (hinged clamp with shims vs. band) and the presence of adjusting barrels. But supposing either could be had for the same cost, and supposing I like the looks of each equally well, is it ergonomically superior to have the lever mounted forward of the bar like the new mounts do rather than directly on top of the bar like the old thumbies did?
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Old 05-06-14, 07:23 AM
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Seems like there would be very little difference from an ergonomic perspective. I've had thumbies that mount directly on the bar and ones forward of the bar and never noticed a difference. Seems like the on-the-bar ones might be a bit easier to reach if you have smaller hands, but then they may also take up more grip room.

Clamp mounting is a benefit, but I'm not sure that a cable adjuster matters for running a friction setup. If they are the same price, then picking up the thumbies leaves you with a spare set of bar ends or downtubes for another project?
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Old 05-06-14, 11:40 AM
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I like the ergonomics of the Suntours. The levers are in just the right place to reach them with my thumbs. Mine are the same as the ones in your picture, but more complete. They originally had covers on the levers, but they were in bad shape and I replaced them with new Barcon covers. I also like that they are vintage parts for a vintage bike.

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Old 05-06-14, 11:43 AM
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I have the cheapy sun race thumbies......they work great. It seems to me the shorter lever of a true thumb shifter would be better ergonomically. Mine feel very natural. ymmv

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Old 05-06-14, 12:37 PM
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I have several bikes with original SunTour thumb mounted shifters. Although the band that goes around the handlebar isn't "clamped" like the VO, the band is able to come off without taking brake levers & grips off. Very simply as a matter of fact. Mine don't have barrel adjusters. As far as I can tell ratchet thumbies on a new mount and original ratchet thumbies would be the same as far as function, with the newer mount/barrel adjuster a nice modern touch. What bike are these going on?
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Old 05-06-14, 01:20 PM
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If it matters...

I tried last night to fit the Suntour thumbshifters shown above on a 23.8mm bar without success. It seems like it would need a bit of modification or longer steel clamp. In that sense the VO mounts are a bit more flexible in the variety of bars that they accommodate out of the box..

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Old 05-06-14, 02:25 PM
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I too had considered the advantages of having an extra set of extremely-nice shift levers ....

Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
Although the band that goes around the handlebar isn't "clamped" like the VO, the band is able to come off without taking brake levers & grips off.
Good info there!

I'm planning to switch my (relatively new) tandem from the very nice Bosco bar that can't stay away from my knees (lots of tight steering with the long wheelbase during the slow in-town riding I do) to a mildly-swept bar such as the VO Postino that won't fit barcons. So period correct doesn't matter, but it'll stay in early '80s style no matter what.
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Old 05-06-14, 03:45 PM
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the ones at the top were re-ordered into existence by Rivendale .. a bit long for a bar end,

but being useable also in downtube fittings , they sell to both users.
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Old 05-06-14, 07:41 PM
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As far as the ergonomics of it- I suppose it depends on what gear you're in and what lever position you wish to get to. I know with the Power Shifter thumbshifters, both in the rubber cover and MTB "on the bar" mount, as well as the old Deore and Deore XT indexed thumbshifters- most shifting positions are available with the swipe of a thumb or finger, and you can cover a big sweep by grabbing and turning.

I haven't used the "thumbie" pods- I get the distinction of the shifter being forward of the bar- I'd imagine, it makes a difference to some people- I don't think it would for me.
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Old 05-06-14, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I haven't used the "thumbie" pods- I get the distinction of the shifter being forward of the bar- I'd imagine, it makes a difference to some people- I don't think it would for me.
With any sort of multiposition bar, I've found it hard to get a comfortable thumbshifter mounting position where the levers aren't poking my hands, which is why I've gravitated toward barcons, since they poke my knees instead!

Attached: Here's a funky shifter position (courtesy of Jared's "BOM" on rivbike.com) where I could see the offset mount making a difference. It is, of course, up in the air yet whether I'll even be trying this position when I get my new bars (which will probably be more like the VO Postino with a 45-deg. sweep instead of the more nearly-parallel sweep of the Albatross and Bosco).


**EDIT** I found pics of someone doing it with a 45-degree bar, courtesy of the VO Blog ... so maybe I'm not as crazy as I thought to consider the possibility: http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2013...y-cockpit.html
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Jared_bar_funnyshifters.jpg (45.9 KB, 80 views)

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Old 05-07-14, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by 1987cp View Post
With any sort of multiposition bar, I've found it hard to get a comfortable thumbshifter mounting position where the levers aren't poking my hands, which is why I've gravitated toward barcons, since they poke my knees instead!

Attached: Here's a funky shifter position (courtesy of Jared's "BOM" on rivbike.com) where I could see the offset mount making a difference. It is, of course, up in the air yet whether I'll even be trying this position when I get my new bars (which will probably be more like the VO Postino with a 45-deg. sweep instead of the more nearly-parallel sweep of the Albatross and Bosco).


**EDIT** I found pics of someone doing it with a 45-degree bar, courtesy of the VO Blog ... so maybe I'm not as crazy as I thought to consider the possibility: The Velo ORANGE Blog: Winnifred's Funky Cockpit
That's a cool setup!

I've seen (I think) Suntour XC Comp brake levers with built in thumbshifters, same with the Campagnolo Euclid lever/shifter combo- I suppose you could turn those sideways like that as well- maybe...
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Old 05-14-14, 07:57 AM
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This is interesting. I tried mocking up the above setup with some old XC-LTD thumbshifters and the brake levers I have, and discovered that when the shifters are turned into the most convenient position, the levers hit the screw head on the brake lever clamp. I took another look at the pictures and noticed that in addition to the nice shifter mounts, which might give a little more clearance than my old thumbshifters, they're using what I'll call "low profile" brake levers such as these:

Tektro FL750 City Brake Levers for 22.2 dia Bars - Levers - Brakes & Parts - Components

http://www.rivbike.com/Tektro-FL750-Lever-p/bl11.htm
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Old 05-14-14, 08:19 AM
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My sole experience w/ thumbies is with the SunTour Accushifts that were on my Schwinn mountain bike when I bought it. I use friction mode and recently converted to an 8-speed cassette. I also like my motorcycle-style 4-finger Shimano brake handles.
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Old 05-23-14, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
My sole experience w/ thumbies is with the SunTour Accushifts that were on my Schwinn mountain bike when I bought it. I use friction mode and recently converted to an 8-speed cassette. I also like my motorcycle-style 4-finger Shimano brake handles.
Yours actually do friction mode well? My Accushift thumbshifters have nice indexing in "7" mode and kind of soft indexing in "F" mode. Mine are XC-LTD, so possibly one of their other models had a better friction mode?
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Old 05-24-14, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 1987cp View Post
Yours actually do friction mode well? My Accushift thumbshifters have nice indexing in "7" mode and kind of soft indexing in "F" mode. Mine are XC-LTD, so possibly one of their other models had a better friction mode?
Mine are very smooth in Friction mode -- I'll have to check the exact model, but I don't recall -LTD. Mine are ca. 1988 vintage.
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