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Do down tube shifters offer an advantage over STI/Ergo?

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Do down tube shifters offer an advantage over STI/Ergo?

Old 11-01-14, 04:55 PM
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zeego 
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Do down tube shifters offer an advantage over STI/Ergo?

Was talking to another forum member last night and he was talking about how he likes down tube shifters over STI's sometimes. His argument that it makes you anticipate gear changes making you more fluid. I haven't rode with downtube shifters for a while until I got my Ciocc in August but I can definitely say it does make me personally more "in tune" with my bike/derailleurs. On top of this, I love the simplicity and challenge of the friction shifters.

I'm about to begin a De Rosa build for the winter and my original idea was to equip it with some first generation DuraAce STI (7400). But after thinking about it, I might have to go the cheaper route and get some nice Shimano 600. Time will tell.
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Old 11-01-14, 05:04 PM
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DT shifters are also near bulletproof and easily fixed. Plus they make a bike look good.

But, dang, shifting on hills makes me love shifters on the brake levers.
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Old 11-01-14, 05:10 PM
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This thread is for buying, should transfer to "Classic & Vintage". As an answer to your question, the Peugeot UE08 mixte and Peugeot PX 10 are down-tube friction shifting and see no advantage to having them. I like Campagnolo Ergo Brifters (no ghost or over shift), simply easier to handle under extreme traffic and pedestrian condition ( I cycle through the streets of Chicago), easy reach without moving your hands and their "click and shift" is the best IMO.
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Old 11-01-14, 05:11 PM
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Sorry...I meant to post this thread in Classic and vintage and not in SALES
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Old 11-01-14, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by zeego View Post
Sorry...I meant to post this thread in Classic and vintage and not in SALES
No problem.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I would save a little longer for the 7400.

Here's what one of my De Rosas looked like with 7400.

[IMG]DSCN3373 by gomango1849, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 11-01-14, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
No problem.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I would save a little longer for the 7400.

Here's what one of my De Rosas looked like with 7400.

[IMG]DSCN3373 by gomango1849, on Flickr[/IMG]
Gorgeous. That's pretty much exactly what I have in mind.
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Old 11-02-14, 02:17 PM
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No advantages I can think of. I stick with them because I enjoy the added challenge.
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Old 11-02-14, 02:42 PM
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All I ever rode was downtube shifters until about 10 years ago, bought a used '97 Litespeed Vortex off of ebay. It had Shimano STI and I was in love. I ended up selling that bike and was back with the DT shifters on other old school frames until I picked up a 2001 Vortex with Campy record ergo. Smooth as silk, and right there in your hands. What could be wrong with that ? Now don't hate me but ....... I recently converted my downtube shifters on my Paramount to stem shifters. I had read the blurb on Rivendell's site and went for them. I like them. Like most bike components, it is a matter for getting used to one thing or another, given that the component is performing the way it is supposed to.
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Old 11-02-14, 02:48 PM
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DT levers rarely get scratched up or broken in a crash. No lump(s) under bar tape with grooveless C&V handlebars.

That's about all I can think of.

Shifters + nice brake levers used to be lighter than brifters, dunno if that's still the case or not.
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Old 11-02-14, 03:06 PM
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I ride both but ergos are much better to use. Hands on bars all the time, even touring is easier.

But..... I love using the D/T shifters too because they remind me of my first 10 speed, and I love the clink a thicker chain makes dropping into gear on a 5 or 6 speed block.
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Old 11-02-14, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by zeego View Post
Sorry...I meant to post this thread in Classic and vintage and not in SALES
No worries
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Old 11-02-14, 04:32 PM
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I do like to choose my brake levers and shifters independently of each other.
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Old 11-02-14, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
I do like to choose my brake levers and shifters independently of each other.
+1. This goes for all of the drivetrain for me. Downtube friction shifting allows you to mix and match components according to your preferences without worrying about compatibility issues.
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Old 11-02-14, 04:54 PM
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How about setting it up, initially, with friction down tube and ride it for awhile. In the meantime you could be acquiring/looking for the Dura Ace components. If it turns out you like down tube you'd have saved some money & time. If you don't like the down tube shifters at least you would be riding while acquiring the other parts. Just a thought.
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Old 11-02-14, 05:02 PM
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Great point. Thanks a lot! 8-)
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Old 11-02-14, 05:12 PM
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7400 with downtube shifters. I have a project in the que, an ~85 Hujsak, that is getting this very solution.
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Old 11-02-14, 05:24 PM
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I just got my first brifter equipped bikes this year, even though I've been riding over 50 years (since I got my first two wheeler at 4 years old).

First impressions? More convenient to shift, if you're one of the those riders that shifts constantly. If you shift less often and stay in a gear for a while? Less of a difference. In fact, I like the fact that the throws on downtube shifters are so short with index shifting. Barely a flick or movement, and clunk, you're in another gear. The travel movement of the brifter levers is much longer and shufting is slower in comparison to downtube mounted or stem mounted index shifting levers.

And what about costs. A set of used bifters with unknown service life remaining will cost you more than a complete, nice, used, steel or aluminum bike equipped with downtube shifters.

Shorter service life, more expensive, less reliable, and more maintenance. Broke a shifter cable, and now the shifter is totaled is a pretty common theme on BF and on the Internet. That's how I view brifters.

Riding a brifter bike is like driving a car with an automatic transmission. More convenient in traffic, less road feel for the driver. Takes some of the fun out of driving/riding.
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Old 11-02-14, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by PeregrineA1 View Post
7400 with downtube shifters. I have a project in the que, an ~85 Hujsak, that is getting this very solution.
I'm thinking the same thing. I got a really great offer for a group. Just trying to nail down some specifics. 8-)
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Old 11-02-14, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
I just got my first brifter equipped bikes this year, even though I've been riding over 50 years (since I got my first two wheeler at 4 years old).

First impressions? More convenient to shift, if you're one of the those riders that shifts constantly. If you shift less often and stay in a gear for a while? Less of a difference. In fact, I like the fact that the throws on downtube shifters are so short with index shifting. Barely a flick or movement, and clunk, you're in another gear. The travel movement of the brifter levers is much longer and shufting is slower in comparison to downtube mounted or stem mounted index shifting levers.

And what about costs. A set of used bifters with unknown service life remaining will cost you more than a complete, nice, used, steel or aluminum bike equipped with downtube shifters.

Shorter service life, more expensive, less reliable, and more maintenance. Broke a shifter cable, and now the shifter is totaled is a pretty common theme on BF and on the Internet. That's how I view brifters.

Riding a brifter bike is like driving a car with an automatic transmission. More convenient in traffic, less road feel for the driver. Takes some of the fun out of driving/riding.
Great points and perspective. Thanks for that.
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Old 11-02-14, 05:37 PM
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On the front derailleur, definitely yes. On the rear derailleur, definitely no.
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Old 11-02-14, 06:56 PM
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I think it depends on what kind of riding you're doing.

On short fast rides, especially with a group of riders who will drop you if you can't keep up, STI or Ergo shifters give you an advantage that you may need.

But if you're doing long rides, especially if you're setting your own pace, STIs offer little advantage if any. And somewhere beyond 100km riding, they become a torture device. By 100 miles the advantages of downtube shifters are clear:
1. Constantly moving your hands around from shifters to brakes is a great way to prevent the upper body soreness that comes from maintaining the same position for several hours;
2. You use your whole arm to shift from the downtime, not just your fingers. But your arm is a lot stronger than your fingers. As a result, you can still shift down tube shifters when your arm is tired. With STIs there comes a time when shifting is not worth the pain.

That's my experience, anyway.
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Old 11-02-14, 06:58 PM
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Yes - cost, weight, ease of maintenance, looks.

I ride both and never feel disadvantaged with the DT's.
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Old 11-02-14, 07:29 PM
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My first road bike was a '63 Schwinn Varsity (it was in 1964). DT shifters, handle bar tape... was tape [no padding], saddles were leather, feet attached to the pedals with a metal cage and a leather strap, and bicycles were made out of steel. In the case of my Schwinn... a LOT of steel (about 38 pounds of it). That old Schwinn with all of its shortcomings generated a love for road cycling that has lasted for half a century.

Modern bicycles with modern features are nicer!

Most of the time I ride an alloy lightweight with brifters, cushy-soft handle bar tape, and a saddle that doesn't make body parts go numb. But I also love my time on one of my lugged Cro-Mo, DT shifter, vintage steel bikes. I can't see how it would hurt to mix-and-match ether. But if some one can spend sometime on a classic steel with DT friction shifters.... I think it would enrich their entire cycling experience.
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Old 11-02-14, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by zeego View Post
Gorgeous. That's pretty much exactly what I have in mind.
Grinning.
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Old 11-02-14, 08:54 PM
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I am also of the opinion that the advantages of STI/Ergo are often exaggerated outside the competitive arena. It's really about what you like and what you get used to. As others have mentioned, riders in the old days managed to go pretty quickly in close quarters with friction shifters for decades before STI came out. I have a bike with Ergos and I like it, but it's in storage

2 of my 3 bikes have downtube shifters - one friction, one index - and I'd enthusiastically bring either of those bikes to any ride. If I can beat the pack up a hill during a club ride, it doesn't matter what I'm riding provided the bike is geared appropriately and well maintained. The shifters aren't what's making the difference one way or the other. Conversely, if I get dropped, it's not because some other guy's got CF and STI and I'm riding my steel with DT's. I don't race, so I really don't see the need for the potential split-second advantage that "brifters" may provide.
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