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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-29-09, 03:12 PM   #1
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LHT Shifters


With luck, I'm going to get a new ride this month before a couple of fall riding events. I've been looking at the Surly Long Haul Trucker (amongst others) and am at the point where I need to go test ride.

But the Surly dealer is an hour away, and curiosity is getting the better of me. The shifters on the '09 LHT are at the end of the bottom bar. How do they work? Is it just cable tension like my old Sears 12 speed? (Nudge a little to change gears, but the amount is based on "feel"). Do they click? Their placement seems like it might be a pain to use. Any comments welcome.
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Old 08-29-09, 03:32 PM   #2
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They are a joy to use. Although I was apprehensive at first like you, I find shifting with bar ends really natural. The left shifter (for your chain rings) will be friction and you do it mostly be feel. This works extremely well because you have near infinite control over your trimming and can make micro adjustments. The right shifter can be set to either index (clicking) or friction shifting. I usually just leave it in indexed mode unless I'm having some kind of cable adjustment issue. You move it between indexed and friction by turning the little D-ring on the left side of it.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-29-09, 04:02 PM   #3
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Have them on my tandem. Actually pretty nice. I can shift without removing my hands from the drops if I desire. I push down on the palm and it shifts. A flick up of the pinky and it shift in the opposite direction.

I wouldn't want them on a single "race bike" though. Seems the lever would hit my thigh if I were to stand in a sprint.
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Old 08-29-09, 10:22 PM   #4
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The shifters are called "Bar Cons" don't ask me why, I dunno. I used them on my cannondale from 88-90 and on my klein in 90-91. They work wonderfully and are reliable as all get out. That being said, I'd never shift back from the current STI Brifter to a bar con.

Researching the surley before this post i see that they're sold as a frame as well as a complete bike. if you go with a frame you can do your own build any way you want (or can afford).
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Old 08-29-09, 10:26 PM   #5
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I think bar end shifters are pretty common on touring bikes like the LHT. I prefer the integrated brakes and shifters (brifters) and therefore I bought a touring bike that came with this type of shifting. I bought the Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30. I know that the Jamis Aurora also comes with this option. I like this option because it is what I am familiar with through my experience with road bikes.
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Old 08-30-09, 08:12 PM   #6
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When I recently bought my LHT complete I also planned to switch out the barcons for brifters (which is what I'm used to), but after using the default LHT barcons for 400mi so far, I've really come to like them and have decided to keep them after all. They're really smooth and not any more difficult to use than brifters once I adjusted to the bar end location, I see no point now in spending more money on more complicated shifters, I can always do so at some point in the future if some compelling reason comes up (the LHT owners google group has lots of info on that swap if you need), but so far these are great and I plan to keep them...
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Old 08-30-09, 09:04 PM   #7
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touring bikes like the LHT are equipped with bar end shifters because of their reliability and ease of service. most bar end shifters will operate in both indexed mode and friction mode, so incase of a mechanical failure they will still be able to move the derailleurs. I am a fan of brifters as well, but since my style of cycling doesn't really require the ability to rapidly shift gears without removing my hands from the bars I run bar end shifters because they are cheaper and easier to service.

It really depends on what type of riding you are doing as to what type of shifter you need,but if you are buying a LHT you probably won't need the ablility to rapid shift with hands on the brakes.
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