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How does it feel like to use Bar end shifters compared with STI/Brifters?

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

How does it feel like to use Bar end shifters compared with STI/Brifters?

Old 12-13-21, 10:37 PM
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cherokeeronin
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How does it feel like to use Bar end shifters compared with STI/Brifters?

Good day everyone, I hope this thread is seen by people who have first hand experience using STI/Brifters and Bar end shifters.

I am contemplating to switch from Brifters/STI to Microshift's bar end shifters. But I have no experience riding barends.

The pros that I see are: less hassle in mix matching Derailleurs, if you ever fall on the bike the shifters probably wouldnt get affected just the brakes. Its common for me to see people getting their STI/Brifters scratched or broken from falls. Thats why honestly during extra long long rides, tjays what I see as a plus.

The cons that I see: you would have to reach over a bit, would probably be difficult to shift during traffic(unless you are used to it I guess), not sure if any of my local bike mechanics know how to install and/or tune them

I'm mostly the weekender cyclist, biking out with friends. But if not I'd be doing long rides, usually 50km on my average rides. The place that I live in is pretty much a city so it gets really traffic midday, but early morning and late evening the traffic is pretty much gone; and in that scenario STI/Brifters would ideally be better. (However its difficult to find budget drivetrains and an appropriate gear ratio that I need) If this barend shifterwouldnt work for me, I would be getting a Shensah SRX groupset instead.

So is there anyone who can share their experience riding with barend shifters, during traffic, long rides, weekend short rides. How does your hand feel, do you lose your balance when shifting, does it come out of place when in friction mode, what are the difficulty you guys have dealt with using them, do you tune them just the same way with indexed, the pros and cons of barends in your book/in your own terms etc etc
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Old 12-13-21, 10:47 PM
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If my options are microshift bar ends or some Sensah product, I'll go bar ends.
If my options are microshift bar ends or some Shimano product, I'll go Shimano.

My first gravel bike had bar end shifters. 3x7 drivetrain with friction bar end shifting. I rode it for 2 years without issue because it's friction so if there is an issue, adjust a touch touch it's gone.
And my commuter/touring bike has 3x9 indexed bar end shifters right now.

Bar end shifting is fine on gravel, but not ideal. When riding on loose gravel I would much rather keep both hands on the hoods and shift, or keep them on the drops and shift. On a related note, I also don't grab for my water bottle when riding on loose soupy gravel for the same reason.

I place no consideration in what drivetrain I should use based on if I will fall and potentially damage a shifter. The odds of that are so small that it has no bearing on my decision making. If someone tends to fall a lot for some reason, then I guess that should play into their decision making.
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Old 12-13-21, 11:18 PM
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I have bar end shifters on my commuter. They definitely impact turn radius for me. If I try to turn too tight, I foul my knee.

I like them for simplicity and durability but I use that bike in mostly straight-line service.
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Old 12-14-21, 12:24 AM
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I've got a pair and have used others, I actually preferred downtube shifters more than barend and I ditched downtube the first time I actually say STI levers and decided they were the best concept. I will be converting my set of barends to Microshift integrated levers which I would take over sensah any day.
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Old 12-14-21, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
I will be converting my set of barends to Microshift integrated levers which I would take over sensah any day.
This is a good point that should have been included in my first post. I have used Microshift 2x7 and 2x9 shifters over the last 6 years and genuinely like them. The external shift cable is the only downside in my view. For a current winter project, I actually planned to use Microshift Centos 2x11, up until I found an inexpensive donor bike with used 105 11sp.

We have Microshift Advent 1x9 on my wife's older MTB and Advent is also on my youngest daugther's road bike.

Microshift/Micronew(different, yet same) is $67 with free shipping. https://www.ebay.com/itm/28408727851...sAAOSwyXNhsK9B
I have used both brands and cant figure out what is different.
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Old 12-14-21, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cherokeeronin View Post
Good day everyone, I hope this thread is seen by people who have first hand experience using STI/Brifters and Bar end shifters.

I am contemplating to switch from Brifters/STI to Microshift's bar end shifters. But I have no experience riding barends.

The pros that I see are: less hassle in mix matching Derailleurs, if you ever fall on the bike the shifters probably wouldnt get affected just the brakes. Its common for me to see people getting their STI/Brifters scratched or broken from falls. Thats why honestly during extra long long rides, tjays what I see as a plus.

The cons that I see: you would have to reach over a bit, would probably be difficult to shift during traffic(unless you are used to it I guess), not sure if any of my local bike mechanics know how to install and/or tune them

I'm mostly the weekender cyclist, biking out with friends. But if not I'd be doing long rides, usually 50km on my average rides. The place that I live in is pretty much a city so it gets really traffic midday, but early morning and late evening the traffic is pretty much gone; and in that scenario STI/Brifters would ideally be better. (However its difficult to find budget drivetrains and an appropriate gear ratio that I need) If this barend shifterwouldnt work for me, I would be getting a Shensah SRX groupset instead.

So is there anyone who can share their experience riding with barend shifters, during traffic, long rides, weekend short rides. How does your hand feel, do you lose your balance when shifting, does it come out of place when in friction mode, what are the difficulty you guys have dealt with using them, do you tune them just the same way with indexed, the pros and cons of barends in your book/in your own terms etc etc
I guess I will ask the question why make the switch? is there something wrong with your brifters? are you doing allot of drive train swaps? do you fall down all the time?

I ride both generally I set up new bikes I am building with friction either bar ends or thumbies. When it comes to drop bar stuff I would probably go brifter every time over bar ends. I dont make that move because I am usually using a mix and match drive train and used bar ends are cheap.

Biggest con IMO to bar ends is knee hits when off road(almost never happens on road). and if it gets cold and you have bar mits you might not want to shift even when its nice I shift less with bar ends.

The rest of the stuff you are asking about are not issues. traffic is fine, balance is fine (my 9 year old can use them). You do need to tighten up friction shifters from time to time( not a issue just a thing). if your mechanics cant install or tune friction shifters teach yourself because they suck.
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Old 12-14-21, 08:14 AM
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I've got a bike with Ergo brifters, one with STI, and one with Shimano bar end shifters.

When I start a ride with different shifters, I'll usually mis-shift once or twice in the first block until I figure out what I'm riding. On a bad day it takes two blocks. After that I don't notice for the rest of the ride.

I was worried about the long reach to the bar ends when I got that bike. Turns out, if I let go of the bars and swing my hand down and back, it hits where the shifter is. So there's no change in posture required to reach the shifter, and no loss of balance.

My Shimano bar ends are indexed on the right (rear), and friction on the front. I really like the indexed front -- it makes fine-tuning derailer position not only possible, but easy. I don't think I've had to touch the screw that would tighten the friction shifter in 6,000 miles. My bike is set up so that I don't bang my knees or thighs on the bar ends unless I'm doing something stupid (like trying to slide down a loose rock slope without dismounting).
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Old 12-14-21, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
I'm sure that with time it would become second nature, but moving your hands from the hoods to the drops every time you want to shift seems cumbersome.
I for sure shift less on the bike with bar end shifters. Same as when I rode bikes with downtube shifters- I would shift less frequently compared to STI.

On gravel, I shifted less with bar end, not because it was somehow too difficult to just move my hand, but because I want both hands on the bar when riding on sketchy terrain. A lot of my riding is short steepish decent and then short steepish climb over and over. I dont want to take my hand off the bars going downhill on loose gravel in order to prepare the gearing needed to climb. Just doesnt sound appealing.
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Old 12-14-21, 10:20 AM
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I'm sure that with time it would become second nature, but moving your hands from the hoods to the drops every time you want to shift is cumbersome.

I think something like these Gevenalle shifters would be a better alternative: https://www.gevenalle.com/product/shift-levers/
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Old 12-14-21, 10:24 AM
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I generally didn't have any problem, but at some point I always smacked my knee on the lever. But I only stopped using them because I had 10 speed levers on a 9 speed bike and friction shifting 9 speed requires too much concentration for me.
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Old 12-14-21, 10:36 AM
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The first and most hilarious part I need to address is wondering whether your local mechanic can set up bar ends. They are incredibly simple. Iíd wager that a 16 year old volunteering at the shop could do it, on his first day.


As for performance, I rarely rode traffic with them but took them off road all the time. For blue and easier trails, theyíre fine. I definitely considered cutting an inch off my drop bars, itís easy to bang your leg. Most importantly, they allow you run a mountain bike derailleur. I never had any complaints.

Once I set up my new bike, it came with Sram Rival dual tap shifters. I never hated them but no matter what I did, I was never very happy with them. I switched to Archer wireless e shifters and havenít looked back.

More broadly though, outside of gravel, Iíve had STI shifters on numerous road bikes since the late 90ís. Of several generations. They work and theyíre fine. I like Campy Ergoís better but thatís ergonomics, not a major difference in functionality.

If youíre planning on hydraulic brakes and bar ends, the TRP Hylex might be your only option. I have them and they work great, they are long, I ended getting a stem 10mm shorter to compensate.
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Old 12-14-21, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
I think something like these Gevenalle shifters would be a better alternative: https://www.gevenalle.com/product/shift-levers/


I had some Gevenalle shifters for about 5 years on two different gravel bikes. I specifically kept them for my current build and used cable disc brakes for a year because I likes the shifters so much.
They fit so well with my hand size/shape.
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Old 12-14-21, 02:08 PM
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My road bikes are all STI...I like them quite well. My gravel bike I built up before there was decent range in gearing without using mtb rear derailleurs, so I built it up with bar ends...friction shifting on the left, indexed on the right/rear. It sounds like a lot of riders are on the hoods nearly all of the time, so find bar-end shifting cumbersome. I guess I park up on the hoods plenty as well, but seem to move around on the bars quite a bit, and am comfortable in the drops, so I do not find it difficult to switch between shifter styles, or shift often on the bar-ends. I change gears on the bar-ends as often as sti, it does not seem to be a hassle to me. Frankly, was kind of planning to go with bar-ends in a future gravel build in order to keep the drivetrain a little simple. My bar-ends were installed going on 6 years ago...much like the canti brakes, they've been set it and forget it. If I'm standing/straddling the bike, I sometimes bump into the shifters, but I've not had that happen when actually riding...Would need to be a pretty short top tube/reach I suspect.
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Old 12-17-21, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by cherokeeronin View Post
not sure if any of my local bike mechanics know how to install and/or tune them
A bicycle mechanic whose ability to work with bar-end shifters is suspect should not be trusted with anything.
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Old 12-21-21, 08:34 AM
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Hi everyone! I really appreciate the time you guys took to replt to this thread. Apparently I'm thinking of switching to bar ends so I can use an MTB RD to accomodate a bigger range sprocket. My reason being is that most shimano drivetrains are pretty expensive for me at this point in time. I also consider moving to bar ends is that the Micronew Shifters I use now are external cable routing, I pretty much would like an Internal cabling look and at the same time to be able to accomodate a bigger handlebar bag.

I pretty much live in the city so I would have to face traffic before going out the area with less traffic.

And with the brakes, Im using Zoom Xtech HB100 cable actuated hydraulic brakes. Stopping power is better compared with the typical mechanical brakes. And Im still using it without having to refill the oil inside the calipers. Ive been using this for around 3 mos now.

I am concerned now with a new drivetrain hack that Ive seen recently.

(Id like to post the link and/or show the picture to you guys but Im unable to do so because it says I would have to need to have more than 10 posts. Apologies for that one)

This drivetrain is from Pinewood Lancer 2.0 gravel bike 2022 model. Im not sure if you guys have this in your country. But apparently it consist of Shensash Empire paired with RD Deore M6100. Now Ive asked the seller if they customized something or its just naturally compatible, they said it is actually compatible.

So from earlier posts, I mentioned probably switching from my current Micronew to Shensah SRX groupset or Microshift Bar end shifters (both for a wider range cassete and having the cables internally routed). But now since this new info of Shensah Empire paired with Deore M6100 RD, I might probably go with this build. Im still saving so I might end up doing the build probably early next year(2022).
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Old 12-21-21, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cherokeeronin View Post
Hi everyone! I really appreciate the time you guys took to replt to this thread. Apparently I'm thinking of switching to bar ends so I can use an MTB RD to accomodate a bigger range sprocket. My reason being is that most shimano drivetrains are pretty expensive for me at this point in time. I also consider moving to bar ends is that the Micronew Shifters I use now are external cable routing, I pretty much would like an Internal cabling look and at the same time to be able to accomodate a bigger handlebar bag.

I pretty much live in the city so I would have to face traffic before going out the area with less traffic.

And with the brakes, Im using Zoom Xtech HB100 cable actuated hydraulic brakes. Stopping power is better compared with the typical mechanical brakes. And Im still using it without having to refill the oil inside the calipers. Ive been using this for around 3 mos now.

I am concerned now with a new drivetrain hack that Ive seen recently.

(Id like to post the link and/or show the picture to you guys but Im unable to do so because it says I would have to need to have more than 10 posts. Apologies for that one)

This drivetrain is from Pinewood Lancer 2.0 gravel bike 2022 model. Im not sure if you guys have this in your country. But apparently it consist of Shensash Empire paired with RD Deore M6100. Now Ive asked the seller if they customized something or its just naturally compatible, they said it is actually compatible.

So from earlier posts, I mentioned probably switching from my current Micronew to Shensah SRX groupset or Microshift Bar end shifters (both for a wider range cassete and having the cables internally routed). But now since this new info of Shensah Empire paired with Deore M6100 RD, I might probably go with this build. Im still saving so I might end up doing the build probably early next year(2022).
I think (could be wrong) but sensah does seem to offer a shifter that is market at shimano shifting. So that may well be what they are using. the sensah shifter that comes with their derailleur is a different cable pull...
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Old 12-23-21, 04:44 AM
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I used DuraAce ($90) bar ends on my Soma. Integrated shifters were not available, and having used them before, no problems. Great shifting and I wrapped up the cables under the bar so no sticking out stuff.
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Old 12-23-21, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Sensah have multiple options for their 1x11 SRX Pro set. They have a set with Brifters, RD, 46-11t cassette, and 11 speed chain all for only $140 with discount.

If you live in the Asian region and can buy from Shoppee or Lazada, look for seller named "SENSAH". They sell these sets at the lowest prices like the link below:
https://www.lazada.com.ph/products/s...52064850.html?

I currently have 1x9 Sensah Ignite drivetrain on my gravel bike. The only one thing I didn't like about Sensah RD is made mostly of plastic. SRX Pro also looks mostly plastic. It never caused any problems so far and I have around 5,000 miles in one year on the Sensah Ignite. The plastic material they used is actually strong and does not deform.

Good reviews from youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyeHd5zxvGk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h1zr4Fg5n8
I have close to 3k on the state branded one and I have not had any issues to complain about. the plastic seems totally fine so far I have knocked it around quite a bit.
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Old 12-25-21, 02:02 AM
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Big +1 for Gevenalle brifters, which are literally Microshift bar end shifters mounted to the front of Tektro (mechanical) or TRP (hydraulic) brake levers. Or you can fit your own downtube shifters, with Gevenalleís Audax model. Relatively inexpensive, light, durable, and serviceable/rebuildable, and compatible with many brake and drivetrain configurations.
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