Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
Reload this Page >

Am I crazy for wanting bar-end shifters?

Notices
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.

Am I crazy for wanting bar-end shifters?

Old 09-01-14, 09:33 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 968
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Am I crazy for wanting bar-end shifters?

Long story short, I have had a couple cross bikes in the past and loved riding them. It have had nothing but road bikes since then and seem to be itching for a cross bike again. I have had STI shifters on numerous bikes and bar end shifters on another. I like STI shifters but I have the itch to go with giving bar end shifters another shot. I know bar end shifters don't compare to STI shifters in the shifting department but seem to be more low maintenance. Am I crazy for wanting to switch from STI shifters to bar end shifters?
09box is offline  
Old 09-01-14, 09:45 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
koolerb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 1,087

Bikes: CAAD 12, ROS 9+, and some others

Liked 14 Times in 12 Posts
I put bar end shifters on a cross bike I built and kept hitting the front of my thighs on them when getting on and off. Removed them and now they're on my touring bike.
koolerb is offline  
Old 09-01-14, 09:53 AM
  #3  
Have bike, will travel
 
Barrettscv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Lake Geneva, WI
Posts: 12,284

Bikes: Ridley Helium SLX, Canyon Endurance SL, De Rosa Professional, Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, Schwinn Paramount (1 painted, 1 chrome), Peugeot PX10, Serotta Nova X, Simoncini Cyclocross Special, Raleigh Roker, Pedal Force CG2 and CX2

Liked 288 Times in 158 Posts
I have them on my vintage cross bike and really like them. I also have Shimano STI brifters. The brifters are superior on trails, they allow you the shift from both the hoods and the drops. This is an advantage while braking and shifting while descending a hill.
__________________
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.
Barrettscv is offline  
Old 09-01-14, 10:42 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Norway
Posts: 1,408
Liked 14 Times in 6 Posts
Barend shifters work great on my Focus Mares gravelgrinder. I put them on so I could use XTR V-brakes, a really great improvement on the cantis that were there before. I have had no problems whatsoever with this setup, I mostly use it in friction mode.
plodderslusk is offline  
Old 09-01-14, 10:56 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,119
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I found that I'd often hit the shifter with my knee while climbing out of the saddle.

I rode a couple seasons 1x10 with a Paul thumbie and bartop levers. I really liked that setup, even though integrated shifters are a bit more convenient.
flargle is offline  
Old 09-01-14, 12:01 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 14,859

Bikes: Yes

Liked 4,094 Times in 1,516 Posts
I'm a bit surprised by your statement, "I know bar end shifters don't compare to STI shifters in the shifting department." If by "don't compare" you mean "don't shift as well" this is not at all my experience. I find properly set up bar end shifters to shift crisply, cleanly and consistently. They are also cheaper, stronger and lighter.

But I'm really surprised that none of the previous replies brought up Gevenalle shifters. If hitting your leg on the shifter is a concern, this fixes it. It also at least partially solves the other main problem with bar end shifters, which is their inconvenient location.

Here's a shot of my cross bike with these shifters:



For just recreational gravel/off-road use they're great, but I've recently got the chance to use them in a couple of CX races and there they really shine. Probably the nicest thing about them is how easily you can sweep through several gears at once.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Old 09-01-14, 08:05 PM
  #7  
toasty!
 
AK404's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 710

Bikes: 1998 Cannondale r200, 2011 Bianchi Via Nirone 7; 2007 Redline Conquest Pro

Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a bar-end shifter on my 1x9 Redline CX bike: my mission for the summer was to get her out of her single gear setup and into a 1x setup by the fall...using as many parts out of my spare parts box as I could. Admittedly, it feels odd compared to brifters because I'm relearning how to use bar ends properly, but I love that I can sweep through the entire cassette in a single go. The big problem I've had is that I can't find any references on how to use a bar end shifter safely, which is one of the reasons I prefer brifters. It does feel a bit...risky moving my hands as much as I do when shifting, though: I've been trying to shift with my last two fingers while resting my hand on the drops, but I've reflexively reaching with my index finger. I consider this to be a very bad thing, but as I said, I've been training myself to not do it because I still consider bar end shifters to be an interesting and enlightening experience.

I'm really not thrilled about the 'meh' bar tape job, but that's more of a cosmetic thing that anything else.
AK404 is offline  
Old 09-01-14, 08:10 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 20,568

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Liked 3,669 Times in 2,161 Posts
No you're not crazy; I love the bar ends on my cross bike:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_0079.jpg (99.8 KB, 650 views)
bikemig is offline  
Old 09-02-14, 09:41 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 968
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Andy_K
I'm a bit surprised by your statement, "I know bar end shifters don't compare to STI shifters in the shifting department." If by "don't compare" you mean "don't shift as well" this is not at all my experience. I find properly set up bar end shifters to shift crisply, cleanly and consistently. They are also cheaper, stronger and lighter.

But I'm really surprised that none of the previous replies brought up Gevenalle shifters. If hitting your leg on the shifter is a concern, this fixes it. It also at least partially solves the other main problem with bar end shifters, which is their inconvenient location.

Here's a shot of my cross bike with these shifters:



For just recreational gravel/off-road use they're great, but I've recently got the chance to use them in a couple of CX races and there they really shine. Probably the nicest thing about them is how easily you can sweep through several gears at once.

How long have those Gevenalle shifters been on the market? They look really cool.
09box is offline  
Old 09-02-14, 10:55 AM
  #10  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Liked 1,360 Times in 866 Posts
Toured internationally, for years with bar end friction shifters , now my Road Bike has them too.

Wide Drop-bars on the tourer, Nitto Dirt Drop Bars on the road bike , the bottoms are angled outward to miss my knees .





the Grevenalle / Retroshift things have been around a few years already .. the name changed this year.;

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-02-14 at 10:59 AM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 09-02-14, 10:57 AM
  #11  
RR3
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,226
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I haven;t done any hardcore remote touring in a while but my touring bike has bar ends and would not have it any other way. Brifters fail. Who needs that in the middle of nowhere.
RR3 is offline  
Old 09-02-14, 12:03 PM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 14,859

Bikes: Yes

Liked 4,094 Times in 1,516 Posts
Originally Posted by 09box
How long have those Gevenalle shifters been on the market? They look really cool.
They've been around for a few years. They used to be sold under the RetroShift brand name (which is what mine actually are). The brand got renamed early this year.

Check 'em out:

Gevenalle - Cyclocross
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Old 09-02-14, 05:43 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
koolerb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 1,087

Bikes: CAAD 12, ROS 9+, and some others

Liked 14 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by Andy_K
They've been around for a few years. They used to be sold under the RetroShift brand name (which is what mine actually are). The brand got renamed early this year.

Check 'em out:

Gevenalle - Cyclocross
Pretty slick
koolerb is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 10:20 PM
  #14  
cycle-dog spot
 
DinoShepherd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,538

Bikes: Look, Niner, Ellsworth, Norco, Litespeed

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Raced a year with bar end shifter on a 1 x 9. Great setup.

It is customary to cut an inch or so off the handlebar to allow for more clearance and to prevent inadvertent shifts with the knees.

:-)
DinoShepherd is offline  
Old 09-08-14, 09:36 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
grolby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BOSTON BABY
Posts: 9,789
Liked 86 Times in 60 Posts
Originally Posted by Andy_K
I'm a bit surprised by your statement, "[COLOR=#000000]I know bar end shifters don't compare to STI shifters in the shifting department." If by "don't compare" you mean "don't shift as well" this is not at all my experience. I find properly set up bar end shifters to shift crisply, cleanly and consistently. They are also cheaper, stronger and lighter
The combination of bar end shifters and basic brake levers don't compare as well to integrated shifters in weight as most people suppose, unless you are comparing to really low-end stuff. They may well be stronger, but after using integrated shifters for quite a few years as well as bar end shifters, I have not had either one break in a fall or crash, and I've hit them pretty hard. It happens, of course, but the delicateness of integrated shifters is greatly overstated.

Honestly, the only good thing I can think of to say about bar end shifters is that they are easier to use off-road than downtube shifters. I actually prefer DT shifters in every other condition that I can think of, and of course integrated shifters are obviously superior to DT shifters. So I suppose that reveals my personal bias.

The funny thing is, I've used bar ends a LOT. I have a pair of 8-speed bar ends that I've installed on at least four different bikes over something like 8 or 9 years of ownership. I've had them for quite a bit longer than any bicycle I presently own. But I don't particularly like them.

I have no experience with the Gevenalle/Retroshift shifters, but I did do some research earlier this year when I was planning my new CX bike. Personally, it's hard for me to see the case for them. There are 9-speed speed shifters from Shimano that are easily cost and weight competitive with them, and the shifting with them looks very awkward to me (and impossible from the drops). As with bar ends, I am unimpressed by Gevenalle's claims that they are more durable than integrated shifters, as durability has not been an issue in my experience.

All of that said, I don't know that I would say wanting to switch from STI to bar ends is crazy. To each their own, after all. But it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and the usual reasons given as supposed advantages of bar ends (durability, maintenance weight) are either not an issue or outright not true in practice.
grolby is offline  
Old 09-08-14, 12:28 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 14,859

Bikes: Yes

Liked 4,094 Times in 1,516 Posts
Originally Posted by grolby
I have no experience with the Gevenalle/Retroshift shifters, but I did do some research earlier this year when I was planning my new CX bike. Personally, it's hard for me to see the case for them. There are 9-speed speed shifters from Shimano that are easily cost and weight competitive with them, and the shifting with them looks very awkward to me (and impossible from the drops). As with bar ends, I am unimpressed by Gevenalle's claims that they are more durable than integrated shifters, as durability has not been an issue in my experience.
I haven't broken an STI shifter either and I have also crashed on them pretty hard. I think it's not so much that they're fragile as that at least with Shimano STI when they do break or wear out they become paperweights. Besides having a theoretical advantage in durability, Gevenalle shifters have a nice replacement policy if you do manage to break them.

As for the weight, a Bike Rumor article from last October (Project Any Road: Retroshift CX2 Shifters Long Term Review) claimed that they were 40 grams lighter than Ultegra STI. That's not a lot and frankly I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some of Shimano's lower end models are lighter. I believe ordinary bar end shifters are actually a bit heavier than a Gevenalle setup (depending on the brake lever you choose) because of the piece that clamps it into the bar.

So, either the "stronger" or "lighter" claims are perhaps marginal at best, but they certainly aren't things you give up to get the cheaper.

The functionality is the big win here in my opinion. I was skeptical for the first couple of years after they came out, even after seeing guys like Erik Tonkin win races using them. (I figured he was just supporting a local company and could win with anything.) I have fairly small hands, and so I wasn't sure I would be able to manage the "reach around" functionality when I needed to. Finally, a bunch of the other racers on my team, including several juniors, started using them. Once I gave them a try, I was a quick convert. The shifting feels much more natural than it looks and the range of gears that you use most often are right at your finger tips.

The two things that I really love are being able to quickly sweep through a handful of cogs in the rear and being able to precisely control the position of my front derailleur. There are a lot of circumstances in which you want to change from a high gear to a low gear or vice versa in a hurry and the Gevenalle shifter lets you do this in one motion. With an ordinary STI shifter you probably never think you're missing anything in this regard, but when you can do it it just makes you smile. The front shifting thing is kind of a no brainer in my opinion. Going from friction to indexed shifting in the front was always a step backward. Front indexed shifting has come a long way and is now very good, especially with only two rings, but it's still a delicate trick that relies on good ramps and precise cable tension (or maybe a little servo motor). With friction shifting, the precision comes from your fingers which have unsurpassed mud resistance (though cold weather can make them a bit balky).

You're obviously right that you can't shift from the drops. If that's a deal-breaker then these aren't the shifters for you. I wouldn't want them on my road bike for that reason, but I personally hardly ever want to shift from the drops in CX conditions. The other advantages make this a trade-off I'm happy to accept.

I've got a pair of 105 shifters on the shelf in my garage that were on my CX bike last year. I haven't weighed them or my Gevenalle shifters to see which is lighter, and I was never worried about breaking the 105 shifters. I'm using the Gevenalle shifters because I honestly think that for me they're better for CX. YMMV.

[/shill]
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Old 09-08-14, 01:11 PM
  #17  
Green lights for all
 
Rapido's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ohio, Germany, Florida, West Virginia, and then Georgia now
Posts: 103

Bikes: Fuji Team SL 20 spd, Nishiki, Mercian 12 spd. Alan 10 spd, Frejus, Bauer, Motobecane, Schwinn, JC Higgins 3 spd, Columbia coaster brake, Magna BMX

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DinoShepherd
Raced a year with bar end shifter on a 1 x 9. Great setup.

It is customary to cut an inch or so off the handlebar to allow for more clearance and to prevent inadvertent shifts with the knees.

:-)
Shortening the ends of the drops for knee clearance. What a revolutionary clever idea, I never would have thought of that. Get out the hack saw Clyde.
Rapido is offline  
Old 09-13-14, 10:26 PM
  #18  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 3

Bikes: Nishiki Prestige, Giant TCR Composite 1, All City Space Horse

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Not crazy at all. Bar ends are awesome on my Space Horse. I can look down and see roughly what gear I'm in, change several gears at a time, and use the edge of my palm to change gears in the drops.
burntorange08 is offline  
Old 09-13-14, 11:58 PM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Duane Behrens's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Minnesota and Southern California
Posts: 628

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac (carbon), Specialized Roubaix (carbon, wifey), Raleigh Super Course (my favorite), and 2 Centurion project bikes.

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Rapido
Shortening the ends of the drops for knee clearance. What a revolutionary clever idea, I never would have thought of that. Get out the hack saw Clyde.
He didn't say it was "revolutionary," he said it was "customary." A lot of riders carefully cut their bar ends to provide more clearance for bar-end shifters. And it seems to work well. My son has my Surly with its bar-ends now but if I still had it, I'd get out the hack saw. Clyde.
:-)
Duane Behrens is offline  
Old 09-14-14, 12:33 AM
  #20  
Lost at sea...
 
headloss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Western PA
Posts: 935

Bikes: Schwinn Paramount (match), Trek 520, random bits and pieces...

Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I dropped my bar ends due to the fore mentioned hitting of the knee problem... since then, I started using Salsa Cowbell 2 handlebars with flared ends... this thread has me thinking I should give the bar end shifters one more shot now that I have a different set up. Perhaps next time I change the bar tape.

As for shortening the ends, I don't know why anyone uses a hacksaw; the pipe and tubing cutters in the plumbing aisle of the local big-box store are so simple and clean.
headloss is offline  
Old 09-18-14, 01:36 PM
  #21  
Old. Slow. Happy.
 
MileHighMark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 1,797
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I ran bar-end shifters almost exclusively for years. Switched over to integrated levers and haven't looked back. Currently on SRAM (Force 22, Rival 22, Apex), and can't see myself switching (back) to Campy or Shimano anytime soon.
MileHighMark is offline  
Old 09-18-14, 02:03 PM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
eastbay71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 681

Bikes: the bikes own me

Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
I've got a bike with brifters and a couple bikes with bar end shifters. The only real reason I still have the bar ends is because you can't make brifters work on a frame with a 73mm bottom bracket. But until they make a brifter that works with a mountain front derailleur I do enjoy the bar ends because of the ability to shift quickly through the entire cassette and because the friction front shifter allows for derailleur trimming. If I need to stay in contact with the bar while shifting I use my last two fingers to shift and grip the drop of the bar with the rest of my hand. I never thought about hitting my knee on the bar ends because both bikes have flared drop bars.
eastbay71 is offline  
Old 09-18-14, 02:26 PM
  #23  
Old. Slow. Happy.
 
MileHighMark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 1,797
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by eastbay71
I've got a bike with brifters and a couple bikes with bar end shifters. The only real reason I still have the bar ends is because you can't make brifters work on a frame with a 73mm bottom bracket. But until they make a brifter that works with a mountain front derailleur I do enjoy the bar ends because of the ability to shift quickly through the entire cassette and because the friction front shifter allows for derailleur trimming. If I need to stay in contact with the bar while shifting I use my last two fingers to shift and grip the drop of the bar with the rest of my hand. I never thought about hitting my knee on the bar ends because both bikes have flared drop bars.
SRAM's integrated levers work with their MTB derailleurs/cranks (Salsa spec'd some of their Vaya and Fargo completes with that combo). Campy's integrated levers can also be made to work with MTB cranks/derailleurs, but it's not as crisp as the SRAM configs.

MileHighMark is offline  
Old 09-18-14, 03:58 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Nick The Beard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Tampa Bay, FL
Posts: 237

Bikes: Surly Cross-Check, Torker U-District

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by MileHighMark
SRAM's integrated levers work with their MTB derailleurs/cranks (Salsa spec'd some of their Vaya and Fargo completes with that combo). Campy's integrated levers can also be made to work with MTB cranks/derailleurs, but it's not as crisp as the SRAM configs.

Bring that FD down!
Nick The Beard is offline  
Old 09-18-14, 04:01 PM
  #25  
Old. Slow. Happy.
 
MileHighMark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 1,797
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Nick The Beard
Bring that FD down!
It's a Campy road mech designed for a 50t chainring. If it was positioned any lower, it would have hit the chainstay.
MileHighMark is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.