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How to use bar end shifters?

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How to use bar end shifters?

Old 05-17-20, 09:11 PM
  #1  
freckles
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How to use bar end shifters?

i finally received my bike friday nwt!!!(2+ month delay-thank you covid)


she has bar end shifters (shimano sl-bs79) on soma oxford handlebars.... looks beautiful but not sure how to shift as i've only had 3 and 8 speed igh bicycles.

8 speed has a grip shifter with the gear number visible- 4 is neutral, twist lower for hills, higher for flats/downhill- super easy.


so far have only ridden around a few blocks as car drivers speed more than ever on the streets and thats the last place to be fumbling around figuring out bar end shifting.


i have the left hand bar end shifter down. the right one is harder- i take a peek to see where i am and then end up in the middle of the street. i've watched videos about derailleur shifting- to avoid cross threading/straining the gears and chain but they don't show it shifting while using the shifter. especially a bar end shifter


left shifter- medium and large ring.

right shifter- ???


is there an equivalent to gear 4 (neutral)?- i downshift at stoplights, medium front ring and on rear derailleur?


can the brand new chain and derailleur take abuse while i do all the wrong things as i learn? i feel so bad abusing my new shiny bike


i remember learning to drive a manual car- the grinding gear noise taught me real quick to shift properly.


tips on shifting with bar ends?
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Old 05-17-20, 09:41 PM
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Shift only while pedaling. Front shifts are for major changes in uphill or downhill. Use the rear to adjust for simple or easier pedaling. Learn to shift the rear to a larger cog, easier to pedal, before you stop. Then as you accelerate shift to the smaller cogs in the rear.
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Old 05-17-20, 09:47 PM
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A bar-end shifter is basically just a lever attached to a rotating drum with a stop for a cable. When you pull the lever up, the shifter pulls cable; when you push the lever down, the shifter releases cable. Each shifter is connected to one of the derailleurs: the left shifter is typically hooked to the front derailleur, the right shifter is typically hooked to the rear derailleur.

Derailleurs work by forcing the chain side to side to cause it to move to a different sprocket. Most derailleurs - both front and rear - are designed so that releasing cable at the shifter causes the derailleur to move toward a smaller sprocket.

So, pushing the left shifter down will cause the derailleur to move toward a smaller front chainring, which is a downshift to a lower gear. Pushing the right shifter down will cause the derailleur to move toward a smaller rear cog, which is an upshift to a higher gear.

Your right shifter is probably indexed, meaning that it is "notched" so that moving it by one "click" will shift by one cog. But your left shifter - for the chainrings - is probably a friction shifter that lacks notches. For that, you just need to learn the hang of moving it far enough to cause it to shift into the next chainring. Because it's a friction shifter, you can easily use it to "trim" the front derailleur: if the chain is rubbing against the front derailleur (which can make a grinding or clattering sound), you can subtly move the front derailleur so that the rubbing is no longer happening.
If you can't use the left shifter to shift into the smallest front chainring, there's an adjustment problem with your drivetrain.

Unlike internal hub gears, derailleurs can only shift while the chain is moving forward, so you need to be pedaling. But, it also works best if there's not much tension on the drivetrain, so you'll want to soft-pedal while the shift happens. This sounds complicated, but you'll develop a feel for it.

In terms of ergonomic use of the shifters, refer to this:

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Old 05-18-20, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by freckles View Post
i finally received my bike friday nwt...

she has bar end shifters (shimano sl-bs79) on soma oxford handlebars...

...tips on shifting with bar ends?
Nice. I have a very similar setup on one hybrid -- Nitto albatross swept bars with Shimano 8-speed bar-end shifters. And I have another set of Shimano 10-speed bar-end shifters from the aero bars on a TT/tri-bike, but those are going to go on another project.

I have fairly long hands and fingers so I use my pinkies and ring fingers for most shifting with bar-ends. I'll use the edge of my hand to push down, fingers to pull up. I can keep my hands on the handlebar while shifting, and even keep a finger on the brake lever if I need to slow or stop.

Shimano bar-end shifters often have a choice between indexed (click-stops) and friction shifting for the right side/rear derailleur. I've used both but generally prefer indexed. Left shifter/front derailleur is friction only.

The only trick is timing and easing off the pedal pressure while shifting. You don't need to actually stop pedaling, but shifting goes more smoothly when we ease off the downward pressure while still moving the pedals around. It's easiest to practice on a flat road, preferably without traffic so you won't worry about any extra pressure from impatient drivers.

The tricky bit is shifting smoothly during climbs. At first it's best to anticipate and shift a little early. If you wait until you're really bearing down on the pedals, it's gonna be much harder to shift crisply. We lose momentum quickly on a climb, so easing off the pedal pressure even for a moment causes us to slow down. If we're already toodling along at only 5 mph, it's gonna feel wobbly if we miss a shift or need to grind it into position. So while you're getting accustomed to it, shift early on climbs.

With practice it'll go smoothly and you'll find bar-end shifters very intuitive. They're really well suited to swept bars like your Soma Oxford and my Nitto albatross.
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Old 05-18-20, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I'll use the edge of my hand to push down, fingers to pull up.
This. Keeping a grip on the bar while shifting helps stability.
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Old 05-18-20, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by freckles View Post
is there an equivalent to gear 4 (neutral)?- i downshift at stoplights, medium front ring and on rear derailleur?
Ride and shift a bunch with both levers. You will quickly(within a few hundred yards) see what raising and lowering each bar end does for shifting.
Learn to look up ahead and shift based on what is coming. This applies to both riding and stopping. When a hill is coming, shift just before the hill. When a stoplight is coming, shift just before you stop pedaling.
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Old 05-18-20, 09:15 AM
  #7  
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There has been great advice posted above on using bar end shifters.

If you decide that bar end shifters aren't for you you can always pick up a pair of Paul Thumbies and use the shifters you have now on these. This product turns bar end shifters into thumb shifters. I wasn't a fan of bar ends and I did give the the good college try. They were on bars similar to yours. My wife didn't like them either and her bike was switched over to Paul Thumbies.

BTW congratulations on your new bike. I am sure that in time the wait will be forgotten.
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Old 05-18-20, 08:08 PM
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Think about your bike as having 3 gear ranges: One for uphills, one for the flats and one for downhills and the twice a year when you have a strong tailwind. Use your left shifter to pick out which range you want to be in. Within those ranges, if you feel your feet are spinning too fast, pick out a harder gear with your right shifter. If you feel like it's too hard to pedal, pick out an easier gear.

That's all you need to know and, if you do it that way, you'll never have to worry about cross chaining.
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Old 05-21-20, 07:53 PM
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thank you all for your advice- this is such a great forum!

i think its more fear of breaking/ruining my first ever brand new bicycle by cross chaining the gears or some thing else but ya'll gave me some confidence and will try those gears out again this saturday!
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Old 05-21-20, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by freckles View Post
thank you all for your advice- this is such a great forum!

i think its more fear of breaking/ruining my first ever brand new bicycle by cross chaining the gears or some thing else but ya'll gave me some confidence and will try those gears out again this saturday!
It's pretty hard to actually break something if the derailleurs are properly adjusted and the chain is long enough to go oneo the cig ring up front and the big cog on the rear. That's called cross-chaining and it causes rapid wear on the components. Besides which that gear combination is duplicated or nearly duplicated elsewhere on the combinations. The other combination you want to avoid is small ring up front with the small cog in back..

Are your barend shifters indexed? That is, do they click each time you make a shift?

Cheers
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Old 05-22-20, 03:29 AM
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Bar end shifters are different for sure. I am a vintage racing bike guy so all but one of my bikes are downtube shifting machines. I do have one bike with Campagnolo bar end shifters and the only problem for me is breaking my habit of reaching for the downtube instead of positioning my hand at the end of the bar for “palm down, fingers up” to shift . It only takes a few miles for me to get used to. I still like the bike and it is set up nicely the way it came originally in 1973 so I just adapt. My daughter actually prefers bar ends and has them on her bike. Joe Joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 05-22-20, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
Bar end shifters are different for sure. I am a vintage racing bike guy so all but one of my bikes are downtube shifting machines. I do have one bike with Campagnolo bar end shifters and the only problem for me is breaking my habit of reaching for the downtube instead of positioning my hand at the end of the bar for “palm down, fingers up” to shift . It only takes a few miles for me to get used to. I still like the bike and it is set up nicely the way it came originally in 1973 so I just adapt. My daughter actually prefers bar ends and has them on her bike. Joe Joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
I too have reached down for non-existent downtube shifters when riding my Campagnolo Ergo equipped bike when I was really tired.

Cheers
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Old 05-22-20, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
I too have reached down for non-existent downtube shifters when riding my Campagnolo Ergo equipped bike when I was really tired.

Cheers
I ride a bike with bar end shifters. Two bikes with downtube shifters, one indexed ,one friction, and one bike with thumb shifters. I stay confused.
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Old 05-22-20, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by freckles View Post
thank you all for your advice- this is such a great forum!

i think its more fear of breaking/ruining my first ever brand new bicycle by cross chaining the gears or some thing else but ya'll gave me some confidence and will try those gears out again this saturday!
Great advice above, but your attitude is the best aid to getting this down, and your attitude is perfect. Practice makes perfect...
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Old 05-22-20, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
I ride a bike with bar end shifters. Two bikes with downtube shifters, one indexed ,one friction, and one bike with thumb shifters. I stay confused.
If I’ve been riding my LHT for a long time and ignoring my road bike with brifters and then switch I will often reach down looking for my bar end levers. Reverse when I switch back. I’ll be hitting the brake levers trying to shift. Always makes me chuckle at myself inside.
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Old 05-23-20, 03:50 AM
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with the choice of handlebars (tiller steering) I would imagine bar end shifting to feel awkward anyway. I love mine but they're on dropped bars. stick with it & the above advice(s) and soon you'll get what works & how. enjoy the ride!
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Old 05-23-20, 04:52 PM
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first ride up a hill!

went on my first real ride today!


i live in los angeles and cycled up to the griffith park observatory! i've walked up the road many times ( closed to cars due to covid- amazing feeling to walk in the middle of a car free street!!!) and seen all kinds of cyclists - from full on lycra to regular clothes like me, on the road and it looked like so much fun.


about 10 miles in total, but climbed more than 840 ft and i made it ( with a mask on)- YAY!!! and used most of the gears! and yes, this is the most miles i've ridden so far.


i still have to practice shifting with my fingers while putting weight onto the handle between my thumb and forefinger- like the Terry video but its getting better.


for those who asked- my left shifter is non indexed and the right shifter is indexed


i noticed the chain was making a little noise but when i moved the left shifter a bit- it adjusted and the sound went away.
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Old 05-23-20, 10:44 PM
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The same way as down tube shifters, it just that they are at the end of the handle bars. Just built up a Raleigh for my nephew, with Shimano barcons, Test ride not much different then my bikes with DT shifter, took about 10 sec to adapt, don’t have to reach as far.
Tim
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Old 05-25-20, 02:03 AM
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"she"

???
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