Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Downtube Shifters

Old 01-29-21, 11:23 PM
  #101  
cjenrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 177 Post(s)
Liked 127 Times in 94 Posts
one trick with DT shifters is to put a little slack in the cable of the left hand shifter ,

this will make double shifts easier as the left lever will be closer to the position of the right shifter.

the left lever does not have to travel as much so you will still have plenty of travel.
cjenrick is offline  
Likes For cjenrick:
Old 01-30-21, 11:17 AM
  #102  
DVC45
Senior Member
 
DVC45's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,887
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Not my preference, but to answer your question, it is much easier to learn than balancing and pedaling your bike.
I would rather have a bar end shifter. You can convert it easily, if you prefer.
DVC45 is offline  
Old 01-30-21, 12:45 PM
  #103  
SurferRosa
Seor Member
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 5,618

Bikes: Old school lightweights

Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2332 Post(s)
Liked 3,039 Times in 1,651 Posts
Originally Posted by cjenrick View Post
one trick with DT shifters is to put a little slack in the cable of the left hand shifter.
That would drive me absolutely crazy. I hate having any slack in my cables.
SurferRosa is offline  
Old 02-01-21, 09:44 AM
  #104  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
rydabent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,358

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2674 Post(s)
Liked 864 Times in 505 Posts
The bottom line tho about down tube shifters is the low friction, since the only cable tubing might be at the turn around at the RD. They stay in adjustment much longer. The other plus is the clean look since there is far less tubing flapping around in the wind.
rydabent is offline  
Likes For rydabent:
Old 02-01-21, 10:06 AM
  #105  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,674

Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2101 Post(s)
Liked 1,419 Times in 776 Posts
I just got a bike with downtube shifters last summer, and at first they took a little getting used to. In fact, I think I'm still getting used to them because I find it hard to keep pedaling (gently) while shifting due to balance and my knee possibly hitting my hand while shifting the lever. But it's no big deal to stop pedaling & shift, then resume pedaling. But they are indexed shifters and I don't feel like I need to shift all that often, so it's good. But yeah, when I first got the bike it took me a while to know where to reach for them with my hand.
Milton Keynes is offline  
Old 02-01-21, 12:22 PM
  #106  
cjenrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 177 Post(s)
Liked 127 Times in 94 Posts
you could gain clout in the old days if you had a pair of Campagnolo down tube shifters, all the other teenagers would be in awe, they gave your bike a real cool look, only problem was now you had to watch your bike all the time.

hard to tell what kind of index system you have just by the looks.
cjenrick is offline  
Old 02-01-21, 04:21 PM
  #107  
SurferRosa
Seor Member
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 5,618

Bikes: Old school lightweights

Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2332 Post(s)
Liked 3,039 Times in 1,651 Posts
Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
... my knee possibly hitting my hand while shifting the lever.
This reminds me when I was in the bike shop years ago looking through their bins of used parts. I had one of my vintage bikes with me with its down tube shifters and clips & straps. This random ogre approached to say clips and straps were unnecessary and he hit his knees on down tube shifters. I tried to be kind for a short while, but he kept on. Very bizarre behavior. Like he was trolling me in person. I finally said I didn't work there and he needed to tell his troubles to an employee. One of the guys behind the counter overheard me and appeared not too amused.
SurferRosa is offline  
Old 02-02-21, 03:44 PM
  #108  
CrowSeph
On the crow's wings
 
CrowSeph's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: South Italy
Posts: 698

Bikes: Whistle Roadbike 2008; Cannondale Trail 2021 ; Robur 1956 ; Tomasini 1976 ; Chiorda Condorino 1974 ; Frejus/Rola 1937 ; Specialized RockHopper 1990

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 170 Post(s)
Liked 97 Times in 57 Posts
Originally Posted by carloscedeno View Post
Are downtube shifters hard to use, just bought a bike that has them.
You just need to relax and take your time to learn how to use them , they are good!
CrowSeph is offline  
Old 02-03-21, 08:43 AM
  #109  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,674

Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2101 Post(s)
Liked 1,419 Times in 776 Posts
Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
This reminds me when I was in the bike shop years ago looking through their bins of used parts. I had one of my vintage bikes with me with its down tube shifters and clips & straps. This random ogre approached to say clips and straps were unnecessary and he hit his knees on down tube shifters. I tried to be kind for a short while, but he kept on. Very bizarre behavior. Like he was trolling me in person. I finally said I didn't work there and he needed to tell his troubles to an employee. One of the guys behind the counter overheard me and appeared not too amused.
Probably just a socially awkward person trying to be friendly.
Milton Keynes is offline  
Old 02-03-21, 09:14 AM
  #110  
SurferRosa
Seor Member
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 5,618

Bikes: Old school lightweights

Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2332 Post(s)
Liked 3,039 Times in 1,651 Posts
Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Probably just a socially awkward person trying to be friendly.
Or just a big jerk being a complete *******.
SurferRosa is offline  
Old 02-03-21, 09:39 AM
  #111  
gofish44
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
For me it's downtime shifters with straight up friction shifting all the way. No Syncro shifting. No SIS indexed shifting. No Brifters. My reasons is simple: A friction shifter setup allows me to run my bike as a 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 speed by doing nothing more than swapping out my rear wheel and chain. Try that with an indexed system!

Why would I want to do this? I like the flexibility of being able to ridie a vintage bike as it was intended with its original group-set when I'm feeling nostalgic one day and then quickly switch over to a set of modern wheels that are lighter, roll faster, and have a few more gears when I am training in hilly country.

Other advantages? For those with carpal tunnel, arthritis, or elbow tendonitis, down-tube shifters place much less strain on the body than say brifters. They give you a bio-mechanical advantage by engaging your whole arm (wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder) when shifting, thereby reducing strain on the wrist induced by brifters. Down-tube shifters also get you to vary your position frequently by force you to get off the hood, drop your shoulder, and swing your arm slightly. In my experience, this helps prevent numbness of the hands on longer rides. If you have ever been on a ride and found your indexing is off resulting in poor shifts or a noisy drivetrain, you will appreciate the ability to trim your gears on the fly when using friction shifters -- no need to waitfor a tune-up. I could go on . . .
gofish44 is offline  
Old 02-03-21, 11:03 PM
  #112  
cjenrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 177 Post(s)
Liked 127 Times in 94 Posts
there is one place where you do not want to be fooling with DT shifters, and that is if you are going like 50 mph and you want to drop your buddies, so you need to shift to hit 55 like fast freddy, can you hear all those clicks?>

cjenrick is offline  
Old 02-05-21, 11:56 AM
  #113  
vane171
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 490
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 252 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 48 Posts
Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I still use downtube shifters, but went to index from friction in 2015.
...
What I find interesting about downtube shifters is the right or left hand shift technique. I learned to use my right hand for the right shifter and left for the left. But there are those that use their right for both and reach across.

John
I use right hand to shift front but only to shift to small chainring, when you just flick your thumb forward on the lever. ****ing FD back up needs to be done by left hand, don't see how you'd manage otherwise (or why would you do that anyway even if you managed).

I ride DT frictions shifts exclusively (still) and I am tired of it and don't see how it can have appeal, at least from a practical view. Constant reaching down is worse for those of us who ride with hands mostly on bar tops, it distorts your body geometry on the bike and saps your energy, if ever so slightly but you notice it when you mess up with shifting and you need to fumble down there longer than usual (bike pros would certainly consider that big minus nowadays when every watt is counted). It doesn't help that I ride my circuits on a very up and down rolling roads that require very frequent shifting to maintain efficiency (I talk about sporting rides).

Originally Posted by gofish44 View Post
Down-tube shifters also get you to vary your position frequently by force you to get off the hood, drop your shoulder, and swing your arm slightly. In my experience, this helps prevent numbness of the hands on longer rides..
Well, you can see it this way too, it does vary your position but how ones views that can be different. I'd rather sacrifice the variability of getting the varied body position this way and rather get it in another way

Once when I visited my sister that lives some five miles away, I counted how many times I shifted to get there and I was myself surprised at the high count. It was because I talked about getting newer bike with this more modern shifting, indexed and on bars, and people around questioned why would I need it. To people who ride bikes for light recreation and hardly shift gears at all, that seemed like pure fashion upgrade, waste of money.

Last edited by vane171; 02-05-21 at 12:08 PM.
vane171 is offline  
Old 02-05-21, 12:04 PM
  #114  
guy153
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 788
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)
Liked 197 Times in 164 Posts
Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I still use downtube shifters, but went to index from friction in 2015. I have used STIs and they are better, but downtube can be fun. They work well with a triple crank and massive gear changes can be down quickly.

I changed to index for those times when transitioning from downhill to a quick out of the saddle uphill and hitting the downshift perfectly. As Ive gotten older I need more of a downshift and I wanted the shift to be there.

What I find interesting about downtube shifters is the right or left hand shift technique. I learned to use my right hand for the right shifter and left for the left. But there are those that use their right for both and reach across.

John
Using one hand is quite good because you often want to go up into the big ring and down a couple of gears at the back at the same time. Or vice versa.

They have a lot to recommend them. Perfectly easy to use especially if indexed. If not indexed especially easy to adjust. Very easy to change cables. They can be disassembled by people who aren't Japanese robots with seven hands and don't cost 200 notes a pop if you fall off and get sand in them.
​​
guy153 is offline  
Old 02-05-21, 12:09 PM
  #115  
guy153
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 788
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)
Liked 197 Times in 164 Posts
Originally Posted by gofish44 View Post

Why would I want to do this? I like the flexibility of being able to ridie a vintage bike as it was intended with its original group-set when I'm feeling nostalgic one day and then quickly switch over to a set of modern wheels that are lighter, roll faster, and have a few more gears when I am training in hilly country.
But don't the vintage wheels have narrower hubs? I guess it depends how vintage.

I wonder if cassettes/freewheels also used to last longer before indexing. They were just plain old teeth not all thin and twisted and strange looking.
guy153 is offline  
Old 02-05-21, 02:07 PM
  #116  
gofish44
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
My bikes are from the early to mid 80's. The front forks on road bikes of this era generally have the same 100 mm spacing as modern wheels that use quick releases. The rear spacing of the dropouts on these bikes is 126 mm. So, yes, the rear fork needs to be opened up 2mm on each side to accommodate today's QR rear wheel as these require a 130 mm spacing. One bike has longer rear stays than you would see on a modern bike and it can be opened easily to occomodate my Campagnolo Zonda rear wheel. Another with shorter rear stays was more resistant, so I cold set the rear triangle to 130 mm. Not something I would recommend for a truly collectable vintage bike, but doable. There a threads detailing the process in the Vintage Bike section.
gofish44 is offline  
Old 02-05-21, 03:57 PM
  #117  
ShannonM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 639
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 293 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 276 Times in 189 Posts
5 speed = 120
6 speed = mostly 126, some 120s (Suntour "Ultra-6" freewheels were designed for this)
7 speed = mostly 126, some early 90s bikes were 128 so that they didn't have to build 2 different frames.

120s usually require cold-setting. I've never had a problem putting a 130 hub directly into a 126 frame, regardless of material. I wouldn't sweat it.

--Shannon
ShannonM is offline  
Old 02-06-21, 02:00 AM
  #118  
cjenrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 177 Post(s)
Liked 127 Times in 94 Posts
the top ten racers of all time used downtube shifters , no wait, what did Valverde use?

far more races have been won with DT shifters but that will change some day,


1. Eddy MERCKX
58793 2. Sean KELLY
46053 3. Gino BARTALI
45784 4. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE
42837 5. Francesco MOSER
38430 6. Joop ZOETEMELK
37781 7. Raymond POULIDOR
35748 8. Roger DE VLAEMINCK
35564 9. Felice GIMONDI
35319 10. Bernard HINAULT
cjenrick is offline  
Likes For cjenrick:
Old 02-06-21, 02:38 AM
  #119  
Sunwukong
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: South Florida
Posts: 15

Bikes: single speed frankencycle

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Wireless, digital, virtual downtube shifter kickstarter. Who's in? But seriously, my daily training ride for the last 40 years was an old Cannondale Black Lightning, till I turned my back on it for a minute. Downtube shifting becomes second nature and plenty fast enough for solo rides. Really miss that bike, but pity the poor soul who tried to pawn a bike cost me $45 used at a Trexlertown swap meet,
Sunwukong is offline  
Old 02-09-21, 09:21 PM
  #120  
vane171
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 490
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 252 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 48 Posts
Originally Posted by gofish44 View Post
My bikes are from the early to mid 80's. The front forks on road bikes of this era generally have the same 100 mm spacing as modern wheels that use quick releases. The rear spacing of the dropouts on these bikes is 126 mm. So, yes, the rear fork needs to be opened up 2mm on each side to accommodate today's QR rear wheel as these require a 130 mm spacing.
I still ride bike from ~1975 and fitted on it rear wheel from 1990s with 8 speed cassette (I believe the original was 5 speed). The bike being steel frame, its rear stays could be carefully opened up without causing any damage but you wouldn't want to remove the wheel on the road to fix flat (I'd do it in situ). I even shy away from the idea of swapping the rear wheel for some occasion here and there and only take the wheel off when the time comes to put on new tire.

Actually at the time, I wasn't aware that that is because of newer standard, I thought it was because of the wider cassette. I bought new clincher wheels for the bike (the originals were tubular rims) and the rear one came with the cassette already mounted. I was in a bike shop and I said to the guy selling there that I liked the wheels on one of the bikes in showroom and asked if I could buy such wheels and the guy quoted me a price and took them off the showroom bike right in front of me ...

Last edited by vane171; 02-09-21 at 09:31 PM.
vane171 is offline  
Old 02-09-21, 10:48 PM
  #121  
SurferRosa
Seor Member
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 5,618

Bikes: Old school lightweights

Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2332 Post(s)
Liked 3,039 Times in 1,651 Posts
Another nice thing about downtown shifters is you can yell "down tube shifters!" a lot like how Frank yells "Pabst Blue Ribbon!" in Blue Velvet.

"D o w n t u b e shifters!"
SurferRosa is offline  
Old 03-15-21, 07:55 PM
  #122  
cyclic_eric
Senior Member
 
cyclic_eric's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Oakland CA
Posts: 209

Bikes: 1984 Gitane TdF, 1984 Holdsworth 753

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 81 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 59 Posts
This question is another reason for n+1

I have 3 road bikes, one with STI brake-shifters, one with Suntour bar end / barcon shifters, and one with Simplex down tube shifters.

If you can only have one bike, then I'd recommend integrated brake-shifters. It's nice to be able to shift relatively easier while out of the saddle, or going uphill. Also, while on group rides most others have them, and I believe it's easier to stay in-synch if you have the same system.

That said, I don't find myself riding significantly faster on the newer bike with brake-shifters. Some of my PR's on Strava segments are with my 37-year-old, down tube shifting bike, and it's 4 lbs. heavier than my 7-year-old bike. I think it's because I get out of the saddle more often on the bike that has fewer gears.

I have a theory that the best technology is what was state-of-the-art when you were 23...
cyclic_eric is offline  
Old 03-15-21, 08:15 PM
  #123  
Chuck M 
Butted Hi-Tensile
 
Chuck M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 985

Bikes: Hi-Ten bike boomers, a Trek Domane and some projects

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 321 Post(s)
Liked 783 Times in 402 Posts
I had never used them before but recently bought an old bike with them and I find I love them. For some reason, when I ride my bike with stem mounted shifters, I reach for the STIs and when I ride my bike with STIs, I reach for the stem. But this bike with the DT shifters just feels so natural.
__________________
"It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels." -- Heinz Stcke

Chuck M is offline  
Likes For Chuck M:
Old 03-31-21, 01:50 AM
  #124  
Puffin_along
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My first race bike had Campagnolo bar end shifters until someone came alongside me on a hill and dropped me into fith gear and out of the race. Switched to downtube shifter then and never went back.
The Mondia I now ride has Suntour Skitter drive set which has the larger cogs front and back as the start or base gear. I still get confused when switching bikes.
Puffin_along is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.