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Downtube shifters in the 2020s

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Downtube shifters in the 2020s

Old 11-20-22, 08:28 PM
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I've ridden my Pinarello Treviso many times in group rides but I myself would not want to race in a criterium with downtime shifters. If I'm going to sprint, I'm shifting early. No way am I winding it up over 20mph and then taking one hand off the bars to shift to a higher gear. While the pros undoubtedly have grande cojones, I am not willing to risk mine for simply bragging rights until next week.

If you go read biography's of sprinters, you'll see they often only shifted once in the sprint finish. They were already in a high gear, saving the highest for the last bit of the sprint. Partly because they knew their rivals could hear them shift and be forewarned.

Pros were/are capable of almost anything but mere mortals have the sense to stand back and survey the situation. If you have the skills, go for it. If you are unsure, then don't.

As somebody way below mere mortal, I am damn glad for brifters.
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Old 11-20-22, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
...It'll be even more fun if you can drop that person.
Or better still Crush Him like a bug as he stalls mid gear when you mash a climb... Oh Yeah...
No matter where you're at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
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Old 11-21-22, 12:45 PM
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Here's my theory: The only people who wonder "would downtube friction shifters be a good idea in 2022?" are people who grew up riding downtube friction shifters. But for someone born (or who came to road cycling) in the last ~20 years, the thought just wouldn't occur to them...or it would only last for exactly one ride.
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Old 11-21-22, 01:46 PM
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I am beginning to think that all of us geezers who rode bicycles in the '70s may actually deserve the term 'heroic'!
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Old 11-21-22, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DonkeyShow
DT shifters work fine but brifters are just soo much faster where it matters.
I don't race, so that's not a concern for me. Brifters are needlessly complex and too expensive to replace for the riding I do.
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Old 11-22-22, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
I don't race, so that's not a concern for me. Brifters are needlessly complex and too expensive to replace for the riding I do.
I don't race either and probably prefer dt for casual riding.
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Old 11-22-22, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Fredo76
Miguel Indurain? Safety risk. Eddy Merckx? Safety risk. Fausto Coppi? Definitely a safety risk.

So say weenies!
I look forward to your "Cambio Corsa in the 2020s" thread.
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
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Old 11-23-22, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Fredo76
I am beginning to think that all of us geezers who rode bicycles in the '70s may actually deserve the term 'heroic'!
No, just a lot lighter and stronger 50 years ago. I think that's understandable. A 2x7 friction drivetrain with a bottom gear of 42/24 doesn't get me where I want to go anymore. And clipless pedals, regardless of the style or brand, are more convenient and comfortable than toeclips and black Italian shoes with perforated uppers and slotted cleats nailed into the soles, that only started to fit after you rode them wet for 500 miles. And modern hardshell helmets are more protective than a cotton cycling cap.

Yeah, put a 25 year-old cat 3 on a 50 year-old bike and he'll ride a pack of 50+ year-old geezers off his wheel. If that's who you are and what you want to do, have fun. But you're not going to make the break or be of much use to the team in a peloton of equals.

Last edited by oldbobcat; 11-23-22 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 11-26-22, 07:27 PM
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I did a few crits with a 2x6 DT shifter bike back in 2009. It wasn’t dangerous, but it did suck. That 1988 bike was absurdly outdated at the time but it’s been a very long 13 years in bike tech. The shifters are really the least of your worries. The idea of riding a floppy old bike with skinny 23mm tires and single-pivot brake calipers in a racing pack of today’s bikes… eeehhhhhh. It’s not confidence inspiring for anyone. Nowadays the broke youngsters racing outdated machines are on Lance-era aluminum with 9 or 10-speed STI and dual-pivot rim brakes. That’s basically the exact equivalent to what I was doing in 2009, but it’s a better balance in my opinion. I got started on 80’s bikes with SIS downtube shifters, so I totally relate and get the appeal. There’s a tactile sensation with a good set of DT shifters that’s really delightful in its way, and completely different from the feel of modern integrated shifters. It’s great to ride these bikes and fun to break them out for group rides in the right crowd. But for racing or competitive, fast group riding among modern bikes, no thanks. And as I said, not because of the shifting, there are other safety concerns that are much worse, primarily the brakes.
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Old 11-26-22, 07:37 PM
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I rode El Tour de Tucson last weekend with Suntour DT shifters and a 2x6 drivetrain. So...yes?

Non-Scientific Observation: I was one of 1800ish that rode the full century and I noticed exactly two similarly-equipped bikes. They're not a popular choice these days.
A race bike in any era is a highly personal choice that at its "best" balances the requirements of fit, weight, handling, durability and cost tempered by the willingness to toss it and oneself down the pavement at considerable speed. ~Bandera
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Old 12-25-22, 10:33 PM
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I'll be using my State 4130 with downtube shifting for some group rides in the coming months. It'll help me figure out if I can use it on a NJ to DC ride I'm doing next year. I'm hoping the gearing will suffice. 44t up front 11-28 in the back, no luggage, longest day si 100 miles.
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Old 12-26-22, 04:32 PM
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I love DT shifters, but on fast group rides on rolling terrain it is easy to break contact when you can't get to the shifter quickly to preserve cadence.
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Old 12-30-22, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
I love DT shifters, but on fast group rides on rolling terrain it is easy to break contact when you can't get to the shifter quickly to preserve cadence.
Yeah, that's really the only issue I have. But if we're honest, if I get dropped because I'm half a second late for a shift, I will deserve it. No one is signing me for a pro team so it's not a big deal, in a race I will get dropped eventually anyway... And if I'm dead last I can't blame the shifters.
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Old 01-07-23, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by zastolj
Wow, first time I hear about actually not letting someone race because of dt shifters. Do you know if it was the race organizers or the riders team/club that said so? It´s not against the rules anywhere that's for sure.
at least in the US, that ‘s BS. Absolutely nothing in USA Cycling rules to that effect. And if it’s some local promoter they’re an idiot.
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
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Old 01-10-23, 02:04 AM
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I need to order new downtube shifter cables for my Schwinn 564. I'm new to this so can anyone let me know what to order please. Thank you

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Old 01-10-23, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 6door74
I need to order new downtube shifter cables for my Schwinn 564. I'm new to this so can anyone let me know what to order please. Thank you

Go to your Local Bike Shop (LBS)
Ask for a shift cable. Stainless will weather best against the elements & have the lowest friction inside any housing. In this case, with only a few inches of housing & no sharp bends from routing under bar-tape it hardly matters. Whatever they have ought to work fine.
Also take the old shred of housing with you. Have the LBS cut a replacement of the same length & supply 2 housing ends with a cable end tip for the cable.

Assuming your derailleur High/Low limit stops are appropriately set; Shift the lever all the way forward, route the cable & housing. Secure the cable into the groove (if any) under the derailleur fixing bolt when the derailleur is aligned at the smallest cog. Boom. Done.

Ride on.

It'll be <$20 & time well spent.

Last edited by base2; 01-10-23 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 01-10-23, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I'd say a lot depends on how well you handle the bike. I think if you show up for a group ride of youngish (like, under 50) riders, they may be wary of you, and in that situation you'll want to demonstrate that you can hold the pace and hold your line as well as anyone else, and that the DT shifters don't make you a liability to other riders. The shifters per se aren't the issue, it's how you use them. Are you adept at reaching down with one hand to shift one or both levers without looking and without either slowing down or deviating from your line? Are you good at anticipating the gear you'll need, since when you hit a steep pitch you'll have to be in the gear you need BEFORE you get to it?
Sounds like another crash. I’m good.
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Old 01-10-23, 11:13 AM
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Barcons for me.
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