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Bar End Shifters

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Bar End Shifters

Old 06-23-04, 08:03 PM
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Bar End Shifters

What do you think of bar end shifters? I'm building a road bike that will be used mostly for commuting and loaded touring. I was initially thinking of Ultegra brake/shifters but their cost is a bit steep and I'd have to add a rollamajig cam thing (?) to work with my V brakes. I saw some Dia Compe Aero brakes for about $25 and Shimano bar end shifters for thirty something bucks (compared to approx. $200 for Ultegra). The tech at the LBS said the Aero brakes would work well with my V brakes without modification. I test rode a Trek 520 about two years ago and was ambivilant about the shifters. I'd like some opinions on the pros and cons of bar end shifters.

Thanks,
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Old 06-23-04, 08:32 PM
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Bar ends are super reliable. But you don't shift as much.
You get used to it. I like STI best, but my commuter has bar ends.
They ain't so bad.
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Old 06-23-04, 08:42 PM
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I've got Shimano levers and barcon shifters (non-indexed) on my 'cross bike with Avid Shorty 4 cantis. I think bar end shifters work fine. My first road bikes were all friction shifting systems and I didn't go indexed until about 5 years ago, so I may be less sensitive to these things. I've also got bar end indexed shifters on my tandem with cantilever brakes.

I must say that indexed shifting is nice to have on a tandem. With friction shifting it was sometimes difficult to figure out what was going on with the rear derailleur. Bar end shifters are pretty simple and are good for touring because they're unlikely to fail.

The only issue you might have with bar end shifters is the possibility of hitting them with your knees if when you stand up from the saddle.
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Old 06-23-04, 08:43 PM
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A long time ago (1977-78) I upgraded my first "good" bike from stem shifters to barcons. They were the best old style friction shifters I've ever used. If you're going retro or indexed I'm sure you'll like them.
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Old 06-23-04, 09:46 PM
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I am one of those who prefers bar-end shifters, has no problem with downtube shifters (though not when towing a kid)... and hates STI.

However, my stem is high enough so my bars are at or slightly above saddle level, which means the drops are comfortable enough to ride all the time there.
My brakes are also set up low by modern standards (but in a more traditional fashion), so they are easily reached from my normal drops position.

From the drops, bar-end shifters are easily accessible without really moving my hands; a bit of palm pressure and "click", the gear changes. STI is not as easy to use from the drops.


Apart from these ergonomic issues, there are a few other advantages of bar-end shifters:
- front shifter works in friction mode, which allows you to choose whatever chainrings you want;
- rear shifter may work in friction mode also, should you need it because something breaks on the road;
- you can shift lots of gear at once, both up and down; useful in rolling terrain;
- levers offer a visual indicator of the gear you have selected, sort of a poor man's Flight Deck.
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Old 06-23-04, 10:07 PM
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Some people swear by them, but I'm pretty sure they didn't take over the world because racing cyclist would bump them with their knee during frantic sprinting out of the saddle, therefore (obviously) providing undesirable gear changes
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Old 06-23-04, 10:16 PM
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I have them on several of my bikes & they are easy to get used to.
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Old 06-23-04, 10:50 PM
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Although these were meant to mount barcons on the tops, I wonder if they could be strategically mounted elsewhere on the bar to offer shifting from both the hoods and the drops thus giving you a poor-man's STI. I suppose it all depends on throw positions and such...

Paul Component Engineering Thumbies for dropbars


I also think the old Suntour Command-Shifters were a good idea. And at one time, when STI first came out and I couldn't afford them, I had the bikeshop mount SRAM Grip-Shifts on my RX100 equipped bike. They were placed at the end of the drops and worked really well. I preferred them to barcons and the setup was very clean. I had also considered moving them up into the ergo-bends too so as to allow me to shift and brake from the drops but never did do it.
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Old 06-23-04, 11:49 PM
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I have my bike setup with barends. they work great and I shift all the time.
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Old 06-24-04, 12:44 AM
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DiaComp 287-V levers are used for V-brakes. Ultegra barend shifters on moustache bars. I use this bike to pull a BOB trailer for short weekend off road trips.
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Old 06-24-04, 05:17 AM
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I really like the idea of bar end shifters on a bike that is used for cross country touring. Here's why:

Imagine yourself in Nowheresville, Kansas on a Friday afternoon with a trashed out STI lever. Wall Mart isn't going to have what you need. You can order the parts, of course, but it's going to be 3 days UPS and that won't even start until Monday. At a time like that, a nice, simple bar end shifter would seem like a real good thing to have.

When I assembled my retro grouch bike, the design concept was for it to require minimum maintenance and to be repairable with limited tools and easily gettable spares. To me, that ment Armadillo tires, bar end shifters and a Shimano bottom bracket and freehub body.
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Old 06-24-04, 08:57 AM
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I've got bar end shifters on one bike and STIs on the other. The bar ends are about 10% less convenient than STIs and I do shift a little less often, but they are 100% reliable and a darn shake cheaper.

If I were building up a bike for touring, I'd go with bar ends for sure. If I were building for racing, I'd go with STI/Ergo for sure. In between, it's a matter of judgment.
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Old 06-24-04, 08:57 AM
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Nice photos. I really dig steveknight's setup and, of course, the fixer's is very cool, too.
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Old 06-24-04, 09:21 AM
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I just wish I could get brake levers facing the other way. barends do take a bit more effort to shift. but you know what gear your in and you don't overshift.
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Old 06-24-04, 10:29 AM
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I've been using bar-ends on my new commuter for about a month now. I have to say I like them. On my roadie the STI is awesome, but for a bike set up for commuting and touring I'd go bar-ends all the way. I find that when I'm commuting I shift a lot less anyway, but haven't noticed any issues with shifting frequency. On most touring bikes the bars will be higher than on a road bike, so it isn't a big deal to reach down to the drops. That being said, I don't often ride in the drops anyway so am considering a bar setup like steveknight's, just for gits and shiggles.
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Old 06-24-04, 11:14 AM
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one of the biggest advantages of barcons over sti on a touring bike is the fact that a big handlebar-mounted bag won't interfere with shifting, like it will with stis.
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Old 06-24-04, 12:24 PM
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I was hoping to put in an order for the Barcons today but everyone from Nashbar, Pricepoint, and Cambriabikes to my local bike shops are out of them. I've been told that Shimano won't ship any new ones until July 1 and the backorders will exceed the shipment numbers. I was hoping to have my new bike on the road by next week. Does anyone have any ideas where I can find them?
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Old 06-24-04, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mjw16
Does anyone have any ideas where I can find them?
Check with Larry Black (Mt. Airy Bicycles & College Park Bicycles). Larry has been in business for many, many years. I wouldn't be surprised if he could rustle up some bar-end shifters. Then again, maybe not. But, what the heck, it's worth a phone call.
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Old 06-24-04, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mjw16
I was hoping to put in an order for the Barcons today but everyone from Nashbar, Pricepoint, and Cambriabikes to my local bike shops are out of them. I've been told that Shimano won't ship any new ones until July 1 and the backorders will exceed the shipment numbers. I was hoping to have my new bike on the road by next week. Does anyone have any ideas where I can find them?
Try the Rivendell site. I got a set a month or two back from them. Real nice stuff.
https://rivbike.com/
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Old 06-24-04, 04:58 PM
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Got 'em on two bikes, and I've have them on a third if I hadn't broken a lever in a fall.
If you want them NOW, check with Rivendell at www.rivbike.com. They had them in stock last time I looked. Also have some bosses that fit into the bar ends so you can use (almost) whatever downtube levers you have on hand.
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Old 06-25-04, 05:01 AM
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After calling about 12 local bike shops, none of whom had any 9 spd shifters in stock (one, in fact, told me that he had to scavenge from other bikes), I learned that the 7, 8, 9, and 10 speed Bar Con shifters are identical in their travel characteristics. That is they all will cover every gear in a wide range of cassettes. I ordered the 8-speed Bar Cons from www.nashbar.com (they have about 50 in stock currently) to go with my 9-speed cassette. I was told that this will work-just not for indexed shifting-for that last gear I have to switch to friction. I thought I'd have to give up a gear but figure I can revert to this "old fashioned" type of shifting on a touring bike. Looks like Shimano underestimated the demand for these and won't ship any until July 1. I also heard that many stores' backorders will exceed supply. I just couldn't wait any longer so I'll go with this compromised solution for now, I figure I can keep my eyes open for a 9 speed setup and convert later if it's really necassary. Thanks for all the advice.
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Old 06-25-04, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by steveknight
I just wish I could get brake levers facing the other way. barends do take a bit more effort to shift. but you know what gear your in and you don't overshift.
Steveknight,

Nice set up. I would like to do the same with a commuter I have built up, but I am too busy putting money into my other bikes. Right now it has downtube shifters, and I do not really care for them.

Have you seen chuckfox's set up?

https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/49471-commuter-bicycle-pics.html

Is is very similar to yours, but with the brakes pointing in the other direction.
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Old 06-25-04, 09:07 AM
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I had mine setup that way at first. a great LBC owner showed me hwo to route it all under the tape. I would like my brakes facing backwards but I don't want the cables flapping around. I wonder if there are brakes with cable coming out the oppisite way?
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Old 06-25-04, 09:14 AM
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My bar cons are on the way-should get them tomorrow. Now, when I install them and wrap the handlebars, where should the shifter cables come out? I was thinking of running them along the bars up until the first bend in the drop. That way they'll stay fairly level and bend-free. Also, do they run along the bottom of the bar or the side opposite where my palms will be? Any tips on brake placement and bar wrapping?
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Old 06-25-04, 09:21 AM
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The cables run along the bottom of the bars. On my tandem, the cables run under the handle bar tape all the way to the flat part of the bars (ala Campy Ergo setup). On my single, they're under the tape to the first bend, as you suggested. It seems to work either way. FWIW, the tandem is indexed, the single is friction.

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