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Not just for touring bikes anymore...

Old 08-14-19, 06:06 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Makes one wonder why more pros didn't use bar-end shifters back then. I guess the racers & mechanics didn't want to bother with installing/maintaining a part that didn't come with the stock groupset.
one would suspect that thats part of it. Maybe the "banging them with knees" thing was in the back of their heads also.
I havent used bar ends enough to really have an opinion on sprinting and all that stuff.
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Old 08-14-19, 09:09 AM
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I have had them on a couple bikes and really didn't care for them. There were several reasons not all of which apply to every size frame. These are all based on my experience for my bikes, my fit choices, and so on, so YMMV. Some of these are touring oriented and some more racing/performance oriented.
  1. I tended to bump them out of the desired gear accidentally while riding, usually while standing to climb.
  2. They tended to get bumped out of gear when leaned against a wall or whatever when I took a break to get a drink or snack or shop or whatever. Then when I started out it wouldn't be in gear.
  3. Once in a while I banged up a knee or thigh on them.
  4. I actually found them less handy to reach than down tube shifters which were the other popular choice at the time. People often complained that they had to reach further down to reach down tube shifters, but on my bikes they were at the exact same height given my frame size and preferred bar height. If I wanted to shift the front and back i could even do both with only one hand going to the shifters.
  5. I had a few buddies who were jerks and liked to reach over and shift them for me
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Old 08-14-19, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Makes one wonder why more pros didn't use bar-end shifters back then. I guess the racers & mechanics didn't want to bother with installing/maintaining a part that didn't come with the stock groupset.
Amateur racers like us "back when" used what we could afford and preferred, in that order.
Pros have used what sponsors provided set-up as they preferred, with logos removed from saddles etc to hide a rider's "must-have" fit component from the cameras.
Then/now: Same, Same.

edit: Full "group-sets" didn't exist pre-Campag NR, and even then weren't as tightly integrated as "modern" indexed systems require now.
The French mfgs who supplied many if not most racers in the era stood proudly on the identity of each component mfg's specialty. Mafac for brakes, Stronglight for crank-sets and Normandy for hubs etc. Fashion and declining market share pushed for French "group sets", but that came later, and Too Late.

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Old 08-14-19, 08:55 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I have had them on a couple bikes and really didn't care for them. There were several reasons not all of which apply to every size frame. These are all based on my experience for my bikes, my fit choices, and so on, so YMMV. Some of these are touring oriented and some more racing/performance oriented.
  1. I tended to bump them out of the desired gear accidentally while riding, usually while standing to climb.
  2. They tended to get bumped out of gear when leaned against a wall or whatever when I took a break to get a drink or snack or shop or whatever. Then when I started out it wouldn't be in gear.
  3. Once in a while I banged up a knee or thigh on them.
  4. I actually found them less handy to reach than down tube shifters which were the other popular choice at the time. People often complained that they had to reach further down to reach down tube shifters, but on my bikes they were at the exact same height given my frame size and preferred bar height. If I wanted to shift the front and back i could even do both with only one hand going to the shifters.
  5. I had a few buddies who were jerks and liked to reach over and shift them for me
Hi stae, thanks for putting that all down, and most kind of sum up why I went with Gevenalle and not bar ends.

That number 5 is priceless!
Cheers
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Old 08-15-19, 04:19 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
4. I actually found them less handy to reach than down tube shifters which were the other popular choice at the time. People often complained that they had to reach further down to reach down tube shifters, but on my bikes they were at the exact same height given my frame size and preferred bar height. If I wanted to shift the front and back i could even do both with only one hand going to the shifters.
I am guessing you have a much smaller size frame than me. The front downtube shifter on my rando bike is a significant reach. I have to stop pedaling, swing my left knee way out so I can reach my left hand down to the lever, then start pedaling as I shift while my left leg is still pushed out to the left.

I saw someone a couple weeks ago that had downtube shifters mounted on his top tube about 4 or 5 inches behind his head tube. He was an inch or two taller than me and he said he had the frame custom made that way (shifters were brazed on) because he liked downtube shifters but reaching way down to the downtube was most inconvenient for him.
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Old 08-15-19, 06:43 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I am guessing you have a much smaller size frame than me.
I like my frame on the smallish side for my height, My frame is 54cm and I like my bars well below the saddle (5" on the bike I used on the ST, 3" on my drop bar MTB). So yeah, people with larger frames and/or who have bars close to saddle height or above will have to reach more, sometimes a lot more.

I think that position on the bike, in addition to just how much you need to reach, becomes a factor as well.

I find that if you are leaning over in a more aggressive posture with elbows more bent (elbows close to bar height, forearms parallel to the ground) reaching down is not as likely to interfere with your pedaling. In that position your elbow can just tuck in close to the centerline of bike and body and the forearm drop down allowing you to reach the full length of your forearm below bar height without dropping the elbow.

If you prefer a more upright posture and more straight arms it becomes more of a problem to reach DT shifters and they are probably best avoided.

For me something closer to the former position is more comfortable and my choice for both performance riding and touring. I think most tourists prefer the latter finding a more upright posture more comfortable.

BTW, I always wondered why stem shifters were not more popular for folks who didn't like DT shifters. There were a few quality ones available (and a lot that were junk).
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Old 08-15-19, 06:56 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I am guessing you have a much smaller size frame than me. The front downtube shifter on my rando bike is a significant reach.
After responding I took a better look at the picture of your rando bike. It doesn't look like frame size is much of a factor in the difference between our bikes. I think it is more of a matter of choice of bar height. Unless the picture is misleading it looks as if without the stack of spacers and the extra accessory stem, bar end shifters would be at about the same height as the DT bosses.

My bikes typically have no spacers and a low stem. I think that alone is enough to account for the difference.
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Old 08-15-19, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I always wondered why stem shifters were not more popular for folks who didn't like DT shifters. There were a few quality ones available (and a lot that were junk).
Stem shifters require that you raise up and cross the centerline of balance to shift, neither a positive contribution to stability shoulder to shoulder in a double pace-line or when carrying a touring load.
DT controls and Bar-cons don't pose the same basic handling problem.

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Old 08-15-19, 07:03 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Stem shifters require that you raise up and cross the centerline of balance to shift, neither a positive contribution to stability shoulder to shoulder in a double pace-line or when carrying a touring load.
DT controls and Bar-cons don't pose the same basic handling problem.

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Yeah, agree completely. I was thinking of them for folks who were touring and using a more upright posture anyway. I assumed (incorrectly maybe) that they were a significant portion of the folks who disliked DT shifters.
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Old 08-15-19, 09:46 AM
  #35  
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all this talk about dt shifting--I use my old dt touring bike as my winter indoor trainer bike, and for me the hand movement and everything still comes completely naturally and in my case doesnt interrupt my cadence at all, 56cm frame in 1990 style, Im about 5'10.

with rolling hills and constant shifting, this is where I can easily see bar ends as being nicer, and what immediately came to mind when trying out a friends bar end bike years ago, never having ridden them before. A shorter distance hand movement that seemed rather natural, and for me would be an improvement over dt for constant shifting. This is one clear memory of dt that I recall, rolling hills and getting sick of constant shifting and the motion required to do it--and as mentioned, in city riding with traffic, potholes etc--all reasons I have no real urge to ever use a dt bike seriously any more.
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Old 08-15-19, 03:51 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
...
My bikes typically have no spacers and a low stem. I think that alone is enough to account for the difference.
I suspect that is the difference. The top of my bars is usually pretty close to the top of saddle height, the bars might be slighly lower but are likely within a half inch. My folding bike is an exception with much lower bars, but that bike has a much shorter reach, so I am leaning forward about the same on the folder but with the shorter reach my arms are angled down more so the bars are lower.


Originally Posted by djb View Post
all this talk about dt shifting--I use my old dt touring bike as my winter indoor trainer bike, and for me the hand movement and everything still comes completely naturally and in my case doesnt interrupt my cadence at all, 56cm frame in 1990 style, Im about 5'10.

with rolling hills and constant shifting, this is where I can easily see bar ends as being nicer, and what immediately came to mind when trying out a friends bar end bike years ago, never having ridden them before. A shorter distance hand movement that seemed rather natural, and for me would be an improvement over dt for constant shifting. This is one clear memory of dt that I recall, rolling hills and getting sick of constant shifting and the motion required to do it--and as mentioned, in city riding with traffic, potholes etc--all reasons I have no real urge to ever use a dt bike seriously any more.
I pulled an old Bianchi mixti frame bike out of a neighbor's trash several years ago. Six speed freewheel, lugged frame, small woman's frame bike. I think the bike had less than 200 miles on it. That became my trainer bike. But I had to find a much taller seatpost for my height. It is always in the highest gear, the trainer is a magnetic one and I have a lever on a long cable control that I can use to adjust the magnetic resistance on the trainer.

I like bar end shifters on touring bikes for the ability to have my shifters on the bars where I can also use my hands for steering. When I am going up a slow steep hill I like to be able to have both hands on the bars and also be able to steer with both hands. In post 20 above, you also see I have my Rohloff shifter on the right side bar end position, I can quickly shift it in up and down rolling terrain while I also have both hands on the bars for steering.

I built up my rando bike in 2016, photo above in post 24. That is the first bike I have a brifter on and the brifter is only on the rear. But I started using bar end shifters in the 1980s, so with decades of experience on bar ends and only a few years of using brifters, I do not have that preference for brifters that a lot of roadies have.

I actually find I am often cross chaining with brifters but not with bar end shifters, so I find that as one big advantage of bar ends. When I put my hand on a rear bar end shifter, I immediately know from the lever position if my chain is up on the big sprockets on the cassette or down on the small cogs. Or my front bar end shifter, I know which chainring I am on from the lever position. The brifter does not tell me where my chain is by feel like the bar end shifters do. I expect you find the same thing with your shifters mounted on your brake levers like that.
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Old 08-15-19, 04:45 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I actually find I am often cross chaining with brifters but not with bar end shifters, so I find that as one big advantage of bar ends. When I put my hand on a rear bar end shifter, I immediately know from the lever position if my chain is up on the big sprockets on the cassette or down on the small cogs. Or my front bar end shifter, I know which chainring I am on from the lever position. The brifter does not tell me where my chain is by feel like the bar end shifters do. I expect you find the same thing with your shifters mounted on your brake levers like that.
I rarely but sometimes make mistakes with my brifters, but I figure all the years of riding motorcycles has ingrained in how I keep track of what gear Im in religiously. For those who only drive cars, and manual transmissions, a motorcycle doesnt have a visual shifter thats in a certain place in 1st or 5th or whatever, so we tend to keep track in our heads of what gear we are in. Racing and all that just means you always know what gear you are in even without thinking, so in your head you are 1st, 2nd, 3rd....and you cant just pop it in neutral like a car, as motorbike gearboxes are sequential , so you go down from 5th to 4th to 3rd etc, no skipping straight to neutral.

and yes, with my Gevenalles its a pure, simple visual indicator. With both shifters, the direction of the lever right to left , is the direction the chain is going. So with the front shifter, swung all the way to left and Im in the granny, straight (ish) is the middle ring, and swung right is the big ring.
Same at the rear, swung far left is my 34t and far right is the 11t

so easy peasy visual reminder.
One neat little feature of them.
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Old 08-15-19, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by WGD View Post
Who uses gears? I manage winter riding much better on my velocipede.
You probably mean your draisienne.
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Old 08-15-19, 07:10 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I rarely but sometimes make mistakes with my brifters, but I figure all the years of riding motorcycles has ingrained in how I keep track of what gear Im in ....
My late 1960s and early 1970s Triumph T100R Daytona motorcycles had four speed transmissions, with only four you always knew which gear you were in.

But a bicycle that has two different derailleurs makes it harder to mentally know which gear you are in on both the front and also know which gear you are in on the back. And if your front is a triple, that complicates it even more.

But if you always do know where you are on both the front and back, congratulations because most people do not.
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Old 08-15-19, 07:46 PM
  #40  
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Certainly not always, but I think riding and racing two strokes with narrow power bands on paved circuits engrained in me keeping track of what gear I was in, plus I've always followed motorsport closely for 40 years so tend to think like a racer.
Manually doing proper blip matching smooth downshifts still gives me great pleasure when ever I get the chance to ride a bike or drive a standard car.

But of course make mistakes on bicycles sometimes.
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Old 08-15-19, 07:57 PM
  #41  
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Re hitting knees.
Tonight I went for an hour loop ride I do sometimes with a bunch of climbing and some fast descents. A few times I go around tight uphill corners in first gear standing, and invariably I touch my bars slightly with my knees.
Only tonight did I make an effort to notice this, and so realized that for this type of riding with standing sprints in hills and for changing lights, bar ends aren't ideal.
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Old 08-16-19, 05:15 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Certainly not always, but I think riding and racing two strokes with narrow power bands on paved circuits engrained in me keeping track of what gear I was in, ....
My Triumphs had a very wide power band, that is why the gearbox only had four gears, you only needed four.


Originally Posted by djb View Post
Re hitting knees.
Tonight I went for an hour loop ride I do sometimes with a bunch of climbing and some fast descents. A few times I go around tight uphill corners in first gear standing, and invariably I touch my bars slightly with my knees.
Only tonight did I make an effort to notice this, and so realized that for this type of riding with standing sprints in hills and for changing lights, bar ends aren't ideal.
Over a decade ago I was still standing on the pedals to power up hills or accelerate from a stop light turned green. But several times I suddenly could feel a knee protesting when I did that. I have not stood on the pedals to apply power since then, I always stay in the saddle and I rarely have knee problems any more.

A friend of mine used to use drop bars for touring, but he never used the drops. He is a bit of a minimalist, he switched to bull horn bars, put bar end shifters on the ends of those bars, you would never catch a knee on a shifter with those. See photo.

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Old 08-16-19, 05:36 AM
  #43  
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ya, the real working powerband of the bike I raced was about 2k rpm, and I had had a 175cc two stroke enduro, so just very used to moving through 6 spd gearboxes constantly.
Oh, and on the prod bike racing , I had changed the front sprocket to a slightly smaller one, so even faster running through gears.
To me its still fun, and equates to a tight cassette that is fun to ride with because you can keep in the right cadence, and I just find it fun "snick snicking" gear changes at exactly the right time, on whatever vehicle I'm driving or riding, motorized or not.

but yes, as for standing, to be completely realistic, when riding loaded its simply something that I rarely rarely do, and its not an age thing, but a better use of energy thing isnt it? Sure, there are times that we have no choice, and there have been the odd time in my latin american trips where Ive found myself completely in the red, standing , yet still about to bounce my heart valves off a piston so to speak--on my 16.7 gear inch bike....

but this is super rare, so all that blah blah to say that bar ends for touring are still a perfectly good setup
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Old 08-16-19, 07:22 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
But a bicycle that has two different derailleurs makes it harder to mentally know which gear you are in on both the front and also know which gear you are in on the back. And if your front is a triple, that complicates it even more.
But if you always do know where you are on both the front and back, congratulations because most people do not.
Not only do "most people" not know which cog they are operating in, they don't know what that means in relative and absolute gearing terms.
How "hard" is it to pedal the cog I'm in, how fast will I go at my preferred cadence and what grade can I comfortably climb?
How 'bout the cogs on either side and what about that other chain ring or two in the "same" cog in back?

I've kept the progression of the gearing on all of my bikes, except the FG, printed and taped to my stem expressed in Gear Inches since the '70's.
GI converts any combination of chain-ring/cog/wheel & tire size to a single comparative number.
I ride a 70 GI on my fixed gear bike which is 48X18 700 X 25, so is a 45X17 x 25 and other ways to get there.
All: Same, same w/ tiny differences in wear/friction based on chain-ring/cog sizes.

Why bother?
Knowledge is power, guesswork is less effective and random.
Example: There is a long false flat leading to a series of steepening pitches up to a brutal final 400 meters requiring my lowest 32 GI.
At what point do you pull the plug, shift from the big ring to the inner without over-spin, losing momentum, dropping the chain or plodding/stalling?
A GI plot tells when/how.

Captain Fast, icon of 41, told me smugly that he climbs a favorite local pitch "in the big ring".
Fully crossed over in a 50x28 47 GI it sounds "manly" but a 34X19 is also 47 GI w/ a nice straight chain-line and favored by those attacking the steepening grades to come.

Old School stuff, here's a handy gear calc w/ printable output:

https://sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

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Old 08-16-19, 08:25 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Not only do "most people" not know which cog they are operating in, they don't know what that means in relative and absolute gearing terms.
...
Agree, but most people are mathematically challenged these days, especially those that grew up with calculators so they did not have to develop the mental skills to do complicated math in their head.

My two derailleur touring bikes, I switched to half step plus granny for the triple in front. And use an eight speed 11/32 Sram cassette in back. The half step middle and big rings give me a lot of higher gears in the range that I want them on shallow uphills, the flats, and shallow downhills. The granny gives me a smaller number of gears for teh steeper up hills. And when it gets too steep, I am happy to get off the bike and walk because I can slow down my heart rate and exercise some different muscles at the same time.

This gear chart assumes I am not using the two most cross chained gears for each chainring, on the middle I would not use the biggest and smallest sprockets in back. Thus, only six gears shown for each chainring, the chainrings are color coded for number of teeth. Assumes 26 inch tire, 40mm wide.



Same data, alternate way to show it. On this graph you can see that there is a lot of overlap between the big and midde rings, but very little overlap between the granny chainring and middle ring.



If you have not figured this out yet, I am an engineer and us engineers have a tendency to over analyze stuff like this.

My rando bike had one and a half step gearing, plus granny so I have to think a bit harder to find the perfect gear.

Then of course there is the gearing on my Rohloff bike. In this case I set it up for touring on steep hills, 36T chainring and 16 tooth sprocket. Assumes 26 in tires, 57mm wide. I have the gearing for climbing hills but not for the descent where I spin out. But where there are lots of rolling hills and I am constantly shifting, I really like having a single sequential shifter, as no thinking is needed on which controls to use to make the next shift and each shift is almost identical in how big the jump is from one gear to the next.

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Old 08-16-19, 08:35 AM
  #46  
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Agree, but most people are mathematically challenged these days, especially those that grew up with calculators so they did not have to develop the mental skills to do complicated math in their head.
​​​
Even for the most math illiterate a gear calculator expressing the output in GI is about as simple and easy to operate and understand as possible.
For those who can't understand that 70 GI is 70 GI no matter how one gets there, that 60 GI is "less" and 80 GI is "more" with the data taped to the stem right in front of them there's really no hope.
Sorry Captain Fast, and BTW a 50T is not a "big ring" either.......

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Old 08-16-19, 09:06 AM
  #47  
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I use my sprung Brooks as a gear indicator. If it's hard to peddle I gear down, if I bounce in my seat - gear up.

Funny about the stem shifters. It all depends on whether one uses the drops a lot. I didn't most of my life, coming from the converted mtb background, and was most familiar with thumbies and triggers. To me a stem shifter isn't that far off to reach but DT's are a pita.

In the last few years I've gotten quite comfortable with drops but with brifters which are pretty darn easy. I would never consciously choose DT's ever but would go bar ends, grevenalles, thumbies and even stems shifters. I'm unskilled enough to not notice the nuances and just adjust accordingly.
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Old 08-16-19, 10:27 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post

Captain Fast, icon of 41, told me smugly that he climbs a favorite local pitch "in the big ring".
Fully crossed over in a 50x28 47 GI it sounds "manly" but a 34X19 is also 47 GI w/ a nice straight chain-line and favored by those attacking the steepening grades to come.
hey there old geezer ;-)
I have a friend who is extremely smart, but has this "big ring" thing in his head about equating to it being admirable or tough or who knows what, but something along the lines of being harder and maybe thinking it makes him stronger--I dont know. Ive tried mentioning the whole chain line thing, but both him and his wife just dont get it, and still have this odd "accomplishment" thing about being in the big ring, cross chaining be damned. Heck, I doubt even the argument of actually wasting a few watts due to cross chaining would make a difference.
People are funny, and these dear friends also never clean their drivetrains, put copious chain lube right on top of filthy grit encrusted chains and let the overflow just sit and go everywhere......you can lead a horse to water....

another story, recently someone I met told me of how they changed their cassette from a 11-28 to a 11-34 to help climbing, but then continued to tell me that the change did mean that they could not go down hill as fast, as they ran out of gears earlier.
I explained patiently that a 11t is a 11t, no matter a 11-19 or 11-40, but nope, thats what they knew and that was that.....

I'm not as old as you, but am clearly in the "gear inch" crowd, prefer to use g.i , and as a tourer, learned a long time ago to understand gearing to help me in real life with touring weight and mountain riding.

*Now I do freely admit that as gearing nerds, we can rightly claim to help people with insomnia, as our blah blah about this and that can put people to sleep.....but I look at this as a positive social function, too many people have sleep behavioral problems, so we are doing our best to help these poor blurry eyed folks.
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Old 08-16-19, 03:52 PM
  #49  
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When I built up my rain bike, I used an old set of bar-ends I had in a box somewhere. For one thing, they were free. For another, they were much lighter than brifters, and my $120 (new) frame was not the lightest. They're not indexed, which is fine with me. Something else I don't have to adjust. The big drawback of course is that I can't shift them standing. That's kind of a big thing for me because I have to suffer a bit more in the wrong gear and I don't like unnecessary suffering. But weight and cost is are very good reasons for using them.

My big ring story: I was on a group ride with our local "fast couple" on their tandem, Next on the road was a 500' steep climb which I take in my granny and big cog. They came into it in their big ring, tried to shift the front but with all that pressure, the chain wouldn't drop. So they just left it in the big ring and took the whole climb standing, vanishing into the distance. Cross-chained, no doubt. There are many stories about those two.
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Old 08-18-19, 04:19 PM
  #50  
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My first '10-speed' waaaay back in '74 had stem shifters. Convenient for someone whose previous bikes were trigger-shifted three-speeds.

Then in fall of '76 at Ohio State, I was roomed with a more serious rider (on his Viscount Aerospace Pro - including 'death fork'). Upon riding his bike for even a few miles, I was a fan of his SunTour bar-cons. I also ditched my heavy 35-pound all-steel Fuji Special Tourer for the 26.5-pound S-10S that I still have today. One of the first things I did to the S-10S was to get rid of the downtube shifters for a set of SunTour barcons. They're still on that bike today!!! Over the intervening 40+ years, I became so used to the barcons that I don't feel comfortable with anything else. All of my road-ridden bikes to this day have SunTour barcons!!!

Yes, and all are friction shift, and all have six-speed freewheels.... I'm a creature of habit/comfort.
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