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Why bar-end shifters on touring/cross bikes?(10 posts)

Why bar-end shifters on touring/cross bikes?Me Dot Org
Feb 4, 2002 10:49 AM
Okay, I'm little embarrassed to admit I don't really know - but why do cross bikes and touring bikes come with bar end or downtube shifters instead of ergo or STI?
More durable, foolproof, reliable etc. in hard conditions...nmEd3a
Feb 4, 2002 11:18 AM
also have a friction option, and I just like 'em.cory
Feb 4, 2002 11:40 AM
Two of my road bikes have bar-ends, one because they've been on there for years and the other because I built up an expensive frame cheaply and had them around, along with an eight-speed cassette they'd work with. I don't have any need for nine or 10 speeds (have to convert eventually, I guess, when the parts run out), and anyway, STI is a little too much like an automatic transmission.
automatic transmission = good analogyscottfree
Feb 4, 2002 11:58 AM
In a car, tricky driving, especially in hilly or difficult conditions, is better accomplished with a simple standard shift.

Loaded touring and cross bikes see analogous work. Bar-ends/downtubes, especially in friction mode, are reliable, precise as all hell in the hands of an experienced practitioner, and bombproof. Nothing fussy about them, and not much to screw up.
I'm still not sure I get it...Me Dot Org
Feb 4, 2002 12:21 PM
Two things:

Admittedly, I haven't been riding ergo bikes that long, but I have about 7.5 k on them. I've never had an adjustment problem that would sideline me. Yes, they can get out of adjustment, but nothing you can't work around.

I have a 1983 Fuji Touring bike (S-12-S-LTD) which has a Suntour derailleur setup. I find it much more difficult to make precise shifts with it than my current Campy ergo setup.

Are the newer bar-ends more precise?
Newer ones are indexed (ie. they click...) NMANON
Feb 4, 2002 12:31 PM
I'm still not sure I get it...KEN2
Feb 4, 2002 3:06 PM
Also if the shifting mechanism fails in STI shifters (and like hard drive crashes, it's not if but when), you are SOL. With barends, there are way fewer intricate parts (basically it's a lever and a cable) and thus a higher reliability factor. Not a big deal on your evening club ride, but potentially a very big deal on a weeklong unsupported tour in the boonies.
I'm still not sure I get it...Steve Bailey
Feb 4, 2002 5:57 PM
STI and Ergo work very well when you don't spend 3,4,5,6 10 days in a row in the rain, with your cables picking up all kinds of crud. This probably doesn't happen much to the average long distance touring cyclist, but it CAN, and when it does, STI particularly, is sensitive to bad cables.

The other huge advantage I find about bar-cons over STI in particular, is the ability to use non-indexed front chain rings on cranks other then what Shimano considers a touring group. I have seen countless posts about the new 30/42/52 cranks mated to STI and how to get lower and more appropriate gearing for loaded touring. The 130/74 BCD crank, mated to STI and the typical 22 tooth front derailer is not the best choice. Bar-cons are the start (and only option) to getting more suitable gearing.

In practical use, I have an STI and 2 bar-con bikes, one being a Heron the other a Miyata tourer. I only find the bar-con's limiting when trying to shift while standing. This is usually in a group ride and usually on a hill. No big deal at any other time, including commuting in the city on the Miyata.

FWIW, I'm begininning to explore the advantages of the Ergo front levers as they have better adjustability of derailer position as compared to STI

also have a friction option, and I just like 'em.old guy
Feb 4, 2002 7:36 PM
I used bar ends for years before index or STI because it allowed me to shift without taking my hands off the bars. Always had to ride in traffic. Someone was always asking me the same question then.
I don't think cross racers use'em much anymore.MB1
Feb 4, 2002 12:49 PM
STI works well in Cyclocross Racing where you can change your bike once or twice a lap.

If you have a problem with your STI in BFE while touring it can take a while to fix or find a shop to fix them for you. Not so much a problem with the part but what if you crash? Bar end shifters are pretty much always going to work-worse case you can turn the indexing off.

Also if you have small hands the STI levers can be hard to operate. Miss Ms Rivendell is set up with STI right lever only and a bar end for the front derailleur.

Now she wants me to set up all her bikes like that. It is much easier for her to shift and adjust the front derailleur with the bar end than STI (down tube shifters would work too).