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how little can I pay for shifters?(7 posts)

how little can I pay for shifters?Skyeward
May 27, 2002 7:07 PM
Ok here's my question, and below is the explaination:

What do I have to spend to get shifters on my handle bars? (and off that downtube)

I'm primarily a mountain biker. But I saw this nice used(sorta old, but great condition) road bike at the shop for $150. I know, I know, it's probably a piece of junk (relatively), but it's a hell of a lot lighter than my current spare bike, I don't ride road very much, and I'm very poor at this point (just bought a spiffy new mtb).

Anyway, It has shimano 105 stuff all around, except for the shifters, which are those funky old style ones on the downtube. They aren't indexed either. My crotchety old uncle says these are the only way to go (sort of a joke with us), but I don't like the idea of having to reach down there all the time. So I was wondering it it would be worth it to get this bike, and then upgrade the shifters (and levers as well I guess), or if they would cost to much to justify the upgrade to this bike. (or if I could grow to love those silly shifters all far away from my hands).

Thanks for any help, this poor man just wants to have a better time riding that blacktop.

I'd say $25-$65 (long)Trent in WA
May 27, 2002 10:02 PM
You don't mention what generation of 105 (i.e. how many gears on the rear cluster) the bike has, so it's hard to say for sure, but assuming that you've got no more than a 7-speed setup, I'd suggest one of three options:

a) Get a pair of the finest friction shifters ever made, SunTour BarCon, along with some derailleur cable housing and some cables, and convert your bike to bar-end shifting. Easy to set up, a breeze to get used to, and dead reliable. BarCons are available at lots of bike shops that sell used parts (or over the internet) for about $25-$35. This would be my first option.

b) Or, order a set of Dia-Tech shifter pods from Rivendell ( and the aforementioned housing and cable, mount your existing downtube shifters to them, and install them in the ends of your bars. This route'll cost you about $32 for the pods + s/h.

c) Finally, if you're not feeling too adventuresome, just buy a set of Shimano Dura-Ace barend shifters for about $65 (available from numerous sources), install them, and run them in friction mode. While this is the more expensive option, if you decide to upgrade your bike to 9-speed indexed shifting, you'll already have the shifters.

Any one of these three options will work with your current drivetrain and are pretty cheap as far as upgrades go. Barends lack the cachet of STI/Ergo brifter systems, but unless you're racing you probably won't feel overly deprived. They're more convenient than downtube shifters and were the choice of serious mileage hounds and tourists for a long time. If you want to go with an STI or Ergo system, you're probably looking at about $500 worth of parts at a minimum, not to mention the expense of respacing your rear triangle to accomodate the wider 9/10 speed configuration.

Hope this helps,
Save your money.unchained
May 27, 2002 11:20 PM
Unless you have not learned how to shift they will work just fine with a minimum of maintenance and cables.
Upgrade if you want...Wannabe
May 28, 2002 6:49 AM
But the advice to stick with "as is" is good. Unless you will be group-riding with this bike, shifters on the down tube will not be an issue even for a newbe. I have a bike with downtube shifters that I still ride quite often. Sometimes, on the weekly group ride on the "new" bike, I catch myself reaching for the downtube to shift! Doh! Not an issue, and it always causing me to smile, which is rare on a group ride when I am being made to suffer greatly by the other guys!

Keep reaching down there - it's more Italian (nm)Stampertje
May 28, 2002 7:16 AM
If you're not one of those index sissies, about $20retro
May 28, 2002 7:29 AM
Rivendell sells some bar-end adapters that (they say) will accept almost any downtube shifter. They go into the ends of the bars, the shifters go on the adapters and you hook them up and use them just like barcons. I still have barcons on the bike I ride most and like 'em fine. I don't know if Riv's things index (don't see why not), but indexing isn't that big a deal to me anyway. If you want to look, it's
if the shifter indexes, it'll index in the Riv PodsRay Sachs
May 28, 2002 9:11 AM
I once had a set of Shimano 600 8-speed downtube clickers mounted to the pods Riv sells and it worked as well as it did on the downtube. Not all DT shifters work with the pod though - the cable holes on the shifter and the pod have to be pretty close to lined up. Most shifters have the cable hole pretty close to the same place though, so most should work.