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shifting to downtube shifters

Old 03-04-21, 06:52 AM
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southpier
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shifting to downtube shifters

can it be as simple as it appears?

love the bar enders, but i can see ridding 36" of cable and stopping the kink for the front bag by going down.

what am i missing?
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Old 03-04-21, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
what am i missing?
STI?


Sorry, it was low hanging fruit.


DTs certainly look a lot cooler than bar end shifters.
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Old 03-04-21, 07:09 AM
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So, you want to eliminate cables that interfere with your front bag. What type of bike is this, and what is the gearset? If indexed, you could potentially switch to combination shifter/brake levers that are compatible. Or, you could run the housing up beneath the bar tape to the stem.

Or, you could swap in downtube shifters. They are the simplest.

By doing this ^ you will change a major control element of your bike. I ride downtube shifters on two of my vintage bikes, and the ergonomics are different, as are the balance requirements. Shifting is a lot more frequent action than grabbing a water bottle. On the downtube, you have to anticipate shifts a bit earlier. It's not as convenient as shifting on the bars. I find that I have to be more alert in traffic, near the "door zone", stopping at traffic signals on descents, and on incline changes mid-climb. These all require better anticipation and more physical control (by the rider) than when shifting similarly from the handlebars. Just something to consider.
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Old 03-04-21, 07:21 AM
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I appreciate the simplicity but you do lose functionality. Shifting while climbing is one situation I find uncomfortable. It's all slow motion compared to shifters on the bars. More of an issue in groups than alone, IME.
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Old 03-04-21, 08:14 AM
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southpier
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
STI?


Sorry, it was low hanging fruit.


DTs certainly look a lot cooler than bar end shifters.
i have no idea what sti is, but i'm sure i'd get a chuckle if i did.

i absolutely love the bar enders, but my berthoud bag pushes the cables away so much they kink at the downtube cable stops. it's never become an insurmountable problem (7 years/ change cables every 2 because i'm ocd) to make everything work okay, but my inner self says Sheldon would not approve.
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Old 03-04-21, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
So, you want to eliminate cables that interfere with your front bag. What type of bike is this, and what is the gearset? If indexed, you could potentially switch to combination shifter/brake levers that are compatible. Or, you could run the housing up beneath the bar tape to the stem.

Or, you could swap in downtube shifters. They are the simplest.

By doing this ^ you will change a major control element of your bike. I ride downtube shifters on two of my vintage bikes, and the ergonomics are different, as are the balance requirements. Shifting is a lot more frequent action than grabbing a water bottle. On the downtube, you have to anticipate shifts a bit earlier. It's not as convenient as shifting on the bars. I find that I have to be more alert in traffic, near the "door zone", stopping at traffic signals on descents, and on incline changes mid-climb. These all require better anticipation and more physical control (by the rider) than when shifting similarly from the handlebars. Just something to consider.


thanks; i appreciate the considerations and they certainly weigh keeping the bar ends. the bike is a Surly LHT with IRC double chainring & cranks conversion. if i need a granny gear, i'll get off and walk it or stand on the pedals. the guy at the LBS called it a 'close-compact' set up whatever that means. i've adapted. i think the micro-shift bar ends are not true friction, but some type of combination. again, i like them and i've been able to adapt. retro-grouch. there's too much crap in the modern world i just simply don't need.

if i could afford it, i would drive a 36 hp split window VW. unfortunately, $2,500 cars now sell for 100k$.

edit: since my daily ride (20 - 25 miles) only requires using the small chainring twice, thrice if i'm not paying attention, would it be too messed up to have one down & one bar end? i never run into anyone i know, so if i'm mocked little difference would it make in my enjoyment. the front shift cable is the worst offender as far as kinking. they both project the same distance in their loop to the cable stops (ocd), so i've not been able to conjecture "why".

Last edited by southpier; 03-04-21 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 03-04-21, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
i have no idea what sti is, but i'm sure i'd get a chuckle if i did.
STI refers to the integrated brake lever-shifter combination by its convention (Shimano Total Integration?). There are many brands, but if cable interference is your problem, then you'll want a set where the shift cables run back beneath the bar tape along with the brake cables, which are always beneath. Here's an example of a Chinese 2 x 8 STI with hidden cabling.




That's why I asked what type of gearing you had. Shifters must be compatible with the derailleur and rear cog spacing (and number of shifts, normally), so the brands matter. If your shifting isn't indexed, then downtube shifting is the way to go.
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Old 03-04-21, 08:34 AM
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ooph! that would absolutely put me over the edge. next thing i would be buying a kayak and "getting into paddle-sports". did that 25 years ago.

i won't even aero-wrap my cables. i like the insect antennae look of cables flopping in the breeze!
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Old 03-04-21, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
i like the insect antennae look of cables flopping in the breeze!
Well then there is one thing you will miss with DT shifters.
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Old 03-04-21, 09:06 AM
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I have one bike with bar end shifters and I don't mind them , but I prefer down tube shifting. On my 1972 Mondia with bar ends the cables are routed like Aero fashion. That is the way the Swiss did it and I can use a handle bar bag if I want(don't usually). Changing to down tube could be easy depending on the bike.
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Old 03-04-21, 09:50 AM
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I rode my Jeunet last night, and it's set up with 2x5 downtube shifting. I enjoy the ride of that bike a lot. It reminds me of riding in my teen years in the 1970s. But I thought several times yesterday how finicky the shifting is, and how much energy I wasted with fiddling, especially trying to silence a narrow cage FD while cross-chained.

On a Surly LHT, this may not matter. It's a bus and rides like one. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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Old 03-04-21, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
can it be as simple as it appears?

love the bar enders, but i can see ridding 36" of cable and stopping the kink for the front bag by going down.

what am i missing?
Just route your shift cables along the bars and out near the stem. Its quite common for bar end shifters and eliminates your complaint about the front bag.
...but of you do this then you won't have cables looking like antennae. Maybe with time you can get over that.
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Old 03-04-21, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
can it be as simple as it appears?
Yes, and bit is and probably the cheapest route to go. Even if you just want to try them out. I think you have downtube shifter bosses, youíll probably need curved boss mounting stops. Just buy Dura Ace 9 speed shifters and sell them if you donít like them.

John
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Old 03-04-21, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
... On a Surly LHT, this may not matter. It's a bus and rides like one. And there's nothing wrong with that.
and with fenders & the Berthoud bag, it's a bus pushing a billboard!

next year, for my 70th birthday, i intend to get or build another bike. if i can ride to 75, i'll consider that an accomplishment.
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Old 03-04-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
... then you won't have cables looking like antennae. Maybe with time you can get over that.
oh ... you don't know me!

if i could find a Grecian yia-yia to crochet riding socks from virgin sheep sheerings, i would buy several pairs in a heartbeat.
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Old 03-04-21, 12:45 PM
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I started on DT shifters and really didn't mind. But once I discovered STI, no looking back.

I do use bar end shifters on my tandem. Actually pretty cool as I can downshift by applying a little pressure to my palm area. Then upshifting is quite easy with an upward flick of my pinky finger!

I'd rather use bar ends than DT shifters.

Last edited by UCantTouchThis; 03-04-21 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 03-04-21, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
I started on DT shifters and really didn't mind. But once I discovered STI, no looking back.

I do use DT shifters on my tandem. Actually pretty cool as I can downshift by applying a little pressure to my palm area. Then upshifting is quite easy with an upward flick of my pinky finger!

I'd rather use bar ends than DT shifters.
Confusing. Typo?
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Old 03-04-21, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Confusing. Typo?
Ah, yes, typo
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Old 03-04-21, 01:36 PM
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Down tube shifters - they are kinda like shoelaces. Takes longer, you've gotta sit down to tie them, they take a little skill. But it can be learned by just about anybody and become so natural that you do not notice it is somehow "wrong". Yes, riding with others, you see that you ride a little differently. You naturally expand the range of acceptable pedal RPM instead of shifting to stay exactly at the "magic" RPM. You plan out hills.

There are perks. Your bike will get a tiny bit lighter and more aero. Simpler, less to go wrong. Cleaner "cockpit" area (as you have already noted). Riding with others, you get to silently smirk when shifters give others issues. Yours never get damaged in crashes or when the bike falls over. You can change wheels, cassettes, freewheels, numbers of cogs, spacing on cogs and the shifter simply doesn't care. Adjust the derailleur stops. Maybe tweak the cable length a touch but not usually needed. Done. You can use any rear wheel made between the 1960s and now. (There are dropout spacing issues, but your shifter doesn't care.)

We (tourists, sport riders and racers) rode with DT shifters for 50 years. Every Tour de France (and every other road race) was won on them. No one complained and there were few incidents. A few missed shifts here and there. Occasionally they needed to be tightened but if yours have the D-ring, it can be done while racing by the rider; he doesn't have to drop back to the team car.

Drawbacks? The biggest by far - you are now a dinosaur.

Ben - certified dinosaur; 2 1/2 DT bikes, 2 1/2 fix gears, a concept eons older (The Mooney can do both.)
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Old 03-04-21, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
can it be as simple as it appears?

love the bar enders, but i can see ridding 36" of cable and stopping the kink for the front bag by going down.

what am i missing?
Downtube shifters are a common and simple solution to the problem, but if you otherwise like bar-end shifters, it strikes me as crazy to compromise ergonomics for shift cable clearance when you can just use different routing. I have one bike that I use with a handlebar bag and bar-end shifters, and I just did this:



I think it looks pretty good. And depending on your preferences, a well-placed non-circularity to the grip can even improve comfort.



Just use quality cables and housing and be careful with the routing, since it is adding length and a bend.
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Old 03-04-21, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
oh ... you don't know me!

if i could find a Grecian yia-yia to crochet riding socks from virgin sheep sheerings, i would buy several pairs in a heartbeat.
I have no idea what this means, so I'll just reiterate that routing the cable under your bar tape and out at the stem will resolve your issue.
You can then keep your drivetrain as it is..
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Old 03-05-21, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I have no idea what this means, so I'll just reiterate that routing the cable under your bar tape and out at the stem will resolve your issue.
You can then keep your drivetrain as it is..
OP asks for advice and then counters it all with good natured goofiness and the obligatory reference to Sheldon
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Old 03-05-21, 02:32 AM
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my god man*; it's not a life or death decision, merely a casual inquiry on an internet forum.

*or woman, lgbtxyz, it don't matter to me.
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Old 03-05-21, 03:04 AM
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On my touring bike, I have RD shift with bar end. FD with down tube.
i too like the feel of "manual" shifting, yes compared to STI - more fore thought is needed.
give it a try ?
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Old 03-05-21, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
my god man*; it's not a life or death decision, merely a casual inquiry on an internet forum.

*or woman, lgbtxyz, it don't matter to me.
Nice. Keeping it goofy
I guess you didnít want to heed all of the advice you got when you asked the same original question two years ago on this forum btw.
I understand that though as maybe all of the recent advances in DT shifting could have presented you with a new solution to your Berthoud bag issue.

Last edited by downhillmaster; 03-05-21 at 04:26 AM.
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