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The Thirst For Knowledge,Bar End Shifters

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The Thirst For Knowledge,Bar End Shifters

Old 09-03-19, 10:20 PM
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garryg
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The Thirst For Knowledge,Bar End Shifters

I have only been wrenching on old steel for a short time and have a lot to learn.
I like the bar end shifters on my Surly LHT and would like to put some on one or two of my vintage steel bikes.
I see a lot of love for old Suntour barcons and i see that new bar end shifters are available from different makers.
Any recommendations on good shifters? What tidbits of knowledge do you have for a newbie on this subject? THanks in advance.
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Old 09-03-19, 10:47 PM
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The "vintage" SunTour units are very common and the class of the field for many reasons. Because they were so common and durable they're easy to find and affordable.

I've used Shimano indexing barcons on several bikes since they became available in the late '80's. They are also bombproof, but you need to match them to the number of cogs on the rear wheel. You need to remember to tighten the center screw very tightly to prevent the indexing unit from self-destructing.

Common to all bar-end shifters: the screw that clamps the shifter inside the bar operates backwards: righty-loosey, lefty-tighty. It's still a right-hand thread, you're just tightening it from the opposite end.

Shimano bar-con PDF:
https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/ev/EV-SL-BS77-1664.pdf

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Old 09-04-19, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by garryg View Post
I have only been wrenching on old steel for a short time and have a lot to learn.
I like the bar end shifters on my Surly LHT and would like to put some on one or two of my vintage steel bikes.
I see a lot of love for old Suntour barcons and i see that new bar end shifters are available from different makers.
Any recommendations on good shifters? What tidbits of knowledge do you have for a newbie on this subject? THanks in advance.
Get a set of Suntour's first, figure them out, not hard, work them into your routine, run with it. They have their quirks, nothing epic and you have to get the hang of cabling and wrapping to your taste, the downtube cable stop needs to be tight, just like shifters so they don't scrape the paint off.

What are the ones on the LHT? I assume they were on it when you got it so you will have a good comparison to others and also a good basic understanding already which is good.

Make it so.
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Old 09-04-19, 07:41 AM
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The old Suntour bar-end shifters really are great parts. Sometimes the axle lock nut (part #16 above) is missing as they can back out and fall off. Functionally, they are excellent.

I'd also point out the older Shimano "fingertip control" bar-end shifters. They are, in my opinion, also excellent. They have a return spring inside and have a pretty nice feel to them. They are also friction only. I wouldn't hesitate to use them.
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Old 09-04-19, 10:01 AM
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The early Campagnolo bar end shifters were friction only. I haven't tried them. Lots of better options available.

Shimano (Dura Ace?), contemporary with the vintage Suntour bar end shifters were springy. They do have a slightly greater travel range than the Suntour, but are too springy at the released cable, and not springy enough at the maximum cable pull. Nonetheless, a solid shifter for the typical 6/7 spd range.
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Old 09-04-19, 10:10 AM
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Another option is to take Shimano or Rivbike pods and add your down tube shifters..
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Old 09-04-19, 10:41 AM
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Being a downtube shifter hater, I love my bar cons, with preference to Suntour with the ratchet clicks. I find them more precise and just easier to use in friction mode than my Campy ones, that I have been riding since 1964. Over 50 + years of riding I've managed to avoid DT shifters, but I now have two in my collection, Simplex on a '78 Peugeot PR10, and old Campy DTs on a '61 Legnano that I just couldn't resist. I actually had a set of Suntour bar cons for the PR10, but before I could get them switched, a needy Raleigh Super Course showed up that got them. The cable routing makes for lively discussion, but as for me, rather than having them hanging out in the breeze, I like mine tucked up under the bar tape, exiting near the stem. I find that they shift great, and don't snag on everything that passes near them, and just look more tidy.

Suntours on a recent build '78 Raleigh. With aero brake levers and shifter cables, it gets crowded under the bar tape, but it works for me, and I like the clean look.


Campy bar ends on my '64 Legnano, 55 years of trouble free operation, just don't feel as nice as the Suntours.
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Old 09-04-19, 10:47 AM
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I like them too. The old friction Suntour barcons are really smooth and have a great feel. I like the 7speed Suntour or Shimano units but they are pricey. Even the barcons are $35 these days. I was just thinking the other day that Sunrace ought to make a new less pricey option.
Tape wrapping has a few issues. You can start at the bottom out with the tape starting just after the shifter cable but pulled tight. Some use double sided tape to ensure a permanent stick. Others do the usual overlap and use the barend like a plug. That can be tricky as the fit is usually pretty tight. I have used Suntour shifters with Shimano cassettes and vise versa. They work but I try to use like brands.
I've sold a few bikes with old barcons and wished I hadn't. They are not getting any easier to find.
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Old 09-04-19, 10:53 AM
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I just installed suntour barcons on an early 70s Fuji Finest that I rebuilt. The suntour racheting downtube shifters were some of my favorite downtube shifters and I almost used them for this build. I'm glad I did not. The suntour barcons rock.

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Old 09-04-19, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
Being a downtube shifter hater, I love my bar cons, with preference to Suntour with the ratchet clicks. I find them more precise and just easier to use in friction mode than my Campy ones, that I have been riding since 1964. Over 50 + years of riding I've managed to avoid DT shifters, but I now have two in my collection, Simplex on a '78 Peugeot PR10, and old Campy DTs on a '61 Legnano that I just couldn't resist. I actually had a set of Suntour bar cons for the PR10, but before I could get them switched, a needy Raleigh Super Course showed up that got them. The cable routing makes for lively discussion, but as for me, rather than having them hanging out in the breeze, I like mine tucked up under the bar tape, exiting near the stem. I find that they shift great, and don't snag on everything that passes near them, and just look more tidy.

Suntours on a recent build '78 Raleigh. With aero brake levers and shifter cables, it gets crowded under the bar tape, but it works for me, and I like the clean look.


Campy bar ends on my '64 Legnano, 55 years of trouble free operation, just don't feel as nice as the Suntours.
Very interesting. I've always had my cables come straight out with the least amount of bend but I really like the look of your setup. Thanks for letting me know there are no issues with shifting. That's my new look from now on.
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Old 09-04-19, 11:00 AM
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Suntours are great, modern frictions are made by diacomp and work well.
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Old 09-04-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Cycle Tourist View Post
Very interesting. I've always had my cables come straight out with the least amount of bend but I really like the look of your setup. Thanks for letting me know there are no issues with shifting. That's my new look from now on.
My '64 Legnano (had since new) had the cables routed under the tape and exiting near the stem, as did my brother's Raleigh Grand Prix. I didn't know there was any other way, till I saw a few on Bikeforums, which I'm fairly new to. The only issue, is that the cables can rub on the head tube paint, especially the stainless steel cable housing. You can use clear plastic stickers to protect the paint, or slip a piece of rubber or plastic tubing over the housing.


My brother's Raleigh, original cable routing.

Bits of rubber hose over cable housing to protect paint.

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Old 09-04-19, 02:36 PM
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Shift levers, like so much else in life, are a matter of personal preference. I tried the Sun Tour and didn't care for them. I used Campy friction barcons for many years until I finally went with indexed Shimano barcons. I don't think I would ever go back.
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Old 09-04-19, 02:58 PM
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I have run Campy, Simplex and Suntour and Suntour Accushift. The Accushift shifters, that I use on the Bianchi that I keep in Jamaica, are absolutely perfect for me. Notot once have I missed a shift. The shifters are so good, in my opinion, that I bought a second set to install on my Rocky Mountain drop bar mountain bike...


And, for what it is worth, a set of Campy barcons will be fitted to my old Rabineick 120d once the paint work is finished...
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Old 09-04-19, 03:19 PM
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Simplex made a retrofriction bar-end shifter, which, like the downtube retrofriction shifter, tends to be pricey. But if you can justify the cost, the buttery-smooth feel is to die for.

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Old 09-04-19, 03:51 PM
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I have both 8-speed (Ultegra iirc) and 9-Speed Dura Ace bar end shifters. Either can be used in friction mode as well as index mode. I think that Suntour bar end shifters are less expensive when they can be found.

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Old 09-04-19, 05:04 PM
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Just the kind of info i was looking for,thank you all.
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Old 09-04-19, 05:50 PM
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Itís a good idea to use a drop of Loctite on the Suntour locknuts.

Shimano made 6/7 speed indexed barcons, but they arenít as ubiquitous as the 8+ speed varieties. The default was 7 speeds, and to make them 6-speed, a small crescent shaped plastic do-dad had to be snapped into the cable slot to modify the cable pull.
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Old 09-04-19, 08:55 PM
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I know these are merely stem shifters, but the Suntour Power Shifters have very crisp ratcheting, while the Shimano Finger Tips have both a return spring and ratcheting.

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Old 09-04-19, 09:31 PM
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A quick question for those of you who have touted the cables fully along the underside if the handlebars (under the bar tape): did you need to use extra-long cables for the rear derailleur, or were you able to use standard kit length cables? Thanks!
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Old 09-04-19, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ddeand View Post
A quick question for those of you who have touted the cables fully along the underside if the handlebars (under the bar tape): did you need to use extra-long cables for the rear derailleur, or were you able to use standard kit length cables? Thanks!
Yes. Use a tandem shifter cable.
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Old 09-04-19, 09:52 PM
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I am one that prefers the Shimano Fingertip L600s over the ratcheting Suntours. If you need the feedback, get the Suntours. No feedback with the L600s. You think it, you move it, that's it. Repeat as necessary. They are that smooth.
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Old 09-04-19, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Yes. Use a tandem shifter cable.
Thanks, I appreciate the response.
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