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(indexed) Downtube shifters should make comeback

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(indexed) Downtube shifters should make comeback

Old 11-14-18, 11:00 AM
  #151  
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I'm willing to bet that 90% of the naysayers to DT shifting have not ever ridden a DT-shifted bike having both a Shimano Uniglide freewheel (or cassette) and a "UG Narrow" (or succeeding HG50/70/90) chain. While there are other DT-shift options that work extremely well, there are/were many bikes from the old days which didn't have the right combination of pieces to make DT shifting such an effortless task as it can be.

Properly set up, a DT friction-shifted bike doesn't need fine-tuning to work well on the road, since the rider almost effortlessly selects gear position by feel and by sound.
This is helped by the tactile feedback of a quickly-engaging chain/sprocket combo which affords larger "windows" of lever movement (within which solid and quiet transmission occur), and by the very short length of control cable that suffers from almost no elastic "error" between shifter and derailer.

The riders who use DT shifters understand. Those who don't may only consider the added effort of having to drop to the saddle to make a shift or to have to delay a shift during hard braking, or over rough ground.

I'll concede that there are some bikes that seem to have too close of a proximity between their DT mounting bosses and any glove/finger-grabbing gap between the fork crown and the front tire, so if one notices any tendency toward having a finger sucked in during careless shifting they should address that issue immediately by adding some sort of shield or a fender. I once witnessed a rider go over the bars and left with a bent frame and fork from such an incident, and myself owned a steel Specialized Allez with such a tendency to grab a finger while shifting.

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Old 11-14-18, 11:06 AM
  #152  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Oh Lord. Just when you think you've heard it all. Did you lose the skill to pull out a water bottle?
No, and I'm pretty adept at spraying heckling jerks with them, too.
Haven't used a DT in 25+ years, I still drink water.
Not sure why you feel a need to exhibit your lack of reading comprehension so boldly.
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Old 11-14-18, 11:11 AM
  #153  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I'm willing to bet that 90% of the naysayers to DT shifting have not ever ridden a DT-shifted bike having both a Shimano Uniglide freewheel (or cassette) and a "UG Narrow" (or succeeding HG50/70/90) chain. While there are other DT-shift options that work extremely well, there are/were many bikes from the old days which didn't have the right combination of pieces to make DT shifting such an effortless task as it can be.

This is where you lose me--effortless compared to what? My handlebar mounted shifters aren't exactly working me to death.
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Old 11-14-18, 11:44 AM
  #154  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I'm willing to bet that 90% of the naysayers to DT shifting have not ever ridden a DT-shifted bike having both a Shimano Uniglide freewheel (or cassette) and a "UG Narrow" (or succeeding HG50/70/90) chain. While there are other DT-shift options that work extremely well, there are/were many bikes from the old days which didn't have the right combination of pieces to make DT shifting such an effortless task as it can be.

Properly set up, a DT friction-shifted bike doesn't need fine-tuning to work well on the road, since the rider almost effortlessly selects gear position by feel and by sound.
This is helped by the tactile feedback of a quickly-engaging chain/sprocket combo which affords larger "windows" of lever movement (within which solid and quiet transmission occur), and by the very short length of control cable that suffers from almost no elastic "error" between shifter and derailer.
My Univega is a DT 600 Tri-Color with a 7 speed HyperGlide cassette. All the benefits also exist on my Mazama and Trek 520 with bar-ends and 9/10speed Deore setups.

Again, the positives fall into the type of shifter, not where it is located. And I still say the "crispness/effortlessness" that supposedly exists from not using housing is unnoticeable.
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Old 11-14-18, 11:58 AM
  #155  
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I'm willing to bet that 90% of the naysayers to DT shifting have not ever ridden a DT-shifted bike having both a Shimano Uniglide freewheel (or cassette) and a "UG Narrow" (or succeeding HG50/70/90) chain. While there are other DT-shift options that work extremely well, there are/were many bikes from the old days which didn't have the right combination of pieces to make DT shifting such an effortless task as it can be.
My '76 Raleigh started out with Campy DT shifters. Rode it that way for a season and completely hated it. The issue with shifting wasn't the quality of the shift. It was that I had to reach down so far while being precise, with only one hand on the bar as my weight was shifting balance. It sucked a** as a way to shift. I got rid of the obsolete system, got some nice Suntour barcons, and haven't looked back. Seriously, there is no reason on earth to keep DT's unless you have a vintage fetish or you don't change gears.
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Old 11-14-18, 01:08 PM
  #156  
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Originally Posted by bcpriess View Post
Seriously, there is no reason on earth to keep DT's unless you have a vintage fetish
That is true and that is why one of my bike has DT shifters.
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Old 11-14-18, 02:45 PM
  #157  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I'm willing to bet that 90% of the naysayers to DT shifting have not ever ridden a DT-shifted bike having both a Shimano Uniglide freewheel (or cassette) and a "UG Narrow" (or succeeding HG50/70/90) chain. While there are other DT-shift options that work extremely well, there are/were many bikes from the old days which didn't have the right combination of pieces to make DT shifting such an effortless task as it can be.
Agreed- not all DT setups were made equally. Thats true for friction and indexed systems.

Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Properly set up, a DT friction-shifted bike doesn't need fine-tuning to work well on the road, since the rider almost effortlessly selects gear position by feel and by sound.
A properly set up STI bike also doesnt need fine tuning to work well on the road. Thats the whole point of something properly set up- it doesnt need further setting up(tuning).
Same applies to a bar end shifting bike or a bike with Gevenalle shifters.
An rider can effortlessly select gear position by feel and sound on an STI shifting bike, bar end shifting bike, Gevenalle shifting bike, trigger shifting bike, or even a grip ****ing bike. The ability to select gear position by feel and sound is hardly unique to down tube shifting.

Originally Posted by dddd View Post
This is helped by the tactile feedback of a quickly-engaging chain/sprocket combo which affords larger "windows" of lever movement (within which solid and quiet transmission occur), and by the very short length of control cable that suffers from almost no elastic "error" between shifter and derailer.
I genuinely dont even know what this means. Tactile feedback of a quickly engaging chain and sprocket combo? What? With STI, I move a paddle and the shift is solid and quiet. On a bar end bike, I move a lever and the shift is solid and quiet. With Gevenalle, I move a lever and the shift is solid and quiet. Etc etc etc. Again- this isnt unique to DT shifting.
As for the short length of cable keeping elastic error from happening on DT shifting...I am not sure how that is perceived as something unique to downtube shifting. Once again, STI shifting, bar end shifting, Gevenalle shifting, trigger shifting, and even grip shifting are all quick and accurate with no elastic error. Properly set up drivetrains perform...properly.

Originally Posted by dddd View Post
The riders who use DT shifters understand. Those who don't may only consider the added effort of having to drop to the saddle to make a shift or to have to delay a shift during hard braking, or over rough ground.
I have refurbished dozens of bikes with them and I have owned close to a dozen bikes with them(and used them for varying lengths of time of months to years), but I dont use them now so I guess I just dont understand. Nevermind that I dont use them now for a reason- I like other options more as they offer the benefits of DT shifting, none of the inconveniences of DT shifting, and offer what I view as additional benefits over DT shifting. Nah- I just dont understand.



You certainly waxed poetically and made DT shifting into a sort of art that only the enlightened among us understand. Its hardly as unique as you claim. Properly set up drivetrains all shift quickly and quietly, regardless of the type of shifter. There is no elastic error in a properly set up drivetrain, regardless of the type of shifter.
Please note that nothing in this post is disparaging DT shifting. I certainly couldnt care less if people use it and I absolutely love how many options there are in cycling as it allows all of us to have the setup we like and DT shifting is obviously part of that. I simply disagree what the seemingly oft-repeated unique benefits of DT shifting that simply arent realized in practice.


Its the same with steel frames. I love steel frames- all of my road bikes and my gravel bike are steel frames of varying brands, various quality tubing, and varied build years over the last 30+ years. With that said, when I read people wax poetically about the inherent quality of steel and the magical properties, I question it right away. There is WAY more than just frame material going into if a bike is fun/comfortable/quick/emotionally moving. Tire quality, tire width, wheel build style, and geometry all play HUGE roles and just as much as, or more, than frame material. But that doesnt stop some from claiming steel is a magical material that is inherently better than other materials.
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Old 11-14-18, 03:02 PM
  #158  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
But that doesnt stop some from claiming steel is a magical material that is inherently better than other materials.
Well, it's definitely better for hanging refrigerator magnets and attracting lightning.

Agree with every word of your post, BTW.

And I love my steel and aluminum bikes.

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Old 11-14-18, 03:16 PM
  #159  
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I can see why some would prefer not to have them, but never in my life until this thread have I heard of so many people talking about how inconvenient they are, dangerous, they have to actually move their body around to move their hand down one foot, they lost the skill, it takes too long, ect. I assumed that to everyone except newbs it was an effortless action that takes no skill and you don't even think about. Sweep your hand down, flip the lever, boom. Done. On a skill level of 1-10 I considered it a 0. It's like scratching an itch to me. Maybe it's really a 9 or something. This thread has been educational.
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Old 11-14-18, 03:29 PM
  #160  
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In my mind, bar end shifters were a huge improvement over DT shifters, and brifters are a leap forward from there. I would no sooner go back to DT shifters than I would go back to 5-speed freewheels.
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Old 11-14-18, 04:07 PM
  #161  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I think DT shifters could make a big comeback except with two groups of cyclists:

1- Cyclists who started riding in the past ~20 years, because they have never used them.

2- Cyclists who started riding over ~20 years ago, because they have used them.


I have to agree, for those youngsters that haven't seen or used DT shifters, they could be intimidating. Although, it may depend on whether their father still uses DT shfiters.

For the older generation, they still work fine. Although, the ones who have tried brifters and like them may not choose to go back.

I'm going to try to get my nephew using some vintage Suntour retrofriction bar end shifters. I think they're a great compromise.
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Old 11-14-18, 04:22 PM
  #162  
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I have used both,DT for 42 years and brifters for the past 3 years. Of your plusses for DT shifters, I will agree with the following:

  • Can shift as many gears as you want, go from first to last in one throw (very useful when at top of the hill or merging from uphill road to the main road) To me, this is the biggest plus and very helpful when the climb gets real steep real fast (like when you were not focusing), and as you said with descents.
  • Can shift front and rear with one hand. (Might be true, but in 40+ years with DT shifters, I maybe did it once or twice on the road. On a bike stand during tuning, it is a big plus. Therefore, I will give it to you...)
  • Ability to indefinitely trim front, no problem if you trim too much, don't have to change gear and go back again (a BIG YES!, but if adjusted correctly, my Shimano brifter 10sp triple is dead on, no trim needed), and with rear if you overshoot you just click back (I find Shimano brifters do the same)
  • Change of cable takes one minute (big PLUS and would be my number 2)
  • Very simple mechanism and very cheap to fix or replace, don't have to tell how much sti cost to replace and they're almost impossible to fix. I fixed my front downtube shifter on the road once with help of a pebble because bit of it inside broke and wouldn't stay in position, now try that with sti. (So very true, and I will add that you are not limited to the design number of chainwheels/cogs like on brifters)
  • You always know what gear You're at just by touching the shifter (for me, this was true, but only because that bike (and some others) is (were) a vantage 5 (6/7) speed rear freewheel with larger angles.)
That said, I never raced, and I never did heavily loaded touring. The comments about shorter cabling was interesting because I always felt my DT shifters were a move and snick, it was in the right gear. It was very fast. However I have not felt disadvantaged since the STIs. With DT shifters, I find muscle memory is a big plus. I would like to try a DT setup on a modern 9/10/11 speed bike just to see if it is the same. I find the older brake levers more aesthetically pleasing, but find my new levers work just as well for braking and might even be easier to modulate, but they look huge (but are comfortable).

I just find the whole STI setup to be the primary advantage of my most recent bike, even though I am a traditionalist at heart. My current bike is steel, the saddle a Brooks, and the pump a full size, but STI gets my big vote. Maybe this will change if they ever break or malfunction. Finding the right lever for your group 5 years after purchase is a challenge unless you pay the big $$$ or take the eBay risks..

I am just glad there are alternatives available, but with oversize tubes to go to DT shifters, you need the lever bosses, so if I ever went non-STI, I would have to go with barcons..
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Old 11-14-18, 05:12 PM
  #163  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I think for recreational rider not interested in going fast, DT is a viable option.
I also think DT shifter ought to be much less money.
So, if I'm buying a $800 road bike with STi shifter or $700 for DT shifter. I would probably pick the DT bike and have an extra $100 in my pocket.

If we are not racing, why not reach down to shift? Seems like a fair compromise for low price.
simple convenience.

why bend down if you don't have to? Why take a hand off if you don't have to?

I would bet money that very few recreational cyclists would say they want $100 and downtube shifters instead of their current STI setup.
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Old 11-14-18, 05:41 PM
  #164  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
This is just like drivers who learned to drive with stick shift and then switch over to automatics will still prefer stick shift...and are lamenting that you can't find new cars anymore with manual shift.

Driver who never learn stick shift (or drove it only during drivers ed), will say how hard it is to drive in traffic with stick shift and will say automatic is so much better.

It boils down to: what you were first exposed to.
Nope. I say I prefer stick shift because when I am driving, I can stick it in one gear and know it is going to stay there, which comes into play the two or three times a year I want to race it. That, and I want one. Other than that one fact, today's autos (well, actually DCT, at least the ones that go in cars I'd actually drive) are better in pretty much every way. And even as a stick lover, I am not going to argue that because I know how to drive them in traffic, they are more convenient or that clutch wear isn't a real concern.
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Old 11-14-18, 07:36 PM
  #165  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
simple convenience.

why bend down if you don't have to? Why take a hand off if you don't have to?

I would bet money that very few recreational cyclists would say they want $100 and downtube shifters instead of their current STI setup.
If you're riding drops, then you're already bending over.

Decades ago, those "recreational riders" that didn't want to move the hands very far, and etc... went to stem shifters.

The modern equivalent:

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Old 11-14-18, 09:07 PM
  #166  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I'm willing to bet that 90% of the naysayers to DT shifting have not ever ridden a DT-shifted bike having both a Shimano Uniglide freewheel (or cassette) and a "UG Narrow" (or succeeding HG50/70/90) chain. While there are other DT-shift options that work extremely well, there are/were many bikes from the old days which didn't have the right combination of pieces to make DT shifting such an effortless task as it can be.

Properly set up, a DT friction-shifted bike doesn't need fine-tuning to work well on the road, since the rider almost effortlessly selects gear position by feel and by sound.
This is helped by the tactile feedback of a quickly-engaging chain/sprocket combo which affords larger "windows" of lever movement (within which solid and quiet transmission occur), and by the very short length of control cable that suffers from almost no elastic "error" between shifter and derailer.

The riders who use DT shifters understand. Those who don't may only consider the added effort of having to drop to the saddle to make a shift or to have to delay a shift during hard braking, or over rough ground.

I'll concede that there are some bikes that seem to have too close of a proximity between their DT mounting bosses and any glove/finger-grabbing gap between the fork crown and the front tire, so if one notices any tendency toward having a finger sucked in during careless shifting they should address that issue immediately by adding some sort of shield or a fender. I once witnessed a rider go over the bars and left with a bent frame and fork from such an incident, and myself owned a steel Specialized Allez with such a tendency to grab a finger while shifting.
I actually don't like the super fast shifting of Shimano. I have a Hyperglide FW on my Raleigh Competition/ If I do the big dump into a climbing gear (like I did regularly riding my Cyclone derailleured racing bike with its Sedis chain, I now often find the chain wandering between adjacent cogs. Always solidly in a gear or jumping cleanly ot the other; no problem, but usually picking the cog I don't want! If I did that same dump to a "between" place on the Cyclone/Sedis setup, it might shift once to the better line, but that was it, They never shifted back. Same is true for my Campy 9-speed and all the SunRace FWs I've used.

Since my digital shifting has an incorporated feedback loop, getting quick, positive shifts is easy for me. I don't need the additional assist from all manner of ramps and cutouts that apparently the indexed systems need. (Digital shifting - shifting actuated with digits, ie fingers, especially that "index" one.)

I had to consider the close frame on the Fuji Professional I raced. That front tire (never bigger than a training cotton sewup) was very close to the downtube. Touched the tire a few times. Good thing is I rode that bike a lot the two years I raced it. Its quirks were wired into my existence. (That, no distance at all between the rear tire and seat tube, very quick steering and a BB so high I had to consider how far down the ground was when I stopped. DT shifters that make such frames a little "safer" are the SunTour shifters of the early '80s that sat in a box on top of the downtube. Those shifters also have the advantage that you knee will not hit the shifter when you climb out of the saddle, something I did often on my racing bike. (The dump onto the 13 tooth cog wasn't fun when I was muscling up an 18% grade on a 42 tooth chainring!)

Ben
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Old 11-14-18, 09:56 PM
  #167  
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bar end shifters were a huge improvement over DT shifters, and brifters are a leap forward from there
STI's and barcons are a wash for me, with the barcons having a slight edge for a few reasons:

1) How they are a wash: Both give you pretty good ergonomics depending on your riding position. Shifting and braking at the same time is a little awkward on the same hand. I find myself doing a lot of braking with my left hand while downshifting with my right hand...so this feature is a little of a non-issue.
2) How STI's win: clicking can be nice if you feel lazy about shifting
3) How STI's win bonus: Brakes and shifts on the hoods, which is good if you spend a lot of time on the hoods.
3) How barcons win: Since I like staying in the drops, I feel like I have better shifting ergonomics on barcons than on STIs when I'm in the drops - partially I think because I move my hands around a little more which I think relieves my wrist. Both work in this position, just feel better about the barcons...
4) How barcons win bonus: Dumping the entire cassette, and trimming the chainrings.
4b) How barcons win: Never out of adjustment.
5) How DT wins: lighter, I guess, and cheaper I guess. Worse in every other conceivable way.
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Old 11-14-18, 10:17 PM
  #168  
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To the original post

NO!, Just NO!

I started racing in 1972, I was still racing in 1997 and still ride. I went one step at a time from down tube friction shifters to STI one step at a time and I am quite happy with the STI and Campy Ergo type shifters that I paid good money to get.

I have one nice old retro bike. It has Campagnolo 6 speed friction shifters only because the bike is a restoration..
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Old 11-14-18, 10:27 PM
  #169  
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I like to time trial and cruise fast, I am out on the aero-bars but I also like a group ride. The STI setup works for me. From the aero bars I can still run the shifters on either side only moving one hand.

I had bar ends back in the mid 70s, I had them on one bike, I went back to downtube shifters.

I was not real fond of aero bars but go to love them... I can't say the same about bar end or down tube shifters.
If I wanted misery I use an electric derailleur and be like a friend... out on a ride with a dead battery just to get added shifting positions...No, just no. I've seen a lot in 46 years in the saddle.
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Old 11-15-18, 08:39 AM
  #170  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I can see why some would prefer not to have them, but never in my life until this thread have I heard of so many people talking about how inconvenient they are, dangerous, they have to actually move their body around to move their hand down one foot, they lost the skill, it takes too long, ect. I assumed that to everyone except newbs it was an effortless action that takes no skill and you don't even think about. Sweep your hand down, flip the lever, boom. Done. On a skill level of 1-10 I considered it a 0. It's like scratching an itch to me. Maybe it's really a 9 or something. This thread has been educational.

I'm tired of the bickering, but I think we actually have a misunderstanding, and now I see what it is.

You take the timing of DT shifts for granted because that is ingrained in you from constant use. The skill I'm referring to is not reaching down, it's knowing how to time the shifts so that I'm not in a situation where I am, for example, wanting a shift when I'm standing on the pedals. I used to be quite good at that, I could anticipate the need to shift well in advance of those situations, but now my "instinctive" timing is that I basically can shift whenever I want, so I don't need to anticipate. If I would switch to DT, I would need to relearn the timing again and have to fight decades of acquired other shifting habits. You never stopped using DT, so it remains second nature to you and you don't even notice that you've kept a skill that other people have not.

Reaching down under normal conditions is extremely easy but reaching down also means that there are situations where shifting is virtually impossible. You automatically employ strategies to adapt to that from practice. I'd have to "relearn" it, and don't see any good reason to do so. People who have never used DT shifting would have to learn it, and I don't think there are a lot of people willing to do so.
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Old 11-15-18, 09:46 AM
  #171  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
If you're riding drops, then you're already bending over.

Decades ago, those "recreational riders" that didn't want to move the hands very far, and etc... went to stem shifters.
And for all the hate they get, the stem shifters I've used provide all the same benefits of DT, just in a different location.

DT is really akin to the manual transmission argument: you can come up with all the explanations about how they aren't hard to use or a corner case where they may perform better, you can feel smug because you can do something that mere mortals can't, but at the end of the day there are no significant, 99% of the population benefits to them. You can argue that is you preference, that you want to ride with them, which is a perfectly legitimate argument, but the modern tech has simply surpassed them for most situations.

Sometimes, when the overwhelming majority of people use something, it isn't some marketing scam, it is merely because it works better for most people.
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Old 11-15-18, 10:05 AM
  #172  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post

Sometimes, when the overwhelming majority of people use something, it isn't some marketing scam, it is merely because it works better for most people.

This.

I've yet to see a single person IRL who actually wants to go back to DT shifters on newer bikes. Everyone I know that owns a bike with DT shifters either just likes the aesthetic or picked up an older bike as a beater/commuter.
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Old 11-15-18, 10:32 AM
  #173  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
And for all the hate they get, the stem shifters I've used provide all the same benefits of DT, just in a different location.

DT is really akin to the manual transmission argument: you can come up with all the explanations about how they aren't hard to use or a corner case where they may perform better, you can feel smug because you can do something that mere mortals can't, but at the end of the day there are no significant, 99% of the population benefits to them. You can argue that is you preference, that you want to ride with them, which is a perfectly legitimate argument, but the modern tech has simply surpassed them for most situations.

Sometimes, when the overwhelming majority of people use something, it isn't some marketing scam, it is merely because it works better for most people.
That's why you don't see a call for the return of thumb-shifters by the flatbar / MTB crowd. Trigger shifters just perform better under the vast majority of conditions, on the vast majority of bikes, for the vast majority of riders.

Indexed DT's on a close ratio 'corncob' are like stick-shifting a sporty roadster like a Miata, or a small-displacement moto. It's engaging and enhances the experience without being tiring.
Friction DT's, especially with a wide-range and/or 5-6-speed, are more akin to handling a sailboat. You have to read the conditions, choose your course of action (often 2 or 3 moves ahead of where you are) and execute. If you get it wrong, or wait too long and miss it, you can correct, but it'll cost you in terms of time and effort.
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Old 11-15-18, 12:00 PM
  #174  
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
That's why you don't see a call for the return of thumb-shifters by the flatbar / MTB crowd. Trigger shifters just perform better under the vast majority of conditions, on the vast majority of bikes, for the vast majority of riders.

Indexed DT's on a close ratio 'corncob' are like stick-shifting a sporty roadster like a Miata, or a small-displacement moto. It's engaging and enhances the experience without being tiring.
Friction DT's, especially with a wide-range and/or 5-6-speed, are more akin to handling a sailboat. You have to read the conditions, choose your course of action (often 2 or 3 moves ahead of where you are) and execute. If you get it wrong, or wait too long and miss it, you can correct, but it'll cost you in terms of time and effort.
I think that you may have hinted at the true difference between a rider/driver and an enthusiast.
Some of us enjoy the added dimension or challenge of friction shifting, AND are aware of key benefits that non-enthusiasts rarely even imagine.

When I first tried returning to friction shifting after having built and ridden my first couple of bikes having integrated shifters, my first reaction actually was that "one can never go back" to adjusting to the added dimension of skill needed to engage in one's most spirited riding efforts.
But I kept at it in the interest of correctly restoring a few bikes and discovered that I had been very wrong about that!

These days I alternate between bikes having every common type of shifting system, and have no difficulty at all adjusting to and enjoying the ride that goes with any of them.
But as I mentioned, each has it's own best combination of chain and cogs that exploit the benefits of the particular system.
And even the friction-shifted stem shifters are great to have along on a spirited training ride once the rider has acclimated to the use of them in widely-varying conditions.
The rider after all is extremely adaptable if not limited by pre-conceived opinion or by closed-mindedness.

Several years ago I purchased an old 10-speed bike for which I had a very good old replacement wheelset at the ready. The frame and the good wheels were both spaced 120mm and the old Phil hubs were not spaced for even the added width of an Ultra-6 freewheel, so I gambled on another strategy that might permit spirited riding in hilly terrain at the challenging pace of my familiar riding companions.
The chainrings on this late-60's bike happened to be the familiar 52-36t which was very common in those days, so I built up a custom 5sp Uniglide freewheel having ratios just tight enough to work well with the DT friction levers (13-15-17-20-24t).
So I then had the range I needed and only had to learn to do a one-handed double-shift whenever I used the front derailer in more-spirited riding conditions.
It didn't take long to validate my presumption, and the old Simplex derailers worked snappily enough (after some cage-pivot spring tension adjustment) to support my efforts.
It did require that I know how adjust the derailer's chain gap, and did require that good-performing chain and freewheel cogs were used, as well as the usual attention to shifter lubrication and good cabling. But the rider-adaptation was learned within a few rides, and the bike worked well over a subsequent 3,000 miles. I still have the bike, and ride it occasionally, with no problem in re-adapting to it's operating parameters (which, as an enthusiast, I find to be an entertaining challenge).







Yes, I did say spirited riding.
Non-enthusiasts need not apply!
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Old 11-15-18, 12:08 PM
  #175  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
And for all the hate they get, the stem shifters I've used provide all the same benefits of DT, just in a different location.

DT is really akin to the manual transmission argument: you can come up with all the explanations about how they aren't hard to use or a corner case where they may perform better, you can feel smug because you can do something that mere mortals can't, but at the end of the day there are no significant, 99% of the population benefits to them. You can argue that is you preference, that you want to ride with them, which is a perfectly legitimate argument, but the modern tech has simply surpassed them for most situations.

Sometimes, when the overwhelming majority of people use something, it isn't some marketing scam, it is merely because it works better for most people.
I have to wonder if the bike shifter / car shifter argument is a rather good argument.

With vintage cars, a good 4 or 5 speed manual transmission was BETTER than a 2 or 3 speed automatic transmission. Although, if you go far enough back, double clutching was a pain.

However, those days may well be over. The Toyota Prius version of the CVT is very nice. And, getting to 5 or 6 or more speed Auto transmissions means less of a penalty for driving the auto. In fact, the new auto transmissions may beat the manual transmissions in almost all tests, except for closed circuit racing, and even with that, they may have benefits.

The same thing may be true with bicycles.

One can argue costs/benefits of DT shifters vs stem shifters vs bar end shifters vs command shifters.

Even some of the early brifters were a bit clunky.

But, the latest generation of brifters are VERY NICE.

Non-Brifters are still good for certain applications. For example, I do like friction shifting. And the new hyperglide which the brifters more or less required works very well with friction. However, I think we're to a point where there is just not a lot of benefit of DT shifters over the brifters. And, even less so if one tosses in Di2/EPS.
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