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Downtube Shifters

Old 01-14-21, 03:02 PM
  #26  
friday1970
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Originally Posted by bikeaddiction1 View Post
It is just as hard on your drive train when shifting under load with modern indexed shifters. The derailleur doesn't know what type of shifter you are using. You just don't feel it in your fingers as as much as you shift with modern indexed shifters.
I should have been more specific. It more about losing energy up a hill than anything drivetrain related. It makes more time to shift a gear while pedaling up a hill with DT shifters, at least for me it does.
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Old 01-14-21, 03:58 PM
  #27  
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I've had bikes with DT shifters. No sweat once you get used to them. But with the popularity of sti on bikes today, including all mine, it gets confusing at times when I ride different bikes. I have a tandem with bar end shifters and find myself at times tapping the brake lever wanting to shift gears!
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Old 01-14-21, 05:41 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by carloscedeno View Post
Are downtube shifters hard to use, just bought a bike that has them.
DT shifting isn’t hard and works perfectly fine. Once you upgrade to “brifters”, though, you’ll likely never go back. Why on earth would you?
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Old 01-14-21, 07:14 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
DT shifting isn’t hard and works perfectly fine. Once you upgrade to “brifters”, though, you’ll likely never go back. Why on earth would you?
Expensive and unnecessarily complex.
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Old 01-14-21, 07:44 PM
  #30  
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If you have friction, there are little tricks that make downtube shifting glorious. As someone mentioned previously, shifting front and rear simultaneously using pressure on the downtube and multiple fingers. This is more advanced. But, more important is the over shift and then fine-tuning the alignment. Shifting slightly beyond the gear you want and listening, then adjusting until you hear that the chain is correctly placed. once you get used to the sound, your shifting becomes much faster. Cross chaining becomes a little more doable, not that I recommend it, because you can micro-manage your derailleurs.

Enjoy it.
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Old 01-14-21, 09:35 PM
  #31  
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Downtube shifters - solid goldie on your oldie.

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Old 01-14-21, 10:28 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Downtube shifters - solid goldie on your oldie.
What bike is that? I have a 1977 Peugeot PY-10 with gold anodized Simplex drive train and Mavic brakes. I have not seen another bike with gold components.
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Old 01-14-21, 10:31 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by friday1970 View Post
Not hard at all. It's also nice to line up the RD perfectly with older DT shifters. You cannot fine tune a shift up/down with STI's like you can with DTs.
The only bad part is making sure you shift to the gear you need before a hill. Shifting gears with DTs on an uphill climb isn't the best.
Funny story - day two, my first Cycle Oregon. Was riding along a river bordering bike path with a young woman I'd towed into the wind for miles earlier. Suddenly my seatpost clamp broke and the seat fell off. I stopped. She stopped. Well, 3 miles to camp. Guess it is out of the saddle time. Padded the clamp to protect my shorts and got started. My companion quickly realized it was her turn to lead - to be my eyes and call out other rider and traffic (since I couldn't look over my shoulder at slow bike path speeds). Thank you! But! She didn't tell me that when we pulled off the path that it was a steep climb up 100' or more to the top of the bluff. Now I had nudged my gear up several times as bigger was easier to ride straight with. I was in 42-14. And going uphill. (The out of the saddle shift - 1) coast. 2) lean the bike against my left leg. 3) reach down with my right hand and shift. 4) return my hand to the handlebars and pedal.)

That hill was hard! (Too much pride to stop but I was far ahead of my companion and see her again for several days. First names only and 2000 riders.)
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Old 01-14-21, 10:33 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Expensive and unnecessarily complex.
🙄 by that logic, why have multiple gears at all? Didn’t we get along just fine on single-speeds for ages?
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Old 01-14-21, 11:06 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Expensive and unnecessarily complex.
Not to mention, completely unnecessary and super fugly.
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Old 01-14-21, 11:08 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Expensive and unnecessarily complex.
My namesake Mooney started as a 3 X 5, went to 3 X 7 with SunTour Command index, then triple chainline 3-speed fix gear. 46-42-38 X 12 on one side of the hub and 17-21 on the other. (It returned to the triple with DT shifters briefly as I tried grave, then back to fixed.

Rode it 50 miles today on the 42-17. Fix gear is where the Mooney shines. Took me almost 40 years to find it.
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Old 01-14-21, 11:47 PM
  #37  
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Thank you everyone! I still don't have the bike yet but I am excited to try it out.
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Old 01-15-21, 07:30 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by bikeaddiction1 View Post
What bike is that? I have a 1977 Peugeot PY-10 with gold anodized Simplex drive train and Mavic brakes. I have not seen another bike with gold components.
Galli bits on an 1980 Romic.


Or in silver


On a Hugo Rickert project

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Old 01-15-21, 08:29 AM
  #39  
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One of my three bikes is a 1984 Nishiki International Ole with downtube shifters. I've had hand issues since my mid 40s (I'm 59) and having to remove my hands from the bars to shift helps prevent cramps from holding them in the same position too long, as on my other brifter bike.

My third bike was a straight bar MTB with integrated shifters and brakes, again keeping my hands in the same position for everything. Last year I convered it to drop bars with bar-end shifters, again, necessitating hand movement to shift.

What surprises me the most is how easily my brain adjusts to which bike I'm on...especially now that all three bikes have essentially the same riding position. When I first got my brifter bike 6 years ago I kept reaching for the downtube shifters. And then on my old bike I'd try to rotate the brake levers to shift.

But for the last three years my brain seems to have it figured out.

For even longer I have been using various software programs to do my job, and I use plenty of keyboard shortcuts. The programs prerform similar functions and like the bikes, every once in a while I use the wrong shortcut from a different program.

As others mention, the downtube shifters are a very simple mechanical levers and a joy to use. Mine are indexed on the rear, and friction on the front. I have the option of switching to friction for the rear derailer, but prefer indexed...same as on my other bike's bar-ends.

I say, relax...you can do this, and you'll enjoy it. If you needed an excuse to ride, getting used to a new-to-you-bike is a very good one.
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Old 01-15-21, 08:50 AM
  #40  
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Downtube shifters are cool from a C&V perspective; my first road bike in the early 90's had them, but I'm not sure why anyone would prefer this setup over modern drivetrains. They are definitely NOT the equivalent of comparing auto/manual transmissions in cars. It's more like comparing power windows to manual cranks. They both do the same thing, one just requires slightly more effort.

It's also worth noting that bikes with DT shifters likely have far fewer gears than a modern 2x11 (or 12). So... you'll be doing less shifting in general which makes for a different riding experience. I used to vary my cadence a lot more than I do now.
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Old 01-15-21, 09:50 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Downtube shifters are cool from a C&V perspective; my first road bike in the early 90's had them, but I'm not sure why anyone would prefer this setup over modern drivetrains. They are definitely NOT the equivalent of comparing auto/manual transmissions in cars. It's more like comparing power windows to manual cranks. They both do the same thing, one just requires slightly more effort.

It's also worth noting that bikes with DT shifters likely have far fewer gears than a modern 2x11 (or 12). So... you'll be doing less shifting in general which makes for a different riding experience. I used to vary my cadence a lot more than I do now.
trying to think of a suitable automotive analogy - best I can come up with is a modern manual transmission vs an old non-synchro tranny - sure, the old box takes a lot more finesse, and I imagine the aficionado takes great pleasure in nailing a smooth shift in their vintage car, but no-one in their right mind would choose a non-synchro transmission except for the nostalgia trip.

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Old 01-15-21, 10:10 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
trying to think of a suitable automotive analogy - best I can come up with is a modern manual transmission vs an old non-synchro tranny - sure, the old box takes a lot more finesse, and I imagine the aficionado takes great pleasure in nailing a smooth shift in their vintage car, but no-one in their right mind would choose a non-synchro transmission except for the nostalgia trip.
Yes, this is a good analogy, but likely way too specific for most people.
There are definitely people out there on car forums right now complaining that syncros ruined the driving experience.
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Old 01-15-21, 10:16 AM
  #43  
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They are cool and more dangerous. Anytime you are shifting you will be leaning down with only one hand/arm controlling steering and braking. The risk may be minimal, especially with experience but it is still there.
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Old 01-15-21, 01:35 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
They are cool and more dangerous. Anytime you are shifting you will be leaning down with only one hand/arm controlling steering and braking. The risk may be minimal, especially with experience but it is still there.
Very true - look to make sure the pavement ahead is smooth before taking your hand off the bars to shift.
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Old 01-15-21, 04:53 PM
  #45  
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Practice makes perfect, I still have dt shifters on a tandem and two road bikes
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Old 01-15-21, 07:35 PM
  #46  
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The one thing I have grown accustom to is the glance down to see what gear I’m in. I don’t think I have gone on a ride “ever” without glancing at them.

I know people will say you don’t need to know or just look back at the cassette, which is a fun exercise in the middle of everything, but for me it is just instinctive to give a quick look at the DT shifters.

John
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Old 01-15-21, 07:58 PM
  #47  
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Also another thread with info here: https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...-downpost.html
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Old 01-15-21, 08:13 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by mgwilder View Post
If you have friction, there are little tricks that make downtube shifting glorious.
There's nothing wrong with down tube shifters, but there's also nothing that makes them glorious.
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Old 01-15-21, 08:17 PM
  #49  
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they have that retro tactile feel. I have not used one for years but they are not that bad for commutting. Obviously, STIs are far superior but if that´s all you have then they work fine.
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Old 01-15-21, 08:29 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Obeast View Post
they have that retro tactile feel. I have not used one for years but they are not that bad for commutting. Obviously, STIs are far superior but if that´s all you have then they work fine.
STIs are far superior? How so? STI levers do move everything to an integrated platform which is nice but they are quite a bit more complex and hard to service and the brake lever is now a shifter as well. If you had said Gevenalle levers I could agree as they combine the great shifting and simplicity of the downtube lever with some of the integration of the STI lever.

I am not against STI levers and am not knocking their usefulness but being "far superior" to a downtube lever I cannot get behind. Better integrated for sure but not "far superior".
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