Old 06-22-22, 09:12 AM
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Location: Mission Viejo
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Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

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There are a lot of things that seem to happen when gear indicators are brought up.

First off, those who rode miles and miles with down tube shifters, or bar cons, or thumbies, subconsciously glanced at the levers "every now and then" to see what gear they were riding in. There was no dishonor in easily gaining that knowledge back then. That said, for most riding it didn't matter.

But going from an era when there were no computers to tell you how fast you are going, it is humorous to hear comments about how much "feel can tell the rider everything". This is especially true today when some cyclists can't roll down their driveways without a giant screen telling them every stinking bit of data going on for each pedal stroke. So much for, "I feel I put out 230.659 watts on that last climb."

That said, it is a good thing that a rider has some sort of clue when riding along, (although at my age remembering my name without looking at my driver's license can sometimes be a success), and relying on gear indicators alone is probably not a good thing. It is always best to have enough feel to be able to survive a basic ride when there are more important things happening in traffic.

Then there are the shifters themselves. Most STI/trigger shifters need an additional mechanical gear indicator to show the gear. Grip shifters don't require that. There is actually no reason not to have some marking on a grip shifter. But at the risk of being called out, it is most likely that SRAM believes that real cyclists don't need them and they want to differentiate their high end products from those SRAM grip shift type products sold on low end bikes.

That is most likely why SRAM leaves off a seemingly innocuous feature that few cyclists will use. It is almost SRAM's way of saying, "We know you are going to take abuse by just using these, so we are going to try to make them look more "pro" and keep them blank.

Which is where these threads end up. A basic "if-then statement". If real cyclists don't need gear indicators, then needed them means you are not a real cyclist."

It is funny coming from an era of friction shifting and driving a car with an automatic transmission was sometimes a mark against one's manhood. It is just a bit of an odd cultural transformation.


Last edited by 70sSanO; 06-22-22 at 09:15 AM.
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