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Early Brifter Bikes - 7,8, and 9 Speed Not vintage, not new, but still loved!

Naming and Scope?

Old 06-03-21, 11:12 AM
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Naming and Scope?

I'm copying this from a post I just made impulsively in Mechanics. I think it's better placed here. Hopefully the Mods (Siu and friends) will agree or resolve it some way that works.

I would suggest a title change to "Early Brifter and Egopower bikes - 7, 8, and 9 speed" to make it clear that Campagnolo is included in the discussion. Often the work "Brifter" is used to describe Shimano hand controls and not Campagnolo ones. The Campy ones are rather different and are not interchangeable with Shimanos, SRAMs, or Microshift for nearly all of their functions. Campagnolo named their controllers "Ergopower," and I think this distinction should be recognized, if the scope is intended to ctually include Campagnolo. If not, I would request a separate sub-forum intended for Campagnolo, or to implement a name change or scope clarification. As far as I can see the other three companies have not given their similarly-functioning products specific names beyond the group level labels (i.e. "Ultegra").

My text from the Bicycle Mechanics forum:

"Just to try to set some nomenclature straight, the Campagnolo combined shift and brake controllers are named "Ergopower," and until a day or two agoI only rarely saw them canned "brifters." I usually saw the Shimano, SRAM, and Microshift devices of a similar nature called "brifters." It really feels wrong to call the Campy versions brifters since there are really a lot ow ways they are not the same as the other brands. And Ergopowers are almost completely not interchangeable with Shimano and SRAM brifters.

I don't want to be the names-police, but I'm sure I'm gonna see people confusing them or lumping them all together, and making it harder than it currently is to know exactly what someone with a problem to be solved is talking about, so I/we can actually give some help.

Maybe this should be moved to the new forum? My current assumption is that it is not intended to discuss Campagnolo, at least if I interpret the name."
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Old 06-03-21, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Often the work "Brifter" is used to describe Shimano hand controls and not Campagnolo ones.
That isn't my experience. "Brifter" is a portmanteau of "brake" and "shifter", and its popularity - despite many people hating how it sounds - is specifically because it's brand-agnostic. The eponymous phrase which originated as Shimano branding, but occasionally gets applied to other brands, is "STI."

It really feels wrong to call the Campy versions brifters since there are really a lot ow ways they are not the same as the other brands

They're all different from each other. There are large differences in the internal mechanism and the ergonomics between SRAM's DoubleTap and Shimano's STI as well.

Last edited by HTupolev; 06-03-21 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 06-03-21, 12:06 PM
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First of all, brifter is a seriously bike nerd (and not in a cool way, ha), bordering on curmudgeon term. And I use curmudgeon in the most endearing way possible. Most people just call these "shifters" since downtube shifters or any vintage or lesser used options are called "downtube shifters", "stem shifters" or "thumbies/thumb shifters" as appropriate.

But, if you are going use the term (and it probably makes sense in the context of a forum name here since most users here know the term, though newbies might struggle with it), IMO it's generic like @HTupolev said above, not brand specific.
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Old 06-04-21, 05:44 AM
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So is this forum specific to groupsets from a 3-4 period in manufacturing history? 1998 seems so far to be the focal point.
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Old 06-04-21, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
So is this forum specific to groupsets from a 3-4 period in manufacturing history? 1998 seems so far to be the focal point.
Well, Mrs. Road Fan has a 1997 drop bar Terry that came with a Campy Mirage 3 x 8 with Ergopowers, all indexed, still works really well!

If you’re looking for a cutoff, it’s not 1998.
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Old 06-04-21, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
That isn't my experience. "Brifter" is a portmanteau of "brake" and "shifter", and its popularity - despite many people hating how it sounds - is specifically because it's brand-agnostic. The eponymous phrase which originated as Shimano branding, but occasionally gets applied to other brands, is "STI."


They're all different from each other. There are large differences in the internal mechanism and the ergonomics between SRAM's DoubleTap and Shimano's STI as well.
how about “Early Index Shifting Roadies - 7, 8, 9 speed?”
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Old 06-04-21, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
That isn't my experience. "Brifter" is a portmanteau of "brake" and "shifter", and its popularity - despite many people hating how it sounds - is specifically because it's brand-agnostic. The eponymous phrase which originated as Shimano branding, but occasionally gets applied to other brands, is "STI."


They're all different from each other. There are large differences in the internal mechanism and the ergonomics between SRAM's DoubleTap and Shimano's STI as well.
Sorry, can’t agree! IME “brifter” does not refer to Ergopowers. And if they’re all different, which I agree with, why not call them all by their names? And I don’t like the word, “brifter” sounds cheesy or cheap.
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Old 06-04-21, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
how about “Early Index Shifting Roadies - 7, 8, 9 speed?”
That's a totally different category. Indexed shifting predates brifters*, and although indexing is necessary for most forms of brifter, I'd argue that integration had a significantly larger impact on how bikes are ridden.

*By six years if you're talking SIS, about a decade and a half if you're talking about the late-20th-century Japanese derailleur indexing race in general, or considerably longer if you're talking about all forms of indexing in bicycle drivetrains.

Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
And if they’re all different, which I agree with, why not call them all by their names?
They share common characteristics that separate them from non-integrated road shifters in both placement and functional consequence (of particular note being the ability to easily shift while riding out of the saddle), and so it's often useful to have a non-brand-specific term to refer to them in general. Obviously you could also use a descriptive phrase like "integrated brake/shift lever", but these are a mouthful compared with the simple portmanteau "brifter."

IME “brifter” does not refer to Ergopowers.

Based on what? Can you point me to an example of a discussion where someone is using "brifter" in a manner that clearly excludes Ergo?

I feel like we're speaking different languages.
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Old 06-05-21, 02:51 AM
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Dura Ace 7400 STI came out in 1990 so the year range is pretty much the 1990's and early 2000's. A little too new for the vintage section and nobody in the road section would be interested. Should have called it the "grunge" era
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Old 06-05-21, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Dura Ace 7400 STI came out in 1990 so the year range is pretty much the 1990's and early 2000's. A little too new for the vintage section and nobody in the road section would be interested. Should have called it the "grunge" era
Genuine curiosity, but what happened in the early 2000s that marks the end of 'early brifters' ?
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Old 06-05-21, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Genuine curiosity, but what happened in the early 2000s that marks the end of 'early brifters' ?
That's when 10 speed came out. 7,8,9 speed is this section. Not quite vintage but not totally modern anymore. Some members here weren't even born when 10 speed came out.
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Old 06-05-21, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Genuine curiosity, but what happened in the early 2000s that marks the end of 'early brifters' ?
Humans always try to categorize things, events, eras, etc, because that's how our minds work. And then we like to think the divisions between the categories are logical, but mostly they're based more on emotion. I think it's easy to argue that the advent of brifters was a watershed, and recent enough that the bikes are merely OLD rather than Vintage, but drawing the other line when 10 speeds became available? Much murkier. There was no technological innovation that suddenly allowed Shimano and Campagnolo to suddenly put another cog on there. They just made them thinner with less space between them and added another click in the shift mechanism. Same with 11, 12, and now 13 speeds. Has there even been a similar watershed moment since brifters?

I find it interesting that when the Eroica rides started in 1997, they just went back 10 years to 1987 for the division. But then rather than sticking with "> 10 years old" as the definition, they stuck with "Older than 1987". So, every year, the bikes ridden there are another year older.
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Old 06-07-21, 06:48 PM
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Here's your milestone to mark the end of the early brifter era - ubiquitous carbon and no more steel.
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Old 06-09-21, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Humans always try to categorize things, events, eras, etc, because that's how our minds work. And then we like to think the divisions between the categories are logical, but mostly they're based more on emotion. I think it's easy to argue that the advent of brifters was a watershed, and recent enough that the bikes are merely OLD rather than Vintage, but drawing the other line when 10 speeds became available? Much murkier. There was no technological innovation that suddenly allowed Shimano and Campagnolo to suddenly put another cog on there. They just made them thinner with less space between them and added another click in the shift mechanism. Same with 11, 12, and now 13 speeds. Has there even been a similar watershed moment since brifters?

I find it interesting that when the Eroica rides started in 1997, they just went back 10 years to 1987 for the division. But then rather than sticking with "> 10 years old" as the definition, they stuck with "Older than 1987". So, every year, the bikes ridden there are another year older.

I'll go you one better on the "it's a weird line" thing--technically, a bike built yesterday with Sora or Claris would qualify as an early brifter bike.

Obviously, we need an arbitrary year cutoff, but I think it's safe to say that we're all talking about roughly the same era, barely into the 21st century at the latest.
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Old 06-09-21, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Here's your milestone to mark the end of the early brifter era - ubiquitous carbon and no more steel.

Where does aluminum fit into this?
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Old 06-09-21, 04:11 AM
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One day, they will simply known as "shifters" because no one will remember anything else before them.

Is it really important what they're called now? Even if it is, I don't like the chances of anyone's groundswell effort on the internet to create a universal term for them.
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Old 06-09-21, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
One day, they will simply known as "shifters" because no one will remember anything else before them.

Is it really important what they're called now? Even if it is, I don't like the chances of anyone's groundswell effort on the internet to create a universal term for them.
Brifters stuck because the portmanteau is a good 2 syllable description. It'll be around as long as there are still separate lever setups--like on flat bar bikes, and bar end shifters on touring bikes.

The problem for people who want to campaign against the term is they haven't come up with a useable alternative.
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Old 06-09-21, 06:47 AM
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Who do people who don’t like the term “brifter” want to call them “shifters” and not “brake levers”?
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Old 06-09-21, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Who do people who don’t like the term “brifter” want to call them “shifters” and not “brake levers”?
Because they can't justify three syllables when there's a perfectly cromulent two syllable portmanteau.
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Old 06-09-21, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Because they can't justify three syllables when there's a perfectly cromulent two syllable portmanteau.
But in this case, the “they” that I was was specifically asking about are the ones who REJECT the perfectly cromulent portmanteau in question.
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Old 06-09-21, 08:48 AM
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Why not just call them STIs if brifters is unfavorable? Easy enough to say and understand.
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Old 06-09-21, 11:05 AM
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Not to be too negative, but I'm trying to figure out why there is a subforum named after the shifting mechanism.

The issue I see is that there is a gap between the "revered" classic and vintage bikes and "dump that old piece of..." bike and get something new.

I agree that there should be a subforum for those "not-quite-classic-but-not-new" bikes. But calling it after a shifting mechanism is like having a "26er Suspension Fork" subforum.

And where do non-early brifter people go? Everyone knows that one day there will no longer be early brifter bikes as when the shifters wear out, few can be repaired and donors will be gone. Maybe an "Early and Microshift Brifter Bikes 7, 8 and 9 Speed, But You 2003 10 Speeders Can Go to..." subforum. I am being sarcastic about that title.

John

Edit Added: Why not call it "90's and Newer Bikes", or something like that.

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Old 06-09-21, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
But in this case, the “they” that I was was specifically asking about are the ones who REJECT the perfectly cromulent portmanteau in question.

I get that, but even the anti-cromulationists can't justify using a longer phrase that describes only one of the functions. And they can't call them levers because that could be the QRs.
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Old 06-09-21, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Not to be too negative, but I'm trying to figure out why there is a subforum named after the shifting mechanism.

The issue I see is that there is a gap between the "revered" classic and vintage bikes and "dump that old piece of..." bike and get something new.

I agree that there should be a subforum for those "not-quite-classic-but-not-new" bikes. But calling it after a shifting mechanism is like having a "26er Suspension Fork" subforum.

And where do non-early brifter people go? Everyone knows that one day there will no longer be early brifter bikes as when the shifters wear out, few can be repaired and donors will be gone. Maybe an "Early and Microshift Brifter Bikes 7, 8 and 9 Speed, But You 2003 10 Speeders Can Go to..." subforum. I am being sarcastic about that title.

John

Edit Added: Why not call it "90's and Newer Bikes", or something like that.
Have you considered starting a "replica old brifters" business?
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Old 06-09-21, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Why not just call them STIs if brifters is unfavorable? Easy enough to say and understand.
Cuz that's a Shimano trademark and there are non-Shimano brifters.
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