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Downtube Shifters

Old 01-18-21, 02:54 PM
  #76  
70sSanO
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Originally Posted by catlips View Post
My worst issue is from switching back and forth, I reach for the downtube shifters on my bar-end shifter bike sometimes.
LOL! A couple times I found myself reaching to the downtube on my mountain bike. Thankfully never when I really needed to make a quick shift.

John
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Old 01-18-21, 03:21 PM
  #77  
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Super easy shifting

Originally Posted by carloscedeno View Post
Are downtube shifters hard to use, just bought a bike that has them.
Well they have been around for years, They use to be friction , you had to feel you way into each gear, then came index shifting , just click and go. It's not hard !
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Old 01-18-21, 03:53 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Yes, they're beautiful on that bike. But, the original statement was that they shift gloriously, which is a tough sell.
I'd agree that those Campagnolo Record shift levers' performance doesn't deserve to be characterized as "glorious." But they are adequate to the job. There are better downtube shift levers more deserving to be called "glorious," e.g. Simplex. It wasn't unusual, BITD, for racers with otherwise fully Campagnolo equipped bikes to use Simplex levers on their bikes.
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Old 01-18-21, 04:00 PM
  #79  
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I have STI on one bike,can take it or leave it, bar-end shifters on two others, and am debating what to do with the 90s Cannondale R200 I'm building up. I'm going to start by putting the 7speed downtube levers back on it.

DT shifters are fine, barends are finer.

Riding on rollers has already been mentioned.
Be a little careful on the first dozen shifts to not get your fingers into the spokes. Not really a danger, but a little awareness is good until you get some muscle memory.
cheers -mathias
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Old 01-18-21, 04:12 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by carloscedeno View Post
Are downtube shifters hard to use, just bought a bike that has them.
Well....since you bought a bike that has them, try them out. Your opinion of if they are hard to use should be the only one that matters.
Years ago, I had them, and it never occured to me that they should be anywhere else: I was fine with them.
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Old 01-18-21, 04:35 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
I think you're overlooking the time it takes to move your hand from the bars to the shifters, and then the time it takes to move them back to the bars. That additional time is not insignificant, and it makes STI shifters faster essentially 100% of the time.
==well.. sure
the *shifts* might be faster but usually, that doesn;t make the *bike* any faster.

the OP is clearly not going to be racing anyway, he is just asking for disadvantages, i say there are not any.
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Old 01-18-21, 05:07 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by carloscedeno View Post
Are downtube shifters hard to use, just bought a bike that has them.
It might have been posted but search out Eddy Merckx shifting on some of his Campy equipped bikes. He was lightning fast and while you probably will not be able to duplicate him you can none the less do it pretty darn fast if you try.
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Old 01-18-21, 06:03 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by wle View Post
==well.. sure
the *shifts* might be faster but usually, that doesn;t make the *bike* any faster.
I don't think anyone stated that shifters make a bike faster or slower.
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Old 01-18-21, 06:33 PM
  #84  
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DT Shifters

Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
What are we talking about when we say "faster?" If a shift is anticipated, then the hand-movement time arguably doesn't have any tangible implications. And the vast majority of shifts are anticipated. I think that might be wle's point.

(Of course, the shifts that aren't anticipated can be very important!)
Growing up, in the sixties, I always wanted a bike with DT since that was a mark of a really quality bike. Once I got one I was not impressed, they looked cool but did not care for them. Would like to see the ages of those who praise DT, seems to not be mentioned. Now that I am 66, overweight, less flexible, and a week ago had prostate removal surgery, I will eternally pass on DT. Couple of my bikes have brifters, there are ok if working well, (but here we go), give me thumb or stem shifters.
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Old 01-18-21, 07:41 PM
  #85  
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Cassette Type Matters

This was mentioned already, but arm motions aside, the type of cassette/freewheel the bike is equipped with does matter quite a bit. A modern, Hyperglide-style gear cluster makes regular old friction shifting much faster and smoother. There seems to be a lot less 'hunting around' for the gear, compared to older style (Suntour, etc) freewheels. You typically don't have to 'overshift' as has been described.

Point being, if you're having trouble shifting on an old bike with friction DT shifters, a new cassette or freewheel along with a new chain should make things much easier (plus, it's just good regular maintenance on an old bike).
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Old 01-18-21, 07:45 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by carloscedeno View Post
Are downtube shifters hard to use, just bought a bike that has them.
For a sprint, stay in the big ring with the left shifter, and get ready to slam the right shifter forward in a sprint. Throw the bike forward just before the line.
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Old 01-19-21, 11:46 PM
  #87  
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Iíve never had trouble feeling the shift using downtube shifters. I agree there is a learning curve but it is not a hard one. Also, every bicycle Iíve ever seen with downtube shifters, the shifters were friction shifters.
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Old 01-24-21, 07:02 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Kitsap View Post
Iíve never had trouble feeling the shift using downtube shifters. I agree there is a learning curve but it is not a hard one. Also, every bicycle Iíve ever seen with downtube shifters, the shifters were friction shifters.
I have two Raleigh Grand Prix with down tube Index shifters. They ride nice, no issue with shifting.

My first 10 speed was a Schwinn Continental with stem shifter. Down tube shifter, especially quality one were a God send compared to the stem shifters. The quality of the derailleurs had a lot to do with that as well. A quality system works well.

If you learn one system, you will make it easy since you will not have to ďthinkĒ about what to do. Thinking is the hard part.

Last edited by Project24; 01-24-21 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 01-25-21, 03:12 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
They are cool and more dangerous.
That's why real badassess use them. My roadbike has DTs and I smoke a cigarette while I shift gears. I'm a rebel and all the girls wanna ride on my handlebars.
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Old 01-25-21, 07:50 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by Jax Rhapsody View Post
That's why real badassess use them. My roadbike has DTs and I smoke a cigarette while I shift gears. I'm a rebel and all the girls wanna ride on my handlebars.
You got that right!
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Old 01-26-21, 07:04 AM
  #91  
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What is meant by "Friction Shifter"? Thanks
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Old 01-26-21, 07:23 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by WaveyGravey View Post
What is meant by "Friction Shifter"? Thanks
Modern bicycles have what we call "indexed" shifting, meaning that each successful movement of the shift lever has a tactile and audible "click" into the next gear position. This click results from the mechanism moving to a pre-determined places in its rotation, each corresponding to just the right amount of cable length change to command the derailleur to move the chain to the next available cog or chainring. The position of the shifter is held by an internal ratchet-like mechanism.

Friction shifting predates the modern type of indexing. In friction shifting, the shift lever can make continuous smooth movements of any distance. This means that the derailleur can travel in continuous changes of position. The rider must determine when/how much movement is needed to give the positive shift and make the chain rest in line with the desired cog or chainring. Small adjustments are often necessary to "trim" out overshifts or undershifts that result in chain noise because the alignment isn't exactly centered on the cog. The position of the shifter is held by the friction between the shifter body and the tension screw and washers that mount the lever to its base.
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Old 01-26-21, 07:28 AM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by catlips View Post
My worst issue is from switching back and forth, I reach for the downtube shifters on my bar-end shifter bike sometimes.
Ain't that the truth. I haven't ridden a downtube shift bike in six years and still find myself reaching down there every so often.

DT shifters can be fun but I am Di2 or EPS these days, just have to remember to keep the battery charged.
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Old 01-27-21, 01:41 PM
  #94  
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I like 'em more when they are "indexed"
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Old 01-28-21, 01:03 AM
  #95  
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how much shifting do you do? flatlanders don't shift a lot, hilly criterium racers do, probably tough to compete with the index people,

i like DT shifters because you can shift with your feet while your arms are full of groceries, don't try that with index shifters,

not all DT shifters are created equal. just bought a bike that i use to own back in 85 because it rode so well, the frame just happened to fit, but the shifters felt different, knuckles were getting bruised, turned out to be the shifters, the ones on the right are heaven, the ones with holes suck.

shifters have different ratios depending on how big the cable wrapping wheel part is.
don't know the model, too many p/n's in the suntour catalog, maybe a component freak can tell me what model shifter is on the right.

notice how the ones on the right sit above the frame tube a bit, this makes life beautiful.

Last edited by cjenrick; 01-28-21 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 01-28-21, 11:24 AM
  #96  
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When I got my first derailleur bike (1964 Schwinn Varsity) in 1967, I didn't realize that the friction was adjustable. For every shift, I would reach down, loosen the friction screw, shift, and then tighten the screw. No idea how long each shift took. I'm sure it would have been painful to watch.
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Old 01-28-21, 06:00 PM
  #97  
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Reaching a downtube lever with your hand is no more difficult (or dangerous) than reaching down for a water bottle. You'll fumble around a few times, until your hand learns where the lever is, at which point you'll never fumble for a shift lever ever again. (Forgetting which bike you're on, and thus doing the wrong thing with your hand, yes. Fail to find the lever, no.)

Shifting with an indexed downtube lever is no different than with any other indexed shifter. You move the shifter until it clicks into position, and then let go of it, and the gear changes. Friction shifting is different, of course, but that would be equally true if friction brifters existed.

The only thing that everyone can do with a brifter that very few people can do with a downtube lever is a standing downshift under load... which nobody who pays for their own bike parts should ever do anyway.

You'll probably like 'em a little bit. Most people who try them do.

--Shannon
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Old 01-28-21, 06:34 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by engineerbob View Post
When I got my first derailleur bike (1964 Schwinn Varsity) in 1967, I didn't realize that the friction was adjustable. For every shift, I would reach down, loosen the friction screw, shift, and then tighten the screw. No idea how long each shift took. I'm sure it would have been painful to watch.
I hope you used a torque wrench.
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Old 01-28-21, 06:47 PM
  #99  
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My favorite DT shifters were SunTour PowerShifters. Ratcheting. Have never used indexed DT shifters. Or indexed shifters with drop bars, for that matter.
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Old 01-29-21, 07:27 AM
  #100  
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I have a bike with downtube friction shifters, a bike with downtube index shifters, a bike with bar-end shifters and a bike with Campagnolo Ergo 9-speed shifters. I don't have any problems using any of the different types. One thing though is that I shift much more often with the Ergos than with either of the downtube shifter types.

Cheers
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