Author Topic: Bar End shifters vs  (Read 4888 times)

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Offline zonesystempro

Bar End shifters vs
« on: July 14, 2012, 06:47:45 pm »
I'm about to have a custom touring bike made with bar end shifters. Another rider sent me an email saying I should reconsider as he thought they were a little twitchy to use. The alternate is of course going to something like shimano 105 shifters. Going this route would also drastically change the gearing available. Anyone with experience using both would be appreciated. I've primarily been riding mountain bikes so this is out of my knowledge base. Thanks for any replys!

Mike

Offline DaveB

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 07:13:34 pm »
I've used both barend shifters and STI/Ergo brifters and for convenience and accessability, brifters are by far my favorite type of shifter.  You can shift from the hoods or drops and while seated or standing.  It's easy and fast to find the right gear as the terrain changes, even if you aren't expecting what's around the next turn. 

Brifters don't limit your choice of gearing either since they work fine with MTB rear derailleurs and wide range cassettes and you can use road front derailleurs with many MTB triple cranks. So, for gearing choices it's about a toss up. 

However, brifters are significantlly more expensive and most are not repairable so if lower cost and nearly absolute reliability are considerations, barend shifters have the advantage.   Barends do require a bit more planning as shifting from the hoods or bar tops can't be done and shifting while standing is very awkward.

Convenience, ease and rapidity of shifting = brifters
Cost and durability = barends. 

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 07:31:32 pm »
Dave's is a good capsule summary. For 165 other posts full of touring experience with various shifters, search Gear Talk for shifter.

Fred

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 03:29:54 am »
Having used both, the biggest disadvantage to bar-end is the necessity to move your hand when shifting. Of course, this can be an advantage if you tend to leave your hands on the hoods too much.

Bar-ends have some non-obvious advantages. It's very easy to shift two gears at once. If you're very good, you can even shift 3 gears at once. Or you can "slew" the gears, keeping the shifter one click ahead of the chain position, moving from one end of the cassette to the other. I also found that the bar-end shifter has a more positive feel -- there's a more direct connection between the shifter and the derailer.

Mostly, it's not such a big deal. You get familiar with whatever you are using. Whatever you have, it becomes part of the ride.
 

Offline dkoloko

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 07:33:11 am »
I have bar end shifters on several bikes. I do not find them "twitchy". Very occasionally I alter the shifter position with my knee. I have removed brifters from my touring bike and the new touring bike I am modifying to replace it because of disadvantages discussed.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2012, 07:34:54 am »
Mostly, it's not such a big deal. You get familiar with whatever you are using. Whatever you have, it becomes part of the ride.

Old Guy sums it up pretty well.  I've got STI, Ergo, and bar ends.  I have more trouble when changing between STI and Ergo (usually one shift, after riding the other bike exclusively for a week or so), than going to/from bar ends.  I mostly ride on the hoods.  Moving down to the bar ends is a natural pendulum of my arm while changing hand positions (like I should periodically anyway).

Offline DaveB

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 09:50:33 am »
Bar-ends have some non-obvious advantages. It's very easy to shift two gears at once. If you're very good, you can even shift 3 gears at once.
Brifters allow multiple shifts too.  STI and Ergos allow up to 3 or 4 downshifts with one sweep of the lever and Ergos allow multiple upshifts too.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Bar End shifters vs STI
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 01:24:57 pm »
As already stated, you can use the exact same gearing with either bar-end shifters or STI.  Identical gearing.  Some people make the incorrect claim that STI does not work with very small inner chainrings.  But this is a problem with their setup, not the shifters.  Cost wise, bar-end are cheaper.  But not much.  $90-100 for 9 or 10 speed bar-end shifters.  $35 for a set of good brake levers.  You're at $130 for bar-end shifters.  Ribble Cycles in England has 105 STI for $187 and Ultegra STI for $284.  So just about a $60 price difference.  Not much really.  I suppose bar-end are sturdier and less likely to get broken.  But if you crash, there are no guarantees.  Anything can break or not break.  So durability is likely a function of chance.  I have seen more than a few STI with busted off covers and such.  So maybe durability favors bar-end.  STI are more complex and are more susceptible to wearing out and not working.  So longevity is probably with the bar-end shifters.  I have worn out a set of bar-end shifters.  7 speed Shimano.  After many years and miles they did not click very positively and were vague when shifting.  Hard to find the right gear.  In the end they were more friction shifters than index shifters.  They still functioned so the die hards might claim they were not really worn out.  Have not broken any STI shifters yet.  But I have seen them fail on rides.  So its just a matter of time until they fail.  Hopefully they won't fail when its inconvenient.  STI cannot be repaired.  Only replaced.  For ease of shifting, convenience of shifting, joy of use, one is better than the other.  I'll let you figure out which is the winner.  Ride bikes with both sets of shifters and you will know.

Offline litespeed

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 02:18:16 pm »
I have barends on my touring bike. I'm thorougly used to them. One disadvantage is that I occasionally bump them with my leg while horsing the bike around and get an unwanted shift. Barends are said to be more reliable but I have Shimano 105 brifters on my knockaround/training bike that are about 35 years old and have had very heavy use and little care or maintenance. They still work fine.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 09:39:18 am »
There are extensive comments on brifters versus bar end shifters.

I personally like brifters on my zippy fast bike, but bar end shifters are more reliable.  It does not take much to gunk up a brifter, and you can always change a bar end shifter to index mode and limp home.  I have had brifters gunk up, and while they are repairable, it not something that you can do if you are carrying solvents and lubricants.  I have also had to switch a bar end shifter to friction mode because road side dust gunked things up.  I also like that a bar end shifter gives you infinite trim on your front derailleur.

I remember down tube shifters, and bar ender shifters are not that hard to use.  My touring bikes have always ended up with bar end shifters.
Danno

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 12:04:34 pm »
Barends are said to be more reliable but I have Shimano 105 brifters on my knockaround/training bike that are about 35 years old and have had very heavy use and little care or maintenance.

Hopefully you can still edit your comment and fix the obvious error.  Shimano introduced STI (brifters, dual control brake/shift levers) for road bikes in 1990.  That was about 22 years ago.

Offline litespeed

Re: Bar End shifters vs
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2012, 05:54:09 pm »
Hopefully you can still edit your comment and fix the obvious error.  Shimano introduced STI (brifters, dual control brake/shift levers) for road bikes in 1990.  That was about 22 years ago.
[/quote]

Apparently you are right. I would have sworn I got my 105 STI in 1980 or earlier but, checking my records, it was the early 1990's - probably as soon as they came out with it.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 05:57:33 pm by litespeed »