Author Topic: Back To Bar Cons  (Read 7425 times)

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Offline SlowAndSlower

Back To Bar Cons
« on: August 14, 2015, 11:32:40 am »
There is often discussion of drop bar shifting and what flavor is best for touring and in the end mostly it comes down to an individual's taste.

Firstly I do not enjoy (just short of hate) using bar con shifters. I do enjoy (just short of love) using Shimano STI shifting a lot.  I also really like Rapidfire mtb shifters but I am not comfortable on flat bars. So my quest has been to have STI or comparable shifting on drop bars for my touring bike.

The first really successful attempt was with a 9 speed Ultegra triple using an old RSX FD and a XT RD. Work pretty smoothly, almost flawlessly
The last incarnation was with Shimano 105 10 speed using a Sora FD and a 9 speed XT RD.  This was really sweet, especially the throw for shifting. 10 speed is nice.

Then I had my 6703 Ultegra on another bike break and fail to drop the chain off of the big ring. This incidence brought back memories I had on a Big Bend tour where a rider had a cable break and lock up an Ultegra bifter. These are things I do not want to deal with on tour.

And as I was installing the 10 speed bifters I thought to my self, "would I want to replace a 10 speed derailleur cable on the side of the road?"  With my luck it would be in the rain too. Now mind you I never have had to do this nor have I ever experienced a cable breaking personally.

After a sleepless night or two I remembered KISS and am now in the process of going back to where Bruce Gordon originally spec'ed the bike some fourteen years ago.

I am pretty sure the 105 10 speed set up would be perfectly fine and reliable. After all Co Motion and others have STI standard on their offerings. But one does tends to psych ones self out.

Offline BrianW

Back To Bar Cons
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2015, 08:14:11 pm »
If you still have your 6703 brifters, often the shifting issue can be fixed by soaking the innards with lots of WD40 and then flushing with lots of clean water (plenty of how-to posts on the Web). I've fixed many a "broken" set of STI shifters this way. I have Ultegra triple 9-speed brifters on four bikes used for touring, including two tandems and a triple. I also have barcons on my Co-Motion Pangea and definitely prefer the STI levers. On the tandems and triple I tend to shift a LOT and the STIs are still going strong after thousands of miles. We did have one broken cable at the head in a left shifter, which was kind of a pain to replace, but was still doable as a roadside repair. If you ride a lot in the rain or on gravel/dirt, proactively flushing the STIs as described above can also help extend their lives.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 08:17:49 pm by briwasson »

Offline SlowAndSlower

Re: Back To Bar Cons
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2015, 09:01:21 pm »
Thanks for the tips. The 6700's are different beast for cable replacement. You actually start under the shift lever on the bottom, then out the side and then back into and out the back into the cable housing on the left side. A lot more tedious then sticking the cable straight through and into the cable housing like on the older bifters.

The problem is the spindle mechanism for the drum that winds and unwinds the cable that runs up through the shifter loosens allowing the ratchet trip not to work and allow the drum to unwind drop the chain off the big ring. When on the big ring the spool and spindle are at their its highest load.
The fix is simple. Remove the shifter and tighten the spindle with a hex wrench.

Offline pptouring

Re: Back To Bar Cons
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 09:07:42 pm »
... but I am not comfortable on flat bars.

After all Co Motion...

Have you tried flat bars with Ergon GP5 grips? We've toured, long distanced cycled (randonneuring), & commuted daily using drop bars, butterfly bars, and flat bars with Ergon GP5 grips. So far the flat bars with GP5 grips wins for us. I recently put a Jones H-bar along with some Ergon grips on my commuter and it seems ok, but I can't really comment until I get a few more miles with this setup. I will say at the moment the H-Bar seems to have too much sweep for me.

Offline DaveB

Re: Back To Bar Cons
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2015, 09:39:48 am »
I'm not a fan of barend shifters either and far prefer STI/Ergos or the better alternative described below.  That said, I recently "upgraded" an older 9-speed STI equipped bike to 10-speed using Shimano SL-BS79 barends since they were only $50 at Nashbar and the entire upgrade was less than $100 for the shifters, 105 cassette, 10-speed SRAM chain.

However, there is an alternative to both barends and brifters that is much cheaper than most brifters, as reliable as downtube and barends and nearly as convenient as brifters.  The Gevenelle (formerly Retroshift) "brifters" are standard Tektro brake levers (available in both caliper/cantilever and V-brake/MTB disc brake form and even a hydraulic disc brake version) fitted with brackets to which are bolted downtube or barend levers.  They put the shift levers right under your hands while riding the hoods just like brifters.  I have these on three bikes, two 10-speed and one 8-speed, and couldn't be happier with them.  All the convenience of brifters but with out the high price and durability issues.

Offline driftlessregion

Offline DaveB

Re: Back To Bar Cons
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2015, 09:10:48 am »
also this option
I've used both "Retroshift" brifters and Kelly Takeoffs and the Retroshift arrangement is both lighter and more convenient.  Either is better than barends.

Offline SlowAndSlower

Re: Back To Bar Cons
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2015, 06:43:02 pm »
I have received a set of new MicroShift 10 speed bar end shifters. Quality wise I would put them a grade or two under Shimano's. They work well enough and they have a friction mode that, for me,  is easier to work than the Shimano.

What I like
  • V-Brakes without Travel Agents
  • the V-Brakes open to pull a wheel using the brake lever release retaining the brake set up
  • to me the XT FD is smoother and easier than the Sora FD I was using
  • for me replacing a derailleur cable is easier than with the Shimano 10 speed STI.

What I don't like is my knee hitting the left bar end. I will probably cut the handle bar ends back to reduce this problem. ( have done this before)

I rode the Trans Am Virginia-Colorado with this set up (9 speed) without any memories of issues so will probably stick with it for the 10 speed. I am hoping to do the Astoria to Pueblo in 2016 with this set up.

Thanks for all of the suggested alternatives.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Back To Bar Cons
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 12:57:02 pm »
If the bike is that cramped, maybe you should put a longer stem on.  Or do you have a short torso?

Offline SlowAndSlower

Re: Back To Bar Cons
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 03:06:08 pm »
If the bike is that cramped, maybe you should put a longer stem on.  Or do you have a short torso?

Thanks. I should have clarified that this issue occurs when I stand to pedal and the bike rocks.  I have cut the bars back about an inch or so and that should help.