Author Topic: Down Tube Shifters  (Read 22839 times)

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Offline RussSeaton

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2016, 01:51:29 pm »
I used brifters, both Shimano and Campy, for many years in 7,8,9 and 10-speed form and while I loved the convenience I wasn't thrilled with the expense or perceived fragility.

"Perceived fragility"?  Perception.  The vast majority of the world thinks a belief, a perception, is a fact.  They are not the same.

The Gevenalle shifters you speak so highly of cost $199-$219 on their website.  Ribble Cycles has Tiagra 10 speed triple STI levers for $125, and Ultegra for $185.  Why would someone choose to buy these other Gevenalle shifters for more money instead of the proven original Shimano shifters for less money?

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2016, 02:07:46 pm »
Thanks Russ.  I understand the difference, you just can't tell the sarcasm because we are on computer screens.....a point i made earlier.  I abused mountain bikes for 15-20 years with no issues on any shifter I used, made the switch to road and again, no issues.  With all of the options out there I just like the Gevenalle shifters, at least I think I do, I wanna try them.   If I was worried about the money I would have bought the bike off the floor.  Im already in the neighborhood of $1200 and I think the Disk Trucker built is around $1500.  Im no where close to having this thing ready and I have almost spent what it would cost for a new one.  Frame and Powdercoat alone was $809.


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2016, 03:02:17 pm »
You see, I am not sure exactly what it takes to build up a bike as I have never done it.  I absolutely will never know if I do not try.

You seem to be a bit confused with this idea of building up a bike from scratch and buying a complete bike from a store.  ...  Building it up from scratch when new or overhauling a store bought complete bike a year later requires about the same tools and knowledge and techniques.

What Russ said -- with the additional point that if you buy a complete bike, it's a good bet all the parts you have when you tear it down will work together.  As others have noted, that's not guaranteed with a bucket of parts.

I can respect the drive to "do it all" that leads someone to invest heavily of their time and money to build a bike from scratch.

I can also respect the desire to get a package that works, get out on the road, and get ready for adventure.  I think the majority of people asking the "which bike" question have this mindset, which is why I normally recommend buying a fully assembled bike from their LBS.

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2016, 03:54:14 pm »
All valid points Pat.  I do agree that tearing one down you have bought is easier than building from nothing, as you stated everything goes together because it came that way.  If I had not had my other bikes to ride now I would have probably bought one off the floor like my other bikes.  I have to admit I am getting anxious with the bike on the work stand and parts coming in, all part of building one I guess.  Either way, thanks for the thoughts and your point of view.  This site and you guys are very helpful through this process. 

Offline DaveB

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2016, 06:56:50 pm »
"Perceived fragility"?  Perception.  The vast majority of the world thinks a belief, a perception, is a fact.  They are not the same.

The Gevenalle shifters you speak so highly of cost $199-$219 on their website.  Ribble Cycles has Tiagra 10 speed triple STI levers for $125, and Ultegra for $185.  Why would someone choose to buy these other Gevenalle shifters for more money instead of the proven original Shimano shifters for less money?
While my experience doesn't indicate they are really fragile, I have worn out both Shimano STI and Campy Ergo brifters so I am well aware of their lack of permanence.  Internet forums, particularly Bikeforums.net, are rife with posting of sticky or inoperative brifters.  It's not a rare failure.

As to the cost, yes Tiagra can be less expensive and are the Ultegras you mention the current 11-speed versions or left over 10-speed?  That said, the Gevenalles are only slightly more expensive initially and upgradable at much less cost since all you need is a pair of downtube levers.  They also have a very cheap accidental damage replacement policy.  Ask Shimano, SRAM or Campy about that.

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2016, 09:57:49 pm »
Im sold on them Dave, gonna be ordering a set real soon.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2016, 03:40:57 pm »
As to the cost, yes Tiagra can be less expensive and are the Ultegras you mention the current 11-speed versions or left over 10-speed?  That said, the Gevenalles are only slightly more expensive initially and upgradable at much less cost since all you need is a pair of downtube levers.

The Tiagra and Ultegra levers I mentioned are both 10 speed.  As to whether the Ultegra are left over, not sure.  I do not know how Shimano runs its factories.  Once Shimano changed to 11 speed on Ultegra, did they immediately stop making all 10 speed levers forever?  Or did they make 10 and 11 speed Ultegra levers for years side by side?  I'd guess the last.  Shimano continued to make the old style for years after shifting to the new style to keep stores and shops supplied with parts to fix older bikes.  Its probably not a black and white changeover going from 10 speed to 11 speed levers.

As for upgradability, does anyone make indexed downtube shift levers for 9, 10, 11 speed gear systems?  I looked on the Shimano website and saw zero downtube levers of any kind.  I see MicroShift does make downtube levers for 9 and 10.  http://www.microshift.com.tw/road_Shifters.html

Offline DaveB

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2016, 05:13:08 pm »
The Tiagra and Ultegra levers I mentioned are both 10 speed.  As to whether the Ultegra are left over, not sure.  I do not know how Shimano runs its factories.  Once Shimano changed to 11 speed on Ultegra, did they immediately stop making all 10 speed levers forever?  Or did they make 10 and 11 speed Ultegra levers for years side by side?  I'd guess the last.  Shimano continued to make the old style for years after shifting to the new style to keep stores and shops supplied with parts to fix older bikes.  Its probably not a black and white changeover going from 10 speed to 11 speed levers.

As for upgradability, does anyone make indexed downtube shift levers for 9, 10, 11 speed gear systems?  I looked on the Shimano website and saw zero downtube levers of any kind.  I see MicroShift does make downtube levers for 9 and 10.  http://www.microshift.com.tw/road_Shifters.html
Shimano may overlap series for a short while but they tend to drop production of n-1 rather soon after n is introduced, particularly at the upper level groups.  I expect 10-speed Ultegra STIs are not going to be in production long and what you are seeing is a closeout.  It's not going to be long before Sora will be the only 10-speed group left in production after it's updated from the current 9-speed (where it's the only 9-speed group now).

Yes, Shimano made 9-speed and 10-speed downtube levers listed as Dura Ace items.  The 9-speed ones are probably considered obsolete but the 10-speed versions listed as SL-7900 are still available.

As to Shimano barends, they are still available in 10-speed as SL-BS79.  Most of these are sold for Tri/TT bikes for mounting on aero bars but Tourists use them too.

As to Microshift, they provide the 9,10 and 11-speed shiftlevers to Gevenalle who uses them on their brifters.  Gevenalle also sells the levers as aftermarket items in all three speeds so, for $70 you could "upgrade" your 9-speed Retroshifts to 11-speed.


Offline robo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2016, 01:30:21 pm »
I agree that it's likely less expensive and definitely easier to buy a bike off the floor rather than build one from the frame up.  In my case, though, think I'd be missing something.

I've built up my last three bikes- cyclocross, road touring, and bikepacking, all from Soma frames.  Here's some of what I've gained:

The perfect fit for me.  I no longer need to convince a shop to swap out stems and cranksets to accommodate my long legs and shorter-than-average torso.
Gearing suited to my aging legs and my continued desire to cycle tough routes in remote areas.
A deeper understanding of frame geometries and the way components operate, and work together.
A bike built with durability in mind.
An embarrassing collection of bike tools.
An intimate knowledge of every bit of my bike.
The reassuring confidence that I can maintain and, if necessary, repair the bike when on tour.
The sheer fun of selecting all the bits and pieces, then putting together a functional piece of art.
Tremendous satisfaction.

For me, all that is well worth extra dollars and hours.

And, on the original question- I find down tube shifters easy to use, simple to maintain, and very long lasting.  My 1985 Trek touring bike, which I just retired from loaded touring duties a couple years ago, has the original shifters, which still work flawlessly.  I put them on my cross bike a few years ago and love the look and functionality.

On my current touring bike I have 9 speed dura ace bar ends, indexed with a friction option.  They are also a pleasure to use.

Of course, I love the elegance of a quill stem, too...

Joan




Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2016, 08:25:13 pm »
Robo......my thoughts exactly.  Although I am at the beginning of my first build your post says exactly what I think.  Thanks for the post.

Offline Goodaches

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2016, 02:21:03 pm »
Down tube shifters are simple and weigh less than any other kind of shifter. I never felt the friction shifters were a problem to shift. I certainly liked being able to nudge them to make the chain run quieter - no nudging an index shifter on that one gear that's not as perfectly indexed as the other five, six or nine. All that said, On a mountain bike for off road riding I would not go back to friction or down tube, but for long distance touring I would prefer friction downtube shifters.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2016, 04:48:37 pm »
LOTS of downtube shifting here in Madison WI and LOTS of manual transmission cars Russ. Jetta especially sells lots of them without having to special order them.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2016, 07:55:50 pm »
LOTS of downtube shifting here in Madison WI and LOTS of manual transmission cars Russ. Jetta especially sells lots of them without having to special order them.

I doubt it.  I've cycled in Wisconsin.  Some parts are very hilly.  Dairyland Dare for instance.  Tell me how many downtube shifters you see on that ride.  None.  Downtube shifters are used by old men who are reliving their youth by clinging to the old time ways of cycling.  Back when chamois were leather, shorts were wool, and cleats were nailed to the shoes.  Anyone who has taken up cycling in the last 30 years does not use downtube shifters.  And all the hip, chic, swinging cool cats ride single speed, man.  Downtube shifters are for the old fogeys with more hair on their chins than top.

Jetta?  Volkswagen?  Volkswagen can't even give their F-ing cars away after the latest diesel emissions scandal.  I think the CEO was kicked out.  The Feds and California are suing them.  And a bunch of other states too.  Volkswagen sales have plummeted recently.  Last year they got hold of the number one car sales title from Toyota.  I think they lost it with this recent disaster.  Go to any car lot in your town.  Look at the cars and see how many are manual.  Even the little cars are automatic.

Offline DaveB

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2016, 09:33:16 am »
LOTS of downtube shifting here in Madison WI and LOTS of manual transmission cars Russ. Jetta especially sells lots of them without having to special order them.
I'm with Russ on this one.  Maybe in very flat areas downtube shifters and manual transmissions are a bit more common but nowhere else.   I think you have seen a few of both and generalized that they are far more common than they really are.

Most newer cars aren't even available with a manual transmission and how many new bikes are available with downtube shifters? 

Yeah, VW really shot themselves in the foot but that's a discussion for a different time and place.


Offline bikemig

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2016, 11:08:17 pm »
LOTS of downtube shifting here in Madison WI and LOTS of manual transmission cars Russ. Jetta especially sells lots of them without having to special order them.

I doubt it.  I've cycled in Wisconsin.  Some parts are very hilly.  Dairyland Dare for instance.  Tell me how many downtube shifters you see on that ride.  None.  Downtube shifters are used by old men who are reliving their youth by clinging to the old time ways of cycling.  Back when chamois were leather, shorts were wool, and cleats were nailed to the shoes.  Anyone who has taken up cycling in the last 30 years does not use downtube shifters.  And all the hip, chic, swinging cool cats ride single speed, man.  Downtube shifters are for the old fogeys with more hair on their chins than top.

Jetta?  Volkswagen?  Volkswagen can't even give their F-ing cars away after the latest diesel emissions scandal.  I think the CEO was kicked out.  The Feds and California are suing them.  And a bunch of other states too.  Volkswagen sales have plummeted recently.  Last year they got hold of the number one car sales title from Toyota.  I think they lost it with this recent disaster.  Go to any car lot in your town.  Look at the cars and see how many are manual.  Even the little cars are automatic.

I saw more than a few downtube shifters on the Dairyland Dare last year; I might use them myself this year. I like brifters and bar ends better than downtube shifters, though.

By the way, I'm more than happy to be one of those "old fogeys with more hair on their chins than top" who likes downtube shifters. That's an intelligent and thoughtful criticism by the way.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 11:42:39 pm by bikemig »