Author Topic: Down Tube Shifters  (Read 22871 times)

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Offline DaveB

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2016, 04:10:09 pm »
On the original question.  I like that they are simple, work well, are very reliable, and are out of the way.

Yes indeed, and that is their main disadvantage.  They are out of the way when you really need to get to them.


Offline jrswenberger

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2016, 08:26:08 am »
I've recently 'upgraded' my road bike (1986 Trek 560) to 9 speed. It still has downtube shifters in friction mode. I thought about moving the shifters on my 2012 LHT from bar ends to the downtube but I never got to it. I probably will if they ever need to be replaced. This is also a 9 speed system in friction mode.

I've always run dt shifters without incident. I did use indexing when it first came out but only for the first 5 years or so before I switched back to friction. I prefer the feel of moving the chain around and the freedom to mix and match components. I can't think of a situation on the road or touring in which my ride would have improved with indexed shifting.

On my mountain bike, I prefer indexing as the timing of a shift is often more difficult to predict in ever changing terrain. My thumbshifters keep on ticking...

It really comes down to personal preferences. I learned to ride multi-speed bikes before anything but friction based shifting existed, downtube or stem-mounted. For me, it's a perfectly natural, automatic movement to reach down and move the lever to where I need it. I don't race so the entire concept of a 'missed shift' isn't relevant as I don't depend on the equipment to manage the process...I do it by paying attention to my cadence, the pressure on the chain and the conditions in front of me.

On the other hand, my wife was a mountain biker for many years before she spent much time on a road bike, mostly touring. She has never been comfortable with dt shifters, preferring brifters on her road bike and trigger shifters on her mountain bike. It took a while but she has settled into the friction shifting bar ends on her touring bike as well. Long before the end of our year-long tour she wasn't even thinking about it any longer.

Either way, I maintain all the bikes and we'll continue to use whatever works for each of us.

Enjoy the ride,
Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline staehpj1

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2016, 08:45:54 am »
On the original question.  I like that they are simple, work well, are very reliable, and are out of the way.

Yes indeed, and that is their main disadvantage.  They are out of the way when you really need to get to them.
I think that there can be a few factors in that.  Compared to bar ends I find them about the same as far as ease of reaching them if not a little easier.  For me they are pretty much the same height as bar ends but further back.  That is at least in part because I ride a fairly small frame and have my bars pretty low.  Folks with larger frames and higher bars will see more difference.  The fact that I spent a lot of years using down tube shifters is a factor as well.

I have found that with bar ends I tend to bang them with my knee, again may not be an issues with a different frame or different cockpit setup.  Maybe a minor annoyance, but I also found that bar ends tended to get bumped out of gear when the bike was leaned against a wall, or railing.

Offline DaveB

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2016, 09:24:32 am »
I think that there can be a few factors in that.  Compared to bar ends I find them about the same as far as ease of reaching them if not a little easier.  For me they are pretty much the same height as bar ends but further back.  That is at least in part because I ride a fairly small frame and have my bars pretty low.  Folks with larger frames and higher bars will see more difference.  The fact that I spent a lot of years using down tube shifters is a factor as well.

I have found that with bar ends I tend to bang them with my knee, again may not be an issues with a different frame or different cockpit setup.  Maybe a minor annoyance, but I also found that bar ends tended to get bumped out of gear when the bike was leaned against a wall, or railing.
Well, I ride middle size frames (56 or 57 cm) but agree that downtube shifters aren't a lot less accessible than barends.  However, I find both to be too "out of the way" when I need to shift in a hurry because strange terrain surprised me.  You can't always anticipate the need to shift and taking your hand(s) off of the hoods isn't always easy.

I rode both friction and indexed downtube shifters for several years and tens of thousands of miles and was thrilled when something better came along.  But barends, which I've used and still have on one bike, weren't it. 

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.  So, what do I do now?

In a word, "Retroshift" (now renamed Gevenalle).   These mount either downtube shifters or barend shift levers right on the brake levers.  All the convenience of brifters, the simplicity, low cost and durability of downtube/barends and cheap "upgrading" when you wish.  I have them on three bikes and see no reason for anything else.  For you friction shifting fans, they are available with friction levers both front and rear and you can mix-and-match components to your liking.

And, no, I have no relationship to Gevenalle, either personal or business.  I'm just a satisfied customer. 


Offline BobG

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2016, 11:16:02 am »
I have a 17 year old Litespeed Classic road bike for around town rides. It came with an early edition of Campagnolo Ergo brifters. I replaced them with down tube "Silver" shifters from Rivendell.

Likes-

A- Easier on the wrists if you have arthritis. The sideways rear down shift/front upshift on Campy Ergos was awkward and  I found it to aggravate arthritic wrists.
B- Tidier appearance. No dangling cable housings that comes with many of the Shimano levers and bar ends. No big, clunky brake levers to accommodate shifters.
C- No indexing. Continuum friction shifting allows one to fine tune the position of FD to avoid chain rub.
D- lightweight

Dislikes-

A- Slightly less convenient location.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2016, 12:50:55 pm »
For me they are pretty much the same height as bar ends but further back.  That is at least in part because I ride a fairly small frame and have my bars pretty low.  Folks with larger frames and higher bars will see more difference.  ...

I have found that with bar ends I tend to bang them with my knee, again may not be an issues with a different frame or different cockpit setup.

I prefer my bars roughly even with my saddle, and I have to do something pretty goofy to hit bar-ends with my knees.  The larger size of the bike (relative to the size of me) may have a lot to do with whether or not you have shifter-knee interference.

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2016, 01:50:54 pm »
Thanks everyone for the thoughts and input.  Dave B., I have seen the "Retroshift" (now renamed Gevenalle) shifters and thought about going that way.  It sounds like you like them, maybe I need to look at them again.  I'm guessing they will work with my crankset I have chosen.  It sure was a whole lot easier to buy the bike built but i'm learning a lot and having fun along the way.

Offline DaveB

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2016, 05:36:42 pm »
Thanks everyone for the thoughts and input.  Dave B., I have seen the "Retroshift" (now renamed Gevenalle) shifters and thought about going that way.  It sounds like you like them, maybe I need to look at them again.  I'm guessing they will work with my crankset I have chosen.  It sure was a whole lot easier to buy the bike built but i'm learning a lot and having fun along the way.
Yes, Retroshifts will work with any crank and nearly any front derailleur since both the downtube and barend shift levers they use are all friction for front shifting.  I find that a big plus since I can trim the fd to work in any gear combination.  Also I have no trouble quickly finding the chainring I want even though all my bikes have triple cranks.  Best of all worlds to me.

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2016, 05:57:03 pm »
Thanks Dave.  After I responded to your post I went back and looked at them and remembered I had sent them an email a few months ago.  The company responded quickly and told me that basically they will work with almost any combination, just like you are saying.  He said to figure out what I am going with (crankset, deralier, cogs, etc) and he could point me in the right direction as to what shifter would fit my set up.  I really like the looks of these.  Thanks again Dave.

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2016, 05:21:59 am »
Dave, do you know what retroshift models you are using?  If I am understanding correctly I would use the CXV for long pull Avid BB7 brakes.

Offline DaveB

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2016, 09:53:44 am »
Dave, do you know what retroshift models you are using?  If I am understanding correctly I would use the CXV for long pull Avid BB7 brakes.
I'm using the CX version since I have older model Shimano road caliper brakes on all of my bikes.  They also work with cantilever and short pull mechanical road disc brakes.

The CXV is for use with V-brakes and long pull mechanical disc brakes.  I had these on a Surly Cross Check with Avid SD-7 V-brakes and they worked fine but I sold that bike.  I also understand the CXV levers are recommended for use with the newest Shimano caliper brakes requiring a longer cable pull, say BR-6800, BR-5800 and similar, but I'd check with the Gevenalle guys to get their recommendation for specific caliper models.

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2016, 06:40:12 pm »
Awesome, thanks Dave.  Your information pretty much matches what the guys over at Gevenalle said.  Maybe I will be riding this thing before June.  Gonna look at wheels next.  Thanks for the help.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2016, 09:01:07 am »
It sure was a whole lot easier to buy the bike built but i'm learning a lot and having fun along the way.

Forgive the off topic response, but this is precisely why I never respond to a "what bike?" question with anything but "go buy a bike at your LBS."  I figure that anybody who asks that question has no idea what it takes to build up a bike; and conversely, anyone who has enough background to build up a bike probably has enough entrenched notions of what the bike they're going to build should be, that they can, and should, pick it out themselves.

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2016, 10:17:41 am »
Ahh Pat, my friend.  There are people who do and people who sit in the corner and wish they do.  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.  With your train of thought we would never have any bike mechanics or anyone able to assemble a bike.  I do not know of any mechanics that jumped out of the womb and began building bikes or headed off to UBI, one must crawl before they walk.  I can assure you that I can build the bike and it will be done correctly when I'm finished, or I will do it over until it is correct.  It is very easy to just buy things these days, which I could easily do but I want to understand it and what better way than to build it.  I have never been the guy in the corner, no I like to be the guy at the tip of the spear.  Just think had Christopher Columbus had those thoughts, General Patton, Chris Kyle, etc.  What a boring world it would be.  When I left for Marine Corps Boot camp in the early 90's all of my friends sat in the corner to scared to take that step, man I would hate to be that safe, or scared I guess.

All I do know for sure right now is it's a bicycle.  At the end of the day I am not trying to build a space shuttle......just a bike.  I use this site as a tool along with many other tools.  It's hard to get your points across or see the emotion in a persons eyes when they are behind a computer screen.  I am sure if we knew each other you would understand that this bike will be pretty nice when completed.  I ask a lot of questions.  I gather as much intel on a topic as I can, sometimes I may stay on one thing to long.  Once I think I have enough I make my decision off of the totality of the facts, then execute my plan. 

This site is a very valuable tool for me, one of many.  I respect the opinions of its members and for the most part I get a lot of good stuff from it.  Your opinion of the situation here is incorrect and I do not want this thread to take a turn off topic which it has.  We will stop right here and right the ship and keep this thread polite, fun, and informative.     Now with all of that out of the way lets get back to a much more educational thread, leave the opinions and random thoughts for another time.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Down Tube Shifters
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2016, 01:25:05 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.  They are not really mutually exclusive.  I and my friends have bought complete bikes from the store but do all of the mechanical work on the bikes.  Lubing, adjusting, tuning, tearing down and rebuilding are the exact same as building a bike up from scratch.  In the winter when you tear apart your store bought bike down to frame and all parts and then rebuild it, you are doing the exact same thing as building it up from scratch.  About the only difference is not being able to pick out every single part if you buy it from the store complete.  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.  As an example, Surly/QBP sells the Long Haul Trucker as a frame or as a complete bike you buy at the local bike shop.  Assuming you have some intelligence when picking parts and assembling it, your frame and parts build will be very similar to a store bought LHT bike.  And if you do all your own bike mechanic work, which I recommend, then in 10 years the frame built bike will have one extra assembly/disassembly by you than the store bought bike.  Lets say you rebuild your bike once every two years.  You will have 5 builds on your scratch bike and just 4 builds on your store bought bike.  Not much difference.