Author Topic: Dependability of STI shifters?  (Read 8866 times)

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Offline YellowTrek

Dependability of STI shifters?
« on: February 15, 2004, 04:13:45 pm »
Another question for the experienced touring cyclists out there ... several of the responses to my previous question about Cannondale (and the STI shifter) vs. Bruce Gordon (and the bar end friction shift) comment on the serviceability factor of broken STI shifters on the road in the middle of no where. I have virtually NO experience (yet) as a touring cyclist, but have logged thousands of miles as a roadie. I've had problems with things breaking before - chains, a cheap rear derailleur, and spokes. I've bent rims and worn out brake pads, saddles, cassettes and lots of tires. But I've never had an STI shifter fail. Is this something that is frequently experienced by long distance touring cyclists? Again, I have never ridden a bike with bar-end friction shift so I plead total ignorance of these things. I'm just trying to understand how big of a factor the shift mechanism type should be in determining which touring bike I should buy.

Thanks again,

Offline DaveB

Dependability of STI shifters?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2004, 06:42:53 pm »
Bar end shifters, except for a broken cable, just about cannot fail because they all offer a friction option. BTW, bar end front shifting is always friction. None I'm aware of offer indexing in front.

That said, I believe the worry about STI failure is more of an academic exercise than a real problem.  I had a pair of 105 8-speed shifters last over 28,000 miles and I replaced them because the shifting was getting sticky, not because of sudden failure.  Their replacements have 22,000 miles on them and still work perfectly.  My son-in-law got over 25,000 miles on 8-speed 105's and replaced them only because he wanted to upgrade to 9-speed.  My son has 15,000+ miles on a set of RSX levers (Shmano's lowest line STI)and they are still working fine.

Anyway, my point is STI shifters are quite durable and failure of another major component is at least as likely to strand you.  

I might consider bar end or downtube shifters if I was going to tour WAY off the beaten track but for anywhere in the US or Western Europe I would always have the convenience of STI.  


  • Guest
Dependability of STI shifters?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2004, 11:25:25 am »
I agree with DaveB that the likelihood of STI failure is small, probably more often due to trauma in a crash than plain wearing out. (The only shifter I have had to replace on the road was a down-tube one that wore out an internal spring.) Nonetheless, many of us prefer the simpler, repairable choice when cycling far from bike shops. I choose a steel frame that can be welded at most farms and villages, and common tires under the same philosophy.

Why not ask at a full-service bike shop how many broken STIs they have repaired/replaced in the last year? Then decide for yourself.