Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
whoof
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby whoof » 9 Jan 2019, 12:25pm

I did over 5000 miles using them last year as they are on my commuter. I've got other bikes with STI, bar-end, trigger and twist shifters but downtube shifters are what I put on my commuting bike 25 years ago and have never changed them. They're OK, as system for changing gear I prefer STI levers but not enough to change them on an old bike to get to and fro work.

pwa
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby pwa » 9 Jan 2019, 12:36pm

I haven't had a bike with down tube levers since about 2001, but I do admire their simplicity and reduced cable faff.


scottg
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby scottg » 9 Jan 2019, 1:43pm

My '54 Claud has a d/t shifter for the glorious Benelux Tourist rear mech,
and a rod operated Simplex front mech aka clanger.

Shimano makes 10s d/t shifters, quite common on small builder rando bikes,
Weigles and the like.

Diversity in shifting is good for your, keeps your brain working.

I have bikes with Ergo, down tube, bar-con and the Claud with its low normal rear mech.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why not the best, buy Cyclo-Benelux.

directdrive
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby directdrive » 9 Jan 2019, 1:45pm

TrevA wrote:I'm still pondering on the braking and gearing combo for my Spa Tourer. I have 9 speed Tiagra STIs currently, but they aren't compatible with vee brakes and I've not been impressed with the cantilever brakes on my previous bike. So I'm thinking, new vee brakes with specific brake levers and reverting to down tube shifters. I'm not a huge fan of bar end shifters.

You still seem to be able to get Dura Ace 9 speed down tube shifters for reasonable money. Would they be compatible with a Deore 9 speed rear mech?


In response to the original question and notwithstanding the downtube shifter love-in: why not keep everything you've got and get some mini-Vs that are compatible with road levers? Planet X has the Tektro 926AL at £11.99 a pop, a straight swap for cantis. Cheapest and easiest if you want to keep STI levers.

drossall
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby drossall » 9 Jan 2019, 2:08pm

I've got friction DT shifters on my 1983 Holdsworth Mistral, and on the Aende road bike that I used mainly in the 80s and 90s. Still work fine and no problem switching back to them.

andrew_s
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby andrew_s » 9 Jan 2019, 2:23pm

An alternative not so far mentioned is the Gevenalle retroshift CX, which basically mounts downtube/bar end levers at the top front of the brake lever (cables are washing line).
Not cheap, but there are compatibility advantages over STI/Ergo, and you'll retain out of the saddle shifting, which is lost with most other alternatives.

JakobW
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby JakobW » 9 Jan 2019, 2:41pm

I still use DT shifters - Shimano friction band-on levers that are used to shift an 8-from-9s cassette (as set up by Brucey OTP). For my kind of cycling - mostly day rides and light touring - they work very well, so I've not been moved to change them. I'd consider bar-ends or Kelly's mounts, but getting new bits would be the best part of a hundred quid, so I can't be fussed - if I come across cheap s/h bits I might reconsider. I'm 6'5", so the levers are a fair way from the bars, but I'm familiar enough with them now that I can reach down without looking and shift OK. I figure the change of position helps on long rides as well. If building up a new frame I'd certainly consider them again.

reohn2
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby reohn2 » 9 Jan 2019, 3:02pm

pwa wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
pwa wrote:Bar end levers with the cable leaving the bar just a couple of cms from the lever body has the cables close to the cable guides on the frame and a short simple curve to do. Very clean, low friction, out of the way of bar bags and lights.

But knee knockers in certain(for me) tight manoeuvres,I know we've had this discussion before but my objection is a reality for me.

That knee knocking problem disappears if you are wilingl to saw off enough of the end of the bar to compensate for the extra length of the lever, which I do. I have never wanted to hold that last piece of bar anyway. But if you do make use of that last 3cm of bar, fair enough.

When slow climbing loaded or negotiating rough tracks in bottom gear the r/hand lever is pointing level with the drops making the total length of the b/end lever approx 6cm,and I do like to use all of the drops portion of the bars.
That said,to each his/her own :)
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

drossall
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby drossall » 9 Jan 2019, 3:14pm

One thing you can't do with Ergos/STIs is lean across and change your riding companion into top gear on a 1:6, as a couple of lads I started with used to do, back in teenage years. Happy days.

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Mick F
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby Mick F » 9 Jan 2019, 3:27pm

directdrive wrote: ........... the downtube shifter love-in ...................
:D :D
Mick F. Cornwall

Brucey
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby Brucey » 9 Jan 2019, 3:27pm

directdrive wrote:
TrevA wrote:I'm still pondering on the braking and gearing combo for my Spa Tourer. I have 9 speed Tiagra STIs currently, but they aren't compatible with vee brakes and I've not been impressed with the cantilever brakes on my previous bike. So I'm thinking, new vee brakes with specific brake levers and reverting to down tube shifters. I'm not a huge fan of bar end shifters.

You still seem to be able to get Dura Ace 9 speed down tube shifters for reasonable money. Would they be compatible with a Deore 9 speed rear mech?


…... why not keep everything you've got and get some mini-Vs that are compatible with road levers? .....


no such thing with tiagra 9s STIs; they have the first generation DP cable pull, which is significantly shorter than the current ( most models launched 2008 or later) 'New Super SLR' (NSSLR) cable pull (which does work quite well with mini-Vs).

Unless your bosses are set very low on the frame, so that the brake blocks sit in the top of the slots, mini-Vs with those 9s levers gives a spongy brake that is always in danger of coming back to the handlebar.

For good brakes with those levers, I'd suggest a decent set of cantis, set up well. Most cantis I see that are not working properly are not working very well because they are not set up correctly.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

pwa
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby pwa » 9 Jan 2019, 3:55pm

reohn2 wrote:
pwa wrote:
reohn2 wrote:But knee knockers in certain(for me) tight manoeuvres,I know we've had this discussion before but my objection is a reality for me.

That knee knocking problem disappears if you are wilingl to saw off enough of the end of the bar to compensate for the extra length of the lever, which I do. I have never wanted to hold that last piece of bar anyway. But if you do make use of that last 3cm of bar, fair enough.

When slow climbing loaded or negotiating rough tracks in bottom gear the r/hand lever is pointing level with the drops making the total length of the b/end lever approx 6cm,and I do like to use all of the drops portion of the bars.
That said,to each his/her own :)

Yep. You have found what works for you.

CliveyT
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby CliveyT » 9 Jan 2019, 3:58pm

The galaxy has one dt shifter (left) and one bar end shifter. Yes it looks weird, but it was either that or shift everything off the unit in the garage to find out where the expander plug from the left hand bar-end shifter rolled to.
It's got nice new bar tape now so I can't see changing back anytime soon

iandusud
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Re: Does anyone still use down tube shifters?

Postby iandusud » 9 Jan 2019, 4:33pm

Mick F wrote:
reohn2 wrote:Bar end lever or downtube levers mounted in Kelly Take Offs are much more convenient than downtube levers IME.
May be convenient, but not aesthetically beautiful. Also they suffer from "washing line syndrome".

It's a no thank you, from me.


Not sure what you mean by washing line syndrome but if you're referring to the cables leaving the lower run of the bars I don't have this set up. I run the cables all the way round the bars to exit alongside the brake calbes à la STI/Ergos. They work perfectly and have done for 30 years.

Ian