Bar end levers - why?

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Bar end levers - why?

Postby wilfster » 31 Oct 2013, 3:59pm

Would appreciate some advice on this one. I am looking at getting a new tourer. Most of the ones I am keen on seem to feature bar end levers, are these a good idea and what are the advantages over STI levers? I like drop bars, but riding position tends to be on the hoods first, then flat part, then drops. It strikes me that you would have to remove a hand to change gear with bar end levers, and if this is the case might just as well have them on the down. I'd welcome any thoughts on safety or ease of maintenance considerations that might tempt me one way or the other.

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby Dudley Manlove » 31 Oct 2013, 4:04pm

They are extremely simple and reliable, and if the indexing goes out you can run em in friction mode. In fact for shifting the front mech, they are far easier to get working well than STIs. But depsite that, personally, i really can't get on with reaching down everytime to shift. Others will get on with them fine. Instant shifting vs simple reliable shifting I guess.

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby bikepacker » 31 Oct 2013, 4:16pm

I use bar-end shifters on my tourer and have sti's on my road bike. Much prefer the bar-ends as they are better shifting under load and as stated front non-index changing is much better. Also I much prefer v-brakes to cantis and prefer to use them with compatible brake levers, bar-end shifters make this possible.
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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby gaz » 31 Oct 2013, 4:24pm

What they both said.

BTW you don't have to limit yourself to fitting bar end levers on the ends of the bars (nor down tube levers on down tubes) : viewtopic.php?f=5&t=57027&p=478016
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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby LollyKat » 31 Oct 2013, 4:30pm

I have down-tube friction levers on one bike and STIs on another. Although I really like the convenience of the STIs when riding that bike, I am also perfectly happy with the DT levers on the other - I may lose a few seconds occasionally but it isn't a big deal. I like their simplicity, and if/when the STIs give up the ghost I will replace them with DTs (got some in the cupboard just in case).

I have never used bar-end levers as I would be afraid of catching my knees on them when honking - I have a relatively short stem at 80mm. Also I think they may be a bit more vulnerable to damage in a fall.

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby honesty » 31 Oct 2013, 4:32pm

Another advantage is the cables are under the bar tape, so you can fit a bar bag so much easier.

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby hufty » 31 Oct 2013, 4:42pm

-1 bar end shifters (although I currently have a hub gear on my tourer)

I don't like bar end shifters for the reasons the OP mentioned and would rather have downtube shifters or STIs. When you do a combined front and rear derailleur shift you have to move both hands from the hoods to the bottom of the drops then back again. With downtube shifters you only have to move one hand and there's less of a downwards lunge. Also the barend seems to me to be a rubbish place to have a shifter but I guess you get used to it. The classic argument against touring with STIs (once you've sorted brake compatibility etc) is if the indexing goes wrong there's no friction option but depending what sort of touring you do that might not be an issue or maybe you could carry a single dt shifter in your pannier?
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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby fluffybunnyuk » 31 Oct 2013, 4:43pm

1. Cheaper than STI
2. Reliability, can be swapped into friction mode if indexing fails
3. Convenience. When I'm cycling I like using my last 2 fingers to click up and down while i'm holding the drops. I'm too lazy to stretch the extra few inches...
4. Comfort. Encourages changes of position more frequently, thus less likely to get ulnar neuritis etc.
5. Because I like to be different, and variety is the spice of life.
6. Because I like bar ends more than any others. And this is good enough for me.
7. To remind myself its a touring bike and not a racer. (Just like refusing to wear lycra)
8. Why not? :mrgreen:

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby 86inch » 31 Oct 2013, 5:01pm

+1 for bar ends. The possibility of catching your knees on them when honking is overstated IMHO, unless you are truly an odd shape. They are simple, reliable and functional. I like them, and i'd rather bar-end levers than down-tube levers any day of the week.
I also like my SRAM double-tap levers and Campag Ergo's. Shimano STI in my humble opinion is the worst of all worlds. I'd rather the brake lever be just a brake lever. I could never get on with a set of Ultegra STIs i had, although plenty of people use them so i must be wrong :wink:

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby Si » 31 Oct 2013, 6:36pm

The thing that I hated about BESs is that I kept changing gear when riding out the saddle due to knees hitting the levers. Solved by cutting the drops down by a few cm. Apart from that I like others have said, cheaper than STI, more reliable than STI, can go into friction, and better for trimming and front gear. Regarding BESs vs DTs, I don't mind DTs really, but BESs are a tad easier to get at and you can still hold the end of the handle bar while shifting should you inadvertently hit a pot hole or some such.
Of course, something like Kellys would be the best solution.

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby bumper » 31 Oct 2013, 6:52pm

Depending on your preference for bars, midge bars throw the shifters away from your knees with their flare when you're out of the saddle.

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby freeflow » 31 Oct 2013, 6:56pm

-1 for bar end shifters. Can't stand em. Much prefer my STI.

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby andymiller » 31 Oct 2013, 8:03pm

I thought the major reason for using them was to get round the compatibility issues of using a mountainbike rear mech.

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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby horizon » 31 Oct 2013, 10:32pm

I thought that you could rattle through all nine gears on the RHS with bar ends in one go while with STIs you have to click, back ... click, back ... click, back ... etc. I've no idea whether this is true as I've never used STIs (and I may be doing something dreadful to my rear sprockets :shock: ) but, as I said, I really don't know.
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Re: Bar end levers - why?

Postby 531colin » 31 Oct 2013, 10:34pm

andymiller wrote:I thought the major reason for using them was to get round the compatibility issues of using a mountainbike rear mech.

Shimano rear indexing is OK.....all modern road and MTB stuff is the same, apart from 10 sp. MTB. ....but you can use a 9 speed MTB R. mech. for 10 speed with road levers, if you really want 10sp and road STI on your tourer..

Front indexing cable pull is different, but bar end and D/T levers are non-index, so you can use road or MTB F. mechs. with them.