LollyKat wrote:Another advantage to friction shifters is that it is very easy to shift several - i.e.four or five - sprockets at once. I've used friction shifters for 40 years and know exactly where each gear is by the position of the lever. There is no need to look, I simply do it by feel. Very useful when riding with a cape, too, as it is easy to avoid cross chaining.
I've just fitted a Shimano switchable handlebar shifter to a folding bike. I'm not the only rider of that bike, but I intend to leave it in friction mode mainly because:
- like LollyKat writes, it's easy to shift multiple gears in one move (as long as the pedals are moving forwards),
- I'm less likely to hit the wrong one of up/down levers and
- I can get a good idea of the current gear by feel without looking at indicators or cogs.
The immediate motive to change the shifter was what thirdcrank suggested, though: the indexing seems to drift out slightly each time the bike is folded. I don't really know why yet. Some have suggested that the fold is stretching the (fairly new) gear cable and it'll settle down soon or I could fit a prestretched cable. I'm bored with having to choose between rattling in some gears and short toolkit stops to adjust them, so I'll use friction mode for a while. Indexed shifting is simple but more tedious to get just-so, whereas I think I could set up friction shifting while drunk!
But I think the top reason for anyone else to try this should be friction shifting is much more fun, like the bikes I grew up riding. It's rather annoying that it's now an almost-unknown minority option.