View Full Version : Moving the shifters

07-28-2006, 06:10 AM
I trying to help a college age friend find a 2nd hand road bike. I've found a nice older Bianchi. It's a little heavy, but my major squawk with it are that the shifters are on the DT. I wouldn't want them there and she may not care. But want to know if it is practical to move them and about how much it would be reasonable to spend to do so. The drive train is Shimano. I'm at the office and it's in my garage at home right now.

07-28-2006, 07:30 AM
There is nothing wrong with downtube shifters. They are light, shift quickly (due to minimal cabling), and make the derailleurs very easy to adjust. However, if they are friction shifters, you have to learn how to make your shifts quickly and center the derailleur on the cog, otherwise everyone around you has to put up with lots of dinging noises. I've ridden with nothing but DT friction shifters for over 30 years (aside for a brief foray into bar-ends). Never used the combined brake/shift levers, though everyone who uses them seems to like them. They are very expensive (like >$200 for a set of levers) and probably would require same-brand new derailleurs to index properly. Do you know the year of this bike? How many cogs on the cassette? If your friend isn't already used to dual-levers, why not have her learn on the DT shifters. It will force her to take a hand off the bar (which she'll need for drinking anyway) and teach her how gears really work.

07-28-2006, 07:35 AM
And you quickly learn how to make those dinging noises go away. :D

V. - bar end, friction shifters

07-28-2006, 07:54 AM
It would be relatively cheap to replace downtube shifters with bar end shifters. They work the same, just put the levers on the ends of the handlebars (and make the shifts a bit slower).

See www.rivbike.com for options and pricing.

07-28-2006, 08:15 AM
I don't like the DT shifters because I have such a poor sense of balance. I'm only about 30 years older than she is. :p So I may just be projecting.

It may not be an issue for her at all. I'm sorta trying to get ready to answer any Qs she might have.

She has a MTB. I'm recruiting riding buddies.

I think the bike is about 5 years old +/-. I have the book that came with it at home also, which should be dated.


07-28-2006, 08:58 AM
The parts aren't that expensive but I'd let her try the downtube shifters first. It's a very personal choice. I have bar ends on one road bike and dislike them because I find it hard to shift the front der with my small hands. You don't get any more accurate or fast shifting with barcons over downtube and the cable is even longer so you may sacrifice some performance.


Unless you can do the labor yourself, you'd need to factor in the cost of an LBS doing the work.

Switching to STI could be exorbitantly expensive as you'd have to replace the dérailleurs and maybe even the cassette as the number of speeds comes into place. With friction, you can mix and match stuff a bit more.

07-28-2006, 11:19 AM
Thanks, SadieKate,

I suspect she'll either like 'em or not. If she wants to investigate a change, we'll call my mechanic who I believe has worked on this particular bike and should be able to tell us on the phone.

07-28-2006, 03:20 PM
I started riding in the late 80's - all we had was down tube shifters! So, they really aren't that bad! We are just all soooo spoiled. If that is what you get used to it's not hard at all and the shifting is really quick with DT.

Actually, it is probably a good thing to have and then you learn that you don't have to have a death grip on your bars! The bike isn't going anywhere unless you lean to the right or left - your butt steers your bike, not your hands!:)

07-28-2006, 07:25 PM
I miss DT shifters. I'm hoping to build-up a Soma frame, and I'd really like to put DT's on it. (and nice Soma small-hands brake levers)

They are clean and simple and mechanically elegant.