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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889

    Bar end shifters vs integrated brake/shifters

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    Are "brifters" integrated brake/shifters? This is my assumption. What is the advantage of bar end shifters over integrated brake/shifters? How do you switch between braking and shifting?

    I am contemplating purchase of a Surly LHT in a couple of months and am looking at the stock components and considering if I want to change anything. The bar-end shifters do have me a little nervous (as it did for the Fargo). As a new rider that seems a long way to move my arm to shift.

    So what are the advantages, or is it simply a different way to do the same thing? Of course, I have only ridden Stella, and she has mountain bike trigger shifters.

    The more I look at the Surly, the more impressed I am by them and especially the Long Haul Trucker

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    western Colorado
    Posts
    442
    Yes, "brifters" are the integrated brakes/shifters. They are very nice and usually work very well. I have them on my road bikes.

    Most people do not prefer them on touring bikes. On a touring bike you want something that is simple and can be fixed out on the road, if need be. If brifters happen to stop functioning out in the middle of nowhere, they lock up in one gear. You might not be able to fix them or find a replacement for them while on tour.

    Bar end shifters work by pulling on the cable to the derailleur. It's simple and if it breaks, it's easy to fix. They will also work with any type of derailleur, brifters are more picky.

    I have bar end shifters on my LHT, but I moved them up to the handlebars. Nifty.



    I got some little devices called Pauls Thumbies that fit on the handlebar and the bar end shifters attach on to them. I also have cyclocross brake levers on the top of my bars too so I can shift and brake from the top of the bars. It all works great. The Pauls Thumbies are expensive though - $50. The Boy is quite the bike mechanic and set up all this stuff for me. A good bike shop should be able to do this too.

    Here is my LHT on a tour in 2008:

    Specialized Ruby
    Gunnar Sport
    Salsa Vaya Ti
    Novara Randonee x2
    Motobecane Fantom CXX (Surly Crosscheck)
    Jamis Dragon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    western Colorado
    Posts
    442
    Also, I have been riding Surly frames for the past 5 years. They are not light and fast bikes, but I've been very impressed with the ride quality and durability of these frames.
    Specialized Ruby
    Gunnar Sport
    Salsa Vaya Ti
    Novara Randonee x2
    Motobecane Fantom CXX (Surly Crosscheck)
    Jamis Dragon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    Quote Originally Posted by surlypacer View Post

    Here is my LHT on a tour in 2008:
    Now that is a beautiful and hard-working bike! Thanks also for the information, I understand the attraction of bar end shifters now. It is also good to hear that they can be moved, I like the idea of their being much closer to the brakes

    Thanks for the great information!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,324
    I've only used bar end shifters.



    It's really not that hard to take your hand off the bar to shift - less complicated and time consuming than getting a water bottle out of the cage and taking a drink.

    Why do you need the shifters close to the brakes? You're not going to do both at the same time are you?

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
    I've only used bar end shifters.

    Why do you need the shifters close to the brakes? You're not going to do both at the same time are you?

    Veronica
    LOL, Stella (Trek 7.6) has flat bars and trigger shifters. The trigger shifters are only about an inch or so from my brake levers - so all I have to do is move my fingers a little to go from one to the other. For a novice cyclist this is very comforting

    Speaking of water bottles, right now I am just stopping the bike to take a drink

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    lost in my own thoughts
    Posts
    301
    Bar ends are the bomb. Most of the time on my 520 (which has bar ends) I don't need to shift that often (I live in a very hilly part of my state) so moving to the shifters isn't a problem. Even most novices pick them up pretty quickly. I find them elegant and simple (two things I adore). Brifters have a gajillion parts and if they break you replace the whole expensive set-up. Bar ends are just a few parts and if they break are relatively inexpensive to replace (if not fix.) The thing I worry about most is braking not shifting. People have pulled out in front of me, turned in front of me, ran stop signs, and darn near killed me. Thank god for quick reflexes! I want some cyclo-cross style levers on top of the bars of my 520 now. My Aurora has em' but god I wish she had bar ends.
    "Things look different from the seat of a bike carrying a sleeping bag with a cold beer tucked inside." ~Jim Malusa
    2009 Trek 520-Brooks B-17 Special in Antique Brown
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker-Brooks B-17 Standard in Black
    1983 Fuji Espree Single Speed-Brooks B17 British Racing Green

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,556
    I'm another fan of bars ends. Switched to them from downtube shiftera a couple years ago. If you practice riding in the drops, you'll find the bar ends extremely convenient.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    I'm another bar end lover. I do have one bike with brifters, but when those break, she will have bar ends too. I like that you can trim the front indefinitely, and can tell by feel where you are in your range. They also just work - not fiddley to adjust, and seemingly bullet proof (or nearly).
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,557
    Looooove my bar end shifters.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

 

 

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