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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:42 am 
Pumpy's Bear
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Location: Hereford
I've always been a sceptic of indexing, probably as my first experience was with the early years of 'click to shift' - a pain to set up and too sensitive to being knocked out of alignment. If friction shifting was good enough for Eddy and The Badger, it was damned well good enough for me! Stubbornly I stuck my head in the sand.

I've recently acquired a 1984 Mercian that is fitted with 9 speed Campag (Chorus Ergos, Record Racing Triple mechs and chainset). My initial thought was to swap out the Ergos for downtube shifters and sell off the parts to offset the cost of the bike. I'd had Dura Ace 8 speed STIs in the past and was not particularly impressed. However riding it offroad at the Wendover Bash as well as a couple of long rides in the past week has caused me to reconsider.

The 9 speed Ergos were certainly impressive - comfortable, reliable even with thick gloves and a rear mech and cassette full of mud and robust enough to cope with being in the back of the car over bumpy roads. Quality has clearly improved a lot in the past twenty years (surprise that!).

However I still have some reservations namely:

1) Compatability - I've always liked a mix and match approach to equipping my bikes but Ergos/STIs pretty much remove that (I know of Shimergoing - more info on the CTC website - but that really seems like a compromise). Good for the manufacturers, not so great for the consumer - try buying a bike with non index shifting!

2) Cost - Ergos/STIs are SERIOUS money; for example Dura Ace 7900 STIs RRP £440 :shock: (although they can be found for a 'mere' £320!). Go with aero levers and downtube shifters and save £250+!

3) Combining shifting and braking in one unit seems a compromise - go to a bike shop and see the STIs pointing heavenwards which is ok for shifting/riding on the hoods but pretty much rules out braking on the drops which you need if you really want to stop (and don't get me on the real compromise that sees angled up STIs and then cross top levers fitted so that braking is easy!). Set up the STIs for use in the drops and shifting is not so readily to hand. If you don't ride on the hoods then you have to move your hands to change gear - any different to moving them to a downtube or barend shifter?

I guess the bottom line is whether STIs/Ergos are really needed unless you are racing? Most people ride for enjoyment, to keep fit or as a form of transport (a simplification, there are often multiple reasons). Have more people started or continued cycling because of the ease and smoothness of shifting?

Ok, enough rambling on and revealing my Luddite approach, any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:48 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
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Location: Moomin Valley
I've had no probs with indexing as I've been using it on MTBs for the last 19 years and know what will work with what (whether Shimano say otherwise or not).

Being late to roadbikes, short arms, large frames mean its either bar end shifters or STi

So far I dont like Shimano STi. Tiagra STi at the bottom end is quite user friendly though.

I do like the early Campagnolo Ergo that I have.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:43 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: Lost in Translation
I've always been able to set up my Ergos to shift from the hoods or the hooks, and I don't think my hands are much bigger than the average.

I agree with most of your reservations, but for me there are two main advantages - shifting when honking, and shifting when off road. True, it's not often a big deal to sit down and shift, then stand up again, but it's nice to be able to shift from the hoods without breaking rhythm. Off road there are times when you really need both hands on the bar for control, and would stall without being able to grab a lower gear.

My favourite Shimpagnolo setup is Ergos with a Rapid Rise rear derailleur. That puts the downshift on the thumb button, making it easier to grab a few lower gears from the hoods. Upshifting becomes easier from the drops. It seems to make much more sense than the standard setup.

It would be nice to see something like a SunTour Command shifter - hood mounted - for modern indexing. I've got a set of Kelly Takeoffs, but I'm not thrilled by the ergonomics.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:10 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: A veritable floating palace
My thing has always been touring, and although I've had every system going, downtube shifters are what I always went back to.
They always work. Barend shifters are alright, but they scratch things, and it's more cable to catch on stuff.
As far as I'm concerned, STI/Ergo shifters are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:19 pm 
South East AEC
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I like Ergos. But on my touring bike (when it gets gears again) it will be down tube shifters, the racing bike will stay with Ergos.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:14 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: No brakes? Way to commit soldier.
Probably the single most impressive change I've made to a cycle was to remove the downtube shifters and fit STI on my racer. Personally I don't have a problem shifting/braking whether on the hoods or drops but maybe I'm built differently?

I can see that downtube shifting would be an advantage on a cross bike where the option to flick to friction may be required if you knock your mech or get covered in mud, but in all honesty, I've very rarely had a bike so knackered that it won't index or can't be made to index with a quick clean down and cablE adjustment.

I wouldn't use combined levers/shifters on an MTB.


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 Post subject: STI
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:00 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:03 pm
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Location: held captive by baby haggis in a cave in Scotland
I use Ultegra STI on both my Giant and Merckx racers. I have no issue with changing gear, either way or braking from any position and I have relatively small hands and use a 40cm ctc bar, ergo on the Giant and trad on the Merckx. I do have to move my hands slightly but nothing like the effort or concentration I would use for downtube shifters.
For my tourer that I'm planning on building I will use downtube shifters as its a more relaxed ride and no hurry.
STI on a racer is far superior as its quicker, slicker and you dont take your hands away from the bar, hence its safer.
I am all for retro, as we all are, otherwise I suppose we wouldnt be jioning in here. STI is an advancement/evolution of gear shifting on bicycles and in my opinion as far as a racer with drop bars is concerned its a massive improvement. I would in the context of retro builds use what was contempory at the time.

Jamie


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:07 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:42 pm
Posts: 783
Location: Brighton
STI on a road bike is brilliant.

I have index-shifting since 1987 and I've never had it stop working - the worst that has happened is needing a twist or two on the adjuster. I've had my mech hidden under a massive wodge of mud and still shift perfectly - even non-hyperglide 6-speed.

Changing gear with STI on a road bike is intuitive - and being able to brake and shift simultaneously is a major improvement.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:20 am 
The Guv'nor
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:lol: this old chestnut Ed.

STI/Ergo are great. For me at least it was as big a step forward on a bike as going from clips and straps to SPDs. When setup properly most people should be able to ride onthe hoods and shift comfortably and do likewise on the drops. Some of course run them crazy high for maximum comfort on the hoods.

One aesthetic problem is that STI / ergo units tend to sit higher on the bars than regular aero levers.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:02 am 
South East AEC
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John wrote:
One aesthetic problem is that STI / ergo units tend to sit higher on the bars than regular aero levers.


Never understood this, any idea why ?


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