What are the nicest 10-speed levers?

Pierre

Retro Guru
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Just interested in people's opinions, really.

Bit of a long story, but basically my wife's road bike is 10-speed, my road bike that sits on the turbo trainer is 10-speed and we fitted 10-speed shifter and cassette to my son's Islabike so he can play on Zwift during lockdown too, so I'm keeping my road bike 10-speed for now to save turbo-trainer faff.

It's got 6700 Ultegra levers and they're... not great. Shimano's early attempts at keeping the cable routing underneath the bar tape meant added friction and not-wonderful shifting.

I'm debating trying to find some 7800 / 7801 Dura Ace levers but remembered Campagnolo 10-speed levers can be made to work with a Shimano rear mech - I'd need a JTek Shiftmate 3 in this case.

So, before I go on the hunt for some 7801s in good condition, what does anyone else think?
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
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Personally having 10-speed 5700 (I think) 105 on the crosser and round-top (second generation) ergos on the road bikes, it's Ergos. I don't like the Shimano as they are too fat, and the brake lever pivot is in a different place - the levers move round and down under braking. The Campag lever pivot is far further forward and the brake lever action feels more right - like a conventional non-ergo brake lever.

I'm sure it's something that you get accustomed to, but Campag all the way for me. The Shimano ones have a habit of eating cables too. Did I also mention that many Campag levers are rebuildable, unlike Shimano?
 

Pierre

Retro Guru
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The rebuildability of Campag 10-speed is one of the things that made me think it was worth the slight faff of fitting the Shiftmate. And being able to shift several gears in one go in both directions...
 

pigman

Senior Retro Guru
Re:

agreed on the extra friction and fatness of hoods on the 5700/6700.

DA 7800's are now starting to get expensive, the 6600 ultegras aren't finished as well and often get surface crazing making them aesthetically unappealing, but once in use feel no different to 7800's. for a zwifter, where gallons of sweat will prevail, they'll do.

then there's 10 speed downtube shifters, but at around £60, they're not that cheap (I think they only do Dura Ace level)
 

Jonny69

Senior Retro Guru
I’ve got 5700 and 10-speed Rival. I like the Rival a lot but I prefer the way you can downshift while braking with Shimano even though they don’t feel as ‘nice’. It’s particularly good when you have to deal with a lot of traffic lights. Can’t comment on Campag because I haven’t tried it.

The Dura Ace 10-speed dt shifters work really well.
 
Re:

Maybe not one for the snobs but in from the left field is the Tiagra 4700’s had them on a couple of bikes and the shifting is way better than the 5700’s.
Not quite as light and crisp as Ultegra but really reliable and benefit from the trickledown tech of the 11 speed kit.
Although the pull ratios are a bit different (in line with the 11 speed stuff) so they may need a shift mate to work with the older SIS ratio mechs
 

BigFoz

Retro Guru
Nicest 10 speed levers are Record, without a doubt. Also reliable, robust and rebuildable. Won't work with ShimaNO though. I've tried running a J-Tek to convert a MTB setup to Ergo shifters for a gravel bike. It's ok, but you lose crispness in the shift and can be a faff to set up.
 

pigman

Senior Retro Guru
BigFoz":3m9gs1y8 said:
Nicest 10 speed levers are Record, without a doubt. Also reliable, robust and rebuildable. Won't work with ShimaNO though. I've tried running a J-Tek to convert a MTB setup to Ergo shifters for a gravel bike. It's ok, but you lose crispness in the shift and can be a faff to set up.
I agree, it's not easy to use with a shimano 10 speed back end, but if number of cogs isn't too important, they will work perfectly with no intervention needed on a shimano 8 speed set up and with a small cable clamping difference will work a shimano 9 speed back end
 
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