Down tube shifter deviancy

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  • I've just had a bike built that's based around a set of Dura-Ace 9 speed shifters.

    So is anyone else using down tube shifting?

    Jan Heine says it's the next big thing.

  • One Cross Check and one Disc Trucker in our household. Each running 1 x 8 with a single indexed downtube shifter. Hard to beat from a simplicity standpoint TBH.

  • I 'll be running a 9 speed with a 48/33 chain set and rim brakes...

  • Most of my bikes now have downtube shifter (6,7 and 9 speed) and there is much to be said for them; simplicity, light weight, minimal friction and minimal cable play.
    I was surprised to see Shimano, lover of innovation for its own sake, produces ten speed downtube shifters. Some people seem to think it is difficult to use downtube shifters, but if you have learned to ride a bike it shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

  • single indexed downtube shifter. Hard to beat from a simplicity standpoint

    friction!

    (yeah, like a builder’s transistor radio irritatingly set to slightly off-station, but I find the constant kkkrkkrrkkrrrrr!! sound comforting)

  • So is anyone else using down tube shifting?

    Not at the moment, but I have a set of Dura Ace 10-speed shifters which are compatible with my other kit. I do like brifters, but I learned gears on bikes with downtube shifters so I'm used to reaching down to shift. I've planned to stay with 10-speed so I can maintain some kind of parts legacy that will be cross-compatible with whatever bikes I build. So that's whether it's with brifters or downtube, but technically any of the old Shimano derailleurs could be used with a 10-speed block and it would all look completely classic.

  • I religiously use friction shifters but always go for a thumb shifter, not downtube. If you use a left hand shifter on the right hand side it a pretty clean, easy to use solution that sits under the bar instead of on-top. You do have to be running flat bars though.

  • Ah, I have a pair of Suntour friction thumb shifters; they must be nearly 30 years old.

    Yes , I did once try the upside down method but was unimpressed by it.

  • If you use a left hand shifter on the right hand side it a pretty clean, easy to use solution that sits under the bar instead of on-top

    I am impressed with the simplicity of this 'hack'.

    I've just got rid of my only DT shifter setup, but very much into friction thumbies. Still got a few pairs of DT knocking about though, including the magic Simplex ones, that I guess I'll rock at some point.

  • I had Campagnolo C-Record RR downtube shifters on my old Steve Goff.
    Ergopowers would have been more useful but they were just too pretty to remove.

  • I tried downtube shifters on my Midnight Special. I really enjoyed it but ultimately switched to brifters for more…“spirited riding”. It’s a 10 speed set-up.

    I wouldn’t use DT shifters for anything above 9 speed as the benefit of more gears is tweaking cadence, and this requires many trips to the downtube on a 10 speed bike. With fewer gears, I find myself adjusting my effort for the gear rather than adjusting the gear for my cadence. IYKWIM.

    Anyway, I have a pair of Dia Compe micro-ratchet DT shifters for sale now. Looking for £30 as they’re in great nick.


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  • Nice! This sounds ideal.

    I have a set of SL-BS77s still in their bar-end state (and I already use a BS77 for a 1xN thumbie in the friction setting), but I think the l/h of the pair is indexed - at least, there’s a click in the middle.

    Do left hand friction shifters have the range to pull a derailleur across a 9/10 speed cassette?

  • 10 speed down tube (indexed, cos 10 speed friction seems stupid) on my slow bike. I mostly find myself shifting two gears at a time so could happily live with fewer.

    I love the fact that downtube/ bar ends/ thumbies mean that you can throw caution to the wind and mismatch components in a way that modern groupsets don’t really allow.

    Still on modern brifters on my road bike though and I’m not sure I see that changing.


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  • I run 9 speed fine. Pretty sure you could do 10 or 11.


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  • 11-speed...


  • I was thinking about 10 speed as I had many of the parts but reading up about running friction it seemed that 10 speed might be a cog too far , besides I d already been running a 9 speed set up with bar ends on a Kaffenback.
    Any way the bike is being collected tomorrow, let's see how it works

  • 10 speed is fine. I use 10 speed friction shifter and love it. After a few rides you just know where the gears are.

  • I borrowed the pump at Spitalfield Rapha the other day, shop person who came outside to talk to me (keep an eye on me) had to ask me what they (the DT shifters) were for. I felt old.

  • Bar end is where I draw the line; I need to browse some more Scoble threads for DT shifters.

  • I'm sure I read somewhere that with friction shifters, the more gears the merrier as it means you are more likely to land in a gear, it just might not be the gear you were really after.

    I'm reading this thread with envy, the only geared bike in my stable is an Omnium style cargo bike (I'm currently building the mark2 frame) so the downtube is waaay too far away to put a shifter on.

    Top tube shifter would be stupid right?

  • With fewer gears, I find myself adjusting my effort for the gear rather than adjusting the gear for my cadence. IYKWIM.

    IDKEWYM. I've been riding an old 10 speed (2x5) recently with quite a wide block on the back (14-30 or some such), for the most part I think of it like riding a series of singlespeeds that I change between pretty sparingly. It's quite good for getting my lazy arse off the saddle.

  • Subscribed. I am a fan of downtube shifters.

  • Fight back against groupset tyranny - friction shifters FTW!!!

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Down tube shifter deviancy

Posted by Avatar for Peter_Carter @Peter_Carter

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