Bar end shifters

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Danny, 6 Feb 2008.

  1. Danny

    Danny Legendary Member

    Are there any advantages to bar end shifters which are still often supplied with some touring bikes?

    Are they just cheaper than STI changers, or do they work better with the dérailleurs that are used for touring?
  2. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I have them on my bike but that is only because my bike has V Brakes and so I had to buy DiaCompe brake levers. I have Dura Ace ten speeds, they do work very well, the advantage for touring though is that there is nothing to really go wrong with them, you can even turn the indexing off on the rear shifter so that they are both just friction shifters.
  3. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Could you explain what this means to me? ...apologies I'm just a mere cycledork
  4. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    The indexing makes them click into each gear, you can turn that off and then they kind of turn from digital to analogue if that makes sense. :smile:
  5. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    They are robust and less likely to break/fail than STI levers. If indexing on bar ends fail then they can be swapped over to friction setting allwing the gears to be selected 'by feel'. Bar end changers enforce a relaxed gear change operation whereas STI levers are better suited to being on the drops and mixing it in race mode. A simplistic differentiation I know but it might do.


    I enjoy using the STIs on my road bike and attempt to use phantom bar end changers on it for the first few miles. Equally I try to change gear with my brake levers on my Galaxy if I've spent some time on my road bike beforehand. I'm equally happy with both types of gear change.
  6. andrew_s

    andrew_s Guru

    It's not so much that they are more resistant to damage than STI shifters (tho' they are), but that the ability to turn the indexing off means that you can still use all your gears when there's damage that makes indexing not work, most likely a bent gear hanger after a crash, or airline damage.

    Other advantages:
    You can tell what gear you are in in the dark
    You are less prone to numbness or tingling in the hands (ie nerve damage) as you move your hands about more. With STIs there's a tendency to ride for long periods on the lever hoods.
  7. Tony

    Tony New Member

    For the benefits of the Bonjine amonst us, there are times when you can be rather a long way from a bike mechanic. As has been said, the ability to run unindexed is great, in the same vein as being able to get a steel frame repaired.
    Vernon....I know exactly what you mean. Galaxy, and Allez Sport, and my hands are always going to the wrong place
  8. Everyone else has already made the points I wanted to make.:blush:
    But I'll make them anyway. Turning the indexing off can be useful, and not having to look down at your derailleurs just to see what gear you're in - you can do it by feel with bar end shifters - is very handy. I'd never have anything else on a tourer (except possibly down tube levers). But the STIs on my Cannondale are great.
  9. User482

    User482 Guest

    I much prefer the ergonomics of STIs. But if was going touring in really remote places, I'd still fit bar end shifters, or at least keep a set in the pannier.

    I actually have Dura Ace bar end shifters on my MTB - they have a special bracket that allows them to be used as a normal thumbshifter. They've been very reliable, and are nice and light too.
  10. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    I think the reliability issues are overstated. I have two bikes with STI type levers and over many thousands of miles they have never gone wrong. Getting bar end levers for reliability is like getting a car with a starting handle to avoid the starter motor going wrong.

    As for being easier to fettle after airline damage, they are very susceptible to airline damage as they stick out
  11. I did have a car with a starting handle for a while (Citroen 2CV, since you ask). It's surprising how often it was useful, especially in winter when the battery went flat.
  12. Bar-end shifters have a lot going for them; they are lighter, mechanically less complex and loads cheaper. STIs do fail, Ive witnessed it with my own eyes I tells thee. Bar-end shifters are more reliable and thats a fact.
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