New bike - How do STI shifters work?

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Shaun, 22 Aug 2007.

  1. Shaun

    Shaun Founder Moderator

    Hi all,

    I've ordered a new bike that has STI shifters, but don't know how they work?

    Are they part of the brake lever?

  2. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    How do STI levers work?

    May I be first with the standard Campag owners retort: "Not very well".

    Having set that particualr bush fire ablaze, I'll try and bit a little more helpful.

    Yes the gears and brakes are in a combined unit. In the UK on the right you have front bake, rear changer and on the left, rear brake and front changer.

    You 'swing' the whole unit in to move the corresponding changer towards a bigger chain wheel, while the inner lever is again pushed inwards to drop the changer down one size.

    So on the front STI the main movement is changing into a bigger gear, whereas the same movement on the rear STI is selecting a smaller gear.
  3. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Don't sweat it, they are totally intuitive to use, it will take you all of three seconds to learn even if you are incredibly dull like me.
  4. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    you'll never go back to down tube levers i promise
  5. simon_adams_uk

    simon_adams_uk Veteran

    SW London
    STI shifters move in two separate axes:
    - the traditional 'toward you' / 'away from you' axis for braking; and
    - a left / right axis for changing gear.

    The STI unit allows movement in both axes at the same time so you can simultaneously change gear and brake. For instance you could at the same time:
    - change from big ring to little ring at the front;
    - rear brake;
    - change down a couple of sprockets at the back; and
    - front brake.

    The STI shifter has a standard main lever that actuates the brakes and shifts in one direction. There is a secondary shift lever (kind of parallel to the main one) that changes in the opposite direction. The exact format depends on Tiagra, Ultegra, etc.

  6. Peyote

    Peyote New Member

    Ha ha, you'd think that wouldn't you? I must be in the far left hand corner of the bell-shaped IQ curve 'cos when I first got my road bike I figured out how to change up a gear straightaway, but spent the following half an hour trying to pedal in top gear because I couldn't figure out how to change down!

    Shame wouldn't let me return to the shop and ask them either!

  7. Peyote

    Peyote New Member

    PS - Shaun, I'm sure you'll be fine with the advice already posted, my experience was my own making!
  8. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Blimey Shaun, You haven't been downtubing it up to now, have you? Integrated shifters are the biggest single improvement to cycles in the forty years I've been riding. I'd never go back.
  9. OP

    Shaun Founder Moderator

    Nope, just that my Sirrus is flat-barred and has the finger-and-thumb indexed shifters. :biggrin:
  10. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Well your present 'thumb lever' is replaced with pushing the whole STI unit inwards, and the your current 'finger trigger' is replaced by clicking the inner lever inwards.

    Bish Bosh.
  11. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    Others have explained what to do so all I will say is you made the right choice whatever Tim may say;)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  12. OP

    Shaun Founder Moderator

    Popped into the LBS to check out the bike on Saturday, and whilst I had rought idea of how they worked from all your descriptions, it was enlightening to actually flick the levers and see it in action.

    I've got to say, I expected to have to put far more pressure on the levers to change gears; but then I take it Ultegra kit is pretty smooth and light in operation anyway? (haven't actually ridden it yet, just drooled over it!) :ohmy:
  13. rustychisel

    rustychisel Well-Known Member

    & may I be the first to say, Admin, how nice it is you started up this forum so you could benefit from the vast accumulated knowledge and wisdom... welcome.
  14. topcat1

    topcat1 vintage Mercian 2012

  15. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    Anyone with a brain knows STi's work ten times better and more logically than Campagnolo Ergo :biggrin:

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