Forum home Road cycling forum Workshop

Bar ends shifters versus STIs

Steve ISteve I Posts: 428
edited January 2008 in Workshop
Riding off road, I crashed my cross bike recently and although the right shifter still works, it's badly scratched and looks naff. Fortunately, it was only a Sora sti and I was considering upgrading to 9 speed anyway as I've got a few spare chains and cassettes. The cross bike seems to encourage a "get stuck in" attitude and I don't think that'll be the last crash. I don't fancy trashing a new pair of Tiagra shifters as these cost nearly a ton and I'm considering bar end shifters. I can get a pair of these for £35 with brake levers costing a further a tenner.

I've used mtb sti's, down tube shifters and, of course, road sti's, but never bar end shifters. I can honestly say that I spend more time on the tops and bends of the bars than I do on the hoods. Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this.


  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Before STI's / Ergos that was what crossers typically used
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • My advice is to stick with STIs. My second-hand cyclocross bike has bar end shifters and, although they work fine, they are not as convenient as STIs, particularly in races or on technical off-road sections. If the STI shifter is merely scratched but in good working order, what is the point in replacing it? I would wait for it to wear out before upgrading or getting another one. The idea that STI levers are too easily damaged was one of the reasons why many were sceptical about them in the beginning, but they not as fragile as some people make out.

    If you ride in a manner that causes you to fall off regularly, you risking injuring yourself and that's a much bigger problem than a scratched bike!
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114

    BE shifters are clunky. Okay for TTs on aero bars but nowhere near as good to use as stis on drops.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • geoff_ssgeoff_ss Posts: 1,234
    A friend of mine, who was a very successful racer (road race and TT) as well as a general all-round mile eater, always had bar end shifters; though that was before indexed gearing when the only option was d/t shifters. I never found them very convenient and could never remember which way to move the bloomin' things but I suppose that was only because I didn't use them very long or often.

    If your STIs still work even though scratched I would have thought it worth sticking with then until another tumble finishes them off completely.

    Old cyclists never die; they just fit smaller chainrings ... and pedal faster
  • jkmjkm Posts: 80
    One of the good reasons that bar end shifters were popular on touring & cross bikes is because you could set them to non indexed shifting (friction only) as well as SIS so that if you took a big knock or damaged the gearing these would stand a much better chance of getting you home.
  • Steve ISteve I Posts: 428
    Thanks very much for the replies. I've ordered a set of bar cons to try. I can leave the STI's in place to use as brake levers only, so If I don't like the bar cons I can switch back reasonably easily without touching the bar tape (worst job on a bike). The bar cons are £36 and if I don't like them they should fetch £15 on ebay, not exactly going to break the bank.

    Spare tyre, thanks for your concern re getting injured. I think I gave the wrong idea that I'm riding recklessly, I'm not. What I meant was having a go at technical bits like muddy slopes and rough terrain etc. These are usually relatively slow speed attempts and if you fall off you usually just make a bit of a fool of yourself and get covered in muck. I've fallen off when mountain biking on numerous occasions and not hurt myself seriously.
Sign In or Register to comment.