Thorn Cycles Forum

Technical => Transmission => Topic started by: pondweed on September 29, 2017, 08:07:05 AM

Title: flat bar shifter options?
Post by: pondweed on September 29, 2017, 08:07:05 AM
I've presently got some low spec 9 speed rapidfire with Tiagra gear on the Sherpa and an LX rear derailleur. Makes sense to upgrade the shifters for better feel.

Looking through thru the big SJS catalogue, I see SJS say to make sure you consider '5 road options for the drivetrain with their flat bar shifter choices'.. which made me wonder whether there are two types of XT, as that is an option for present flat bars? Could there be indexing differences on road and MTB 9 speed gear?

Has anyone ditched brifters entirely and gone for the 9 speed thumbshifter option? I'd like to try but I doubt I'd find such secondhand. But I'm imagining XT or XTR are the necessary level to ensure good longevity and shifter feel.

Title: Re: flat bar shifter options?
Post by: lewis noble on September 29, 2017, 05:29:46 PM
Hello! My Ripio had 9 sp brifter set-up, Deore brifters and LX changer at the rear. This worked fine, but for some years I have had thumb joint issues, general wear and tear and an old injury, and pushing the changer away for larger sprockets (often in a hurry in that direction) was painful on a long ride.   After a while, I ended up having to push the lever with the heel of the hand.

So, I changed to 9 sp Dura Ace thumbies, supplied by sjsc. This also required new brake levers of course!  This certainly resolved the pain and discomfort, though I do not think it is quite as easy to use, involving more hand movement off the bar ends / grips.  The thumbies work very well functionally, never seem to need adjusting, not much to go wrong, so I think Thorn are right to suggest them for long distance tourers.

The components were swapped over to my Sherpa 2 years ago when I bought a Sherpa frame, and sold on the Ripio frame / forks.

I now have an XT cassette (11 - 34) with the original LX changer, and it all works very well with no problems.

I often wonder if some of the newer brifters would be easier on the thumbs than the older ones, but I have no plans to change, and appreciate the functionality of the Dura Ace thumbies.

My main concern over this set-up is the long term availability of a choice of good quality components - 9 sp kit is gradually going down the quality range, it seems to me, and in my experience Deore / XT grades of kit work very well.  I wonder about getting a spare cassette now to keep things going in future.


Title: Re: flat bar shifter options?
Post by: lewis noble on September 29, 2017, 05:31:49 PM
Me again . . . cannot really comment on interchangeability of road / mtb kit . . . .don't know the answer to that one.  I'm sure someone will post a reply.

Title: Re: flat bar shifter options?
Post by: mickeg on September 29, 2017, 08:20:21 PM
I believe that 9 speed (Shimano) is the last version of their progression where road and mountain share the same cable pull for both mountain and road.  With 10 or more, mountain and road lose their interchangeability.  More here.

I am still using 8 speed and I have no trouble buying cassettes, chains, etc.  There are so many bikes out there that use 9 speed that I am sure you will have no trouble buying expendables for many years to come.  Shifters and derailleurs, there I am less confident.  New 9 speed parts (other than brifters) I am sure will be available for a long time, but the higher end parts might disappear.  But, I have 8/9 speed derailleurs that are from the 90s that are still going strong (Shiman XT M739 vintage), and several of my 8 speed bar end shifters are over a decade old.  I do have one spare set of eight speed downtube shifters that I can convert to bar ends.  I also have a spare XT rear derailleur M739 in case I need it later.

A friend of mine, his 9 speed Shimano brifters finally gave out a month before he was going to start a three month tour this past spring.  He was unable to find new ones and he did not have a lot of time to search.  He tried one of my bikes with bar ends and decided to switch to bar ends for his tour, in part due to their reputation for reliability.

If you want to upgrade flat bar 9 speed shifters, do not rule out Paul Thumbies.  I never used them but I hear they are quite popular for mounting bar end shifters onto flat bars.  But Shimano bar end shifters use friction for the front so if you have a triple and want an indexed front, these might not be what you want.

Title: Re: flat bar shifter options?
Post by: pondweed on October 01, 2017, 09:32:48 AM
Thanks all

the paul thumbies are interesting.. but a real cost if you cant find them secondhand! The SJS kit new then becomes better value, almost.

If I come across a second hand Dura Ace kit then I may try them, as I do have separate XTR levers to the current pods.

But  hoping I can find some s/h XTR or XT changer pods for 30 or 40 quid ideally. I'm not sure if I want to lose that functionality when I'm wanting the Sherpa to become my only bike, convertible with a set of wheels and removal of mudguards...