|Go Johnny Go: shift cable exit left|
Upper nineties and low humidity is just about perfect for me. All sign of aches and pains cook away, and provided enough water, I can find that well-tuned balance of cadence, gear, and position that feels like I could ride a long, long time. But a key component of that feeling is confidence in the equipment. Nothing supports that sort of confidence like easy, swift, sure, accurate shifts.
In the latest issue of Bicycle Quarterly, they discuss the pros and cons of different types of shifters, from bar end, to down tube, to brifters. I'm in general agreement with what is written there. Eventually I may switch to Dura-ace down tube shifters on this bike, because as far as I know, nothing else is as swift, sure, and accurate, and they also are very simple, which I also appreciate. They might be fussy with a ten-speed cog and/or a triple chain ring, though, so I may have to look into those possible issues further.
But one minor distinction I want to make is that the brifters on my bicycle are the slightly older Ultegra type where the shift cable exits from the side, allowing a gradual, single ninety degree bend down to the cable boss. With this arrangement, I find that the shifts are almost without delay, and very crisp. This differs somewhat from what they state in BQ, perhaps because they were referring to newer Shimano brifters with the "aero" stealth shifter cables hidden beneath the bar tape, which do look sleeker than mine, but cause the shift cable to bend around and get impeded much more than mine do, resulting in perceived delay and increased friction.
Since I ride most of the time with my hands loosely on the hoods, I also find the brifters super convenient. A few times I pretend-shifted my non-existent down tube shifters from various starting hand positions. All were pretty comfortable, but none were as easy as a quick flick of the appropriate finger or thumb that I use to shift or trim with the brifters. For easy summer riding, they seem tough to beat. Except for the fixie. For flatland summer cruising, nothing beats that.
|Possible future location of Dura-ace down tube shifters|