How stem shifter cables should look.

Feb 26, 2017
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Stem shifter cables, like all bike cables, follow the Goldilocks rule. If the housing is too short, you get a kink at one end. If the housing is too long, you get a kink at one end. If the housing is just the right length ...

Never a problem with down tube shifters.
stemshifters.jpg
dtshifters.jpg
 
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Stem shifter cables, like all bike cables, follow the Goldilocks rule. If the housing is too short, you get a kink at one end. If the housing is too long, you get a kink at one end. If the housing is just the right length ...

Never a problem with down tube shifters.
View attachment 110281 View attachment 110282
I prefer downtube shifters, but I have some bikes that only use stem shifters. I made this post for people on the internet who restore cheap 10 speeds and don't know what they are doing. This ends up in a shifter cable housing that is about 1 foot too short.
 
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I like to relocate them to a more ergonomic position.
Duchess:
Which do you consider more ergonomic, stem shifters or DT shifters? There are, admittedly, a number of variables related to body position on the bike.

Until I tried them, I thought DT shifters would be clumsy and uncomfortable. But now I find them handier than stem shifters. I rest my thumb on the top bar to steady my hand and use forefinger and middle finger to move the shift lever.
 
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Duchess:
Which do you consider more ergonomic, stem shifters or DT shifters? There are, admittedly, a number of variables related to body position on the bike.

Until I tried them, I thought DT shifters would be clumsy and uncomfortable. But now I find them handier than stem shifters. I rest my thumb on the top bar to steady my hand and use forefinger and middle finger to move the shift lever.
I've only used DT shifters once, but I definitely think they're better than stem shifters, which are my least favorite. For the stem shifters I relocated, I moved them to the handlebars.
 
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Working on this bike for my wife, she wants the drop bars replaced with traditional bars for a more upright seating position. Of course going to redo brake levers and cables, but she said she does not want the down tube shifter moved as she finds them "neat". :cool:
Her riding style is to pick a gear and stay in it, maybe because she has gotten derailleurs between gears and off cogs in the past and wants to avoid shifting difficulties on hills.
I don't know if she will feel the same way about down tube shifting after the drop bars go away. She does like riding "no hands" and has excellent balance so probably no big deal for her to reach for gears. I would change them out for a handlebar option myself. I have to admit the feel of the derailleurs shifting is incredible with such short cables.
 
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"Of course going to redo brake levers and cables, but she said she does not want the down tube shifter moved as she finds them 'neat'."

Horsefarmer:
Your wife will probably be fine with the DT shifters. They aren't really as far away as they look. Think about where water bottles get mounted on frames. And, one of the cool things about how we work on bikes is that she can try it out and if it needs some adjustment, you get to do it! Have fun.
 
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Working on this bike for my wife, she wants the drop bars replaced with traditional bars for a more upright seating position. Of course going to redo brake levers and cables, but she said she does not want the down tube shifter moved as she finds them "neat". :cool:
Her riding style is to pick a gear and stay in it, maybe because she has gotten derailleurs between gears and off cogs in the past and wants to avoid shifting difficulties on hills.
I don't know if she will feel the same way about down tube shifting after the drop bars go away. She does like riding "no hands" and has excellent balance so probably no big deal for her to reach for gears. I would change them out for a handlebar option myself. I have to admit the feel of the derailleurs shifting is incredible with such short cables.

Sounds like she might have been used to derailleurs with the limit stops set too wide. I always adjust them so that the chain can't go past the top or bottom cogs. I haven't really noticed it on friction bikes, but on some bikes with index shifters, I've seen that the derailleur limits aren't set and the shifter is relied upon as a limiter for chain movement, which I don't like as it's not as reliable a solution. Though, if she's trying to shift while really stomping on the pedals, that can do it, too. Either way, none of my bikes have been downtube shifters, but I liked the one I rode and I'd probably leave them—simple, direct, and elegant with no housing to deal with (except for that short piece at the back).
 
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I have used bar end shifters, second best to down tube as far as old design goes, in my opinion. They used to be popular in old school CX. I built a gravel bike using a Miyata road bike in about 1985 and used bar end shifters. I never got used to them for gravel or two track. The new brake lever shifters are my favorite.
 
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