Levers Of Energy – Bike Snob NYC


Of the numerous unlucky elements of this weblog, one of the unlucky ones for you, the reader, is that you just’re compelled to listen to about no matter I’m obsessive about in the mean time–which, for now, is the cosmetically-upgraded Milwaukee:

Hey, you’re fortunate it’s distracting me from the Softride:

But it surely’ll be again, you could be positive of that.

Anyway, with regard to my most up-to-date obsession, one sub-fixation–or frictation–has been the downtube friction shifters with which I just lately fitted it:

Go forward and say that final sentence ten occasions quick.

Friction shifting has unfold by my bicycles just like the poison ivy from which I’m at present struggling has unfold throughout my calves and shins, and at present virtually each bicycle I personal is provided with it:

  • Milwaukee: YES
  • Normcore Trek: YES
  • Homer: YES
  • Platypus: YES
  • Eye of the Tiger Bike: YES
  • Jones LWB: YES
  • Artisanal Engin Singlespeed: NO, as a result of SINGLESPEED
  • Faggin: YES
  • Titanium Litespeed Without end Bike: NO, although at current it’s my elder son’s bike till such time as I elect to reappropriate it

There could also be different bikes I’m forgetting.

Oh yeah, the Softride!

Instructed you it might be again.

As for why I’ve gone over to friction virtually solely, I’ll spare you the whys and wherefores, as a result of I’m not making an attempt to persuade you of something and I don’t actually care the way you shift your bike. Use friction, use the fashionable bar-mounted hand computer systems they’re hawking now, push your chain to the following cog with a stick…it’s not my drawback. I feel it’s enjoyable to make use of, it feels good, it eliminates plenty of compatibility points, and as a tinkerer I discover it enjoyable and easy to arrange, plus it opens up extra choices with regard to shifter placement. (I assume I simply gave you the whys and wherefores in spite of everything.) However chances are you’ll suppose friction is annoying and silly and you already know what? You’re entitled to your opinion, even when your opinion is completely improper.

No, the rationale I deliver this up is as a result of in the event you do occur to be excited about friction shifting and also you analysis it on these Internets, you’re going to return throughout sure “data” that’s improper. So I’m penning this for the good thing about any of you wayward net surfers who could have washed up right here after going adrift within the algorithms.

To make certain, there may be beneficial data to be present in boards and so forth with regard to bicycles. Nevertheless, I’d say 45% of what you’ll learn is whole crap. It’s because plenty of it’s generated by individuals who have been using bikes lengthy sufficient to suppose they know what they’re speaking about however not almost lengthy sufficient to have the slightest concept of they’re speaking about. These are the individuals who say stuff like, “105 is ok, however you want at the very least Ultegra for racing.” Don’t fear, it’s all the identical stuff. They’re not doing inspections in the beginning line, you’ll be simply superb.

Anyway, one persistent little bit of misguided “knowledge” with regard to friction shifting is that you just shouldn’t apply it to 10-speed and up as a result of like every thing’s too shut collectively or one thing and it gained’t work very properly or it is going to be laborious to get in gear or no matter–which, I can let you know as an operator of a 10-speed friction system, is actually not the case:

Nevertheless, I do know why folks suppose this, and in reality I used to suppose it myself. However now I consider that it actually relies on the shifter. Think about this Dura Ace bar finish shifter:

For awhile I used to be utilizing it on the Platypus:

And earlier than that I had it on my outdated journey bike that I now not have:

And sure, THAT’S A GRAVEL BIKE BEFORE THERE WAS GRAVEL, I used to be completely forward of the curve.

In any case, that shifter is not any extraordinary shifter–it’s a uncommon 10-speed index Shimano shifter with a friction mode. After incorporating a friction mode into their downtube and bar-end shifters for one thing like 1 / 4 of a century they lastly dropped it throughout the 10-speed period, however I managed to get a pair of what should have been the final run of shifters to incorporate it. Nevertheless, what I discovered was that in friction mode it was sort of tough to get into the best gear, and due to this fact I concluded that–as many others have claimed–10 gears is just too many for a friction setup, and that you just wanted the detents for it to work proper. So I simply left it in index mode and that was that, till I finally stripped down the bike and consigned the shifters to the components bin.

I then dug the shifters out once more for the Platypus, and I stored them in friction mode as a result of they’re listed for 10-speed and I used to be utilizing a 9-speed cassette. Additionally, Rivendell state fairly clearly that utilizing index shifting on their frames voids the guarantee and doing so could trigger them to blow up:

After I first put in the shifters, I figured they’d work higher with the 9-speed cassette, since I used to be utilizing a friction shifter on my different Rivendell which additionally had a 9-speed cassette, and it labored completely. Additionally, 9 was lower than 10 and fewer cogs means higher friction shifting, proper? However the truth is the shifter nonetheless felt kinda not nice, identical to it had on the 10-speed bike. Furthermore, once I put a Silver2 shifter on the Platypus the shifting improved. Not solely that, however I additionally put one other Silver2 shifter on my Jones–which has a whopping TWELVE FREAKING SPEEDS–and that works nice too:

Now in the event you’re a wayward Web surfer please keep in mind I’m not telling you to make use of a Silver2 shifter on a SRAM Eagle drivetrain, as a result of it’s important to use just about the shifter’s total vary of movement to get from one finish of the cassette to the opposite and a few folks won’t discover that acceptable, particularly in the event that they’ve received smaller palms. Right here it’s within the highest gear:

And right here it’s within the lowest gear:

I imply in the event you’re cool with that then go for it, but it surely’s not optimum. I additionally as soon as tried a Silver downtube shifter with an older SRAM derailleur, and the factor additionally needed to do like a whole 180 to shift into the bottom gear, and whereas I don’t significantly thoughts that on a thumb shifter, I don’t think about it acceptable on a downtube shifter. So to avoid wasting you from all this hassle, Rivendell merely says they’re not appropriate with SRAM derailleurs, which is truthful sufficient.

However that’s not the purpose. The purpose is, vary of movement however, I’ve no drawback really discovering a gear (the truth is it’s significantly better than all the click it’s important to do on a 1x 12-speed drivetrain with a set off shifter), which is what I imply by “works nice.” In different phrases, with the Silver shifters, whether or not it’s the 8-speed cassette on the Eye of the Tiger Bike, or the 9-speed cassette on my Platypus, or the 10-speed cassette on the Milwaukee, and even the 12-speed on the Jones, the variety of cogs doesn’t have any considerable impact on how properly or poorly it shifts. On all these bikes it shifts completely until I fuck up the shift, it’s that easy.

If you consider it, this makes excellent sense. Frequent Web knowledge could maintain that the extra cogs you add the much less correct friction shifting is, and that you just want the indexing to nail a gear. However the truth is, when you might have extra cogs and so they’re nearer collectively, it’s more likely you’ll land on one, and there’s lots much less house in between them for the chain to run tough or nosily or skip as a result of it’s not fairly in gear–particularly since any 10-speed cassette and chain goes to have all the fashionable tooth shaping and shifting enhancements and all the remainder of it to assist it alongside. Merely put, there are such a lot of cogs and so little house between them that the percentages are in your favor. If a downtube shifter have been a slot machine and it paid out everytime you landed on a gear, would you play the one with fewer cogs, or with extra cogs? The one actual drawback is that as a result of fashionable stuff runs so quietly–even once you’re not fairly in gear–that it might probably sometimes lull you right into a false sense of safety, and chances are you’ll suppose you’re absolutely in gear solely to begin pedaling laborious and discover out you’re not. (In the meantime with an outdated freewheel you’ll be able to make certain that if it’s not chattering and clattering that you just’re solidly in gear, although it requires extra fiddling) However even then, it’s not terribly jarring, and can often simply ghost-shift you into the following gear.

However finally all that relies on the shifter. The Shimano shifters I’ve used are kinda notchy in friction mode; they’re nice as a result of they don’t slip and so they don’t require you to fuss with a thumb screw and discover the candy spot in between the place they slip and the place they bind–you simply bolt them on and so they’re good. On the identical time, they don’t really feel almost as correct because the Silver shifters, that are a lot smoother and consequently make it simpler to fine-tune your derailleur place as you journey, and that is what appears to be the actual key to a very good friction-on-a-modern-drivetrain setup. I’m positive there are a variety of out-of-production friction shifters that will additionally work nice; for instance the Campy retrofriction shifter on the Vengeance Bike was even smoother than the Silver, although I by no means tried it with a contemporary cassette so I don’t know if there are any vary points, plus you’d by no means wish to pay what persons are asking for classic Campy retrofriction shifters. I additionally haven’t any expertise with different in-production friction shifters like those from microSHIFT. However the Silvers are a positive wager so there doesn’t appear to be a lot motive to look elsewhere.

Once more, this isn’t to foist friction shifting on you, neither is it to impugn fashionable shifters, that are additionally nice. (Aside from digital shifters, after all. Fuck these issues.) It’s simply to say one thing I in all probability might have stated simply as simply in eight phrases to anybody who could also be excited about going friction with their newish bike: “Get a pleasant shifter and it’ll work nice.”