I have a thing for weird things. And it gets me in trouble sometimes, because I enjoy novelties far more than I really should. It's one of the reasons my bikes are all fairly unique and I wear shoes with toes on them and I enjoy drinks like a Pirate's Chai Latte. In my defense though, I'm not one of those people who convinces everyone that they like these things because they want to be weird and different, I'm one of those people that just plain is weird and different (said sounding a least hipster as I possibly can).
At some point, I came across Suntour's Command Shifters, which were a precursor to brifters and released to be compatible with the Accushift system. They were quite well made, worked nicely, and were ergonomic, but alas, they faded when Suntour did.
|What is this madness?? Image via Velobase.|
I became intrigued, not only because these were inherently different than the downtube shifters I've come to know and love (don't you dare judge me) but also because I spend a lot of time on the hoods. And by a lot I mean all of it. It's actually the main reason I decided to go for pursuit bars on the District, which is a decision that I am fanatically happy with. People keep telling me that if I'm not spending time in the drops I'm doing it wrong, but being in the drops feels strange to me, even if the bike supposedly fits me to a tee. I like hoods, and being able to shift from them...I had to get my hands on these.
|Image via The Vintage Fuji, since mine aren't set up yet but I was excited and wanted to write about them.|
Being that Suntour was fantastic, they have both Friction and Indexed modes that were compatible with six and seven speed derailleurs. Although I have seen these few times in the wild, people seem to like them, and think that they work well.
What's my point? These are going on the Nishiki Ultimate that I'm building that I can't even provide a decent link for, because that particular bike was never actually catalogued. I'm going to test them and see for myself just how much shifting from the hoods will change my life forever. Not counting brifters, at least. I tried brifters, and while I could get used to them given enough time, the way I climb hills involves me muscling the hoods up the hill, during which with brifters I found myself awkwardly shifting all over the place while swearing in a few different languages.
|Image via dcBikes.|
Truth be told, the Nishiki is coming along rather well. I plan on having it be my racing bike, and by racing I mean going-fast-when-I-ride-with-friends-on-the-weekends bike. I have the command shifters and break levers on the handlebars, and have a rear derailleur that I could hook the right one up to, which would be neat, but doesn't do me too much good without a freewheel quite yet.
Thus I conclude my Thursday ramblings of command shifters, and promise to return at some point with actual photos of my shifters, as well as good experiences involving shifting, unlike the brifter hill climbing experience, which went something like:
Click "AHHH NO" click "SHIT" clickclick "STOP IT" click "FUCK" clickclickclick "OH GOD WHY" click.
2012 Distance Count: 337 Miles | 542.4 Kilometers