I know it’s a bit of a stupid name, but seriously, it’s called a cockpit.
Although we had always been hoping to use the fantastic Shimano STI shifters into our bike, the use of V-brakes meant that this system wasn’t going to work.
We experimented with Travel Agents, but the unenthusiastic reviews (and bad experience when trialling) meant that we decided to revert back to the tried and tested method of bar end shifters.
The levers are incredibly straight forward to install, set up, and use. Indexing the rear mech took seconds, and obviously using a friction shifter for the front couldn’t have made things simpler. Secretly I find something strangely exciting about being able to switch easily between indexed and friction shifting.
They work great so far on the road, and although there were a couple of hairy moments when coming to traffic lights and trying to remember where the levers are to change down a gear, I’m pretty excited about using these!
Update from the Road: The levers have been amazing so far. Smooth reliable movements each time, and surprisingly resilient against knocks. Despite the number of times the bike has fallen over or bashed the levers, they still work as well as the day they were installed.
Update from the Road, July 2011: Sadly it looks like I may have shifted one too many times (or more likely simply man handled the bike one too many times). The index ring on the shifter has broken, forcing me to switch to friction shifting only. Not a huge problem, as this is the exact eventuality that these shifters are able to overcome, but a slight inconvenience perhaps for the next 6,000km across America. I’m just hoping that this single part can be replaced, instead of having to splash out the cash on a whole new set of shifters…
Tektro RL520 V Brake Levers
£17.35 from SJS Cycles.co.uk
Although not the most attractive of brakes, specific V brake levers were needed to have the proper reach. These have been adequate so far, if not the most comfortable on the hoods. Despite that, that’s still where I sit most of the time.