Downtube Shifters Vs Bar End Shifters

Shifting gears on a bike is an essential part of the ride, whether you’re climbing a hill or cruising on level ground. There are two main types of shifters – downtube shifters and bar end shifters – and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of these two types of shifters to help you decide which is right for you.

Downtube shifters are the more traditional type of shifter, mounted on the down tube of the frame near the pedals. They’re easy to reach while pedaling, but can be vulnerable to damage in a crash. Bar end shifters are newer and increasingly popular, mounted on the ends of the handlebars.

They’re out of the way of your hands when riding, but can be difficult to reach if you have small hands or are wearing gloves.

If you’re debating between downtube shifters and bar end shifters, this side by side comparison is for you! We’ll go over the pros and cons of each type of shifter so you can make the best decision for your ride. Downtube Shifters:

Pros: -More aerodynamic since they’re closer to the frame -Easier to reach when you’re in a racing position

-Can be used with drop bars or flat bars Cons: -May interfere with water bottle cages if mounted on the downtube

-Not as easy to reach if you’re not in a racing position (i.e. standing up)

Bar End Vs Downtube Shifters

There are two types of shifters that can be found on a road bike: bar end and downtube. Both have their own pros and cons that make them better or worse for different riders. Here is a breakdown of each type so you can decide which is the best fit for you.

Bar End Shifters Pros: Bar end shifters are more aerodynamic since they sit flush with the ends of your handlebars. This can give you a small speed boost if you’re racing.

They’re also easier to reach if you have small hands or prefer not to take your hand off the hoods while riding. Cons: Bar end shifters are less common than downtube shifters, so it may be difficult to find replacement parts if something breaks. They also require special handlebars that have an opening at the end for the shifter to fit into, which adds cost and weight to your bike.

Downtube Shifters Pros: Downtube shifters are less expensive than bar end shifters and they work with any type of handlebar. They’re also easier to fix if something goes wrong since replacement parts are more readily available.

Since they don’t require any special handlebars, they tend to be lighter weight as well. Additionally, many people find them easier to use since all shifting controls are in one place (as opposed to bar end shifters where front and rear derailleur controls are separated). And finally, some argue that because your hands never leave the grips/handlebars while using downtube shifters, they provide a safer ride overall should anything unexpected happen on the road ahead (e..g., pothole, animal crossing path, etc.).

Downtube Shifters Vs Bar End Shifters


What is a Downtube Shifter?

A downtube shifter is a type of bicycle gear shift lever that is mounted on the down tube of the frame, near the bottom bracket. It is operated by a thumb or finger lever. Downtube shifters were once very popular, but have largely been replaced by more modern designs such as trigger shifters and integrated shifting systems.

Downtube shifters offer a few advantages over other types of shifters. They are relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture, which makes them a good choice for budget-minded cyclists. They are also highly compatible with different types of drivetrains, including both derailleur and internal hub gears.

One downside of downtube shifters is that they can be difficult to reach when riding in the drops (the lowest position on the handlebars). This can be especially problematic for smaller riders or those with shorter arms. Another potential issue is that they can be damaged in a crash, since they are mounted on the outside of the frame.

Overall, downtube shifters are a decent option for budget-conscious cyclists who don’t mind sacrificing some shifted performance for simplicity and affordability.

What is the Point of Bar End Shifters?

Bar end shifters are often used on road bikes and provide an alternative shifting position for riders. Because they sit at the end of the handlebars, they can be easier to reach than traditional down tube shifters. Additionally, bar end shifters typically offer more precise shifting than down tube shifters.

What are the Two Types of Shifters?

There are two types of shifters: manual and automatic. Manual shifters require the driver to operate the clutch pedal with their left foot while shifting gears with their right hand. Automatic shifters do not require the driver to use a clutch pedal, instead relying on sensors and hydraulic fluid pressure to automatically engage and disengage the clutch.

Are Downtube Shifters Indexed?

Yes, downtube shifters are indexed. This means that they have click stops that allow the shifting mechanism to line up perfectly with the derailleur, providing precise and consistent shifting.

Why EVERYONE Should Try Friction Shifters!


The debate between downtube shifters and bar end shifters has been around for years, with no clear consensus on which is better. This side-by-side comparison will help you decide which type of shifter is right for you. Downtube shifters are the traditional choice, mounted on the down tube of the frame near the bottom bracket.

They are easy to reach and operate while riding, but can be difficult to adjust when not in use. Bar end shifters are newer and becoming more popular, mounted on the ends of handlebars. They are easier to adjust than downtube shifters, but can be more difficult to reach while riding.

Both types of shifters have their pros and cons, so it really comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use option that’s been around for decades, go with downtube shifters. If you want a newer option that’s easier to adjust, go with bar end shifters.