indexed shifting reliability in nasty snowy conditions?


November 05, 2016, 10:26 AM

I'm wondering how well those new-fangled indexed trigger shifters work for folks who ride in nasty snowy conditions: slushy, freeze-thaw, extreme cold, stuff like that?

I've stuck with friction thumb shifters for reliability, but my old shifters require a LOT of throw to move a 10-speed derailleur across a cassette.


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imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

November 06, 2016, 07:55 AM

I can't speak for all makes but I have not had problems over a few seasons of renting pretty much new Surly, Trek & Fuji bikes and our Farley 8 with SRAM X1. That was or is all modern 10 and 11 speed stuff that worked well.

Last season on one snowy ride with rented Farly 5 and the 8 I kept thinking it was more reason to consider the moderately priced 11 speed drive trains.

It seems to me that pretty much everything at mid grade or above works well these days. Our bike with Deore and Alivio stuff against XT, X0, and X1 is reliable. Our kids' bikes get more dirt and rain with lesser parts and keep working. If our GX vs X1 and 0 SRAM is not as good you probably need a lab or scale to tell the difference.

We are not doing serious endurance races so there might be an argument for something better but index shifters have not failed us since the early 1990s.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

November 06, 2016, 11:28 PM

Never had an issue with my shifters in my 5 years of serious biking in the snow, and some dallying in the snow for years before that. Though for the last few years I have been riding with Bar Mitts.
I was riding during the five inches of ice we got last year, and did have a little issue. But that was the derailleur clogging with icy slush.
All the serious endurance and long-distance riders I know are running the latest gear.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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November 07, 2016, 12:14 AM

I've put modern stuff through a pretty wide range of conditions, for long periods of time, repeatedly. No significant problems to report up until the point that it gets stupid, like slush freezing things into solid bricks.  Most of my mtb experience is with sram drivetrains, although the 105 on my commuter has held up commendably; the cassette, chainrings and derailleur pulleys just reached the end of their life after nearly three full years of 4 season commuting and after they were replaced the whole drivetrain works like new again.

In my opinion the last few generations of stuff is pretty darn reliable.

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November 09, 2016, 12:55 PM

I use Sram XX1 with a grip shift.  When you are wearing heavy gortex gloves I just find shifting easier and more precise with a grip shifter.  It is all preference.  If you like friction shifting you can always slap your dura ace shifter on a Paul Thumb and keep using it year round. 


~ "Work.  The crappy 8-10 hours between bike rides."


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November 13, 2016, 09:26 AM

Maybe I should have been more clear, it's not the shifter itself I'm worried about, it's the shifter's ability to deal with those harsh conditions. When things ice up, a friction shifter can at least be worked to get the bike to work in a couple gears, with indexed shifting you often get stuck between gears. At least that was my experience with 9-speed shifting.

The ability to shift with big fat gloves used to be a consideration, but poagies negate that issue.


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imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

November 13, 2016, 11:09 AM

Maybe I should have been more clear, it's not the shifter itself I'm worried about, it's the shifter's ability to deal with those harsh conditions. When things ice up, a friction shifter can at least be worked to get the bike to work in a couple gears, with indexed shifting you often get stuck between gears. At least that was my experience with 9-speed shifting.

The ability to shift with big fat gloves used to be a consideration, but poagies negate that issue.


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My only poor experience has been stuck in bad circumstances like Rich described. The snowy ride described in my earlier post with the two Farleys but one with 2x influenced getting 1x for our second fat bike.

I'm a really big fan of the less expensive SRAM 11 speed we have. We have 3 levels of SRAM 11 speed across 3 bikes and the GX stuff has me thinking I'd not buy the higher end stuff again now that more choices exist.

The higher level parts are nice but no doubt diminishing returns. To be fair, I'm not an elite rider, and have to budget for a family of 5 that bikes and skis.

I'm not saying don't get the top level stuff if it gives you an edge and you can rationalize the price. It would be a lie to not confess I ride my wife's nicer bikes with nicer parts when I can. Wives riding MTBs is another topic, but I feel you TOTALLY want to spend on the good stuff there.

:)

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