Silver Downtube Shifters

Well I’ve been running the Silver downtube shifters on my Surly Cross Check for a week, so and I think I can probably write a review now. I purchased these from Rivendell recently for $42 (looks like they’re $44 now). This is the first time I’ve run friction DT shifters on a bike since the mid-80s, which I was riding Campy Super Record (though I do I still have some friction Suntour barcons on my old Bonty cross bike…).

Why go back? Well, I run DT shifters on my two other bikes, but they are both index shifters with 7 speed Dura Ace. The Surly is 8 speed and I had been running it with flat bars with the Pauls Thumbies and 8 speed index shifters. But I just switched to drop bars. I was trying to decide between DT shifters and the Shimano barcons that I already have. I looked for 8 speed index DT shifters on eBay a bit but didn’t find what I wanted quickly and got impatient. Plus, I was curious about the Silvers.

These Silvers are probably the best friction shifters to come along since Simplex. But is that good enough? I definitely found myself not shifting as much with these. I remember the special overshift and correct motion you needed to do to get Campy Super Record friction to shift smoothly. You don’t have to do that with Shimano derailleurs. For some reason that made shifting a bit less satisfying for me. After a week I think I’m comfortable saying I don’t think I want to go back to friction. So I’m probably going to put those 8 speed Shimano barcons on there. Plus, I admit, a “cross” frame looks kind of weird with DT shifters… However, if you are looking for simple and dependable, you’re not gonna find something better than the Silvers. More pics after the jump!

Used for: 1 week
Price paid: $42
Purchased at: Rivendell
Rating: 3 stars!

Silver Downtube Shifters on Surly

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Mavic MA3

As you can probably guess by my post on BrokenBikeParts, I’m not a huge fan of Mavic MA3s. Cracks developed around the eyelets after just 5,000 or 6,000 miles, which apparently is pretty typical for these budget rims (and I don’t think it was the result of too much spoke tension). But this is the first time I’ve had an issue with a Mavic product in over 25 years, so I’m willing to keep buying their stuff. You can see the pics of the cracks at

Used for: 2 years
Price paid: was included in a wheelset
Purchased at: Cambria Bike
Rating: 1 star :(

Mavic MA3

Benotto Bar Tape

Why do I still have three packages of Benotto bar tape? I’m not really sure. I still have Benotto tape on one bike, too. As a friend of mine once said, “Benotto is the only tape you can puke on and then wipe off.” So it’s the best tape if you do a lot of interval training. It also lasts forever, whether on the bike or in the package. I never tried the “heat with flame” thing mentioned in the instructions on the back of the package.

Used for: 25+ years
Price paid: $1.98
Purchased at: Palo Alto Bicycles
Rating: 5 stars!

Benotto bar tape

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Shimano Dura Ace Freewheel

The Dura Ace freewheel is one of my favorite bike parts of all time. They are basically indestructible. I have six or seven of these either on bikes or in boxes, plus a ton of extra cogs. I don’t weight much, so I was never one of those guys breaking axles on freewheel hubs. But before Dura Ace freewheels came along, I had to suffer with Suntour freewheels, and before that, Regina freewheels. The Dura Ace freewheels lasted longer and shifted better. The cogs were evenly spaced, shaped better, and were easier to swap out. The freewheel bodies never seemed to crap out. And the splined freewheel tool was a huge improvement over the old two-pronged design used by just about everyone else. More pics after the jump!

Used for: 25 years
Price paid: don’t remember
Purchased at: don’t remember
Rating: 5 stars!

Shimano Dura Ace freewheel with removal tool

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My Recent Bikeman Order

Aside from the 3T bars on my first decent road bike (a Bianchi Nuovo Racing which I purchased new in 1983 at age 15) I’ve only ridden Cinelli bars, and mostly the 66 model. Well, the 66 is long gone and so is most of the NOS supply. I was pretty leery to try any of the newer bars on the market, especially with the ergo bends, but I decided to suck it up and stop being such a retrogrouch. So I ordered some Ritchey Comp bars and a matching Comp stem. 31.8 seemed like overkill, but whatever. I did stay with the Cinelli tape. Oh, and of course Shimano brake levers. I love Shimano brake levers. Continue reading…

Bikeman Order

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