Retroshift Unwrapped…

23 02 2012

Retroshift unwrapped...

The nice folks at Retroshift sent me a pair of their drop bar brake levers with bar end shifter mounts to try out. I’m not 100% which bike I’ll put them on, but I’m leaning towards the 26″ Surly LHT. Since I’ll be away from the Lazy Rando Command Center until mid-March I figured I would share some detailled photos of the levers and my initial impressions. A detailled review will have to wait a bit.

Simple and elegant...

First off the packaging and instructions are minimal – just a thick ziplock bag and a bit of stiff poster board telling you to check out their website for installation instructions. That works for me. I like packaging that’s appropriate to ship the product and can be reused or recycled once I take the item out. If I was the Retroshift guys I would print a photo of a typical install on the back of the poster board to 1) make the packing more attractive and 2) to help folks that need an idea of what they need to do get moving in the right direction.

My Shimano bar end shifter will go here...

What I got in the package:

Some other angles...

I’ll be providing my own Shimano Dura Ace 9spd bar end shifters and I’ll probably use some Tektro cantis.

Shift cable and housing go in here...

The Retroshift levers exude an industrial working man aesthetic. There is nothing fancy going on here, but everything is clean, simple and purposeful. Retroshift has been engraved into each lever and on the bar con mounts, but it’s subtle enough you won’t notice unless you are leaning down and staring at the levers. If you don’t like logos this won’t bother you. The hoods are smooth firm rubber and I like the shape of them. The levers have an ergonomic curve that’s pleasing to the hand. The overall feeling is of a solid well made part.

Cable release don't work due to bar con mount...

One issue with the Retroshift modification of the Tektro brake lever is that the cable release button doesn’t do anything. Normally the lever would tilt back further inside the hood, but the Retroshift mount prevents this. Probably not a big deal for most people, but if that’s a feature you use frequently on your current setup be aware of this limitation.

Bottom line the Retroshift levers look like a nice product and I’m stoked to try ‘em out as soon as I get back home in March and post a full review.

Click on image to see more high res pics...


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7 responses

23 02 2012
Doug@MnBicycleCommuter

Vik,

I’ll be interested to read some reviews. Since I have barcons, or barcons and Paul thumbies on several bikes, this is a product I might consider. My only concern would be the long-term compatibility of two products being used together that weren’t designed together as one. Mainly wear or fatigue where the two components interface.

Doug

23 02 2012
Henrik

I just contacted them to see if any of their setups would play nice with the Surly Disk Trucker. I am about to get one, and am a bit nervous about the shifters being waaaaaaay far away from the breaks.

23 02 2012
Vik

@Henrik – they have a linear pull version in the works that would work with mechanical disc breaks, but I don’t know when they’ll be ready for sale.

23 02 2012
James

It looks like the stock Disk Trucker uses the long pull (mountain) version of the BB7s. But if you couldn’t wait until the linear pull version of the Retroshifts are ready, you could swap the brakes for the road BB7s and sell the mountain BB7s.

24 02 2012
Mike

Look fwd to seeing your review for these Vik! Interesting product that could appeal to a wide variety of cyclists.

24 02 2012
Jim Avery

I bought a pair of retroshift myself, paired them with dura-ace down-tube shifters to go on my Trek Pilot (Shimano 105 10×3 gearing) and fitted them last weekend. So far I’m very impressed with them – wouldn’t want to go back to the stock Shimano brifters that’s for sure.

20 04 2012
Retroshift Install and Initial Review « The Lazy Rando Blog…

[…] You can read my initial impressions of the Retroshift levers when they were unpacked here. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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