I was riding yesterday, messing with my position some. It was pretty windy, like over 20mph and I was watching the power numbers on my Garmin while I tried different positions.
I don’t ride much on the drop bars. I guess I should say historically, I don’t ride on the drops. Normally, my hands are on the shift/brake levers. I’ve found, or maybe, more accurately, always thought I’m as aero with my hands on the levers as that on the drops. It seems like when I’m on the drops, all I’m doing is exposing more forearm to the wind.
Anyway, the last couple years, I’ve been better on the drops. I still wouldn’t normally climb on the drops, but I can ride long periods on them. I was trying to think why that is. And I came up with the answer that it is because of “sprinter shifters”.
Sprinter shifters are just small controls that you can mount anywhere on your handlebars that allow you to shift the rear derailleur easily. Normally, they are mounted on your bars, below the brake levers, where your hand naturally sits, allowing you to use your thumbs to shift. The right shifter moves the rear derailleur down, to a harder gear, the left up, for an easier.
I never intended using sprinter shifters. Wayne Stetina, Shimano, gave me a set and told me to try them. At the time, I had no intention of putting them on. But when I was building up my bike with new Di2, I thought to myself that I should mount them. Usually when Wayne says something like they are important, he is usually right.
I had the shifters on for a while and didn’t really notice the change. They didn’t jump out at me, but I found myself using them more and more. When I started racing, I realized that they are super useful. It is great having a full grip on your bars and still able to shift. Great for criterium racing, but really they work in about all situations.
I only have these on my road bike, since I only have one pair and when I’ve been riding my cross bike on gravel, recently, I miss them. I need to get a set for that bike too.
I’m rarely surprised about a “gimmick” bike part. I tend to not even give them a try. But these shifters are different. I’m very glad I have them. It is enough reason in itself to ride Di2 electronic shifting.