This article is from the Bicycles FAQ, by Mike Iglesias with numerous contributions by others.
From: Ron Larson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is the second posting of the summary of STI/Ergo experience. The
summary was modified to include more on STI durability and also the
range of shifting avaliable from each system. As before, I am open to
any comments or inputs.
THE CASE FOR COMBINED SHIFTERS AND BRAKES.
Shifters that are easily accessible from either the brakehoods or the
"drop" position are an advantage when sprinting or climbing because the
rider is not forced to commit to a single gear or loose power / cadence
by sitting down to reach the downtube shifters. They also make it much
easier to respond to an unexpected attack.
At first the tendency is to shift more than is necessary. This tendency
levels out with experience. There is also an early tendency to do most
shifting from the bakehoods and the actuators seem to be difficult to
reach from the drop position. This discomfort goes away after a few
hundred miles of use (hey, how many times have I reached for the
downtube on my MTB or thumbshifters on my road bike???). All
experienced riders expressed pleasure with the ability to shift while
the hands were in any position, at a moments notice.
The disadvantages are extra weight, added weight on the handlebars
(feels strange at first) and expense. Lack of a friction mode was
listed as a disadvantage by a rider who had tried out STI on someone
elses bike but does not have Ergo or STI. It was not noted as a problem
by riders with extended Ergo / STI experience. A comparison of the
weight of Record/Ergo components and the weight of the Record
components they would replace reveals that the total weight difference
is in the 2 to 4 ounce range (quite a spread - I came up with 2 oz from
various catalogs, Colorado Cyclist operator quoted 4 oz of the top of
his head). The weight difference for STI seems to be in the same
range. The change probably seems to be more because weight is shifted
from the downtube to the handlebars.
There was some concern from riders who had not used either system
regarding the placement of the actuating buttons and levers for Ergo
and STI and their affect on hand positions. Riders with experience have
not had a problem with the placement of the actuators although one
rider stated that the STI brakehoods are more comfortable.
ADVANTAGES OF EACH SYSTEM.
The Sachs/Ergo system was mentioned as a separate system. In fact
(according to publications) it is manufactured By Campagnolo for Sachs
and is identical to the Campagnolo system with the exception of spacing
of the cogs on the freewheel/cassette. With the Ergo system, all
cables can be routed under the handlebar tape while the STI system does
not route the derailleur cables under the tape. Those that voiced a
preference liked the clean look of the Ergo system.
Both Ergo and STI seem to be fairly durable when crashed. Experience
of riders who have crashed with either system is that the housings may
be scratch and ground down but the system still works. The internal
mechanismsof both systems are well protected in a crash.
Both Ergo and STI allow a downshift of about 3 cogs at a time. This
capability is very handy for shifting to lower gears in a corner to be
ready to attack as you come out of the corner or when caught by
surprise at a stop light. Ergo also allows a full upshift from the
largest to the smallest cog in a single motion while STI requires an
upshift of one cog at a time.
Riders voiced their satisfaction with both systems. While some would
push one system over the other, these opinions were equally split.