My bespoke bicycle fitting with Chris Kvale was a real stunner. I'm 2 1/2" shorter than I thought I was. That changes the rules some doesn't it? It wasn't a measuring error either. My younger brother and I stood back to back and he is now noticeably taller than I am. I am no longer 6' 3". Suddenly I feel sooooo short. It helps explain why I can no longer dunk a basketball. It does not explain why I can no long hit a set shot though. Nor a layup for that matter. It also means I am even more overweight than I thought ;-)
Later I told Mark Stonich I was having a bike built to take me into old age and we reviewed the specs. He told me I wasn't building it for the future. He said I was having a bike built for the way I am right now. For instance he is of the opinion, based on his own body, that it isn't just spinal compression, that all of our bones shrink with age. It affects our seat tube length, too! And he says I will continue to shrink ?!? and in my heart I know this to be true. And eventually I will need a more upright posture, probably even foregoing drop bars and the downtube shifter will be waaaay down there.
Now I am trying to more realistically imagine myself at 75 and hopefully still on a bike. When this hit me, visualizing the bike with upright bars, a shifter on the downtube no longer makes sense. It would be a long way down. A shifter on the top tube with the cable running back and down the seat stay? I ran this by Kvale. He is a conservative traditionalist and didn't warm up to the thought for aesthetic reasons. He will do it, butreally doesn'tlike it. While my name would be on the check, it's his name on the downtube. I'm trying to reach a compromise that will work for both of us. I even considered Paul Thumbies, but if the top tube shifter is ugly, they take it to a whole nother level. (No offense, thumb shifters.) I think at this point I'm looking at a Suntour bar-end shifter with the cable routed internally through the bars so that it clears the front bag. I wouldn't do this with indexed shifting, but I done it with friction in the past and it works fine.