Ok, so I have had this barend shifter set for a while.
During the past 2 or 3 years I have gone on and on about how this set up kicks butt. I used to have inline brake levers until this season and I could shift from back on top of the bar by the inlines or when I was on the hoods or from down in the drops. While I could shift from any of these positions it was not as convienent in any of the them as it is from a normal road brake/shifter or "brifter" when shifting from the hoods or from the drops. I sacrificed the ease of shifting in when on the hoods and drops so that I could shift from that 3rd position basically. It worked well and I enjoyed having the extra shifting position. Plus it was cheap and reliable. If ever I had issue shifting during a race because of mud I could just switch it to friction shifting. That was useful a couple of times.
Then during the offseason I took off the inline levers and shortened the cockpit about 20mm so that I could be on the hoods more often. The goal was to ride a bit more aggressive and with more power. I looked at taking the inlines off as sort of like taking the training wheels off. In addition I had had issues with mud and crud getting into the housing from where the inline levers are. I was having to switch out cable more often during the season because of having the inlines. I figured that without the inline levers which would allow a continous section of brake housing around the handlebar area I would have a smoother brake operation. I believe this is true. I also rode my cross bike offroad a bit this offseason (offseason being January through August for cyclocross) and I was able to feel pretty comfortable riding on just the hoods and in the drops even for technical situations. However, the shifting with the barend shifter on the Kelly Take Off mount became limiting.
There are times where I would like to not have to rotate my hand and wrist over to make the shift. Doing so is less stable for me to do in tricky situations. Basically, I often have to pre-shift in order to keep my hands in a strong spot on the bars. Or I just ride the section in a less effective gear until I can get onto more stable ground. I was willing to sacrifice the convenience in the name of simplicity, reliability, and well...coolness.
I have always thought--and still do--that the Kelly Take Off/Dura Ace Bar End shifter deal was a unique but functional answer for a cyclocross bike. But I have realized that with the change in my riding style that the limits of this set up have been reached. When I start not shifting multiple times each lap because I am worried about crashing if I do something has to change. So change is coming, probably by this coming Cross Crusade race.
First I found a great deal an old 9 speed Campy Veloce shifter.
Then I researched and found that Leonard Zinn wrote that by using a little device made by Jtek and by another company that I cannot recall right now you could run a Shimano cassette and derailleur with a Campy shifter. Bingo! The adapter was pretty cheap and fits where the housing meets the rear derailleur.
Why not just pick up a set of Shimano Shifter and not have to use the JTek device? Well I really like my Campy Record brake levers (these have no shifter guts in them and can be seen in the first picture. I still get to keep the one on the left side of the bar when using this Veloce shifter. While I could have just run the Shimano shifter and the Record lever the hood feel would not be the same. That would annoy. Also, I picked all this up for cheaper than it would have cost me to get an ultegra set up or a 105 set up unless it was used. I have someone buying my kelly take off and bar shifter and that almost gets me to break even on the shifter, so the cost of the switch is minimal.
Also, I have a habit of searching out oddball set up and running with it. That being the case, why be like everyone else now? Sure the normal set-ups that stay monogamous to one drivetrain company are reliable. I stay monogamous on my mountain stuff and road stuff. But for some reason on my cross bike--if there is a hair brained set up that has a possibility of working decent I will consider it. Weird. Nuts. Stupid. Yep, sometimes I am all that, and more. But I wouldn't have it any other way this time of year.