The problem when Caelan started on this journey in terms of finding a small 700c road bike was whether he was going to commit in terms of our initial outlay.
Therefore, we started at the lower end of the road bike market with the majority having Shimano 8 speed gearing systems with Sora and 2300 which Caelan has/had. Recently his complaint has been while in the sprint position he cannot drop down the cassette due to the thumb lever being on the inside of the shifter when on the hoods. Due to this he has to over gear starting his sprints or he is sometimes ‘spinning up’ nearing the line.
So, what to do…? Change the system to a 9/10 speed Tiagra/105 at quite a cost, or look for some obsolete Shimano 105 8 speed shifters that would probably be near the end of their life span.
Anyway, eventually I came across the Sunrace STR80 2:1 ratio 8 speed shifters (also available in 9 speed) which have a double push system, so after a little more research and £80.00, I decided to bite the bullet as the push mechanism to drop down the cassette appeared to be easily within reach of his small hands.
Now upon arrival the shifters appeared well built and came with fresh gearing cable for threading. Also, the fitting took under a hour as I just reverse engineered what was already set up. All that is required are a set of allen keys, wire cutters and cable nipples.
Lastly, he gave them a good workout at the circuit and with some indexing and tuning of the gears, he was impressed and now has one less worry.
UPDATE 06.09.2013: After a few months use the rubber hoods have started to wear away and split under normal use. Sunrace upon contacting the European, Americas and Asian distributors have informed they are shockingly not available as a separate part. Even deleted Campagnolo shifters have available hoods! Luckily his old 2300 hoods 90% fitted but based on this I would now think twice, especially as Shimano have brought out the new 8 speed Shimano Claris shifters at a similar price though may not be ideal with its longer reach to the brake lever to change gear.
UPDATE 24.02.2014: After now over 8 months of near constant use in training and in battle, Caelan has enjoyed the use of the shifters.
The levers have also survived the odd crash well and wear and tear is therefore excellent so far. So other than the terrible non-replaceable hoods these are recommended for the smaller rider who may struggle to reach shifters integrated in the brake lever and on the hoods.