I'm a bike luddite of the late 80's, early 90's variety. If you ask me, thats the best time frame to play in. Steel bikes still reigned supreme, but there were all sorts of cool, interesting carbon and aluminum frames out as well. Sure, some of the bikes of the time period would be considered garish by today's stands, but they were unique. These days, I'm pretty sure half of the mid-range carbon frames out there are all made in the same factory from the same molds. Just doesn't get me in the MUST ACQUIRE mode.
Another thing we 80's/90's types get is the transition from classic friction drivetrains, to indexed downtube, to modern STI/Ergo style integrated brake and shift levers. And dual pivot brakes! Oooh, and aero cabling too! I'm getting all excited just talking about it.
So when I speak of resisting the STI urge, I'm not resisting using integrated levers. I speak specifically of resisting the urge to use these specific ones:
New in box Shimano ST-7400 STI shifters. Unmolested, and fresh as the day they left Shimano's factory. The BR-7403's aren't as fresh, but the box had an opening for them, so I figured it was a good place to keep them...
These levers are from what I would guess were the last batch of 7400 series equipment Shimano made.
One interesting (kinda, sorta) piece of information that I've been trying to confirm is that while later versions of the levers (like this one) have hollowed out lever tips to reduce weight, the earlier versions were solid. Have an early set? If you get a chance to take a peek, let me know if they're solid!
Confirmed! According to Randy Dugan, owner of a major source of envy, the last 2 inches of his set of ST-74xx brifters are solid.