Bicycle Mechanics - Upgrade options for 7-speed RSX?
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My wife's bike has 7 speed RSX, and it's getting RSX disease. I got it to start shifting a little better with a big does of WD-40, but I don't think it's going to last for much longer.
I've heard that 7-speed sora shifters will work as direct replacements. What other options do I have? I'd be willing to consider an 8 or 9 speed upgrade at the same time.
10-01-06, 08:06 PM
Unless you have some sentimental attachment to the bike I think that I'd just go with the 7-speed Sora shifters.
An upgrade to 9-speed will involves relatively expensive shifters, cassette and chain and might require modifying your wife's bike frame too. I'm thinking that might be more money and effort than you'd want to put into upgrading a relatively old bike with mediocre components.
10-02-06, 12:05 PM
and 7 speeds rock!
A friend of mine had the same problem. The bike was a Giant with carbon fiber main tubes and aluminum lugs, chainstays, and seatstays. It fit her well and so did the gearing, the crankset was 110 BCD with something like 48-36-26 rings. Three different mechanics had tried to restore the shifting including flushing out the shifters and replacing the cables and housings. But the front shifter was just not engaging. The owner didn't want a new bike even though she could easily afford it. So I volunteered to upgrade it to 9-speed (10-sp was not available yet). I replaced the shifters with 105, rebuilt the rear wheel with a new 105 hub using the old rim and spokes, Ultegra chain, and new bar tape. I donated a lightly used 9-sp Ultegra 12-27 cassette out of my parts bin. I left the RSX crankset and derailleurs on the bike. The parts came to a total of $300 retail including a six-pack for labor.
I was really surprised at how well it shifted on the initial test ride, as well as any bike I've ever ridden, better than most triples.
This particular frame was built with 130mm dropout spacing so there was no need to spread it. In fact I would not have tried to spread this type of frame.
I'm not necessarily recommending that anyone else make this upgrade, it really depends on what the rest of the bike is worth compared to buying a new bike. In this case I probably would have done 10-speed if it had been available.
10-02-06, 09:57 PM
I have 7-speed RSX on my C'dale Silk Road. I've experienced the missed shifting problem with the aging 7-speed brifters. I sprayed with WD-40 just like the OP, but I also followed up with a flush using Finish Line, Teflon Plus spray so that a lubricant is added to the brifter. I've gone through the entire cycling season without recleaning or lubing the RSX brifters. Too bad, too, because I'd like to upgrade to 8 or 9 speed. Now I have no excuse.
10-02-06, 10:05 PM
7-speed Sora will work. But RSX is so badass. I always thought those older STI shifters were some of the coolest ever - they've got a real organic, minimalist and marvelous sort of feel. See if you can nab a pair of NOS replacement RSX shifters or something.
Upgrading to 8-9 speeds is a waste. In fact, upgrading the number of cogs in the back is almost never worth it, because in almost all cases it involves a close-to-full drivetrain revamp, which often is really not cost-effective when buying parts individually at the consumer level - this is especially true when you're talkin' about older bikes that aren't too valuable to begin with.
When I run across a bad shifter I'll flush with degreaser first, work the shift levers slowly to help it soak in, then flush with several doses of teflon spray lube. If you work the shifters slowly sometimes the little springs and ratchets start to move, which helps the degreaser and lube work into the mechanisms and pivots.
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