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  1. #1
    hobby-ist peterbarson's Avatar
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    Can you put friction shifters on a mountain bike?

    I usually ride my WorldSport, which has friction shifting, after recently discovering some off road trails in the area I busted out my Jamis which has triger style Shimano index shifters. Is it practicle to convert the index shifters to friction? does anyone make friction shifters for newer and modern aplications? I don't want to change the whole drive train. But I'm very fond of the connected feeling that friction shifters provide and the ease of care / adjustment.
    Any help/ feedback is great, Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Old Shimano index thumb shifters had a friction mode for the rear and would work for any thing up thru 9 or 10 speed. There are cheap friction thumb shifters.One can also use Paul Thumbies and mount current shimano index shifters on them as the rear index also has a friction mode.Shomano front thumb shifters were friction.

  3. #3
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    Also, in the world of friction shifting, quality is arguably less important than it is in the indexed world. Cheapo friction shifters like what one would find on a 80's dsb really aren't that bad. The nicest friction shifters had ratcheting mechanisms--which are nice. Probably the best friction setup would be paul thumbies and old suntour barcons--way better than shimano, so long as you never want to index. You can often find a pair on ebay.

  4. #4
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    The great part about friction shifters is that they work with anything. The hard part about fitting them on an older bike is finding a place to mount them. sydney pretty much covered your options, though, I think.

  5. #5
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    I have an old mountain bike that came with friction shifters up on the tops of the bars. It's from the mid 1980's. It has no indexing of any kind.

    It's not handy at all, but my daughter just rides this thing on the pavement. She does not care.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genericbikedude
    Also, in the world of friction shifting, quality is arguably less important than it is in the indexed world. Cheapo friction shifters like what one would find on a 80's dsb really aren't that bad. The nicest friction shifters had ratcheting mechanisms--which are nice. Probably the best friction setup would be paul thumbies and old suntour barcons--way better than shimano, so long as you never want to index. You can often find a pair on ebay.
    That Palu Thumbies/Suntour barcons actually works together?? And tell us why suntour barcons are better than shimano.

  7. #7
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    I don't know--DO suntour barcons not work with thumbies? Never tried it--assumed they would.

    Suntour's are nice because they ratchet on the downshift.

  8. #8
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genericbikedude
    I don't know--DO suntour barcons not work with thumbies? Never tried it--assumed they would.

    Suntour's are nice because they ratchet on the downshift.
    Suntours work if they fit a standard boss. All of them don't.

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Setting up Paul thumbies with Shimano barcons will set you back over 100 bucks retail if you don't already have the shifters.

    much cheaper to look for an old set of Suntour OTB thumb shifters at the used bike store.

  10. #10
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    I don't see any reason it wouldn't work, especially on easier trails. But I have to admit that the idea of banging over really rough terrain while trying to finess shifts seems a bit much for me... Never had any problem with either rapidfire or gripshift.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    My latest project mountain bike will have friction shifters, not because I pefer friction but because I'm determined to build it with parts I have on hand. It will have Campy Euclid shifters, Suntour derailers and a Shimano 8 speed cassette with 1 cog removed so it will fit a 7 speed hub. I'm sure there's no way I'm ever going to get it to index, but I'm just as sure I won't be able to resist trying.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MERTON
    rivendell has some cheap ones that work well. google them and go to the catalogue.
    http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/shift...urs/17097.html

    Only good for 8 speeds, but only $17.00

  13. #13
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Well obviously, it they shift 8 they'll shift 10.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    Well obviously, it they shift 8 they'll shift 10.
    Oh, duh, same distance. My bad. I guess that makes me wonder why Rivendell has them listed as an 8-speed shifter.
    Adam

  15. #15
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I have SunTour XC 7-speed indexing, but I always operate the thumb shifter in friction mode. Works like a champ. Indexed shifting is grossly overrated.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  16. #16
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    I have SunTour XC 7-speed indexing, but I always operate the thumb shifter in friction mode. Works like a champ. Indexed shifting is grossly overrated.
    Step out of the cave John. Index in it's current form has been around for 20 years.It ain't going away.

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