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Old 09-18-06, 10:26 PM   #1
peripatetic
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old ten-speed stem shifter cable compatibility

I'm overhauling a friend's (70s) ten-speed Miyata. It has Suntour ten-speed derailers and stem shifters, and the original chainring and freewheel look unused. Basically, the thing's been sitting in some backyard or garage somewhere for years.

I decided that we had to put in new shifter cables, I went and purchased some new cables at the shop today, and I just finished taking out the old, rusty cables. I realized two things:

1. The old cables are more like the thickness of brake cables.
2. The old cables were put into the stem shifter with the non-barrel tip, even though it was fitted for a barrel tip.

I just tried fitting the barrel tip of the newer cable into the shifter body, and it's so much smaller than the fitting that it looks like it's going to twist and maybe come a little loose.

So I'm wondering a few things:

1. Should I also use the 'wrong' end tip of the cable?
2. Was that normal practice back in the late '70s, or was this the result of some later mechanic's handiwork? Both front and rear shifters have the 'wrong' tip in the shifter housing--it was definitely intentional.
3. Do I have to swap out the cable housing to fit the smaller cables? (I ask b/c I don't have any new housing, and the housing on the bike is in two shorter increments, with nice end tips at either end. I'm not sure this kind of housing is easily available now, and I don't really want to go buy all those extra little parts.)
4. Should I just use regular brake cable instead? Does that make the shifting better or worse? (I know it's an older bike w/ low-end ten-speed shifting, but any improvement is a good thing, right?)
5. Should I just ditch all the heavy, outdated junk and convert it over to a singlespeed?

Appreciate any input.
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Old 09-19-06, 04:27 AM   #2
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1. I'd file the end fittings on your new shift cables until they'll fit into the little pockets in your shifters. It shouldn't take too much work to make them do that.

2. Unless your shift housings look really pristine, I'd replace them. An LBS will have bulk cable housing and a supply of the little metal ends. The housing diameter doesn't matter much. After you cut them to length, be sure to get rid of the little metal burr that will stick in where the cable goes.

Fresh cables and housings will definitely perk up your shifting.
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Old 09-19-06, 06:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
1. I'd file the end fittings on your new shift cables until they'll fit into the little pockets in your shifters. It shouldn't take too much work to make them do that.
Thanks for the info, RG. I'll make another lbs trip. I think I wasn't clear, though--the problem is the the pockets are too big, and I'm worried that the fittings aren't going to stay in. Did they use larger shift and cables back in the retro-days, or just brake cables, or what?

Thanks again.
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Old 09-19-06, 07:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by peripatetic
Thanks for the info, RG. I'll make another lbs trip. I think I wasn't clear, though--the problem is the the pockets are too big, and I'm worried that the fittings aren't going to stay in. Did they use larger shift and cables back in the retro-days, or just brake cables, or what?
As long as the cables don't pull through you will be fine. The tension in the shifting system should keep the cables seated.
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