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  1. #1
    Senior Member GoJacob's Avatar
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    Vintage Shifting....

    i have an old (i'm guessing mid 70's) japanese Schwinn World Traveler that I cleaned and tuned up [not really "tuned" yet]. It has stem mounted shimano shifters. the front derailleur shifts just fine for me... it's the rear that i'm getting fussy about.

    when i pull the rear shifter back (putting tension on it) it clicks. when i push it forward, it glides with no clicks. i am used to a very smooth shifting Miyata with newer (late 80's) shimano shifters on it [that clicks both ways], and at every click, the rear derailleur moves the chain 1 cog over...

    but with the Schwinn, it takes a couple or so clicks to shift... somewhat randomly. it does not click at all when releasing tension (pushing it back forward). this makes shifting very much a hit or miss thing for me, and i have to play with the shifter to get the chain on the rear cogs evenly.

    I was wondering if this is normal with old shifters, or if i did something wrong installing the cables, or if the shifters are bad? i have no clue, so any advice would be helpful. thanks

  2. #2
    100% USDA certified the beef's Avatar
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    I think what you're referring to is friction shifting. Your World Traveler's probably late 70s or early 80s - that was before the real advent of indexed shifting, which is what your Miyata has. Indexed shifters pull the cable a given amount with each motion, this amount is pretty much unchanging and as a result a properly-tuned indexed drivetrain has easy and precise shifts. The only drawback is that the cog spacing has to match the amount of cable pull with each 'click'.

    Friction shifting is linear and usually without actual clicks in the shifter. Any amount of shifter movement will move the cable, and it's up to the rider to judge the amount to move the shifter. For riders used to indexed shifting, it can be a little funky at first, but it's not very hard to pick up at all. It takes just a bit of time to learn how much to move the shifter in order to get a nice, clean shift without jumping multiple cogs. So if I'm reading your post right, what you're describing is just a perfectly normal part of older bike designs. It's something you'll even grow to love.

  3. #3
    Senior Member GoJacob's Avatar
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    excellent!
    i'm just glad the bike's okay. i can, and gladly will, learn to shift with it...
    your post has actually cleared up a lot for me. i was never really sure what friction shifting/indexed shifting was; and thinking that indexed shifting was handlebar mounted shifters, hahaha, i never knew i was using indexed shifters [which, by the way, are VERY nice and much easier to use!]. it is normal for the shifter to click as i put tension on it (pull), but not when i release tension (push)? thanks again

  4. #4
    100% USDA certified the beef's Avatar
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    Haha, no problem.
    Are you sure the clicks aren't just the sensation of the chain jumping to a bigger cog? Or maybe there's something dirty in the shifter contributing to that feeling. I may be wrong, but at least from my experience friction shifters have never had a 'click', especially not just one way. Ah well. It doesn't affect anything. I guess you could treat it as another peculiarity of an older bike.

    Friction shifting actually becomes pretty easy after a while. In fact, I kind of like it a little more than older indexed designs - an indexed drivetrain slightly out of alignment will shift horribly (most K-Mart and Wal-Mart bikes have this syndrome). Call me crazy, but I like friction shifting to the point of calling it fun . I find that it's quicker (no waiting for the derailleur to clankity-clank-clank-clank the chain before settling it on the cog) and just has a cool feel to it. But that's just me. The other neat part is that you can use any caseette or freewheel with a friction drivetrain, because you're not limited by the clicks in the shifter.

    Before I got my friction-shifting Schwinn (believe it or not, only about half a year ago), I was a bit skeptical as well. I thought there was no way friction shifting could ever be fun, easy, etc. But turns out I was wrong. I actually ride my Schwinn a lot more than my much more expensive, indexed Bianchi.

    Anyway, have fun with both of those bikes. Glad to have helped. Sorry if I got too eager with my raving.

    Will

  5. #5
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    I agree that if the bike is a friction shifter then there should be no noise-no clicks. I would try first to make sure the stem shifters are adjusted correctly by lubricating bolt threads and torque the bolt to 50in pounds. If this still lets the shifter click then you may want to disassemble and clean all the parts and then oil and reassemble not forgetting to torque as explained above. If that doesn't work then something may be worn out.

    But as others have said friction is fun but you do have to learn how instead of just clicking and going. Once your good at it they can shift almost as fast as STI or ERGO and in fact the better friction deraillers like Suntour stuff can actually shift as fast even going up steep hills! Which I know most people that ride the modern stuff won't believe. Plus you can skip shift as many gears either up or down as you need.

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    I do recall having an old friction shifter (believe it was Suntour) that did have a very fine ratchet in only one direction.

  7. #7
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong here. Sounds like you have Suntour shifters with the ratcheting mechanism. This allows a lower tension on the mounting screw without the shifters slipping towards a smaller gear. These are the best low priced friction shifters that I am aware of. But if you don't like them, send them to me. I'll dispose of them for you.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  8. #8
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    BluesDawg is correct, I had a couple of bikes in the past with that type of Suntour shifters. You just push the lever a little past where the chain drops onto the next gear, then back until the noise stops. After a while it becomes instinctive, like a violin player knows where to place his finger for a certain note.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GoJacob's Avatar
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    that's very interesting, because they're shimano shifters... but either way, i'm glad to hear that my bike isn't messed up. i know this may be getting off topic - but i was thinking about using the schwinn for winter rides, because of the wider rims... but they are steel rims and was thinking that would make them rust easier. anyways, i'm wondering if the friction shifters would be a problem if i'm riding on ice/snow trying to balance my bike.... along with the negatives for the rims rusting. thanks everyone

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoJacob
    that's very interesting, because they're shimano shifters... but either way, i'm glad to hear that my bike isn't messed up. i know this may be getting off topic - but i was thinking about using the schwinn for winter rides, because of the wider rims... but they are steel rims and was thinking that would make them rust easier. anyways, i'm wondering if the friction shifters would be a problem if i'm riding on ice/snow trying to balance my bike.... along with the negatives for the rims rusting. thanks everyone

    The directions I gave were for Shimano. It's possible that the click could be normal or it may not. If you try doing what I explained it won't hurt it any and you may or may not eliminate the click but at least it's lubed and ready to go.

    DO NOT ride with those steel rims in the winter!!!!! Rust is the least of your worries; when steel rims get wet there almost impossible to stop; it's like you applied brakes on ice.

  11. #11
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoJacob
    that's very interesting, because they're shimano shifters... but either way, i'm glad to hear that my bike isn't messed up. i know this may be getting off topic - but i was thinking about using the schwinn for winter rides, because of the wider rims... but they are steel rims and was thinking that would make them rust easier. anyways, i'm wondering if the friction shifters would be a problem if i'm riding on ice/snow trying to balance my bike.... along with the negatives for the rims rusting. thanks everyone
    I'd highly recommend getting rid of the steel-rimmed wheels altogether and finding some wheels with aluminum rims that will fit the bike. Braking with steel rims (on a bike with rim brakes) in wet conditions is absolutely scary. Not what you'd want for a winter bike-

  12. #12
    Senior Member GoJacob's Avatar
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    thanks!

  13. #13
    Senior Member garagegirl's Avatar
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    It's a shimano ratcheting friction shifter. A friend of mine has the same bike.

    Are you positive the rims are steel? Hers are aluminum.

  14. #14
    Senior Member GoJacob's Avatar
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    completely positive
    i think they were chrome dipped/plated too, because the surface rust on them cleaned up and they shine and sparkle like new
    they're araya 27" x 1 1/4-1 3/8
    i wish they were aluminum, but they still LOOK cool.

  15. #15
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    It sounds like basic rachet shifting. It clicks when you pull the lever back (regular clicks, not indexed stop-points). It's not indexed and so you shouldn't count the clicks. The rachet mechanism was a more foolproof way of doing friction shifting, because you didn't need lots of friction in the system to hold the lever from moving on its own under cable tension.

    Rachet shifting was most common in Suntour's bar-end shifters and some mtb-thumbshifters, but was used in various stemshifters as well (and also Simplex' retrofriction down-tube shifters, I think).

  16. #16
    Senior Member canuckbiker's Avatar
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    On a bike I used to have, I had Suntour "power shift" ratcheting downtube levers. They were the best friction shifters I've ever used.
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