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  1. #1
    Senior Member Shilun's Avatar
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    Downtube shifters

    I've just come across an old pair of downtube shifters (Shimano SIS). In indexed mode they give five clicks. Does this mean that in friction mode I would similarly be limited to five gears?

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    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    In friction mode, you are more limited by the range from lowest to highest.

    I don't know specifically how high you can go, but you should be able to get more than 5.

    Also, if there are 5 clicks, you have a 6 speed shifter.

    1 - original position
    2 - after first click
    3 - after second click
    .
    .
    .
    6 - after sixth click.

    If yiou are talking 5 positions, then you are right, but it seems to me that most indexing started at 6...

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Almost surely not. It all comes down to cable pull. I've not tried every shifter with every possible cassette but, every pair of downtube shifters that I've ever worked with had more than enough cable pull to handle any cassette that I tried.

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    Senior Member Shilun's Avatar
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    Definitely five clicks. So, that means it will index for six, right? And I only want to use it with a seven speed cassette, so it sounds like friction mode should get me there. Great! Thanks to both of you for your help.

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    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Seven should be no problem!

    As long as you've got enough range between high and low for the RD and the shifter (both are highly likely) you should be able to use friction mode easily.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shilun
    Definitely five clicks. So, that means it will index for six, right? And I only want to use it with a seven speed cassette, so it sounds like friction mode should get me there. Great! Thanks to both of you for your help.
    Six and 7-speed cassettes/freewheels were almost exactly the same overall width so if the shifter pulled enough cable for a 6-speed cluster, 7-speed should be no problem. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it also worked with the wider 8-speed and above cassettes too.

  7. #7
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    While the width of the freewheels isn't that different, the cog spacing is.
    I've never been able to get a 6-speed index shifter (Shimano-type) to index a 7-speed freewheel.
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    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

  8. #8
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    Which is why he plans to use it in friction mode. Shouldn't be a problem as others have stated. Friction shifting takes a little practice and there an art to it, but once perfected there isn't much better for a lazy sunday afternoon ride.

  9. #9
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cuda2k
    Friction shifting takes a little practice and there an art to it, but once perfected there isn't much better for a lazy sunday afternoon ride.
    Jon, I rode friction shifting bikes for 30 years before I aquired my first index shifting bike two and a half years ago. It's not art as much as craft.......
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    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

  10. #10
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    I know this is an old thread...

    FWIW, I'm using similar 6spd SIS shifters with an 8spd cassette in friction mode. The cluster is an 11-28t hyperglide style cassette from Performance. The derailer is the original Shimano SIS, but that's getting swapped out for an old 105sc derailer I have laying around. I was going to install 105sc index shifters, but these are working fine in friction mode so I'm going to stick with them instead

    Chris

  11. #11
    Rid'n Rev sour01's Avatar
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    I got back into cycling a year and a half ago riding my 80's vintage Univega with downtube friction shifters. Thats all I know---but I am looking forward to buying a modern bike with indexed shifting and brifters. The folks I ride with give me a lot of grief about my old bike---but for now it is doing the job!

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    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Ignore comments about your bike. Simply work hard until you can drop them at will! Every time anyone makes a comment about your old bike simply drop him or her and when you allow him or her to catch up ask if something is wrong with their bike. This immediately stops all comments about old bikes. I am in the 50+ category and riding an old bike just fits my riding style! These days the only comments like that come from new riders and the others tell them never assume an old bike and rider is going to be slow.

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