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  1. #1
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    Friction/Index shifters

    Hi everyone! Basically, im a total newbie to cycling. I recently got given a reasonably old road bike, I have no idea of the make or anything because the person resprayed it a few years back(not a particularly good respray either), and you cant see any of the decals or anything.

    The problem is that it has very old friction gear shifters, which are on the end of the drop-down bars, which i really cant get to grips with very easily. I was wondering if its possible (with not too much cost, I dont mind the time and effort as I quite enjoy playing around with mechanical things) to change to the Indexed shifters that are integrated with the brakes. As i have relatively little idea about how the index system works compared to the friction system, I assume it would literally just be a case of changing the brakes and shifters and the cables(which, in the state their in, could do with a change to be honest), or would it also be necessary to change the derailleur??

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    It would also be necessary to change the rear wheel to a freehub (8 or more cogs) because the distance between the cogs wont match the amount of cable pulled by the indexed shifters. The Sora shifters are the cheapest but only take 8 cogs. You may be able to recover some of the cost by selling the bar end friction shifters on Ebay because many people love them. It would be easier (and much cheaper) for you to switch to downtube friction shifters, you move them with thumb and forefinger rather than the little finger, and if you are riding in the drops you dont have to change the body position when you shift gears.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Steev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frazer_1
    with not too much cost
    That pretty well rules out integrated brake/shifters.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP
    You may be able to recover some of the cost by selling the bar end friction shifters on Ebay because many people love them. .
    But they don't love them that much.

    The thing is that if the bike originally came with bar end shifters, then it probably doesn't have bosses for downtube shifters. Right?

    Unless you get really lucky, STI shifters will set you back around $150-$200 for a pair. They will be 8 or 9 speed, which means that if you don't already have 8 or 9 rear sprockets you will need to get a new rear hub which would mean a new rear wheel. And if you only have 6 or 7 rear sprockets, that means your frame is narrower so you wil need to take it to a shop to have the rear triangle spread out to accomodate the wider hub.

    The other problem is that STI shifters are indexed on the front derailleur as well. When I had them on my Trek 1000, I was always adjusting the front derailleur to keep it from rubbing the chain in certain gear combos.

    Now I have indexed 9sp bar end shfiters on my Surly and I love them. The left side is still friction so I can adjust it on the fly.

    You can get indexed bar end shifters nowadays. They are real nice I got some new 9sp dura ace shifters on ebay for about $60. They also have 8sp Ultegra. That would be cheaper, but you still have rear cassette/wheel/frame issues.

    If you go to the Mikesbikes.com special order catelogue, you can find SunRace indexed clamp on downtube shifters for $15.95. That would be your cheapest option. When the right side is indexed, it makes a whole world of difference.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bearbig's Avatar
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    Try it , you'll like it! I too had the same issue as you and have grown to like the bar end shifters.
    On my set up there is a boss on the frame that is for cable routing that could also be used as a shifter mount.

  6. #6
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    ok, thanks for the advice everyone. I really dont want to go with down tube shifters, so i guess ill try and stick with the bar ends for now then, and maybe if i dont like them change them in the future, it seems like it will cost a lot to change to the indexed gears. As i said, ive only really just got into road cycling, all my bikes in the past have been mountain bikes, generally with the grip shifts, so i suppose it will just take a while to get used to this new setup

  7. #7
    New Orleans
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    LX 9 speed shifter brake levers-$60

    You can buy a used-but in excellent condition-set of 9 speed LX shifter brake levers for $60 off ebay.
    Now, you have a road bike,so you would have to switch to a straight type bar-maybe another $15-to accomodate the MTB brake levers.
    You would then need a 9 speed wheel and cassette-figure $80 more(cheapo off ebay-and $80 would be pushing the lower limit). It would be spaced 135 vs your 126, but you could remove the spacer and it would work(it would be a little off center, but..).
    If you wanted a more upright riding position, it might make sense to do the above, or if you were starting with a more expensive frame/bike. $160 spent on a $100 bike might not make sense-unless you really love something about it.
    Luck,
    Charlie

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