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  1. #1
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    Replacing shift levers

    I should preface this by saying that it's possible I don't have enough information about my derailleur and gears for you guys to answer this. So, the bike that I've mentioned I just bought (Old fuji 12speed if you haven't read any of my other threads) currently has the down tube style shift levers. This has made it fairly difficult for me to shift, since I've never tried this kind of shifter before, and I have to take my hand off the handlebar to shift.

    The question is, how hard would it be to replace those crappy down-tube shift levers with some brifters. (I'm pretty sure that's what they're called.) Is it something that's worth looking into doing myself, or would it be a job for a non-beginner? Or, should I just stop being a pansy, suck it up, and learn to shift from the downtube?

  2. #2
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Theoretically you can do it, but the shifters are expensive and you'd have to change out other bits, as well.

    Better and way less expensive to go to bar-cons or stem shifters. Easy to do, and cheap.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    I am not aware of any 6 speed brifters, and I don't know that they would index with your current drivetrain if they did. An easier option may be Dia-Tech bar end shifter mounts:
    http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/shift...urs/17068.html

    They allow you to mount your current shifters on the end of the handlebars. This will bet the shifters up much high (and onto the bars). They are only $25 and may be worth a try.

  4. #4
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    Awesome. Thanks for the advice. Using the bar-end shifters seems like a much more reasonable to solve my problem without spending more on brifters than I did on my bike. Will bar end shifters fit on to my current shifters, so I can just move them, generally? Or am I going to have to find out which type of shifter I have and then find something compatible?

  5. #5
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    Awesome. Thanks for the advice. Using the bar-end shifters seems like a much more reasonable to solve my problem without spending more on brifters than I did on my bike. Will bar end shifters fit on to my current shifters, so I can just move them, generally? Or am I going to have to find out which type of shifter I have and then find something compatible?
    Basically, what I linked are just mounting brackets for your current shifters, so there should be no compatibility issue at all. Besides, I am assuming you are using friction shifting, which makes compatibility a much smaller issue generally. You will likely need new cables and housing to accommodate the new position, but that is about it (well, and maybe some new bar tape).

  6. #6
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Another interesting solution for those of us who like riding on the tops and hoods.

    http://www.kellybike.com/2nd_xtra_takeoff.html

    Also, I would add +1 for stem shifters as an alternative that is easy to reach.

    Even if you are using friction shifting now, and it is Shimano, switching to an indexable rear derailleur and an indexed 6 speed stem shifter would be pretty cheap... that is what I have done to an old bike I have, by checking out eBay. Shifter was under $15, derailleur I am using is a Deore LX for my wide range needs, but any rear derailleur since indexing began (except early Dura-Ace) should work fine. Potentially add a cable stop to take the place of your down tube shifters, and some new shifter cables and you should be good for as low as $30

    Brifters will cost you $100+ for just the brifters, then you would have to update your rear cluster, and possibly the derailleur as well. I believe you need to go to at least a 7 speed cluster for brifters.
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  7. #7
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    I would like to switch to indexing, but I'm not sure what year the bike is, or whether the derailleur would allow for indexing. Any ideas how I could find that out? Take pictures and show you guys?

  8. #8
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    Pics would help, but an easy way to find out is look at your rear derailleur. If it has an cable adjusting barrel screwed into it, it indexes; if no barrel, new RD is needed, although six speed Shimano RD and index shifter levers can be had pretty cheap.

  9. #9
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    Ok! So, I was finally able to get a picture this weekend of my RD. It's not the greatest, but I'm pretty sure that's an adjusting barrel there. Am I right in thinking this will allow for indexing shifters?



    Thanks again for all of your help!

  10. #10
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    It certainly appears to be an indexing RD, but I'm not sure what you mate it up with. My guess is that the Vx model ID's this as a Suntour made for Fuji deal, and suntour indexing was not the best - maybe they made bar end index shifters that work better than their DT. Someone?

  11. #11
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Sun Tour V-Luxe GT branded for Fuji. Pre-index era, but a good friction RD.
    From what I can see, the cheapest way to go index shifting will require a set or shifters (Sunrace 6-speed DT shifters would be the low bid there), a RD, and a freewheel to match the shifters (Shimano 6-speed SIS compatable).
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    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

  12. #12
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    Alright.... So, would this setup work? And would the actual installation of this be something I'd be able to do myself, as a total beginner?

    Shifters:
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...em_id=SU-217-6

    RD:
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...em_id=SU-RDM2H

    Freewheel:
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...tem_id=SU-HG60

  13. #13
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Those shifters are for flat bars, like a ATB. You canb use them, I suspose, but you'll also need a frame mounted cable stop and some SIS cable housing. You might be better off with these levers:

    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...m_id=SU-137A/6

    The rest of the gear will all work together. The only thing you might have trouble with is getting the old freewheel off. If you don't have a freewheel tool that fits you can either have your LBS remove it for a few bucks or do this:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html#remove

    scroll down to destructive removal.
    When you have everything hooked up go to:

    http://www.parktool.com/repair/byreg...mageField2.y=9

    and follow the instructions for RD and shifter installation and adjustment.
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    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

  14. #14
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    BUt why not this instead (7 speed freewheel is almost the same width as 6 speed)

    Freewheel
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...tem_id=SU-HG72
    or BETTER yet - real Shimano HYPERGLIDE freewheels (better shifting for $5.00 more)
    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/freewheels.html#7 and checkout the article on Mega7 freewheels http://sheldonbrown.com/mega7/

    Shifters
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...em_id=SU-217-7

    Same RD although you can usually pickup DEORE's for about 25.00 at performance, nashbar etc.

    Hardest part of the job is usually switching the Freewheel - You need a special tool to remove the old freewhell and the tool must match the old freewheel (or get the LBS to take it off/switch it) Put the tool in a vise, lower the freewheel over the splines and turn CCW. Apply a small amount of anti seize to the thread and carefully start the new FW onto the threads.
    Tool for the new Shimano FW http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...em_id=BR-CT6MB
    But you would almost certainly need a different tool to remove the old one.
    Bolt the RD into place and install the thumb shifters. You will need some cables stops. http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg..._id=SH-67B9100

    For a total beginner, not too hard if your mechanically inclined. Getting the old FW off can be a bear, probably 20+ years of corrosion in there. The best bet would be to have the LBS remove/replace the freewheel. You get brownie points and maybe some free tips in the future if you give them your business by buying a freewheel from them. Lots of help on the rest available at the Park Tools Website
    http://www.parktool.com/repair/

    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    Alright.... So, would this setup work? And would the actual installation of this be something I'd be able to do myself, as a total beginner?



    Shifters:
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...em_id=SU-217-6

    RD:
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...em_id=SU-RDM2H

    Freewheel:
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...tem_id=SU-HG60

  15. #15
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    So, the only difference between getting a 6 speed 14-28 freewheel, and the 7-speed 11-28 or 11-34 would be that I'd have to get 7 speed shifters, and a small increase in price? Would that upgrade be worth it to someone that's brand new to the sport?

    Of course, that means that I could also buy brifters, which they have for 7-speed bikes... which was the original idea. However, that's looking spendy.

    P.S. Seriously, I know I'm asking some ridiculous questions, but I really do appreciate everyone that's answering! I feel like every day I go home, I know more and more about my bike!

  16. #16
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    The joker in that deck will be if the 7-speed freewheel fits between the dropouts. I've done 6-to-7 conversions that just required the shifters and freewheel to be changed. but I've done others that required the wheel to be re-spaced and re-dished. And a few that were neither. You won't know untill you get the parts together and try.
    If you do go the 7-speed route, that 11-28 Shimano freewheel is a great item; but IIWM, I'd do the 6-speed and shifters and ride it like that for the season. Then if you decide you love the bike you can do the 7-speed/brifter conversion next year when you know a little more.
    Top
    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

  17. #17
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    You might also be able to find a set of Kelly Take-Offs. Theses are brackets that mount a downtube shifter next to the brake levers.
    Some time available on ebay. If you buy from Kelly direct, don't bite on the "kit" 40 for cables and noodle is way out of line. I used a set for a year before upgrade my old 6 speed to 9 speed. Almost as good as brifters, lets you use and type shifter, friction or inidex - even my old suntour accushifts.

    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    I should preface this by saying that it's possible I don't have enough information about my derailleur and gears for you guys to answer this. So, the bike that I've mentioned I just bought (Old fuji 12speed if you haven't read any of my other threads) currently has the down tube style shift levers. This has made it fairly difficult for me to shift, since I've never tried this kind of shifter before, and I have to take my hand off the handlebar to shift.

    The question is, how hard would it be to replace those crappy down-tube shift levers with some brifters. (I'm pretty sure that's what they're called.) Is it something that's worth looking into doing myself, or would it be a job for a non-beginner? Or, should I just stop being a pansy, suck it up, and learn to shift from the downtube?

  18. #18
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    Before you go off and buy a new freewheel, first measure the rear dropout spacing. It may be 120mm with an Ultra-6 freewheel. That will make it a bit more complicated to upgrade to a standard 6- or 7-speed freewheel. You will have to add an axle spacer and redish the wheel. I upgraded my old 1984 Fuji from Ultra-6 to 7-speed this way.
    Last edited by Gonzo Bob; 04-03-07 at 01:19 PM.

  19. #19
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    Rear dropout spacing.... pardon my ignorance, but could you explain that to me? I have like 8 things I think that could mean, and I figured it's best not to guess.

  20. #20
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    Rear dropout spacing.... pardon my ignorance, but could you explain that to me? I have like 8 things I think that could mean, and I figured it's best not to guess.
    Take the rear wheel out and use a ruler to measure the space between the rear drop outs (inside to inside). Here is a good description:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_sp-ss.html#spacing

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    I should preface this by saying that it's possible I don't have enough information about my derailleur and gears for you guys to answer this. So, the bike that I've mentioned I just bought (Old fuji 12speed if you haven't read any of my other threads) currently has the down tube style shift levers. This has made it fairly difficult for me to shift, since I've never tried this kind of shifter before, and I have to take my hand off the handlebar to shift.

    The question is, how hard would it be to replace those crappy down-tube shift levers with some brifters. (I'm pretty sure that's what they're called.) Is it something that's worth looking into doing myself, or would it be a job for a non-beginner? Or, should I just stop being a pansy, suck it up, and learn to shift from the downtube?

    I'm not %100 positive but I believe 7 speed shimano rsx shifters will work on a 6 speed cassette.
    Also, the derailer does not have anything to do with indexing or not.
    Last edited by Alphonso; 04-05-07 at 12:47 PM.

  22. #22
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alphonso
    Also, the derailer does not have anything to do with indexing or not.
    Yes and no.....
    Index era RDs pull the same amount of cable per shift within design paramaters (Shimano SIS, SunTour Acushift, and the various Campy systems will work within their systems [except for Campy 8/9/10]) but non-index won't. And they have to be coupled with the proper shifters as well.
    But a humble Shimano Light Action RD from 1986 will work with the latest Shimano 10-speed cogset given the proper shifters.
    Top
    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

  23. #23
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    sevrdhd, why don't you keep the downtube shifters for a while? Sounds like you've only been riding the bike a few days, so you might just need a little time to adapt. I commute on an older Trek with downtube shifters and it's not hard to get used to them. In a way, they're more reliable than indexed shifters since they don't lose alignment due to cable stretch.

    On the other hand, it sounds like you're keen to get out the tools and work on the bike, so if that's what you want to do, go for it.

  24. #24
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Also, it's a good idea to practise riding one-handed: it's useful for signalling turns, brushing insects off your sunglasses, using a water bottle, waving to pretty girls, etc.

  25. #25
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    Alright... so, a little over a month later and I'm finally ready to start switching my bike over to an indexing shifting system. I've decided to stick with the downtube shifters for now, and I'm going to be purchasing all the products on eBay. (Thanks to a generous gift of a $100 eBay gift certificate from my employer).

    So, with that in mind, I was hoping I could confirm some things with you guys first. These are the components I'm planning on buying. If you could tell me what else I'm missing, or if anything won't work together, I'll be MUCH obliged. Also, as for getting the old freewheel out. I'm most likely going to just take it to my LBS to get that done, but if that turns out to be too spendy, I'll be doing it myself, in which case, I'll have to get a freewheel tool. But, that's a thread for another day. On to the components!

    First, the RD.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SHIMANO-REAR-DER...QQcmdZViewItem

    Shimano, 6/7 speed, SIS compatible, $17 shipped

    The Freewheel:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-6-Speed-...QQcmdZViewItem

    Also Shimano, 6 speed, 14/28, $27 shipped

    The shifters, I can't find on eBay. I can only find 7 speed shifters, which I assume wouldn't work. So, I'll have to suck it up and actually pay money for these:

    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...m_id=SU-137A/6


    Should these all work together?

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