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  1. #1
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Mess with it or leave it alone?

    OK, here's the deal. I have described the beautiful mint condition old Bianchi I lucked onto. I have a dilemma. In the not too distant future, I hope to be in condition to start doing some rides with a local racing club. But right now I do not really have a suitable bike. My commuter is a great bike but far too heavy with all its commuting stuff. The Bianchi would be adequate. Though old, it is pretty light at 22 pounds. However, it has downtube shifters which I love but would be very uncomfortable, mentally not physically, reaching down for in close quarters. I am used to STI on my commuter.

    Mike, I know you have mentioned that you use bar end shifters. Do they operate in index and friction mode? Could I use one in friction mode on this 6-speed rear? Might this give me more comfort since my hand will pretty much stay in contact with the bar? Or should I consider going on to STI, even just 8-speed? I realize I would have to have the dropouts spread. Any change would be a stopgap until I can get a contemporary bike. Eventually the old Bianchi would be returned to original condition except I would continue to use a 7 or 8-speed cassette hub on the wider dropouts.

    Any suggestions?
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  2. #2
    Member SteveF's Avatar
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    Ray,

    Here's my take on this -- I've got a similarly-aged bike, which at present has 6 cogs on the back with a triple crankset.

    1. If it's got 6 speeds, it may already have index shifting. If it's got Shimano components, check the rear shifter. The ring around the center mounting bolt will say "SIS" if it does. Lift the little D-ring and turn it so the arrow points to SIS to activate it.

    2. As far as bar-ends go, I find them more convenient than downtube shifters. I happen to have a set of Shimano 6-speed SIS bar-ends in my parts drawer at home. If you'd like to put them to use, e-mail me with a shipping address.

    3. To upgrade to STI shifter/levers you need to go to at least 7 speeds on the back. You can probably go with a 7-speed freewheel on your existing rear hub, or find a 7, 8, or 9-speed rear freehub/wheel. A 7-speed rear hub should fit without any need to spread the frame. 8/9 speed will require the frame to be spread for the wider rear hub.

    I also happen to have acquired a pair of 7-speed RSX STI shifter/levers which I do not need. These would not be free-of-charge, but I'd be pretty flexible on price. We can talk privately.

    BTW, according to Sheldon Brown's web site, you can fit 8 cogs onto a 7-speed freehub using 8 cogs from a 9-speed cassette, along with 9-speed shifters and chain. His shop, Harris Cyclery, also happens to have some 7-speed Shimano 105 freehubs in stock, either to purchase outright or to be built into a wheelset.

    That's my planned upgrade path -- 7-speed hubs with 9-speed components, using 9-speed bar-end shifters to get 8 speeds in back without having to spread the frame.

    SteveF

  3. #3
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    You could use bar-end shifters. Mine are friction type which was standard for the bar-end shifter era.

    SteveF was kind enough to offer you his. I find that bar end shifters were a good idea in theory, but a real pain to maintain. They keep coming loose from the bar end.

    I say get used to the shifters on the down tube. I actually like shifters on the down tube and I think you will too once you get used to it.

    In fact, as soon as I get some free time, I plan to remove the bar-end shifters and install down-tube shifters on my Peugeot PX-10LE (yup, folks that's right - a PX-10LE. Don't hate me because I have such a neat bike).
    Mike

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    Gee. I used to have a px-10, too! Some thief liked it a lot, too!
    But seriously, the problem with barcons is that there is a LOT of cable there, and it makes shifting a rather inexact science. As long as I am using friction shifeters (40-year-old Campagnolo, aluminum, look like they were machined by hand), I'd rather have them on the downtube. at least I now know where each gear is, every time!
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  5. #5
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys! Thank you, Steve, for you in depth description and offers. I had anticipated some of the suggestions and actually expect Monday or Tuesday a 7-speed freehub body and short axle to put on a spare wheel I have. We will see how it goes from there. Steve, I see no way to get in touch with you privately. You don't have private messaging or email enabled. Would you email me at RainmanP@att.net

    Mike, I actually like the downtube shifters. But if I do try some group riding, it is just one more variable that I would just as soon not have to deal with.

    I would prefer not to mess with this bike at all, but it will be at least a year before I can buy a suitable bike.

    Will the boy ever learn to leave well enough alone? sigh
    Last edited by RainmanP; 08-26-01 at 05:58 PM.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  6. #6
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    I use down tube shifters on both of my bikes and think the accuracy of shift you get is much better than bar end ones.

    I don't like the indexed set up on my Flying Scot and much prefer the Campag friction shifters on my other bike.

    I see what you mean about reaching down to shift in close quarters though, but if I was racing I'd be so far behind every one else there would be no risk of me getting "involved" in anything.
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

    1985 Custom built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
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  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    My performance road bike is a 1982 Bianchi with the original downtube Campy friction levers and NR derailleurs, but a 7-speed SRAM freewheel and chain (no dropout spreading was required). My commuter is a 1960 Capo, also with its original Campy levers and an aftermarket 7-speed freewheel and SRAM chain.

    Yes, one can shift fast with STI or Ergo, but no shift lever/cable system is lighter or more accurate than old-fashioned Campy downtube levers. If you really want barcons, try to find an old set of SunTour ratchet levers.

  8. #8
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    John E,
    Please clarify. Are you using a SRAM freewheel with Campagnolo chainrings? I thought SRAM was more Shimano compatible which was not Campy compatible because of tooth spacing or whatever. Or was the older stuff more interchangeable than more recent parts? I wouldn't mind converting the drive train to Campy.
    Thanks,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  9. #9
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    SRAM chains work well with anything (despite what the customer service people at campy/shimano try to tell you), and cost about 1/2 the price.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  10. #10
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    Easy.

    Bar end shifters depending on the ones you buy may be both. Index and friction. All newer ones are. Older ones may only be friction.

    If you like STI them by all means buy STI. Only problem is you may only find 9s systems. This means new hub if you have an lder 6/7 speed rear hub. Ig you have an 8s hub then all you need to do is buy a new 9s cassette and a new chain so it all is new and works fine.

    As far as the rear spacing. You a re right. Basicly you can spread yourself. Many do this including me on old frames. No big deal. This however may take some muscle power in your part.

    Voila! You have a bike with new 9s system and STI as you want.
    Xavier Cintron - www.bullteksports.com

  11. #11
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    If you want to use an screw-on freewheel with a 8 speed indexing system, they work fine, as long as you specify the cog-to-cog distance. You wont fit in the same number of cogs, ie you may have a 7 speed system, spaced for Campy 8 speed indexing.

    Campy 8speed is 5mm,
    Shimano 8spd is 4.8

    In the UK we have a freewheel specialist at Highpath Engineering.
    http://www.argonet.co.uk/highpath/cy...aqs.htm#modern

    He builds up freewheels any way you want.

  12. #12
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    Hey Rainman, In a bike stuff catalog I have there are shifters that are right on the brake levers. They are very similar to the old Suntour butterfly shifters, and they are compatible with anything, any speed. If you would like I will look up the part again.
    Booyah!!

  13. #13
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Thanks, Fubar. Coincidentally, I stumbled across what may have been the same levers just last week. I forget the brand name, but they would work with either Campy or Shimano and 9,8, maybe even 7 speeds. A little pricey as I recall.

    Thanks for thinking of me.
    Regards,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  14. #14
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    Yeah, I've seen them. They are $240 for the pair, look like they were designed by Dr. Frankenstein, and really don't look very durable.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  15. #15
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RainmanP
    Thanks, Fubar. Coincidentally, I stumbled across what may have been the same levers just last week. I forget the brand name, but they would work with either Campy or Shimano and 9,8, maybe even 7 speeds. A little pricey as I recall.

    Thanks for thinking of me.
    Regards,
    Raymond
    Yeah they were pricey(240 as d*alex says). I was using a Road bike with the butterfly shifters for awhile and I loved those things. I wonder if you can still find them.
    Booyah!!

  16. #16
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I should probably be embarrassed for asking, but what are "butterfly shifters"? I do have a pair of Shimano Exage levers which clamp onto the handlebar and which have two projections around a central fulcrum, giving them a butterfly appearance.

    If one really wants to keep both hands on the bars while shifting, good old-fashioned SunTour ratchet (non-indexed) barcons are a great solution, and compatible with any drivetrain.

  17. #17
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    I don't know if they are really called butterfly shifters, but that is the best way I can describe them. They are kinda shaped like this : o< : The "<" represents the pieces that acuate the shifting action and the "o" is the part that holds the "<" together. Let me see if I can find a picture of them.
    Booyah!!

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