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  1. #1
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    STI Shifters on a 6 spd

    Hello all, I have a 6 spd Shimano Freewheel with a 6/7 spd 105 rear der and downtube shifters. I want to convert to STI shifters, I've seen some 7 and 8 spd Shimano RSX shifters on ebay. Will these work for me? I am comfortable with any modifications short of changing the wheel.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Newbie Dave H.'s Avatar
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    I've taken three 6 speed downtube shifting bikes to 7 or 8 speed STI brake/shifters in the last year. The 8 speed bike got respaced to 130 mm (potentially dangerous modification) and a new cassette wheel (8-9-10 compatible). The other six speed bikes got a new seven speed freewheel for their existing wheel, and kept their 126 mm dropout spacing.

    The 6-7-8 speeds are all spaced differently, and require different shifters to pull different amounts of cable for proper indexing. I recommend going for the 7 speed freewheel. FYI, if you are hard on axles then the wider 7 speed freewheels can be worse than 5 or 6 speed setups.

    <$10 for freewheel removing tool. I mount the tool in a vise and turn the wheel.
    Nashbar has 7 speed 13-15-17-19-21-24-28 or 32 freewheels for $10 to $20. A 32 tooth low makes a nice bail out gear and worked ok with 42/52 front chainrings and a short cage 105 rear derailleur. A new chain was installed to wrap over the 32-52 big-big combination. You may need to re-dish the wheel and respace the hub to get the best fit. This requires cone wrenches and a spoke wrench.
    You will also need: compressionless shift housing, new shift cables, downtube cable stops, and the shifters.

    Older RSX left brifters won't trim the front derailleur. Newer "plasticky" Sora 7 speed brifters worked well for me, and the left will trim if needed. A triple left brifter will shift two or three front rings ok.

    Dave H.
    Miyata "Whatsit" 1979, Vitus Plus Carbone 1985, Lotus "Big Dog" 26" 1986,
    Fuji Roubaix 1987, Giant Innova, Tsunami (2004 Fuji Roubaix rebadge).

  3. #3
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyZ
    Hello all, I have a 6 spd Shimano Freewheel with a 6/7 spd 105 rear der and downtube shifters. I want to convert to STI shifters, I've seen some 7 and 8 spd Shimano RSX shifters on ebay. Will these work for me? I am comfortable with any modifications short of changing the wheel.

    Thanks.
    If you get 7 speed shifters you might get them to work with the six speed freewheel by using the "alternate cable routing" method: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_aa-l.html#alternate

  4. #4
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    well, I got the 7 speed Shimano freewheel and 7 speed Shimano Sora STI shifters. Every thing works perfectly except now it appears that I have a bent axle, I started a seperate thread for this issue.

    Anyway, thanks for all the help, my 20 year old Centurion is almost complete.

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