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Old 11-05-08, 03:47 PM   #1
grinningfool
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Will indexed R.D. work with non indexed shifters ?

I'm converting my old road bike to a triple. It has downtube shifters, and I am getting a triple front derailleur, and am thinking I'll probably need a long cage rear. Will a modern indexed rear derailleur work with my old shifters, or should I get some indexed bar end shifters ?
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Old 11-05-08, 03:54 PM   #2
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Friction shifters will work with any derailleur.
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Old 11-05-08, 03:57 PM   #3
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As I understand it, derailleurs aren't indexed; shifters are, or aren't.
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Old 11-05-08, 03:58 PM   #4
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Right. There's no such thing as an "indexed" RD. (At least nowadays.)
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Old 11-05-08, 05:01 PM   #5
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OK, thanks for the info. So any long cage derailleur should work.
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Old 11-05-08, 05:11 PM   #6
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As long as the old downtube shifters aren't indexed (or if they are, they have a non-indexed mode), they will shift with any derailleur ever made, front or rear. That was the beauty of road cycling back in more sensible times. You weren't stuck with a whole integrated system. Now, depending on how many "speeds" you have back there, it may take some precise shifting on your part, but it will work fine.

If I had unlimited funds like so many people here seem to have, I would buy the parts I need to revert my randonneuse back from my flirtation with indexed shifting of 10 years ago. I would go with downtube shifters (never liked bar ends), and at most 7 speeds in back combined with a half-step plus granny triple setup.

If it's a triple you're putting on it, yes, any long cage derailleur will work. I would recommend a "mountain bike" derailleur such as an older Deore (but any will do).

Last edited by Longfemur; 11-05-08 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 11-05-08, 07:04 PM   #7
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Heh, heh... 7-spd was actually from about 20-years ago.
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Old 11-05-08, 07:48 PM   #8
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Yes, well my road bike is a 1980, and only has a 6 speed cassette, (yes, it's a cassette, not a freewheel). So I will get a pair of mountain bike derailleurs, and I should be good to go. Thanks again for all the help.
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Old 11-06-08, 11:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grinningfool View Post
Yes, well my road bike is a 1980, and only has a 6 speed cassette, (yes, it's a cassette, not a freewheel). So I will get a pair of mountain bike derailleurs, and I should be good to go. Thanks again for all the help.
Mountain bike derailleurs? Is the front crankset mountain bike?
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Old 11-06-08, 12:19 PM   #10
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One other factor when talking about indexed vs. non-indexed shifting compatibility is that the newer 9sp and 10sp cassettes (and maybe older ones too) have ramps built into them to aid in the shifting. The chain rides up and down on the ramp to provide smoother shifts. If you have the full integrated system, where the shifter clicks in and the derailleur moves a certain amount corresponding to the cog spacing, there is the ramp that makes it happen so quickly and relatively quietly.

So now, take away the indexed shifter, and you still have the smooth changing of the cog. If you have very narrow 10speed, the shift happens with a light touch on a friction shifter. It really works very well and is very quiet, you don't even have the click of the indexed shifter anymore. The only issue with a 10speed setup like this is that most older derailleurs won't swing all 10 cogs. I can use 9 on my setup, but that's really enough anyway. The other benefit of this system is that the wheels themselves are better nowadays.

I've had my older bike set up like this for a few years now, and I just set up another BF member a few weeks ago like this that had a different derailleur and shifters than mine and it worked just as well.
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Old 11-06-08, 12:32 PM   #11
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I was running a 6-Spd. Suntour New Winner freewheel on my 1982 road bike. Then went to an IRD 7-Spd. freewheel. Now new wheels with a Campy hub and an 8-Spd. Miche cassette - and all of these with a 1982 Campy downtube friction-shifters. I wouldn't even consider an indexed system for this fine piece of perfection. Nope. Uh uh.
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