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Old 03-30-09, 05:12 AM   #1
pgoat
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Shimano 9 speed with 1980s friction DT shifters?

Hey folks - sorry to cross-post; wasn't sure if this was better for C&V or here:

I may need a new cassette for my 86 trek road bike, It was originally a 6 speed freewheel, but I replaced the original wheelset and now have a Ultegra 9 spd hub with spacer and a 7 speed cassette (13-30t) on there, which works fine. The chain and seat stays are straight gauge cro mo and accept the wider wheels with no issues.

Since my other bike is a 6 year old 9 speed (12-23t), I was thinking of getting another 9 speed cassette with a lower gear for the Trek, which I could also swap to my newer bike if I was riding a hillier route (maybe a 28t low). Of course the 9 speed cassette will be more money and I will have to get a 9 speed chain, but I don't mind that....

Can/Should I run 9 speed with my old down tube shifters? My bike has the old pre-Ultegra "600" friction shifters and non-indexed derailleurs.
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Old 03-30-09, 05:52 AM   #2
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You can usually run just about anything with friction shifters. The only thing that I can see limiting this setup is if the rear shift lever does not wrap enough cable around its barrel (body) to shift the full range of the 9speed cluster. Check this by mounting your other wheel and playing with the setup before buying the new cassette; if it works you should be good to go. Don't worry about the chain not being 9spd when checking this out...you don't need to ride it. Just mount the wheel with the chain off the chain rings and maneuver the shift lever to make sure the rear derailleur will move from the smallest cog to the largest.

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Old 03-30-09, 08:35 AM   #3
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Thanks - I think I did try this once and it worked, but I will double check before proceeding.
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Old 03-30-09, 08:37 AM   #4
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One other concern I had was, would shifting 9 cogs this way be very finicky or irritating? I imagine there would less trimming happening, but then again I could see it being a case of overshifting (going a cog or two too far beyond the next gear intended....at least until I get used to the closer intervals).
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Old 03-30-09, 08:40 AM   #5
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As noted, friction shifters will shift anything, any manufacturer, any speed and most have plenty of travel to cover a 9/10-speed cassette even if they wer made in the 6/7-speed era.

You will probably find the friction shifters work better on the new 9-speed cassette than they did on the 6-speed freewheel. The modern shaped and ramped cog teeth that make index shifting reliable also greatly improve the accuracy of friction shifting.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:05 AM   #6
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Very cool, thanks! I would love to have the wheelsets shared between these two road bikes, so as long as it works, I am willing to shell out the extra money.
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