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  1. #1
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    How to convert downtube shifters to a brake/shifter of a 10 speed (2x5)road bike

    Hi,

    I have been restoring an 80's Bianchi Specialisma road bike. It is a 10 speed (2x5) bike.

    I need to convert the downtube shifter to a new brake/shifter system.

    There are a lot of 10 speed brake shifters but I think they are for 10x2 speed bikes?

    Is this doable? Are there any issues with the conversion?

    What part is compatible? (Looking for Campy parts)

    Thanks in advance!

    knk9

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    Well I am in the same boat as you, and am pretty new to bikes so here is what I have learned so far converting my old raleigh. I changed the wheels to 700c by bending the dropouts and put a 9 speed cassette on there. I dont think that there are any STI shifters that work with a 5 speed hub, although I may be wrong here, they may all work, but I figured it is worth the extra effort to stick a better cassette on if i am going to the trouble of changing the shifters. The other problem might be that I dont think Shimano newer deraileurs will accomadate a cassette that goes larger than a 27 (I think most 5x2s do, mine does). Then you need to get cable stops that attach where the downtube shifters are now. I also have a 105 Rear deraileur and a tiagra Front deraileur that Im gonna put on, everything looks like its gonna fit so far...

    Here is where the more knowledgable can step in.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knk9
    Hi,

    I have been restoring an 80's Bianchi Specialisma road bike. It is a 10 speed (2x5) bike.

    I need to convert the downtube shifter to a new brake/shifter system.

    There are a lot of 10 speed brake shifters but I think they are for 10x2 speed bikes?

    Is this doable? Are there any issues with the conversion?

    What part is compatible? (Looking for Campy parts)

    Thanks in advance!

    knk9
    Why do you NEED to convert?There are alot of issues.Anything is doable with enough money. Unless the frame is something special,why bother? Figure on tossing the whole drivetrain, and toss the rear wheel and and get one for a campy 10 speed casette. Spread the rear triangle to handle the wider hub and possibly realign the deralier hanger. If it has 27" wheels, the 700c required for the new rear end can cause issues with brake pads not reaching the slightly smaller diameter rim. As already mentioned, you will need proper provision for cable routing and cable stops.

  4. #4
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    The STI integrated shifters you are referring to are for a 2x10 setup. There is no STI that I have ever seen that will work with a 2x5.

    Minimally you are looking at two STI shift levers, cables, housings, crankset, cassette, wheelset, chain, front and rear derailleurs...

    I did this conversion on my 1989 Paramount, but it was more cost effective for me since I worked at a bike shop which had bins upon bins of used parts, so all total I had about $150-200 in used parts. You couldn't buy the STI shifters for that alone I'm afraid, at retail prices.

    Truthfully if you are restoring it, do just that, don't bother upgrading, and enjoy it for what it is. You will spend as much as a new road bike costs if you choose to upgrade, figuring you can get an entry level roadbike around $600. Especially if you can't do all the work yourself.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    There is no STI that I have ever seen that will work with a 2x5.
    Now, that would depend on the cog spacing of the 5 speed cluster wouldn't it?

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    I put a 9sp cassette and chain on a new wheel on my steel bike, but kept the downtube shifters. All I can say is WOW. The shifting is quick, smooth, dead quiet, and easy. I just shift in smaller amounts than before. It is much quieter than the STI shifters that I can hear behind me. Even the front is more reliable now, probably due to the new chain. I may not have the precision of STI, but my few experiences with indexed shifting weren't that great anyway.

    And my frame IS something special. A custom built Davidson from '81 that I had built to fit. It still fits me like a glove. At least it took 700c wheels, and didn't need to be spread.

    I've spent about $300 on this, including the Velomax wheels, 9sp cassette, chain, new GP3000 tires, tubes. The wheels would be good to go on a new bike and would be better than anything I would get in the $1500 range. The only thing that wouldn't go over would be the chain, so I don't feel like I'm throwing money at a lost cause.

    You have to decide whether the additional cost of levers, having work done on the frame, etc.. is worth it. As already said, is the frame worth it? Check out what you get at a bike shop for under a grand and see if maybe you would be better off with a new bike, and keep the Bianchi stock.

    Now that I've done this myself though, I'm not sure a new bike is really necessary.

  7. #7
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knk9
    Hi,

    I have been restoring an 80's Bianchi Specialisma road bike. It is a 10 speed (2x5) bike.

    I need to convert the downtube shifter to a new brake/shifter system.

    There are a lot of 10 speed brake shifters but I think they are for 10x2 speed bikes?

    Is this doable? Are there any issues with the conversion?

    What part is compatible? (Looking for Campy parts)

    Thanks in advance!

    knk9
    Why get rid of the downtube shifters? If you want more convenience you can save a lot of money over STIs by using barcons (somewhere around $100). There are a lot of details in this kind of conversion/upgrade and you really have to think about how much money you want to spend and how much you like your frame. When you make those determinations, you can start thinking about the best way to do it within your budget.

  8. #8
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    The STI integrated shifters you are referring to are for a 2x10 setup. There is no STI that I have ever seen that will work with a 2x5.

    Minimally you are looking at two STI shift levers, cables, housings, crankset, cassette, wheelset, chain, front and rear derailleurs...

    I did this conversion on my 1989 Paramount, but it was more cost effective for me since I worked at a bike shop which had bins upon bins of used parts, so all total I had about $150-200 in used parts. You couldn't buy the STI shifters for that alone I'm afraid, at retail prices.

    Truthfully if you are restoring it, do just that, don't bother upgrading, and enjoy it for what it is. You will spend as much as a new road bike costs if you choose to upgrade, figuring you can get an entry level roadbike around $600. Especially if you can't do all the work yourself.
    I'd rather spend $600 on a custom build-up of a quality older frame than on an off-the-rack entry level road bike any day of the week and twice on Sunday. By the time I replace the pedals, saddle, and tires, (usually necessary on an entry level bike) I've got a lot more than $600 invested and I still have a crappy frame and iffy components.

    For that kind of money, I can pick up a quality older 531 framed bike at a garage sale. Headset and BB will need new bearings but may not need replacement. Stem will work. I can pick and choose new bars, pedals, maybe saddle, rebuild the wheels with new hubs, spokes and 27" rims, keep the brakes and levers, add barcons, new cassette, chain and crankset, new tires and a powdercoat.

    After all that, I've got exactly the gearing I want. I've got the handle bars the right width and the cranks are the right length. Even though I've got a steel frame, it probably doesn't give up any significant weight to that low end bike but it rides better and the components are better.

    Oh, and retail price? Who pays retail?

    Granted, this isn't a project for everyone but if someone is willing to consider it and has the time and aptitude he can come up with a very nice ride for half the cost of a =comparable= new bike.

  9. #9
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Easy killer, did you even read my post? I have a lugged '89 Paramount with STI.

    Building a bike isn't for everyone, and you don't get the warranty or service that comes with buying new. Its fine to build if you have the tools and know how, but I am guessing the original poster is lacking both, and shop labor rates are around $50/hr.

    I don't think its possible to do a build with all new parts on an old bike and come up at half the cost of a comparable new bike. Ultegra STI's from PricePoint are $219 for the pair still, + shipping of course. Thats 1/4 the cost of a new bike right there. If you shop around and get last years model, you are starting to see 105 bikes at the $500-700 range...

  10. #10
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    Easy killer, did you even read my post? I have a lugged '89 Paramount with STI.
    I could ask the same question since your next sentence is essentially a rewording from my post.

    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    Building a bike isn't for everyone, and you don't get the warranty or service that comes with buying new. Its fine to build if you have the tools and know how, but I am guessing the original poster is lacking both, and shop labor rates are around $50/hr.
    It's not extraordinarily difficult to do this and I hate to discourage people from doing some tinkering.

    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    I don't think its possible to do a build with all new parts on an old bike and come up at half the cost of a comparable new bike. Ultegra STI's from PricePoint are $219 for the pair still, + shipping of course. Thats 1/4 the cost of a new bike right there. If you shop around and get last years model, you are starting to see 105 bikes at the $500-700 range...
    105 STIs can be had for significantly less than that. If you're willing to forgo the STIs for barcons you get to keep your old levers and get down to the $50 range for shifters. Further, unless you have =only= a frame, you probably don't need all new parts. Front hubs, levers, headset, BB, saddle, stem, bars, brakes, seatpost, maybe rims and pedals can be recycled.

    Still, when a word like "comparable" comes in to play, it becomes a matter of opinion. I don't consider a low-end all aluminum frame to be "comparable" to a high quality used steel frame.

    A new bike isn't =always= the answer, although it often is. To know what the =right= answer might be, we need to understand the goals, the budget, the condition of the existing bike, how wedded the rider is to it, his willingness to tinker and learn.

  11. #11
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    why are you guys talking about shimano when he asked about CAMPY?

    also, you don't need to spread a frame to fit 700c wheels in. where the spreading comes in is with the axle spacing. 8-9 speed is 130mm, 7 speed is 128 i believe, and 5-6 is 126.

    now...you could potentially get a random cheap cassette hub and hack off the outer edge of the cassette body so it'll only fit 5 cogs, then find a way to bring the bearings in closer, and shorten the axle, and re-thread the inside of the cassette body to accept a lockring...THEN you could use STI or Ergo shifters with old derailleurs...but...that would require massive amounts of know-how and some pretty nifty and special tools to do all the cassette hub hacking and slashing. it's be fun though...and the end product would be pretty interesting.

    or it might be possible to break up an old 5-speed freewheel and narrow the spacing down to something that would be 9 or 10 speed compatable, then put it all back together. i'm pretty sure old suntour "winner" freewheel sets had cogs that you could take off and put back on again, so maybe that would be something to think about. but those parts are becoming quite rare nowadays (especially the cogsets). then you could probably find some older campy ergo shifters to make it work.

    both options would probably end up costing more money than it would to just keep the downtube shifters...but the second one, with the suntour winner system is probably the more realistic one.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTinSloth
    why are you guys talking about shimano when he asked about CAMPY?

    also, you don't need to spread a frame to fit 700c wheels in. where the spreading comes in is with the axle spacing. 8-9 speed is 130mm, 7 speed is 128 i believe, and 5-6 is 126.

    now...you could potentially get a random cheap cassette hub and hack off the outer edge of the cassette body so it'll only fit 5 cogs, then find a way to bring the bearings in closer, and shorten the axle, and re-thread the inside of the cassette body to accept a lockring...THEN you could use STI or Ergo shifters with old derailleurs...but...that would require massive amounts of know-how and some pretty nifty and special tools to do all the cassette hub hacking and slashing. it's be fun though...and the end product would be pretty interesting.

    or it might be possible to break up an old 5-speed freewheel and narrow the spacing down to something that would be 9 or 10 speed compatable, then put it all back together. i'm pretty sure old suntour "winner" freewheel sets had cogs that you could take off and put back on again, so maybe that would be something to think about. but those parts are becoming quite rare nowadays (especially the cogsets). then you could probably find some older campy ergo shifters to make it work.

    both options would probably end up costing more money than it would to just keep the downtube shifters...but the second one, with the suntour winner system is probably the more realistic one.
    7 speed dropout spacing was 126 early on. Many late 7 speed frames wre built with a compromise 128 spacing after the wider 8/9 speed hubs began being used. 5 speed spacing was 120. I won't comment on the rest of it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    7 speed dropout spacing was 126 early on. Many late 7 speed frames wre built with a compromise 128 spacing after the wider 8/9 speed hubs began being used. 5 speed spacing was 120. I won't comment on the rest of it.
    what, you don't like my suggestions? it's better than saying "oh, you're screwed, you'll have to spend a ton of money to do it..."

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    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTinSloth
    what, you don't like my suggestions? it's better than saying "oh, you're screwed, you'll have to spend a ton of money to do it..."
    Really? I think the guy would really like more speeds in the rear as well as integrated shifters.Easier to just spread the stays and buy a proper wheel.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Kelly makes downtube shifter posts that attach to the handlebar next to the brake levers. You may be able to put a 7 speed freewheel on your current hub and use Shimano Sora 7 speed STI shifters.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

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    Senior Member meatwad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knk9
    Hi,

    I have been restoring an 80's Bianchi Specialisma road bike. It is a 10 speed (2x5) bike.

    I need to convert the downtube shifter to a new brake/shifter system.

    There are a lot of 10 speed brake shifters but I think they are for 10x2 speed bikes?

    Is this doable? Are there any issues with the conversion?

    What part is compatible? (Looking for Campy parts)

    Thanks in advance!

    knk9
    I made such a conversion on a twelve speed. Cost effective as got the shifters free. Bike is Champion no.5 so what the heck. Had to file the curved surface that the cable of the rear suntour derailer rides against to a smaller circumfrence to get it to index properly. It works perfect and the twelve speeds are enough for me. Don't know if you could do it to a campy though.
    Most derailers don't have the ability to have their range of motion manipulated in such a way.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    Really? I think the guy would really like more speeds in the rear as well as integrated shifters.Easier to just spread the stays and buy a proper wheel.
    if that's what he wanted, then that's when he would've said. as it stands, he asked about using a 5-speed rear wheel with integrated shifters, which for the most part, don't exist. i gave him a couple options. the first being somewhat silly, but the second being somewhat serious. it would take some time and effort, but it'd be do-able.

  18. #18
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTinSloth
    .............. but the second being somewhat serious. it would take some time and effort, but it'd be do-able.
    You ever taken the cogs off a freewheel to see what respacing it actually involves? A casette is actually easier,but would involve dealing with a 126 hub which isn't that big a deal.

  19. #19
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    which is why i suggested the suntour "winner" system...or maybe i'm thinking of the heliomatic system, which was basically, a cassette body that threaded onto a normal hub, and used proprietary cogs. they're still available some places on the internet, and they show up on ebay with a fair amount of frequency, hell, i'm pretty sure we've got a couple hanging around my shop somewhere.

    my point was that it was do-able without having to buy all new 9 or 10 speed shifters, a new rear derailleur, a new rear wheel, and a new cassette. my way, while more labor-instensive would end up saving the customer money (not that any shop anywhere would ever actually do it), 2-3 hours of labor, with rates at $50/hour vs. all new drivetrain components + a rear wheel, which puts it into the $300 range.

    it'd be possibly to do it yourself if you have all the parts: lowest end campy ergo shifters (hell, i bet some places still have old 8 speed ergo shifters), the suntour winner (or heliomatic) freewheel system, a bench grinder or a dremel, and a few handfuls of patience/free time and some spare cogs and spacers in case you messed up, and then some spacers to take up the empty space on the inside of the freewheel body. i'd do it if i had a reason to. i think it'd be a really nifty setup.

    at any rate, the original poster seems to have lost intrest in this topic...

  20. #20
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTinSloth
    ..... my way, while more labor-instensive would end up saving the customer money (not that any shop anywhere would ever actually do it), 2-3 hours of labor, with rates at $50/hour vs. all new drivetrain components + a rear wheel, which puts it into the $300 range.

    it'd be possibly to do it yourself if you have all the parts: lowest end campy ergo shifters (hell, i bet some places still have old 8 speed ergo shifters

    at any rate, the original poster seems to have lost intrest in this topic...
    You are just kidding yourself about being cheaper unless your time is meaningless. The typical person asking this kind of question has neither the skill or piles of spare pieces lying about to make it viable.You haven't even made a case for it with a freewheel either,but are just grasping and guessing. AFWIW, the Heliocomatic also requires the Millard hub. No surprise he lost interest.
    Last edited by sydney; 08-05-04 at 12:12 PM.

  21. #21
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    Modolo makes the Morphus shifters for 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 speed Campy or Shimano.

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