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Old 09-05-10, 12:20 PM   #1
Oysterboy
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Flat bar shifters

Will be equipping my road bike with flat bars and want to use a set of shifter pods. The Shimano R440 and R660 fit my needs, does anyone have an opinion on these? Is the R660 worth the 50% greater price tag? Also, the specs say the left shifter can handle either a double or a triple chainring crank, how exactly does this work? Is there a better component choice for my build?

Thanks
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Old 09-05-10, 12:31 PM   #2
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Also, I have thought about going with a single rapid fire for the rear and using a thumb (friction) shifter for the front. Is this a good/bad idea?
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Old 09-05-10, 12:54 PM   #3
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Friction shifting Both works for me , but I got off the more the merrier ,
gear cluster band wagon thing at 7 speeds..

no indexing rear- front sync problems at all .
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Old 09-05-10, 01:02 PM   #4
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Would certainly consider friction shifting both front and rear (I am a bit old school) but where to find a good quality pair of bar-mount friction shifters? Ebay? LBS in the used bin?
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Old 09-05-10, 04:07 PM   #5
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QBP has adequate ones,[LBS has account?] , under $15 for the kit
including some cables and housing, I got a pair last year.

Did an upgrade of a nicer button head machine screw to close the band
that grips the handlebar..
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Old 09-05-10, 05:40 PM   #6
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I've been hunting down Shimano M732 Shifters. These are the type that mount above the bar and have Both a Friction mode and an indexing mode. They are well made and exceptionally tough. Although these are generally listed as
Seven speed shifters,there is a "phantom" eighth detente position. They can be successfully used for eight speed set ups. I find them on eBay around $50 or so a pair.
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Old 09-05-10, 09:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
I've been hunting down Shimano M732 Shifters. These are the type that mount above the bar and have Both a Friction mode and an indexing mode. They are well made and exceptionally tough. Although these are generally listed as
Seven speed shifters,there is a "phantom" eighth detente position. They can be successfully used for eight speed set ups. I find them on eBay around $50 or so a pair.

Happy hunting- I've seen a couple sets pass through the local bicycle collectives (which buy/sell/trade used parts) and the Deore XT thumb shifters sell quickly. I have a set in my stash, in addition to a set of Suntour XC Comp 8-speed thumbies. Not selling mine (yet)- I'm always cooking up a weird project.
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Old 09-05-10, 09:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oysterboy View Post
Will be equipping my road bike with flat bars and want to use a set of shifter pods. The Shimano R440 and R660 fit my needs, does anyone have an opinion on these? Is the R660 worth the 50% greater price tag? Also, the specs say the left shifter can handle either a double or a triple chainring crank, how exactly does this work? Is there a better component choice for my build?

Thanks
You can also use any of the Shimano "Rapidfire" shifters for your conversion. They're identical to the "flat bar" shifters except for the color. I have this setup on my Gold Rush recumbent: http://home.comcast.net/~jeff_wills/jeff-grr/index.htm and it works very well. Note that you will need the specific "flat bar" front derailleur: FD-R453 or FD-R770. These work with the longer "mountain" shifter cable pull but are contoured for the larger "road" chainrings.
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Old 09-06-10, 06:29 AM   #9
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Jeff, You hit my problem right on the head: I want to use MTB shifters because they are far more available (ie, better bang for the $) than the shimano road shifter pods, but the MTB front derailleurs can only accommodate MTB size chainrings. This is a down-side because I want a road-size ring (50-52T) on this bike. You are saying that if I use one of the two models of front derailleurs that you indicate that I can get both: use MTB shifter (I'm thinking I'd like to go XT level on this bike) and a road crankset, is this right?

One more question: If I build with a double crank, what do I do with the 3rd position on the left shifter? Just set the limits on the FD so that if I inadvertently shift into the lowest position that the FD does not go there? Or is it best to think in terms of using a triple crank? (I live in Florida no hills=no need for a granny gear).
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Old 09-06-10, 07:28 AM   #10
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Back in the "olden days" tandem and some hybrid manufacturers used to spec rapid fire shifters with road cranks and front derailleurs. It worked. My wife has a hybrid hanging in our basement right now that was spec'd that way from Specialized. Her bike happens to be a triple. If it had only 2 chainrings I assume the derailleur limit screws would simply block off one of the shift positions.

Fast forward to today. My philosophy is that, if I already own parts, I'll see if I can make them work. If however, I'm buying new parts, I'll buy whatever the manufacturer says will match. You make a big deal about costing 50% more, but how much is that in dollars? Are you going to be second guessing yourself if the initial set up doesn't go smoothly?
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Old 09-06-10, 07:29 AM   #11
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Given the choice I'd go with a pair of Paul Component Thumbies and some Shimano BarCon shifters.

http://www.paulcomp.com/rdthumbie.html
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Old 09-06-10, 08:47 AM   #12
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I have f221 flat bar road shifters, 8 spd. I forget what the matching fd is so that you can use road sized rings but its.about 30 bucks. Or use mtb shifters and chainrings with a lower range.cassette on the back.
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Old 09-06-10, 11:31 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Oysterboy View Post
Jeff, You hit my problem right on the head: I want to use MTB shifters because they are far more available (ie, better bang for the $) than the shimano road shifter pods, but the MTB front derailleurs can only accommodate MTB size chainrings. This is a down-side because I want a road-size ring (50-52T) on this bike. You are saying that if I use one of the two models of front derailleurs that you indicate that I can get both: use MTB shifter (I'm thinking I'd like to go XT level on this bike) and a road crankset, is this right?
Yes, exactly. However, as Retro says, it can be made to work with older Shimano front derailleurs. I'm not certain of the differences over the years, but there may be subtle changes in the length of the cable arm that allows it work with some and not with others.

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Originally Posted by Oysterboy View Post
One more question: If I build with a double crank, what do I do with the 3rd position on the left shifter? Just set the limits on the FD so that if I inadvertently shift into the lowest position that the FD does not go there? Or is it best to think in terms of using a triple crank? (I live in Florida no hills=no need for a granny gear).
I've never tried a double setup, but I assume all you need to do is set the limit screws and set up the small chainring to be the middle index position on the shifter. The cable will hang slack if she clicks the trigger again, but so what? If it really gets annoying, set up the small chainring in the "small" index position- I can't see why it won't work. The only issue on that end would be a possible jam if she tries to upshift from the large chainring and the shifter catches with a bunch of extra tension on the cable. Like some of the doctors I work with say: "I dunno- let's operate and find out!"

FWIW: my setup operates as a double 99% of the time. The granny chainring is a 24- I don't need it often, but when I do, I really need it: http://tourbc.net/Profiles10/TBC2010D4%20Profile.pdf
That first pitch was 5 kilometers of 10 to 15% grade.
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Last edited by Jeff Wills; 09-06-10 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 09-06-10, 02:28 PM   #14
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I'm thinking that dobber has the winning answer. Using the Paul thumbies (avail on 'bay for ~ $55) will allow me to use barcon shifters, which are really what this setup was meant for (tri bike). I just don't want the shifters sticking way the heck out there on the ends of the aerobars. This setup always looks stupid to me, I'd much rather have them on the handlebar where I don't have to be in the aero position to shift. After all, the least aerodynamic part of my bike is me.
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Old 10-26-10, 11:08 PM   #15
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I didn't see that there were already replies before writing, but here's what I had to say anyway....

On all those shimano flat bar road shifters (R440, R660, and R770), the front shifter is essentially an MTB shifter (probably the rear too for 9spd). This is why they work with doubles or triples. They say you have to use a special front derailleur that matches your application (double or triple road), presumably because the derailleur adjusts the cable pull leverage in accordance with the proper road crankset dimensions.

My personal experience is the use of an SL-R770 set with SRAM Rival front and rear derailleurs. I don't know why this works because the dogma is that you can't mix shimano shifters with sram derailleurs because of difference is cable pull ratios, but the bike shifts better than any of my other bikes so. I only mention this to you because you may consider trying the flat bar shifters with a normal front derailleur before sinking money into the parts you may not need. Using a friction shifter for this obviously solves the problem of getting the index working together properly.

Also, you should be able to use any MTB 9spd rapidfire shifters for this. That might save you some money (if they REALLY are the same as others have said).

Last edited by aaroneus; 10-26-10 at 11:10 PM. Reason: new info
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