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  1. #1
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    STI brifter with MTB FD.... not a happy marriage

    Recently converted my flat bar bike to drop bars with STI. Everything seems to work satisfactory. Except for the FD. My bike has one of those top pull MTB FD. Well the pull ratio is not the same as the brifter.
    I do have a old road FD2203 lying around that I can use. However it is bottom pull. The bike's frame doesn't seem to support shifter cable for the down tube (like a road bike's).
    What are my options?



    Apart from that I rode around with the converted bike using the front chainring only and it was quite a treat.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    yea it's not an accident... Bar end shifters bridge the differences.

    or stick a road FD on.

    buy a roller to clamp on seat tube below the FD to reverse the cable pull
    from top to bottom.

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    17yrold in 64yrold body
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    I went through this when I set up my touring bike using a MTB FD and brifters. I tried four or five different FD's (some road, some MTB) and had no luck. Either I could get a road FD to 'semi-work', or get a MTB FD to 'kinda' work! I guess it has to do with different amounts of cable pull. I could get a road FD to go from small chain ring to middle ring, but not quite to the big ring. I could get a MTB FD to do almost the same, but ran out of pull.
    I finally gave up trying to use brifters, and got a set of DA bar end shifters. I wish I had done it a lot sooner--they work wonderfully! The front shifter is friction, and takes the FD (XT currently) easily from small ring through middle to big ring, with no problem whatsoever. I have the rear shifter set for index, and it works perfectly with my XTR long cage RD and 11-34 9spd cassette.
    I did have to get a set of separate brake levers, and got Tektro 200's, which work every bit as well as the DA 7700 brifters I removed.
    Now I'm considering the possibility of using a Mountain Tamer Quad, and wondering if the bar ends will cover four rings?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by |3iker View Post
    Recently converted my flat bar bike to drop bars with STI. Everything seems to work satisfactory. Except for the FD. My bike has one of those top pull MTB FD. Well the pull ratio is not the same as the brifter.
    I do have a old road FD2203 lying around that I can use. However it is bottom pull. The bike's frame doesn't seem to support shifter cable for the down tube (like a road bike's).
    What are my options?

    Apart from that I rode around with the converted bike using the front chainring only and it was quite a treat.
    You don't say which STI you're running. If it's an Ultegra 6510 (9-speed) you're in luck if you can find an Ultegra 6503 front der. Otherwise, you're going to have to go to bar end shifters as described above.

    http://compare.ebay.com/like/1304421...=263602_304662

    An IRD Alpina-d front der might work too. Depends on how big your big front ring is...

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/derailers-front.html

    Edit: These are bottom pull derailleurs, however...
    Last edited by Cyclesafe; 10-18-10 at 07:36 AM.

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    When I converted an older Trek MTB to drop bars I had to use a barend shifter for the front since my 8-speed STI brifters would not index at all properly with the LX fd on the bike.

    Alternatively, as fietsbob suggested, you could use a road fd and a Problem Solvers' pulley to reverse the pull direction.

    http://problemsolversbike.com/index....clamps_pulleys

  6. #6
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    At one point I was using a Suntour 7-speed indexed shifter to shift my Shimano MTB FD. It worked great. Two or three clicks to shift between chainrings, one click to trim as needed. I suppose the same principle could work with brifters. On the same principle, a rear brifter could work the same way to shift an FD. I realize this is not actually a realistic solution, though, since you still need that right brifter to shift the rear, and probably buying a second right brifter would be too expensive, and it probably couldn't be mounted on the left anyway.

    I've never had, let alone disassembled, brifters, but there must be an indexing disc or something inside, with two or three notches for the FD. It seems like it ought to be possible to modify or replace this little indexing device to have the correct clicks for what you need. I guess older (Campy?) shifters were designed to make this easy--you could buy different indexing discs, and make it happen. But it seems like a crafty mechanic could accomplish the same thing, with some fiddling, somehow.

    Just tossing around some ideas here, for discussion. They probably don't actually help the OP, i admit.

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    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    Thanks badamsjr et al. for the suggestions
    I am using a left over ****mano Sora 3x8 brifter.

    Just wondering if I were to use a road FD:
    - can I get a long shifter cable
    - run it per usual
    - then loop it underneath the bottom bracket area
    - therefore mimicking a bottom pull cable

    would that work? Or it's a futile effort? This whole flatbar --> roadbar conversion started out as a saturday morning curiousity and has morphed into a headache thanks to this FD. Really quite anti-climactic especially everything else worked quite well.

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    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    You don't say which STI you're running. If it's an Ultegra 6510 (9-speed) you're in luck if you can find an Ultegra 6503 front der. Otherwise, you're going to have to go to bar end shifters as described above.

    http://compare.ebay.com/like/1304421...=263602_304662

    An IRD Alpina-d front der might work too. Depends on how big your big front ring is...

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/derailers-front.html

    Edit: These are bottom pull derailleurs, however...
    +1
    I am using an XT crank with 48T large ring and Ultegra 6503 FD.
    The middle-to-large shift is very finicky;
    Back out the high limit enough to get a good shift, and it makes dropping the chain on the crank arm likely.
    Turn the high limit in, and it makes it difficult to catch the large ring w/o assisting by reaching down to the downtube and pulling the cable.
    I'm considering trying the Alpina D.

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    You used to be able to get either derailleurs or a little widget designed to anchor the end of the cable housing on to the cable clamp on the FD, and the cable would run down and get fastened tot he bottom brakcet... this allowed bottom-pull derailleurs to be used with top-tube cable routing. This was common on Treks from the early-90s, not sure about other brands, or availability of the part or FDs aftermarket.

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    headtube. zzyzx_xyzzy's Avatar
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    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    The problem solvers above are a nice product. Personally, I would give barcons a really good look. I am very happy with the barcons on my Trek 520.

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    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    ^ yeah. Maybe later. I like STIs.

    Can someone tell me why can't I just get a super long shifter cable and run it under the BB area to mimic bottom pull?

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    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    You may run the shifter cable however you want, but i suspect you'll have issues with the keeping the cable in one spot, and you'll trash your finish.

    The problem solvers gadget above shown at treefort will not run the cable under the BB, but it'll clamp down underneath your FD on the seat tube, and will allow you to use your existing routing, butprovide pulley-action for a bottom-pull fd.

    The other problem solvers gadget will allow you to just run your cables along the downtube. You can get the little bolt-on cable guides for under the BB, and just run the whole thing like a normal roadbike. IRD makes a similar thing which, imo, looks nicer. If you're into saving money, just ask around from friends and co-ops to get an old clamp-on cable stop just like the second gadget, probably for free. I just threw a rusty one out a few months ago...

    But, as everyone else has said, you can't beat the barcons for this kind of set-up. I know you like STIs, but if you ever change your mind, barcons are a l'il piece of wonderful. And, you can pick up 8speeds for under $60, new. These will outlast shimano brifters, are way more serviceable, and they just work very nicely.

    -rob

  14. #14
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Indexing is fairly unnecessary on a FD, and friction actually makes shifting and trimming easier. Might want to try a lower cost front friction lever; they're like 5 bucks, even from places like Rivendell.

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    Senior Member Barchettaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
    Indexing is fairly unnecessary on a FD, and friction actually makes shifting and trimming easier. Might want to try a lower cost front friction lever; they're like 5 bucks, even from places like Rivendell.
    Good idea, but will the OP have a downtube boss to mount the friction lever on?
    It seems that clamp-on pulley thing to use a road FD is the neatest solution offered up so far. I might try it... if I ever get round to converting my old gaspipe MTB to drop bars.

    Does anyone have a photo of this pulley actually mounted on to the bike and FD that I could have a look at? Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Barchettaman; 10-19-10 at 05:04 AM.

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    When problems like this occur, I would try to figure out exactly why the combination is not working, rather the guess at it or keep trying one FD after another.

    First of all, the FD should be intended to be used with the number of chainrings that you have. The other requirement is matching the available cable pull. If the frame does not have a a frme-mounted cable adjuster, that makes it much more difficult to setup, but not impossible. There is a simple technique for increasing tension, other than just pulling it tight. If the FD cage won't travel far enough to the right, then either the cable pull is insufficient, or the cable tension might be too low, so some of the pull is used-up in the tensioning process.

    It may be possible to attach the cable to the FD slightly different in order to shorten the lever arm and get more travel from the FD, but this can backfire. The FD spring may then have enough mechanical advantage to pull the shifter off it's detent position and not allow the cage to stay in the fully right position.

  17. #17
    cs1
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    Shiftmate #7S looks like it might work. http://jtekengineering.com/shiftmate_straight.htm
    Give them a call and see.
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  18. #18
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    DaveSSS, that was one of the first thing consider. Whether I can reroute the cable or attach the cable to the FD's pinch bolt differently. However unlike mismatch rear cassettes and shifters with alternate cable routing on the RD, FDs are a lot more difficult. Further research by supplied articles confirmed that MTB FDs simply will not work with STI brifters.

    Nevertheless everyone, as of late last evening I was able to Macgyver-up (now you know what era I come from) a solution without resorting to buy at TA pulley nor having to purchase any device $$. It was a eureka moment TBH. I've not fully tuned the set-up yet. However needless to say, I have managed to make shift up and down all 3 chainrings!!

    Will post photos later of the set-up.

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    I've been using circa 1999 Dura Ace 9spd brifters and a circa 1999 XTR front derailleur on my cyclocross bike for ten years now. I've never had shifting problem. Could it be because I am using a double crakset, not a triple, or because I'm also using a 1999 XTR short cage rear derailleur?
    Last edited by 5shot; 10-19-10 at 09:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    ...But, as everyone else has said, you can't beat the barcons for this kind of set-up. I know you like STIs, but if you ever change your mind, barcons are a l'il piece of wonderful. And, you can pick up 8speeds for under $60, new. These will outlast shimano brifters, are way more serviceable, and they just work very nicely.

    -rob
    I have a commuter I ride which works well. Triple set up w/ MTB crank and derailleurs and bar end shifters. Works fine.

    But I have yet to find a set of brake levers that are as comfortable as the 6500 series 9 speed brifters on my road bike. I'd really like to upgrade the road bike and move the brifters to the commuter just for that factor.

    Anyone have any pointers to brake levers that I should consider? The ones I have (I think) are tektro. The transition from my classic bars (deda 215 shallow) just don't cut it, and I ride the hoods 70% of the time.

  21. #21
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    Hi all!
    As promised to my previous post, I am posting some of my Macgyver trick to mate STI with MTB FD. STI don't play well with MTB FD I had to use a road FD and since the cable routing is top down (mtb frame). So I had to somehow get the cable be re-routed. Thanks you for the suggestions.
    I didn't want to spend $ on what started out as a little weekend project. I stumbled into a makeshift solution when examining the old MTB FD.



    Notice the top left of the FD? It has a cable routing device. Supposedly to allow both top and bottom pull cable routings. Then I had a Eureka moment!

    Basically I installed this FD upside down! This allows me to route the top down cable around the cable guide and into the clamp bolt of my road FD.



    Having said that, the workaround is OK. The road FD doesn't shift as far out as I would like. So I had to angle it pretty aggressively.


    I know everyone advised on getting a friction shifter. But I really like a STI shifter. Besides those bar-con shifters aren't exactly cheap either! Especially I got a pair of STI lying around in the garage.


    It started out as a hardtail mtb which got commuterised over time. No it this is my "Frankenstein" commuter. Been riding it to work last week and it works real well. Loving it so far.



    Sorry for the crappy pix. It was dark and raining.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    I'm not following what you did.

  23. #23
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    I'm not following what you did.
    It's complicated.... Which part you don't understand?

  24. #24
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    Oh! You used a second cheap derailleur as a pulley underneath he primary derailleur!

    However, your derailleur is certainly not optimally set up - for ideal shifting the outside of the derailleur cage must be very close to the top of the teeth on the big chainring - between 1 and 3mm above and no more. It looks like you are closer to 20 - 30mm above.

  25. #25
    Alfredo Contador |3iker's Avatar
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    ^ Yup! Basically running double FD so to speak.

    And yes, the FD is not placed at the recommended optimal height. This is due to the nature of road FD parallelogram travel. It is ok for now. I am looking for a more permanent and proper solution. My options so far are:

    - switch back to MTB FD and use barcons
    - swap out the BB for a shorter spindle one with matching crankset (if the current one doesn't fit).
    - or do nothing and live with it.

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