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Old 11-09-10, 09:03 AM   #1
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Cheap falcon shifters good for a college campus bike fleet?

First post in this forum I hope to get some good feedback.

I have been repairing used bikes and putting them up for sale or even giving some away for over 3 years now. I don't need to make the extra money as much anymore and I work on a small private college campus so I figured a great thing to do would be to offer a fleet of bikes for students to use. I have 10+ bike frames in my garage That I could turn into very solid campus bikes. The biggest problem is I need shifters because most of them are none-working for various reasons including destruction. I am seriously considering buying a bunch of these Falcon friction thumbshifters. It seems cost effective and yet they should work well.

http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=11971

Any thoughts? I have done some research on campus bike programs of various places and kinds, but any feedback would probably be helpful. At this point all the funding I have is my own although I am probably going to see if a couple campus departments have some extra cash to help me with the project.
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Old 11-09-10, 10:18 AM   #2
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I used this shifter on a 1x9 cross/commuter and it served me well. They are cheap, and for borrowers, who tend to wear stuff a little harder, you may need to replace if they malfunction from general use. I'd give them a shot for the use are intending.
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Old 11-09-10, 10:22 AM   #3
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They look fine to me, although I've never used them. Friction is the way to go for campus loaner bikes. Indexing will just be a pain and stuff will get broken quicker. Plus you can put these shifters on your bikes across the board without compatibility issues.
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Old 11-09-10, 11:09 AM   #4
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Just that shifting is less fussy when the space between cogs is wider , 5 and 6 speed, with friction shifting.

start adding 7 and 8. then compacting the stack further to go to 11 makes the window of being in the gear , narrower.
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Old 11-09-10, 11:10 AM   #5
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Functional friction shifters. Might wanna install barends if you have access to a buncha free ones. They'll help longevity by preventing bashing in bike racks and should any bikes windup upside down in crashes or from a student flipping one over to change a tube or whatnot.
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Old 11-09-10, 11:13 AM   #6
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They work fine, I have a set of the exact same model. I've since swapped for index downtube shifters, but I used them for months of daily use commuting last year and there's nothing wrong with them -- they shift across the cassette just like anything else.

I'd dig them back out if I had a bike I was needing to use them on....

I find friction shifting to be easy to use from 5-8 speeds. 9 and above I find more sketchy, but some people use 9 speed friction I've read. 10 seems a bit tough for most folks.
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Old 11-09-10, 11:33 AM   #7
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falcon or sunrace thumb shifters are respectable and dependable. I recommend them.
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Old 11-09-10, 11:47 AM   #8
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Thanks for the thoughts on these shifters. I doubt I will be running anything more than a 7 speed freewheel or cassette so I think these are just what I need.

I like the idea of the bar ends. I know I have a few extra and I am pretty sure I have some x-mart bikes that have them I could steal from. The other good thing would it would give some people another hand position since its not like these bikes are going to fit everyone that well. For the tall people I plan to put some straightbars on a couple big Schwinn Varsity bikes and just roll with the stem shifters. Its tough to improve on those for this purpose.

Anymore thoughts would be great.
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Old 11-09-10, 07:27 PM   #9
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Sounds like a cool project. I work at a college too and would love to see what you come up with and how things work out. I want to see pictures of your fleet when you are done.
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Old 11-10-10, 09:34 PM   #10
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Thanks its going to take alot of time, but I'll keep you posted. One of these days maybe I will pull out all the bikes and take a pic of the fleet in its current "before" state. "After" will probably be a few months from now.
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Old 11-10-10, 10:07 PM   #11
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I use them. I like them, a nice basic friction thumbie.
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Old 03-31-11, 10:07 PM   #12
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Here is an update on my project. I cleared out a bunch of frames and bikes and so now I am looking for a couple cheap bikes that don't need too much work to supplement what I already have. This is the first one to join my college fleet. Its a 1992 Schwinn Hurricane. Its even the college colors. The trigger shifters are sticky and gummed up so I'll try and get them working again (suggestions on how to do this would be helpful), but if not I have a bunch of thumbshifters I have salvaged from other bikes to put on this one and whatever else I end up buying. My goal is to put together 4 solid mountain bikes for less than $100 total out of my pocket and I am 1/4 of my way there. I'll probably fix up more than 4 bikes as time goes on, but I need to get started somewhere.

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Old 03-31-11, 10:17 PM   #13
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Looks like a cool project so far. Post more pictures when you get the chance!

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Originally Posted by monsterpile View Post
The trigger shifters are sticky and gummed up so I'll try and get them working again (suggestions on how to do this would be helpful)
Try flushing with WD40. The grease in there can harden over time. Or if you don't use them you could always send them to me I think those shifters with both buttons on the bottom are cool, despite their failure in the market. The left side is friction too, yes?
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Old 04-01-11, 03:25 AM   #14
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Friction has the advantage that a bike with a bent derailleur hanger can be very useable.
One cheep solution for the shifters might be to remove them and use the bike as a SS with the limit screws controlling the gear. It would then be a simple task to change a gear with a screwdriver if needed, for an example when a cog is worn out.
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Old 04-01-11, 03:52 PM   #15
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I assume that both shifters are indexed, but Seriously they don't shift enough to know either way. If you like those I might end up sending you a whole box of them if they don't get working. =) I remember the first indexed bike I ever rode was a Trek Mountain bike that a friend had when I was in high school and it had shifters like these. I couldn't believe how well they worked. I really like trigger and this push button type shifter alot and I pretty much hate grip shifters with a couple of exceptions.
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Old 04-01-11, 04:25 PM   #16
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If it's a little sticky, WD40. If it's frozen, PB Blaster.
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Old 04-01-11, 04:47 PM   #17
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I've used them. I think they are adequate for your intended purpose. They are very simple, cheap and pretty tough. I'd stick to 6-8sp drivetrains, probably shooting for 7sp to keep costs down and still provide decent range. Alternatively, you can also get new Shimano index thumb shifters in 5, 6 and 7sp if you'd like.
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