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Old 09-08-11, 07:44 AM   #1
dinkjs
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Question about my downtube shifters

Just purely out of curiousity and nothing else. With my downtube shifters, if I were to ever decide to bump up my speeds from 6 to something higher...can those same downtube shifters be used to be recalibrated for the increase in shifting? Or do they make downtube shifters specifically for different speeds? IE 7, 8, 9 , 10 ETC?
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Old 09-08-11, 07:51 AM   #2
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IIRC, the whole "number of gears" thing is just how much cable pull your shifter can create compared to the size of the cassette. If you get a cassette that’s the same width as your current one (i think 5,6,7 are the same size, and 8,9,10 are a different, but don't quote me) then your RD and shifters won't mind.

Edit: Just to note that this all is assuming you haven't got indexed shifters, or they can be used in friction mode.

Last edited by mikezs; 09-08-11 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 09-08-11, 08:08 AM   #3
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If you want indexed shifting, you'll need shifters that match the # of cogs in back. If you don't mind friction shifting, and your current shifters offer a friction setting, then you're probably fine. FWIW, replacing your current shifters is a modest expense when you consider that your current rear wheel won't be compatible, and you might pay to have the rear triangle spread for the wider hub if you go with 8-sp & up.
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Old 09-08-11, 08:24 AM   #4
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Good quality downtube shifters indexed for 7 and 8-speeds are out of production and getting a bit hard to find. Downtube shifters for 9 and 10-speeds are relatively plentiful.
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Old 09-08-11, 11:23 AM   #5
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Old hat anyway.
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Old 09-08-11, 12:29 PM   #6
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I run old 105 DT shifters.Came with 6 speeds now has 8,could handle 9 for sure,maybe 10.
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Old 09-08-11, 02:46 PM   #7
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I run old 105 DT shifters.Came with 6 speeds now has 8,could handle 9 for sure,maybe 10.
I assume these are friction. Since 8,9 and 10-speed cassettes are all very close in overall width, if they will do 8, they will do 10.
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Old 09-08-11, 07:45 PM   #8
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All Shimano DT levers have a friction setting, AFAIK.

I'm not sure I've even seen friction-only Shimano DTs aside from an old 5spd Dura Ace bike I used to have... other brands were a lot more popular before indexing.
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Old 09-08-11, 10:21 PM   #9
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Last year I upgraded my 6 speed cog to an 8 speed. My Shimano 600 DT shifters (friction only) had absolutely no issue with the upgrade. I actually like friction shifters.
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Old 09-08-11, 10:44 PM   #10
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I run Shimano 7-speed shifters in friction mode on a bike with a 9-speed cassette and it works great. I found a set of SunRace indexed 9-speed shifters did not work as well!
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Old 09-08-11, 11:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
All Shimano DT levers have a friction setting, AFAIK.

I'm not sure I've even seen friction-only Shimano DTs aside from an old 5spd Dura Ace bike I used to have... other brands were a lot more popular before indexing.
True. Shimano's product range was somewhat narrower when they were the #3 producer of bike parts:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/14.html
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/17.html
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/20.html
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/23.html
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/26.html
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/34.html
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Old 09-09-11, 03:02 AM   #12
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Rivendell sell a Silver DT shifter which is a copy of the old Suntour microshifting lever. I picked up an old Suntour one and they are really good. They sort of index with everything. I mainly use it as a spare when touring with my STI integrated levers.
I changed my old DT friction bike from 5 to 6 to7 and its all works well.
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Old 09-09-11, 09:17 AM   #13
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Rivendell sell a Silver DT shifter which is a copy of the old Suntour microshifting lever. I picked up an old Suntour one and they are really good. They sort of index with everything. I mainly use it as a spare when touring with my STI integrated levers.
I changed my old DT friction bike from 5 to 6 to7 and its all works well.
I picked up a pair of these recently. They are also marketed under the Dia Compe label. But they are friction only.

However, you can also purchase a $30 plug-in for them and use them as bar end shifters.
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Old 09-09-11, 09:55 AM   #14
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I picked up an old Suntour one and they are really good. They sort of index with everything.
Actually they "index" with nothing but as friction shifters they work with nearly everything. The ratchets in the Sun Tour "Power Ratchet" shifters were very fine tooth and worked only in one direction. They ratched as you pulled in cable against the derailleur's springs and used friction to hold them in place and to let out cable. That balanced the force needed to move the levers both ways. Strictly friction levers are noticably harder to move against the spring tension than while releasing it.
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Old 09-09-11, 11:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
All Shimano DT levers have a friction setting, AFAIK.

I'm not sure I've even seen friction-only Shimano DTs aside from an old 5spd Dura Ace bike I used to have... other brands were a lot more popular before indexing.
I had a set of SL-R400 levers (?) that were 8S index only for the rear, friction for the front.

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Old 09-09-11, 11:27 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dinkjs View Post
Just purely out of curiousity and nothing else. With my downtube shifters, if I were to ever decide to bump up my speeds from 6 to something higher...can those same downtube shifters be used to be recalibrated for the increase in shifting? Or do they make downtube shifters specifically for different speeds? IE 7, 8, 9 , 10 ETC?
If you are going to upgrade I'd also consider replacing the down tube levers with some updated STI's and it will also make it so much nicer shifting.
I did this to my old Cannondale SR500 you can see photos here http://www.jtgraphics.net/cannondale_sr500.htm
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Old 09-09-11, 01:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
All Shimano DT levers have a friction setting, AFAIK.

I'm not sure I've even seen friction-only Shimano DTs aside from an old 5spd Dura Ace bike I used to have... other brands were a lot more popular before indexing.
I've got a drawer full of them.
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