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  1. #1
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Can someone explain Shimano Bar End shifters SL BS50 and SL BS64?

    I have a set of SL BS64 on my Stumpjumper that I run in friction mode. In index mode the right shifter has 6 clicks, which I took to mean it's 7 speed, although it doesn't run through the 7 speed cassette very cleanly. I'm really a friction guy, so I haven't tried to fine-tune the cable tension, but figured if I did it would probably work fine. For reasons I'll explain shortly, I looked up the shifters, and from what I can tell they are supposed to be 8 speed. So I start counting fingers and wondering how 6 clicks gets me 7 shifts, which, according to my calculations, is how many you'd need to run through an 8 speed.

    But wait, I'm not done. I needed another set of bar ends for a project and picked a set of SL BS50 on Ebay. Velobase lists these as 7 speed, although mine (unmounted) in index mode only has 4 clicks. What's up with that? The Ebay auction described them as 5 speed, but as far as I know Shimano didn't make 5 speed shifters, at least none that look like these (other than the model number ID, they look identical to the SL-BS64).

    Based on my reading so far, I would have thought that the BS50 is a 7 speed shifter, and the BS64, an 8 speed, but my experience doesn't seem to align with that. I am further confused by the fact that Jenson lists the SL-BS50/SL-BS64 as if they are indistinguishable, and 8 speed.

    My Stumpjumper has in fact a 7 speed cassette (and a Deore RD). The other bike I'm working on has an 8 speed cassette (and an XTR RD). So if in fact I have 7- and 8- speed shifters, I might as well put them on the correct bikes, in case I decide to index them. If all else fails, I can always run both sets in friction mode and not worry about it.

    If someone is familiar with both shifters, I'm all ears. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    fyi the project bike is a 1995 Santana Sovereign, originally spec'd with the SL-BS50 shifters (7-speed, according to this Bikepedia spec page), although the bike had an 8-speed cassette. So I guess it was run in friction mode?

  3. #3
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
    I have a set of SL BS64 on my Stumpjumper that I run in friction mode. In index mode the right shifter has 6 clicks, which I took to mean it's 7 speed, although it doesn't run through the 7 speed cassette very cleanly. I'm really a friction guy, so I haven't tried to fine-tune the cable tension, but figured if I did it would probably work fine. For reasons I'll explain shortly, I looked up the shifters, and from what I can tell they are supposed to be 8 speed. So I start counting fingers and wondering how 6 clicks gets me 7 shifts, which, according to my calculations, is how many you'd need to run through an 8 speed.

    But wait, I'm not done. I needed another set of bar ends for a project and picked a set of SL BS50 on Ebay. Velobase lists these as 7 speed, although mine (unmounted) in index mode only has 4 clicks. What's up with that? The Ebay auction described them as 5 speed, but as far as I know Shimano didn't make 5 speed shifters, at least none that look like these (other than the model number ID, they look identical to the SL-BS64).

    Based on my reading so far, I would have thought that the BS50 is a 7 speed shifter, and the BS64, an 8 speed, but my experience doesn't seem to align with that. I am further confused by the fact that Jenson lists the SL-BS50/SL-BS64 as if they are indistinguishable, and 8 speed.

    My Stumpjumper has in fact a 7 speed cassette (and a Deore RD). The other bike I'm working on has an 8 speed cassette (and an XTR RD). So if in fact I have 7- and 8- speed shifters, I might as well put them on the correct bikes, in case I decide to index them. If all else fails, I can always run both sets in friction mode and not worry about it.

    If someone is familiar with both shifters, I'm all ears. Thanks.
    Whenever you encounter an indexed shimano barcon that doesn't seem to have the correct number of clicks, it's invariably because that funky square-ish washer is in the wrong orientation. Try it in the other three possible positions and one of them will work fine. ;-)

    For what it's worth, you can also use the BS64 on the 7-speed if you want to ( and that's what I do on my 7-speed tandem ). When you have the cable and low limit screw of the RD set correctly, you'll never be able to access the last click anyhow.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  4. #4
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    Whenever you encounter an indexed shimano barcon that doesn't seem to have the correct number of clicks, it's invariably because that funky square-ish washer is in the wrong orientation. Try it in the other three possible positions and one of them will work fine. ;-)

    For what it's worth, you can also use the BS64 on the 7-speed if you want to ( and that's what I do on my 7-speed tandem ). When you have the cable and low limit screw of the RD set correctly, you'll never be able to access the last click anyhow.
    Yep. I turned the part you mentioned and the BS50 is now acting as it should.

    The only thing I'm still unclear on is the no. of speeds these were designed for. The BS64 seems to be referred to consistently as 8 speed, but I've found some references calling the BS50 a 7-speed, and others, 8-speed.

    Current plan is to use the BS50 set on the 7-speed, and put the BS64 on the 8-speed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
    Yep. I turned the part you mentioned and the BS50 is now acting as it should.

    The only thing I'm still unclear on is the no. of speeds these were designed for. The BS64 seems to be referred to consistently as 8 speed, but I've found some references calling the BS50 a 7-speed, and others, 8-speed.

    Current plan is to use the BS50 set on the 7-speed, and put the BS64 on the 8-speed.
    According to http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...d.php?p=564292 , Shimano used the same BS50 part number for both 7 and 8 speed versions. Seems dubious, but companies have done stranger things.

    Edit: Based on http://www.fa-technik.adfc.de/Herste...o/Gruppen.html , they actually did resuse the model number, just with an -7 or -8 suffix.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  6. #6
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    According to http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...d.php?p=564292 , Shimano used the same BS50 part number for both 7 and 8 speed versions. Seems dubious, but companies have done stranger things.

    Edit: Based on http://www.fa-technik.adfc.de/Herste...o/Gruppen.html , they actually did resuse the model number, just with an -7 or -8 suffix.
    Thanks for those links. I hadn't stumbled on those.

    According to the second one, my SL-BS50 unit (no suffix) would be Ultegra level from either 1991 or 1992. It looks to me like 1991 they had 6 and 7 speed, and in 1992 they added 8 speed. So I still don't know what I have.

    I don't see any instances on the chart of SL-BS64 with no suffix, as mine reads. Seems odd, but the ones listed all appear to be 8 speed, which fits my assumptions.

    At this point, I'll mount the shifters and report back in a few days with the results, for posterity.

  7. #7
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Here's some info I wrote up a while back:

    The SL-BS50 shift levers are for 6-speed and 7-speed systems. There's a tiny grey plastic shim that fits in the cable groove on the shifter that changes the cable pull so they'll work with 6-speed clusters.

    For trivia buffs: SL-BS50-8 is Dura-Ace 8-speed, SL-BS64 is non-Dura-Ace 8-speed, SL-BS77 is 9-speed.


    The "indexing washer" can get messed up and goof up the number of notches the shift lever hits. Shimano calls it "lever boss cover" (part #2) in this PDF:
    http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/te...9830628723.pdf
    Note that the "fat tab" points down when the shift lever is installed. The washer can fit on the lever body 4 ways, but only one is correct.
    Last edited by Jeff Wills; 04-09-13 at 09:55 PM.
    Jeff Wills

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