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  1. #1
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    Stem- to DT-Mounted Shifters

    '80 Nishiki Road Bike. The new quill stem (100 extension vs. the old 70) was ordered yesterday:

    Nitto Technomic Road Quill Stem 26.0 in Tree Fort Bikes Stems (cat125)

    Since the bars and tape will have to come off anyway - and on the advice of a lot of members here - I'll use the opportunity to replace the original "turkey leg" brake mechanisms with some newer Cane Creek hood-type mechs, also ordered yesterday:

    Cane Creek SCR-5C Compact Aero Levers > Components > Brakes > Road and Tri Brake Levers | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Since the above involves removing the bar tape, I've ordered new brown tape to match the new Brooks saddle (thanks, Jane).

    And finally and while I've got it apart, why not convert to downtube (DT) shifters? Here is the only source I could find for a new DT clamp to make that change. . . . and it's the reason for this post:

    Problem Solvers Downtube Shifter Mount > Components > Shifters | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    The clamp linked to above is available from Jenson and is sold as "Shimano-compatible." But the existing stem-mounted clamp is marked "Sun Tour."

    Will this be a simple swap? Or will I need to also change over the shift levers from Sun Tour to Shimano as well? I'm thinking some of you here may have already made this type of conversion, or at least know the difference (if any) between the Shimano- and Suntour-type mounts.

    Thanks - here's the bike as it looks currently.

    handlebars.jpg
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  2. #2
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    A few things to think on. First it's likely that your handle bars have a 25.4 clamping diameter. The 26.0 clamped stem you are getting might be able to be tightened enough to hold the smaller bars but I would never recommend this. Nitto has made many of their stems in both clamp sizes. Did you measure the clamp before ordering?

    While DT mounted shift lever bosses have a "standard" shape for brazed on ones the clamped on types don't have the need to be able to fit other brands of mounting bands. So usually they can/will be brand specific. The stem levers are even more likely brand specific. So I wouldn't expect the Sun Tour stem levers to fit onto a Shimano frame mount. Andy.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    stem to friction bar end shifters would be a simpler swap.. as the downtube fitting for a housing stop is there.
    just need the shifters and housing and cables

    beercan shim stock may be enough to use a 26 stem and a 25,4 bar MTB stems are 25,4 so a simpler swap, , perhaps


    quill adjustable angle ones offer adjustments.

    adapters let you use more common stems Shop at Tree Fort Bikes using your favorite shop

  4. #4
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    It can be done easily but I wonder if you really want to do this. If you are raising your handle bars then it will be harder to get to the shifters. You may want to look for some bar-cons.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  5. #5
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    If I'm understanding you correctly, you want to mount the shift levers from the stem shifters to the problem solvers clamp? If that's the case, it might work. But for less than the price of the problem solvers clamp, you could find some vintage suntour DT shifters. If you put a WTB post in the C&V for sale thread, you'll find what you need.

  6. #6
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Ratcheting Shifters

    Duane,
    I wasn't a proponent of your doing this restoration from the start, because the frame was too small and the costs weren't justified. So here we are again. Not beating you up, just feeling that you've demonstrated selective listening.

    If the clamp area is indeed 25.4mm on your handlebar, you can use a soda can single wrap as a shim, as it's ~0.3mm thickness. Trim to fit.

    Barcons will be a really nice solution, but you'll need to spend an additional $50 or so for a clean set (eBay), plus new housings (from the barcon to the downtube stop) and cables.

    barcons.jpg

    The downtube shifter of choice (for me, and there have been many threads on C&V on the best shifters) would be SunTour power shifters, which have the same ratcheting mechanism as the barcons. You can find these on eBay as well. I always keep a set or two in my parts bin for projects.

    power shifters.jpg

    I agree with the others, fitting SunTour levers to a Shimano compatible mounting post - it never worked when I tried it. But it's been a long while now. PG

  7. #7
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    Duane,
    I wasn't a proponent of your doing this restoration from the start, because the frame was too small and the costs weren't justified. So here we are again. Not beating you up, just feeling that you've demonstrated selective listening.

    If the clamp area is indeed 25.4mm on your handlebar, you can use a soda can single wrap as a shim, as it's ~0.3mm thickness. Trim to fit.

    Barcons will be a really nice solution, but you'll need to spend an additional $50 or so for a clean set (eBay), plus new housings (from the barcon to the downtube stop) and cables.

    The downtube shifter of choice (for me, and there have been many threads on C&V on the best shifters) would be SunTour power shifters, which have the same ratcheting mechanism as the barcons. You can find these on eBay as well. I always keep a set or two in my parts bin for projects.

    I agree with the others, fitting SunTour levers to a Shimano compatible mounting post - it never worked when I tried it. But it's been a long while now. PG
    Thank you, Phil. As noted, the long, 56 cm top-tube length of the 50cm Nishiki means that heightening the seat slightly and purchasing a longer quill extension will bring it into spec with a 54/56 cm frame. Not so good, perhaps, for a shorter rider who had to deal with that long top tube. But perfect for me, as it turns out. Installing a new quill stem with a slightly longer extension is not a big deal. And it will be very shiny. :-)

    Regarding the DT shifters. I called Jenson. It appears that the "Problem Solver" shifter clamp will mate only (or best) to Shimano shifters. So I ordered a set of those as well. They were advertised as fitting up to an 8-speed sprocket cluster (mine is a 7-speed). But I'm afraid they're of the indexed type. So I'm not sure f they'll be compatible with the Nishiki's friction type system. The Jenson sales rep assured me I could return them for store credit if they don't work. And if they don't, I'll certainly take your advice to source the Sun Tour power shifters. Thanks.

    Regarding the handlebar mounts: The quill stem I ordered is indeed a 26. So I ordered the special shim to adapt it to the smaller 25.4 handlebar on my bike. But I'll remember the excellent beer can shim idea, since it will be a great excuse to have a beer while I work. Best. DB
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  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    U might even just set it up with straight bars , the Falcon thumb shifters are cheap at $15 a pair including housing and cables
    already buying levers, get a different kind.
    and there are lots of low cost straight bars in 1" center bulge stem may be fine ..
    hybrid is kool.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
    If I'm understanding you correctly, you want to mount the shift levers from the stem shifters to the problem solvers clamp? If that's the case, it might work. But for less than the price of the problem solvers clamp, you could find some vintage suntour DT shifters. If you put a WTB post in the C&V for sale thread, you'll find what you need.
    Thank you. I've done both. For too much money, I've ordered a new Shimano DT clamp and shifters. The shifters are "indexed" and so may not work with the Nishiki's friction-type RD. I just don't know - I've never done this.

    So, to be safe, on the collective advice of you good folks . . . and to avoid stalling out on this little project, I've also ordered a set of Sun Tour DT shifters off of Ebay,

    Vintage Suntour Bicycle Downtube Power Shifters | eBay

    Awesome. Feel the love . . .

    EDIT:
    Duh - just realized I also have an '88 Schwinn World Sport with INDEXED, Shimano, stem mounted shifters. I'll just convert that bike as well, using the new indexed DT shifters, and will put the Suntour shifters on the Nishiki. I love it when a non-plan comes together!
    Last edited by Duane Behrens; 03-13-14 at 09:13 AM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    So, the "Problem Solvers" DT clamp is on the Schwinn, along with the new indexed shift levers. It all works great, EXCEPT that the clamp forces the levers a bit far out from the downtube. An aesthetic thing, mostly. It all works great and it took me about 5 minutes to realize that, counter-intuitive as it may be, it's easier to reach down to the downtube to shift than it is to try to manipulate the stem-mounted shifters . . . . which I found rather unwieldly. Photo of new setup below:

    Problem Solvers DT Clamp.JPG
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    The SunTour power shifters are in as well, and I'm looking forward to installing them on the Nishiki. Gotta say I enjoy working on these old steel bikes. I work on old motorcycles also, but major motorbike projects usually take a few days, where bicycle projects tend to take a few hours at most. Perfect for someone with ADD who enjoys instant gratification. . . . :-)
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Behrens View Post
    It appears that the "Problem Solver" shifter clamp will mate only (or best) to Shimano shifters. So I ordered a set of those as well. They were advertised as fitting up to an 8-speed sprocket cluster (mine is a 7-speed). But I'm afraid they're of the indexed type. So I'm not sure f they'll be compatible with the Nishiki's friction type system.
    AFAIK, all of Shimano's indexed downtube and barend shifters up through 9-speed also have a friction setting so you are good to go with what ever type you buy. I have a pair of Shimano 8-speed downtube levers mounted on Retroshift brake levers and the rear shifter has two positions on the mounting ring, "SIS" (indexing) and "Friction", so you can run either way.

  13. #13
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Behrens View Post
    So, the "Problem Solvers" DT clamp is on the Schwinn, along with the new indexed shift levers. It all works great, EXCEPT that the clamp forces the levers a bit far out from the downtube... Photo of new setup below:

    Problem Solvers DT Clamp.JPG
    This won't affect the width, but isn't the clamp fastener supposed to be beneath the downtube. DT clamp upside down and levers reversed?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    This won't affect the width, but isn't the clamp fastener supposed to be beneath the downtube. DT clamp upside down and levers reversed?
    The photo was taken from underneath the bike so the clamp is installed correctly.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Drakonchik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Behrens View Post
    So, the "Problem Solvers" DT clamp is on the Schwinn, along with the new indexed shift levers. It all works great, EXCEPT that the clamp forces the levers a bit far out from the downtube. An aesthetic thing, mostly. . . .
    This will also do the job, with a more traditional aesthetic:

    Norma 28 6 Stainless Clamp on Downtube Shifters Bosses Adapter Index Conversion | eBay

  16. #16
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    The photo was taken from underneath the bike so the clamp is installed correctly.
    One of us is disoriented. It may be me...it may not.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    One of us is disoriented. It may be me...it may not.
    i think the pic is right side up, and the clamp is upside down, but then again, i'm living in the Northern Hemisphere, so there's that...

  18. #18
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    Upside-down clamp, it is obvious.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    One of us is disoriented. It may be me...it may not.
    Hmmm, is the clamp mounted on the toptube?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Hmmm, is the clamp mounted on the toptube?
    No, it's mounted on the seatpost where it belongs. :-)

    The clamping bolt can be mounted on the downtube either toward the rider - as I did, on purpose - or away from the rider, where it looks better. From either side, though, it can be flipped over. In any case, the clamp itself doesn't influence shifting, it only acts as an anchoring point for the independent shift levers.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drakonchik View Post
    This will also do the job, with a more traditional aesthetic:

    Norma 28 6 Stainless Clamp on Downtube Shifters Bosses Adapter Index Conversion | eBay
    Ah. Thank you. I like the look of that one much better. Best. DB
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Drakonchik's Avatar
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    DSCN0078.jpgSame eBay seller also made one of these (possibly a nicer match for your Shimano shifters):

  23. #23
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drakonchik View Post
    DSCN0078.jpgSame eBay seller also made one of these (possibly a nicer match for your Shimano shifters):
    Beautiful and functional. Thank you.
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  24. #24
    Rides Majestic
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    Those clamp on shifter bands are nice, but expensive. If you are patient, you can score a Shimano DT clamp on shifter set, I got one this winter for $9.18+$4.75 shipping. The clamp was perfect and even if I wasn't going to use the 6 speed shifters, it would be worth it as any shimano DT shifter will bolt right on. You've got a functioning set of shifters, so there is no hurry to get anything. Keep you eyes open on ebay, look for "clamp shifters", "down tube shifters", "6 speed shifters", etc. Something will pop up.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Duane Behrens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
    Those clamp on shifter bands are nice, but expensive. If you are patient, you can score a Shimano DT clamp on shifter set, I got one this winter for $9.18+$4.75 shipping. The clamp was perfect and even if I wasn't going to use the 6 speed shifters, it would be worth it as any shimano DT shifter will bolt right on. You've got a functioning set of shifters, so there is no hurry to get anything. Keep you eyes open on ebay, look for "clamp shifters", "down tube shifters", "6 speed shifters", etc. Something will pop up.
    Thanks. I ended up purchasing Suntour Power Shifter set off Ebay. Put it on this morning. As always, it took a bit of fiddling to get the FD set just right. But I got it and we went for a 30 mile ride after. You have to set the large side screw on either side to provide correct tension and shifting; too loose on the RD and the chain keeps wanting to move to a higher gear. Tightened it a bit (it tightens in small increments you can hear and feel), and it's just right.

    I like the downtube shifters. Unlike the stem-mounted original where your elbow has to lift up and out in an awkward manner, the downtubes require only a natural downward movement; it's a lot more intuitive. And maybe it's just a difference in the quality of the shifters, but no "trimming" (backing off a mm or so after achieving a shift change) is necessary. It seems to lock in by itself, even though it's non-indexed. Anyway, glad I did it, and it was a great ride. DB
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Duane Behrens; 04-06-14 at 05:37 PM.
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