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  1. #1
    100% USDA certified the beef's Avatar
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    Univega Sport Tour! Also, a question on mixing shifters and derailleurs

    I'm currently riding an relatively flashy Bianchi and locking up to a flimsy rack every day for my commute, and I finally decided it was time to spend a little money on a beater. I stumbled upon this 1983 12-speed Univega Sport Tour on eBay.. it needs a tire/tube change, though the seller is including a new pair of tires and tubes with the deal. He wants $25.

    I'm tempted to take him up on the offer, but I'm also a little hesitant with using friction shifters. I'd really like a pair of index shifters, and I can find a pair of 6-speed Shimano index stem shifters on eBay for something like $10. The problem is, would a pair of Shimano index shifters work on a mangy old Suntour derailleur? Course, I could always buy an old Shimano RD for the price of the whole bike and have the LBS install it for $35. I just hope I don't have to.

    So I'm hoping this is all a good idea. I've never owned a used bike before, but it seems like fun. The total cost (maybe):

    $25 bike
    $10 index shifters
    $25 shimano RD (do I really need this?)
    $35 installing everything, i don't know how *cringe*

    95 bucks.

  2. #2
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    Prolly not the answer you want to hear, but I think you should give the friction shifting a chance. I've never used indexed shifting (just got my first indexed bike this weekend), and there's nothing to it. You just get a feel for how far to shift.

    That said, I'll offer my own perspective on your question. As far as I know, you can't mix and match indexed systems. They work as a system. I could be wrong on that point, but that's my understanding. So you would either need to put on SunTour shifters, or a Shimano derailleur. If you go with friction shifting, you can mix and match all you want.

    My understanding.

  3. #3
    Yet another vegan biker
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    I'm tempted to take him up on the offer, but I'm also a little hesitant with using friction shifters.

    Like Blue Order said, give friction a try.

    The problem is, would a pair of Shimano index shifters work on a mangy old Suntour derailleur? Course, I could always buy an old Shimano RD for the price of the whole bike and have the LBS install it for $35. I just hope I don't have to.
    Mangy? Suntour?

  4. #4
    100% USDA certified the beef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silversmith
    Like Blue Order said, give friction a try.

    Mangy? Suntour?
    Didn't look so great in the picture..? *shrug*

    Friction's pretty much a no for me, especially for a bike I'd have to live with every single day for a years on a hilly commute where shifting is constant. I might get an old bike later to mess around with friction-style shifters, but for now I just don't think I could get used to it.

    Not saying friction is bad or anything. Hell, friction shifters and classic bikes pretty much go together. But I'm just trying to find out what it'd take for a conversion to index.

  5. #5
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    Some people have had success mixing shifter and deraileur brands, regardless of what the comapanies say. I put Shimano grip shifts on a Raleigh Record for my daughter using the original Suntour deraileur, and it shifts okay. It might shift better if I had the correct cable housing, but I was working with what I had laying around. Someday I may swap to a Shimano deraileur to see if there is any difference.

  6. #6
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    I know the SunTour shifters are supposed to work with Shimano derailleurs, but probably not the Shimano shifters with SunTour derailleurs. Could give it a try, I guess, but then you'd be out the $$ if it didn't work. Why not just buy some SunTour indexed shifters on Ebay?

  7. #7
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Suntour made indexed 6 speed down tube shifters... You should be able to find something if you look.

    I know this is the case because I have a set of 6 speed indexed downtube shifters on my Cannondale. Whether they will work with all Suntour derailleurs is something that perhaps someone else can answer.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    I know the SunTour shifters are supposed to work with Shimano derailleurs, but probably not the Shimano shifters with SunTour derailleurs. Could give it a try, I guess, but then you'd be out the $$ if it didn't work. Why not just buy some SunTour indexed shifters on Ebay?
    I checked again last night; SunTour had a feature called "plug and Play" that they introduced in '95 which allowed some of their indexed drivetrain components to be mixed with Shimano indexed gear. Based on that description, I would say that you generally can't use SunTour shifters with Shimano derailleurs, and definitely (according to the manufacturers) can't mix Shimano shifters with SunTour derailleurs. Component compatibility was not an issue with friction shifting, but became an issue with indexed shifting, because the drivetrain is designed to work together as a system. Due to different manufacturers' drivetrain designs (derailleurs, freehubs, tooth profile, chain, etc), you can't mix & match (or as SunTour called it, Plug and Play) on indexed systems.

  9. #9
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Just a question here. Why stem shifters?
    The search for inner peace continues...

  10. #10
    Senior Member pinnah's Avatar
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    What the heck is wrong with friction shifting a 6 speed freewheel?

    Friction shifting a modern 8, 9 or 10 speed cassette with those ramps and pins and what not is not so good since those things want to shift so much, the space between cogs is so small and indexing RDs have that floating top jockey pulley that makes things quiet in indexed mode but feels sloppy and imprecise in friction mode.

    But shifting a 6 speed drive train in friction mode is really a piece of cake.

    For commuting and errands, I like moustache bars and SunTour bar end shifters with a 6 speed drive train. Nice upright position and fast accurate shifting.

    Note, I use an indexed 8-speed Shimano indexed system on my go-fast bikes and its awful in friction mode.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    1. if you have a friction specific derailleur things will not work out for you either way.
    2. Even if you get it to work it will shift poorer than the performance you would achieve once you got used to friction.
    3. Can anyone tell me if the spacing of a 6 speed suntour and 6 speed shimano freewheel is the same? I doubt it is and you would end having to pic up shifters, a derailleur and cassette and also chain to get as smooth a shifting system as you would have had with friction.

    so 10 dollar shifters, 25 dollar freewheel, 8 dollar chain, 25 dollar RD, 35 dollars intalled? something like this ?? it's not worth it.

    You could hunt for the 6 speed suntour shifters as mentioned above but then you will have to hunt for a vintage suntour indexed derailleur.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

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