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  1. #1
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    Downtube to stem shifter conversion

    My wife has an old Terry with downtube shifters, Deore derailers, index and six gears on the rear, friction and three rings on the front. She hates bending down to shift and wants to move the shifting up. She doesn't like the idea of bar end shifters because she doesn't ride on the drops that much. I was told that there were conversion kits made to clamp the downtube shifters to the stem. My LBS, has had them before and told me about them, but don't have any now. Nor are they able to get them.

    Anyone know where I might be able to find one?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    I don't know about a conversion kit, but you could pick up a set of stem mounted Suntour Power ratchets for cheap from Ebay or a co-op. They're great friction shifters.

    I spend most of the time on the hoods but still like barcons btw. It's a pretty short reach.

  3. #3
    Large Member realestvin7's Avatar
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    I have a sweet set of more modern looking Shimano stem shifters that may fit the bill. They are friction though.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member rich rice's Avatar
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    I converted my wife's bike to indexed stem shifters, friction on the front, 6 clicks on the rear. I used some Shimano indexed SIS stem shifters. Worked great. I got the shifters for cheap on ebay. I had to do it, she crashed into a parked SUV while learning how to shift (looking down at the gears and shifters), and lost her two front teeth. She cn handle the stem shifters and indexing, never did get the touch for friction shifting.
    My wife thinks I'll die on my bike. I know she's wrong. I'll die on the ground, a couple of feet away from my bike, with a smile on my face...

  5. #5
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    For my money, stem shifters are the poorest choice. Using them still necessitates reaching, however, the rider's center of gravity raises when doing so. Also, the reach to the center of the bicycle, with one hand, tends to reduce balance slightly, which is not a problem with down tube shifters, or Barcons, since both will require a slight lowering of the center of gravity.

    My guess is that most people here, me included, would swap you a nice set of stem shiftes for your Barcons. The set I have is practically in the mail as I write. I really like Barcons and run them on drop bars (Motobecane Grand Jubilee) and mustache bars (Legnano Gran Premio) alike...



    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  6. #6
    Senior Member rich rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rich rice View Post
    I converted my wife's bike to indexed stem shifters, friction on the front, 6 clicks on the rear. I used some Shimano indexed SIS stem shifters. Worked great. I got the shifters for cheap on ebay. I had to do it, she crashed into a parked SUV while learning how to shift (looking down at the gears and shifters), and lost her two front teeth. She cn handle the stem shifters and indexing, never did get the touch for friction shifting.
    I guess I should have noted that her crash happened on a bike with downtube friction shifters. I bought her a new (old) bike and rebuilt it from the ground up, specifically for her strengths/weaknesses. The friction shifters came off the "new" bike, cable stops were installed on the old shifter bosses, indexed stem shifters were installed along with a new derailer in the rear. She loves the setup. I want to get her a brand new bike for next season (we ride together almost every day), and I also rebuilt a very nice Trek 720 for her with 21 speeds on twist grip shifters, but she never rides the Trek.. She likes the stem shifters better than the twist grips (even though it shifts perfectly). She is afraid she will hit a bump and accidentally shift gears with the twist grips. I don't see it happening, it has not happened to me, but you know how it goes- make the wife HAPPY.*




    *If you can't make her happy, settle for making her QUIET.
    Last edited by rich rice; 09-22-11 at 07:01 AM. Reason: typos.. and even more typos...
    My wife thinks I'll die on my bike. I know she's wrong. I'll die on the ground, a couple of feet away from my bike, with a smile on my face...

  7. #7
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    Personally, I think the utility of stem shifters depends a lot on the handlebars you're using and how you ride. If you have drop bars and ride in the drops, then they're probably not a good choice. On the other hand, OP's wife rarely rides in the drops. Since she's usually on the tops, stemmies would be more suitable. I have a bike with inverted Nitto Albatross bars, and stemmies work wonderfully on it. (I might be using barend shifters, except that I already have inverse brake levers mounted in the bar ends.)

    If you want stemmies, you do have options.

    1. It is possible to purchase shims that will enable you to mount DT shifters with a 28.6mm clamp on a 22.2mm quill stem. I actually have one, but I can't for the life of me remember where I got it. In any event, using it wouldn't be my preference, because it looks kludgy. For that reason, it's just sitting in my parts drawer.

    2. It's also possible to convert DT shifters to stem shifters by mating the DT shift levers to a stem shifter clamp. I know because I've done it. The advantage of the stem shifter clamp (in addition to being the right size and not needing a shim) is that it has built-in cable stops. A few old school clamp-on DT shifters also have these, but most DT shifters don't. The problem with this method is that you have to make sure that the DT shift levers and the stem shifter clamp are compatible.

    3. The easiest solution, by far, is simply to buy a set of stemmies. Because they're not very popular, they can be found on ebay for very little money. I'd say that friction (my favorite) are the most common, but indexed are available, too. If you can get a set of Suntour Power ratchets, that would be my recommendation, but there are others that will work just fine.
    Steve

  8. #8
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
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    She may not ride on the drops very often, but if you measure you'll find the distance from the top of the hoods to stem shifters isn't much difference from the top of the hoods to the bar-ends.

    Being closer to my body and in the center, stem shifters always felt awkward for me to use. I converted my Panasonic from stem shifting to bar end shifting and discovered it was the best change I've ever made on a bike. I probably ride in the drops less than 10% of the time, but the bar end shifters are in such a great spot for me that inside of my first 5 minutes I was intuitively shifting without looking or thinking about it. As a bonus I no longer smack my shift levers with my knee when climbing and they just look cleaner (I routed my cables all the way up under the bar tape.)

    That being said, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
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  9. #9
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    wut?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  10. #10
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    I do not like down tube shifters, nor do I like stem shifters. The down tubes take my hands too far away from the bars, while the stem shifters encourage me to raise my center of gravity for shifts, and at a time when I do not have both hands on the bars.

    Barcons, on the other hand, do not raise the center of gravity, nor do they feel like I have to take my hand off of the bars. I sort of slide my hand, off of the hoods and down into the drops. I then have hold of the drops while I execute a shift.

    That, to me, feels a lot more stable and much easier to do than reaching all the way down or having only one hand on the bars during shifts, which is the case during stem shifting.

    I really like Barcons!


    Can you believe that Legnano frame and fork set fetched less than $40.00 on Ebay.
    Last edited by randyjawa; 01-18-12 at 11:32 AM. Reason: spelling
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  11. #11
    Senior Member jeirvine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
    I don't know about a conversion kit, but you could pick up a set of stem mounted Suntour Power ratchets for cheap from Ebay or a co-op. They're great friction shifters.
    That's what's on my GF's city bike. Like $8 on eBay and they work great.
    The man who dies with the most toys…is dead. - Rootboy

  12. #12
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post


    can you believe that legnano frame and fork set fetched less than $40.00 on ebay.
    frameset

  13. #13
    Hoarder Pur Sang non-fixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    Can you believe that Legnano frame and fork set fetched less than $40.00 on Ebay.
    No.

  14. #14
    Jack of all trades anixi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
    I don't know about a conversion kit, but you could pick up a set of stem mounted Suntour Power ratchets for cheap from Ebay or a co-op. They're great friction shifters.

    I spend most of the time on the hoods but still like barcons btw. It's a pretty short reach.
    I just sold a bike that way. It had the Suntour shifters in index mode, but, the RD was so loosey-goosey that I had to change it to friction. It worked PERFECTLY! Great stuff, friction shift...

  15. #15
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    If staying with drop bars, OP might also consider using a set of old MTB thumbshifters or newer rapidfire push shifters. This would give a very secure position of being able to always ride with hands on the top of the bars and shift without removing hands from bars or needing to sit-up and shift weight in order to reach stem shifters. These would also work well in conjunction with a set of cycloccross interrupter brake levers in order to give her ability to brake from the tops too, more powerfull braking than holding the hoods.

  16. #16
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    Kelly Take-Offs are back in production. Pair them with a set of SIS shifters to match the rear freewheel and have the shifters right at your finger tips.
    [CENTER][URL="http://VeloBase.com"][IMG]http://velobase.com/App_Themes/VeloBase2_blue/Images/VeloBase2TitleCampagnolo.jpg[/IMG][/URL][/CENTER]
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  17. #17
    Senior Member sauze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post

    Can you believe that Legnano frame and fork set fetched less than $40.00 on Ebay.
    I have a very hard time believing that, it's one of my favourites posted here on BF , if it had been larger (and you were still selling it) I'd have considered driving out to Thunder Bay for it.

  18. #18
    Dane silvercreek's Avatar
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    You may not can see it very well but I did a down-tube to stem shifter conversion on my Takara. I bought all matching set of Suntour down-tube cable guides along with the stem shifter.



    Last edited by silvercreek; 01-18-12 at 04:43 PM.
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  19. #19
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    I've got some stem shifter you can have, too. Nuthin wrong with em, just don't use them.
    I have spoken.

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