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  1. #1
    Newbie Keverton77's Avatar
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    Converting friction to index shifting

    Hi guys,

    I recently completed my first rebuild, a rusted old 1987 Raleigh Equipe (which I spent 6 months renovating after rescuing it from my Dad's shed).

    I spent a minimal amount on it an picked up a few bits and pieces off ebay (new brakes, saddle, pedals, and had it resprayed).

    It runs well but after a lifetime on mountain bikes with index shifting I just cant get used to friction shifters!

    What I'm trying to find out is if I get a cheap band-on Shimano SIS downtube shifter, will that be sufficient to convert to idex shifting? (There are loads on ebay for next to nothing).

    My LBS said no, and that I'd need a new freewheel, rear mech etc, but a lot of of these forums state its possible.

    For the record, I have a Sunrace 6 speed freewheel, and Sachs Huret front and rear mechs and downtube shifter.

    Your immesnse knowledge would be gratefully received!

    Thanks

    Kev

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    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    your LBS is correct. if your rear derailleur is not designed for index shifting it will not work with a indexing system. also your freewheel and shifter need to match. a 6 spd shimano freewheel and 6 spdshimano shifters for example. if your current FW is a sunrace index compatible it may work with shimano 6spd shifters.
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    If the mech is not indexed it will not work with an indexed shifter. An indexed mech will work with Friction. That is my understanding.

    You may be able to find 7 speed stuff out there, but 6 is prolly non-existent. You will prolly need a new rear wheel or perhaps replace the freehub body. I am unsure of compatibility issues though re freehub bodies.

    Just stick with what you got. Trust me as a Sachs Huret Friction shifter commuter you will get used to it. Its like driving a stick. Once you get it, you get it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    There are 3 components you want to play nice with each other:

    1-The freewheel. I don't know if the Sunrace is "ramped" for indexing, but 6 and 7 speed freewheels designed for indexing work much better than a freewheel that may have the same spacing, but isn't. By the same token, ramped freewheels make friction shifting much smoother, too. Some "straight cut" freewheels actually work fine with indexed shifters, so don't run out and buy a freewheel just yet. I do not know if your Sunrace is spaced the same as an indexed one. Easiest way to tell is to put it next to one that is. I think www.sheldonbrown.com may have the spacing somewhere.

    2-The shifters. Goes without saying, as they're the indexed part. 6-sp and 7-sp are about the same price if you look. There are some here on the ISO/Trade thread. You may need a DT clamp to mount them on.

    3-The rear "mech" or rear derailleur. The indexing versions travel a given amount for a specific amount of cable pull. All RD's do what they're told, but not all RD's do as much as each other when told the same thing. You want one that gets the message.

    I would say, tops, you may have to spend $50 on parts. Labor may be necessary to swap out the freewheel if you change that. We're here to help, and enjoy the bike. Friction shifting makes you a better rider in the long run, because you have to plan, anticipate, and think about what you're doing. Experience with friction makes you a more competent index cyclists, and that one shift you anticipated, when everyone else missed, will be proof.

    Welcome to the forum.

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    i don't understand how people can't get used to friction.. you just move the lever until the gear shifts.. ?
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    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    Well, for a lot of people, it's not that they don't "get" friction shifting, so much as that for them the shift levers are awkwardly placed. I WISH V-O would re-release the old SunTour Command Shifters, the butterfly type mounted by the brake hoods. I find these to be the best of both worlds.
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    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    Well, I didn't have to get used to them, it's just what we had back then. Now that I build bikes a lot I don't know how people get used to building indexed bikes. It's way easier to learn to shift friction than it is to get an indexed system working right.
    Then again, I can never resist a challenge, especially if the guy at the LBS says it can't be done.
    There is the new index compatable cable housings to think about. The old stuff has too much compression to it. It's also no good as brake cable housing so you have to get both kinds.
    Get the shifters and rear derailler and try it out. If you hate it, you can go back and sell the new bits. If I remember right, the space between the clicks is the same on the 6s as it is on the 7s so you can use a 7 speed shifter and just not use the last click.
    Also, look at the space between the smallest cog and the chainstay, seatstay and dropout. Is there enough room in there for another cog (remember the chain will overhang this by a mm or two) Sometimes a 7 speed upgrade is really simple.
    I have spoken.

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    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    If you have to get clamp on indexed shifters I'd just stop there because it's not really worth the hassle. Sounds like you'd need a shimano freewheel (7 speed might not fit your axle length), shimano indexed shifters, some kind of clamp that will let you mount indexed shifters on them, a rear derailleur, new cables, a new rear cable housing. OR you could just use what's on there and not be out much if anything performance wise.

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    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
    Well, for a lot of people, it's not that they don't "get" friction shifting, so much as that for them the shift levers are awkwardly placed. I WISH V-O would re-release the old SunTour Command Shifters, the butterfly type mounted by the brake hoods. I find these to be the best of both worlds.
    Tired of yours yet? I'm waiting

  10. #10
    RFC
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    Guys, installing and adjusting SIS shifters is a piece of cake. I'm a mechanically challenged lawyer and I can do it.

  11. #11
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Is converting to indexed allowed in C&V?
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFC View Post
    Guys, installing and adjusting SIS shifters is a piece of cake. I'm a mechanically challenged lawyer and I can do it.
    There. Now you have to do it.
    I have spoken.

  13. #13
    Old Skeptic stronglight's Avatar
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    If you can find a nice pair of SIS 6-speed shifters on ebay, go for it. But remember you will also need a compatible band to attach them to downtube of the frame. All of the Tourney models I see on ebay are stem mount shifters and these have a very narrow diameter band. Unfortunately, there were several annoyingly different mounting posts used by Shimano during the late 1970s through late 1980s. So make sure that any separate band you find has the correct style of base and posts to match your shifters.

    On the bright side, you do not need to limit your component search to a 6-speed rear derailleur. Any indexing Shimano (or Shimano compatible) rear derailleur - even a far more recent Shimano model should work fine. Even Shimano 9-speed derailleurs will work fine with 6-speed freewheels.

    If/when you need a new freewheel, look for a modern "Hyperglide" style. Any new Shimano or even a cheap modern Sunrace or Nashbar model these days should now have those profiled cogs. That's what helps make modern cassettes so extremely accurate to shift through. It was Shimano's greatest breakthrough discovery during the 1980s. Before that every manufacturer had experimented with their own proprietary tooth designs from the chisel shapes of Suntour to the twist-tooth Shimano UG style, and none really worked much better. Hyperglide cogs enable a chain to literally reach across and seat on the next cog before it has completely dropped off the first. The result is smooth and accurate shifts (even in friction mode!).

    Really ANY front derailleur and crankset combo should work fine... you're just nudging the chain over a few millimeters. The modern ramps and pins of modern chainrings are excessive engineering for any double chainring crankset on a road bike.

  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFC View Post
    Guys, installing and adjusting SIS shifters is a piece of cake. I'm a mechanically challenged lawyer and I can do it.
    If you can work on bikes you are probably a bad lawyer.


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    No Money and No Sense sillygolem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuckk View Post
    Your SunRace freewheel is a replacement, and relatively new, so it probably has Shimano compatible equal spacing between the gears. But it is very unlikely that the Sachs rear has the correct pull to work with a newer SIS shifter.
    But, if you replace the rear derailleur with something SIS compatible at the same time I bet you'd have a working system.
    This. Sunrace's freewheels are SIS compatible. You can get a 6 speed Tourney or a knock-off for around $10 and add the correct shifter. Get a new cable, and you should be able to make the switch for around $30 or so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    If you can work on bikes you are probably a bad lawyer.

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    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    A half way solution might be to get and mount a set of Suntour ratcheting shifters -- down tube set or maybe a set of stem mounted ones (just to see if the ratchet action helps). That type of shifter, especially on bikes with ramped and pined freewheels, makes for a smooth and pleasant experience.

  18. #18
    Newbie Keverton77's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, thats a big help!

    Re: the comment on should indexing conversion be on this forum, I believe that some models of the Raleigh Equipe did have SIS systems, but unfortunately not mine! :-(

    I understand that some of you are purists but I just cant get used to friction shifting, not in the 80's when the bike was new and certainly not now after having the luxury of index gearing on all my mountain bikes! I'll persevere but I do want to look into this.

    So based on your advice I loooked at ebay, and found this freewheel:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Shiman...item5ae2ad52c6

    This shifter
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fine-Shima...item45fd461261
    Although Ive also seen quite a few others which band-on for dirt cheap prices

    And a rear mech like this
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SHIMANO-SI...item4aab3ed990

    Do you guys think I'm on the right track?

    Thanks

    Kev

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
    Well, for a lot of people, it's not that they don't "get" friction shifting, so much as that for them the shift levers are awkwardly placed. I WISH V-O would re-release the old SunTour Command Shifters, the butterfly type mounted by the brake hoods. I find these to be the best of both worlds.
    I have a pair of these and have set them up and used them on other people's bikes... my partner also uses them on his touring bike that is equipped with bullhorns.

    They are fabulous shifters and the switchable 6-7 Ultra lets them be run with Shimano freewheels quite well.

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    The modern compressionless derailer housing will even improve a friction shift bike. Another poster must have meant that older rear deraillers had no adjusting barrel on them. Try "Loosescrews.com", they have, had downtube shifters and many other odds & ends. Chris

  21. #21
    Fail Boat crewman
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    Its not a matter of "getting used to" friction. Its the difference between an automatic tranny and a stick shift. You just know how many gears you need and throw the shifter. Sram has an STI that throws 3 at a time.

    Trim is great and honestly friction is easier on a 9/10/11 speed than a 6/7/8 just because of the tighter spacing of the cogs. There is less room for the chain to skip off the cassette. I run a double front and 9 rear. My hope is to save for a Campy setup, but I like my friction for commuting. There isn't anything to really break, nothing to rebuild and the parts are cheap.

  22. #22
    No Money and No Sense sillygolem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keverton77 View Post
    So based on your advice I loooked at ebay, and found this freewheel:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Shiman...item5ae2ad52c6

    This shifter
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fine-Shima...item45fd461261
    Although Ive also seen quite a few others which band-on for dirt cheap prices

    And a rear mech like this
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SHIMANO-SI...item4aab3ed990

    Do you guys think I'm on the right track?

    Thanks

    Kev
    I'm not sure what UK prices are like, but you may be able to pick up a freewheel off-the-shelf cheaper since they're still in production. The derailleur in question is the Tourney I was talking about, and the shifter will work with this setup. Add a cable and housings, and you'll be good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I ride fixed because I'm mad at my parents. **** you Mom!

  23. #23
    Junior Member Dave R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
    Well, for a lot of people, it's not that they don't "get" friction shifting, so much as that for them the shift levers are awkwardly placed. I WISH V-O would re-release the old SunTour Command Shifters, the butterfly type mounted by the brake hoods. I find these to be the best of both worlds.
    I can vouch for that. I put a set on my road/sport bike when they first came out and they have performed admirably for 20 years now.


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