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Old 10-08-11, 06:40 PM   #1
Charles Wahl
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Are Shimano "Light Action" shifters compatible with non-LA derailers?

My spouse is not taking to friction shifting particularly well, and I think it's inhibiting her from riding as much as she would if not daunted by the learning curve -- so I'm thinking of equipping the bike with indexed shifters and derailers (well at least the rear).

So, thinking about thumb shifters available on eBay, I'm looking at some auctions with Light Action shifters. Would they work with non-Light Action derailers, or is this another Shimano compatibility nightmare?

Any other words of wisdom about Shimano thumbshifters and derailers? Obviously I wouldn't try to mix mfgrs. but maybe there are other pitfalls I'm not aware of (such as Rapid Rise, or Ultegra not working with XT or the like).
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Old 10-08-11, 06:58 PM   #2
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They will work but the 'action' will not be as light.
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Old 10-08-11, 07:01 PM   #3
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Any other words of wisdom about Shimano thumbshifters and derailers? Obviously I wouldn't try to mix mfgrs. but maybe there are other pitfalls I'm not aware of (such as Rapid Rise, or Ultegra not working with XT or the like).
I'd run under the bar trigger shifters as the design is more ergonomic. I just picked up a set of Campy triggers for my wife's bike.
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Old 10-08-11, 07:11 PM   #4
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I'd run under the bar trigger shifters as the design is more ergonomic. I just picked up a set of Campy triggers for my wife's bike.
Is that what's called Rapid Fire? I'm not going to go out and start buying (non-C&V) Campagnolo shifters and derailers, that's for sure.
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Old 10-08-11, 07:19 PM   #5
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Is that what's called Rapid Fire?
More or less yes. I much prefer the sets with a lever in front of and on the back side of the bar versus those with both levers on the front side.
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Old 10-08-11, 07:31 PM   #6
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My wife loves the under-the-bar thumb/forefinger shifters. She hated a previous bike with friction thumb shifters.
I'm duplicating the controls on her mountain bike onto her mixte. That way, I know she'll ride it.
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Old 10-08-11, 07:37 PM   #7
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Which model are you using, Robbie?

And thanks, to both of you (Jim and Robbie). It looks like I'm not alone in this "females against friction" thing.
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Old 10-08-11, 07:56 PM   #8
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Hm. I'm building a bike with friction bar ends for my wife. I hope she likes them...

If you want, I have a pair of 7 speed Shimano SIS thumbies. I might even have a pair of 7 speed Deore XT thumbies...
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Old 10-08-11, 08:01 PM   #9
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Maybe you should hold onto them, in case things don't work out with friction. I'm certainly trying hard to work with the client here; and miamijim and RobbieTunes may be on to something -- the whole issue of thumb shifters is almost as confusing to my spouse as the friction aspect of it, I think. She doesn't appreciate the "lost art" part of learning a bicycle skill -- just wants to be in the gear she needs without thinking too much about it.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:28 PM   #10
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My girl will only ride brifters with drop bars. Friction is unimaginable for her... "why would I want to ride something that's more difficult than what's available?" Touche (with accent... can't figure out how to do it on this laptop).
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Old 10-09-11, 07:18 AM   #11
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My wife isn't a fan of friction shifting either which is why I am so determined to find a set of index shifters that will bolt on to the stock location on the road bike I am putting together for her ( see signature ), on the Diamond Back hybrid I am going to build for her I decided to go with Grip Shifters ( YUCK!) instead of rapid fires just to make it as simple as possible.
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Old 10-09-11, 07:35 AM   #12
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I think this is a homemade set up. it looks like a shifter mount from a set of stem mount shifters minus the clamp.



I agree on the under the bar/ rapidfire thing. the more comfortable a novice is reaching for and actuating the shifter the better.
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Old 10-09-11, 08:08 AM   #13
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She ... just wants to be in the gear she needs without thinking too much about it.
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I agree on the under the bar/ rapidfire thing. the more comfortable a novice is reaching for and actuating the shifter the better.
Therein lies the exact situation, succintly stated.

You free her from her percieved obstacles to riding and she'll want a bike rack for her own car. Been there, done that. One of the whole purposes of the mixte is to get her a lighter bike that she can get on/off her car's rack.
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Old 10-09-11, 08:27 AM   #14
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Which model are you using, Robbie?

And thanks, to both of you (Jim and Robbie). It looks like I'm not alone in this "females against friction" thing.
Her GT Saddleback has a Shimano setup, simply labled "V-brake," with an integrated brake lever and an over/under forefinger/thumb shifter. You literally can't move much less to shift a bike.

The Diamondback sitting here has a top-mounted SIS shifter, which she likes less. I'll probably sell that bike after I pull the Panaracers off.

I also have an SRAM grip shifter set, which she has agreed to try, but I won't chance it. Somewhere in a box I have a low-level Deore set that operates exactly like the ones on her GT, but are separate from the brake levers. They will go on her mixte.

I'm left riding her '88 Raleigh "mountain" bike, a Horizon, with 2x5 thumb frictions. I plan to lighten it up by removing the steel bars, rings, wheels, and seatpost, bring in the SRAM grip shifters, alloy bars, rings, and wheels.
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Old 10-09-11, 09:04 AM   #15
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I think this is a homemade set up. it looks like a shifter mount from a set of stem mount shifters minus the clamp.



I agree on the under the bar/ rapidfire thing. the more comfortable a novice is reaching for and actuating the shifter the better.
I have the same mount here that is for the top mounting set up only it is for friction ( Shimano 600EX) so if I could find a set up that was for indexed I would be set whether it came from a stem mount set up or was made for the aero mount I don't know as none of the stem mount shifters I have are like the one in the pic. Originally mine had Suntour Symmetric shiffters and the Shimano 600EX mount I have will work with the help of a dremel tool but the post will not accept indexed shifters as the one in the photo.
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Old 10-09-11, 10:35 AM   #16
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Here's a 3x7 rapid fire set up similar to Robbie's but running centerpull brakes. Shimano made them for both V and canti brakes. They are shifting 8sp. Sora dérailleurs and the shifting is crisp and precise. The front shifter is indexed and requires a bit of thumb effort to overcome the springs on the up shift, but otherwise, these shifters are great and can be found cheap. They also stop very well with the DiaCompe centerpulls.
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Old 10-09-11, 01:52 PM   #17
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AHEM . . . well I think I've come onto the really Shimano-esque (or in my low opinion, indexing-Bizzarro-world) compatibility issue. The bike already has 126 spacing (or thereabouts) and a 7-speed Hyperglide freehub and cassette. I see from the Sheldon Brown cassette crib sheet that each different-numbered cassette has a different inter-sprocket spacing: 7=5.0, 8= 4.8, 9=4.34 and 10=3.95 mm. This means that I have to buy a shifter (but not a rear derailer) that's made for the number of cogs on the cassette; correct? i.e., a 9 or 10 speed shifter won't work with a 7-speed cassette; though a 10-speed rear derailer would work fine, as long as paired with a 7-speed shifter.

This is not great news, if so, because it severely limits the available shifters, unless I want to start replacing cassette/freehub/axle, redishing, let alone enlarge the rear dropout spacing. The client doesn't need more than 7 gears on the rear, or even that many. I'm beginning to wonder if a new S-A 5- or 7-speed IGH with one of their shifters might be a better approach. I could use the wheel elsewhere, with friction shifting.

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Old 10-09-11, 02:16 PM   #18
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AHEM . . . well I think I've come onto the really Shimano-esque (or in my low opinion, indexing-Bizzarro-world) compatibility issue. The bike already has 126 spacing (or thereabouts) and a 7-speed Hyperglide freehub and cassette. I see from the Sheldon Brown cassette crib sheet that each different-numbered cassette has a different inter-sprocket spacing: 7=5.0, 8= 4.8, 9=4.34 and 10=3.95 mm. This means that I have to buy a shifter (but not a rear derailer) that's made for the number of cogs on the cassette; correct? i.e., a 9 or 10 speed shifter won't work with a 7-speed cassette; though a 10-speed rear derailer would work fine, as long as paired with a 7-speed shifter.

This is not great news, if so, because it severely limits the available shifters, unless I want to start replacing cassette/freehub/axle, redishing, let alone enlarge the rear dropout spacing. The client doesn't need more than 7 gears on the rear, or even that many. I'm beginning to wonder if a new S-A 5- or 7-speed IGH with one of their shifters might be a better approach. I could use the wheel elsewhere, with friction shifting.
Depending on the cassette assembly structure you may be able to remove 1 cog from an 8s or 2 cogs from a 9s and run the remaining 7 cogs on your existing hub with the corresponding 8s or 9s lever. Cassettes are held together with either 3 rivets or 3 allen screws, if its riveted you'll need to buzz of the heads, the allen screws are something quirky, maybe a 2.5mm.

Your available combinations would look like this:

8 speed levers w/ an 8 speed cassette minus 1 cog.
9 speed levers with a 9 speed cassette minus 2 cogs.
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Old 10-09-11, 02:21 PM   #19
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Something like these 8 speed levers: http://www.ebay.com/itm/M739-SHIMANO...item53e94b887d
.
.
With this 8 speed cassette minus 1 cog: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-HG50...item53e97dcf96

The modified 8s cassette will probably be loose on a 7s hub so you'd need to add a thin spacer on the backside.
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Old 10-09-11, 03:06 PM   #20
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Thanks, Jim -- for my purposes, the 8-speed dealie would be easier if I could remove the smallest cog, but that's the one with the serrations -- so I'd have to drop a larger cog.

I think I know what I need -- 7 speed shifters for 7-speed cassette, and I'll try to work from that angle; there are some 7-spd rapid-fire shifters, as it turns out.

The funny thing about this is that I bought the wheelset with an 8-9-10 speed freehub, and spent time, money and effort to transplant a 7-speed freehub onto it! Best laid plans . . .

Oh, another question occurs to me: is there some reliable way to tell visually whether "integrated" shifter/brake assemblies (STI) for mountain bars are of the V-brake/disc or cantilever/centerpull/sidepull persuasion? A lot of the auctions have crappy photos, and don't specify which type the brakes are for (difference is that V-brake pulls more cable than canti type). I reckon that the pivot is farther from the lever for V-brake type.
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Old 10-09-11, 03:15 PM   #21
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Charles,

Though my wife's shifter/brake pods say V-brake on them, on the mixte they work fine with center-pull Weinmann 650/710 calipers, as do some in-line Avid brake levers. You have to have true wheels and adjust them pretty close, but they work fine. It is also a 27 to 700 conversion. I'm running 105-type brake blocks on the calipers, too. The older kind tended to howl on the rims I was using.

I was using 8-sp shifters on a 7-sp cassette (UG) and the shifting was fine, with a dead shift.

I used to use an 8/9/10 wheelset box section wheelset, with a 7-sp spacer, and may still have the spacer. I'll look for it. I've recently traded for a set of 7-sp box section Araya's, with the brake area well worn. They seem to play nicer with the brake pads, and the 7-sp freewheel on them works well with the 8-sp shifter, also.

The 8/9/10 wheelset was not fun to shoehorn into a 120mm frame rear, hence the switch to a 126mm rear.

Do not give up on that idea.
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Old 10-09-11, 03:56 PM   #22
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Thanks, Robbie -- the bike in question is this Repurposed Motobécane Grand Jubilé that I posted about awhile back. I don't know whether it had 27" wheels to begin with, but the brakes are Mafac Competition centerpulls (that work great without any noise, knock on wood). I've got Tektro MTB levers on it, and would keep them if the shifters I buy turn out to be separate, but I'd consider getting the integrated ones, simply because that would reduce clutter on the narrow bars:



As it is, you see that the shifters are mounted where the bar is curving already - I'm sort of afraid that separate under-the-bar shifters might have interference with the levers, not to mention the bar. If it came to that, I could trim the (very comfortable) Ergon grips some, though she seems quite happy with the brake/grip situation.

I see enough 7-speed shifters available that I'm not going to give up on that angle very easily.
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Old 10-09-11, 04:32 PM   #23
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Thanks, Jim -- for my purposes, the 8-speed dealie would be easier if I could remove the smallest cog, but that's the one with the serrations -- so I'd have to drop a larger cog.
Because you dont need an 11t or 12t or for a different reason?
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Old 10-09-11, 04:47 PM   #24
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I cut my grips down, which eased the fit of levers/shifters considerably. My wife's hands fit well within the grip's parameters.
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Old 10-09-11, 04:57 PM   #25
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Because you dont need an 11t or 12t or for a different reason?
Because I'd rather start with 13, for my spouse's bike, and have a 28 or so as the largest. She tends to cross-chain too, riding the small-small, so if the gears are lower, it encourages using the large ring -- or so I think. Maybe I need to set it up with a single chainring, too.
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