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  1. #1
    Member Reinofratch's Avatar
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    10 speed or not 10 speed? that is the question

    I recently bought a trek 1400 with downtube shimano 105 indexed shifters and a matching derailer and 7speed gear set. It has a spacer so an 8speed would fit.

    Well theres the background so I will jump right in it. I hate the down tubes. As a commute bike for school sometimes I have 25 pounds of books and snacks and boots to change in to with me and taking one hand off the handle to shift makes that lopsided weight become suddenly appearent. Also when I wear my winter gloves I can't feel where the levers are so I often over shift and have to come back up a gear. Needless to say, it is inefficient

    I got a quote for some 7 speed sti levers and a down tube adaptor and brakeboss brakes for 180. Labor included. I feel like this is a pretty good deal. But a fellow bike and subaru enthusiast who works in a bike shop across the country tells me the low speed sti levers are cheaply made and I should upgrade to 10 or its not worth so much trouble. I was wondering if its possible to make a 10 speed sti work on a 7/8 derailer and gear set until i can upgrade those parts later. Id rather do this in bite sized chunks to see benifits soon instead of saving up for a long while. My friend said I will probably just have ghost clicks, but im worried half my gears will fall between and will shift back and forth constantly.

    Also if anyone has done anything like this, or any down tube to sti upgrades, could you let me know of anything I should beware of or any tips in general? I tried searching but didnt see anything about upgrading everything but in bite sized chunks.

    Thanks in advance guys!
    Ratchet

  2. #2
    Member Reinofratch's Avatar
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    Oh and also, is 10 speed really that much better? I dont hate my 7 speeds but ive never ridden on anything else so I wouldnt know

  3. #3
    Senior Member clarkbre's Avatar
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    First, if you're not doing the work yourself, don't switch a piece at a time or even do a conversion at all. A piece at a time is not going to work 100% correct and even doing a correct 7 speed conversion will have it's hidden costs. (new bar tape, cable housing, cables, )

    Second, build the bike based on what you need it for. If 7 or 8 speeds is enough, 10 isn't going to do you any more. And, it's going to cost you more because you will need more parts than just a shifter and downtube piece. (i.e. 10 speed cassette, chain, rear derailleur)

    For what it's worth, I would say find some used 7 speed STI shifters on ebay or craigslist and then start looking for a bike co-op or a person that can do some work on the side. They really are not that hard to set up but the $180 seems a bit high to change the location/type of shifters.
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    have you ever tried riding with the winter gloves you intend to wear while trying to use STI shifters? it may not be as much of an improvement it appears.

  5. #5
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    have you ever tried riding with the winter gloves you intend to wear while trying to use STI shifters? it may not be as much of an improvement it appears.
    My snowboarding mittens work just fine with STI. Toasty warm, too.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  6. #6
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinofratch View Post
    Oh and also, is 10 speed really that much better? I dont hate my 7 speeds but ive never ridden on anything else so I wouldnt know
    It depends on you and your cycling style.

    If there are places were you wish you had a gear in between two that you have, you might be a candidate for more speeds. That's all that more speeds gives you--smaller gaps between the gears.

    If that's never been an issue, stick with the seven.

    Personally, I like the ultra-fine control over power and cadence that ten speeds (with a close-ratio cassette) gives me. Other folks I know and ride with will wear out one or two "favorite" cogs in their cassette, so they could do with fewer.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  7. #7
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    10-speed? I dunno, those old 5-cog freewheels are getting harder to come by.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  8. #8
    Member Reinofratch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    10-speed? I dunno, those old 5-cog freewheels are getting harder to come by.
    Haha touche.

    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    It depends on you and your cycling style.

    If there are places were you wish you had a gear in between two that you have, you might be a candidate for more speeds. That's all that more speeds gives you--smaller gaps between the gears.

    If that's never been an issue, stick with the seven.

    Personally, I like the ultra-fine control over power and cadence that ten speeds (with a close-ratio cassette) gives me. Other folks I know and ride with will wear out one or two "favorite" cogs in their cassette, so they could do with fewer.
    I know i favor my bigger front cog the smaller one not sure why but it seems to roll with less resistance even when im match the same speed and cadence as the same ratio with the smaller front. Guess its less worn out or something.

    I kind of swap back and forth to fine tuning my gears to my speed and cadence, and other times I just power through a hill in a high gear just to push myself. Not sure where id place myself because im still new to this.

    Quote Originally Posted by clarkbre View Post
    A piece at a time is not going to work 100% correct and even doing a correct 7 speed conversion will have it's hidden costs. (new bar tape, cable housing, cables, )
    Helpful. I didn't even notice some of that stuff wasnt on the quote. Unlesd the parts came with cable and the bike tape is on the house.

  9. #9
    Member Reinofratch's Avatar
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    I feel pretty confident about sticking with using the 7 speed sti and doing the work myself now thanks to you all. I'll save the 10 gear set for my future touring bike. I might need that extra efficiency on the 50 mile ride to visit family. definitely carrying an extra extra spare tube for that journey!

  10. #10
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinofratch View Post
    Not sure where id place myself because im still new to this.
    If nothing else, cycling is a journey of discovery.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  11. #11
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    on a side note, integrated shifters changed my life.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  12. #12
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Derailleurs don't care about the number of speeds. (Within reason-to avoid major repercussions from that statement.) It just goes where it's told to by the shifter. Matching the shifter number of speeds to the cassette and road to road vs. a mix of mtn/rd components is more of a concern to eliminate having to utilize "alternative" methods to get things to play well together.

  13. #13
    Senior Member clarkbre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinofratch View Post
    I feel pretty confident about sticking with using the 7 speed sti...
    Right on. 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11 speeds is more than adequate as long as it's tuned and works correctly. If not, its just frustrating!


    Quote Originally Posted by Reinofratch View Post
    ...and doing the work myself now thanks to you all.
    That's awesome! You won't regret learning how to wrench on your bikes. Whether it be for limited finances, curiosity, or personal satisfaction, it's always nice to do your own work. It gives you a great understanding of how each component works separately and together to make the bike function well.

    Don't forget to use the best resources at your fingertips...the internet.

    One of the best sites (besides bikeforums.net) is the Park Tool Repair Help and Education site.
    http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help
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  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    , is 10 speed really that much better?
    5 by 2 0r 1 by 10?

    and better for who , the sellers of the more expensive parts , certainly , they cost more ..

    and do the math .. what gear ratios do you actually use ? say 14,15,16,17,18,19
    will having 14~20 with only a 1 tooth difference between them matter?
    or can you skip some?
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-03-14 at 04:07 PM.

  15. #15
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    just so you know whats out there (I used these on my trek 1220... haven't really put them through their paces yet...)

    http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-ST-230...ywords=st+2303

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    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clarkbre View Post
    For what it's worth, I would say find some used 7 speed STI shifters on ebay or craigslist and then start looking for a bike co-op or a person that can do some work on the side. They really are not that hard to set up but the $180 seems a bit high to change the location/type of shifters.
    +1

    Also,10spd bits generally cost more and don't last as long as 7/8spd. I used to get about a year and a half out of $18 8spd chains on my old commuters. My 9spd gets about a year out of a $24 chain,and my old 10spd cross bike got maybe 8 months out of a $40 chain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    and better for who , the sellers of the more expensive parts , certainly , they cost more ..

    and do the math .. what gear ratios do you actually use ? say 14,15,16,17,18,19 will having 14~20 with only a 1 tooth difference between them matter?
    or can you skip some?
    I do whatever I needed to (13 starting cog, triple crank, ten cogs, whatever) to keep one tooth jumps to the 19.

    rear_derailleur.jpg

    A 20 cog between 19 and 21 is noticeable although I'd take a bigger final cog instead.

    I find the 22 between 21 and 23 superfluous apart from providing a better chain line for the adjacent 21; although big cogs running 23 then 25 or 26 would do the same. OTOH Lance insisted on 21-22-23 final cogs for climbs like l'Alpe d'Huez, the Tourmalet, and Luz Ardiden.

    13-21 was my favorite in the 8 cog era, 13-23 9 cogs, and I've been playing with a 10 cog 14-23 straight block although 12-23 (better chainline on flat ground with the 39 ring) or 13-26 would be better in many situations.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 02-01-14 at 03:47 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    +1
    My 9spd gets about a year out of a $24 chain,and my old 10spd cross bike got maybe 8 months out of a $40 chain.
    erm...i but most of my 10 speed chains for $10-15.
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    if you need a chain in a pinch, I don't think you'll find one cheaper than forty bucks in a bike shop. and those are the entry level ones. online, sure I guess you can always find ridiculous deals. so, when diaster strikes, you'll feel the extra cost for sure.

    as far as performance goes... sure, there's a difference, but it sounds like you are the type of guy who it won't matter much to. I work on/build/repair/test ride bikes with all manner of shifting every day. from five speed friction in the rear, to eleven speeds in the rear... I can get any shift group art wholesale prices or better... my road bike uses entry level Shimano rsx brifters from the mid nineties... 7 speed. I NEVER miss the "faster, crisper, smoother" shifting of the "nicer" bikes I ride every day. the shift quality of this group is quite frankly nicer than I will ever need, and the only reason I would crave more speeds is if I could not get the right range of gearing for my riding.

  20. #20
    Senior Member JReade's Avatar
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    I'm gonna go against the trend here... $180 is a good price. Old RSX 7 speed STI aren't the easiest to find, and they may be a few clicks away from death. I looked on ebay, and there was one set for $40 (which has never been tested) and another set for over a hundred. This isn't including cables, stops, or housing. Stops are $12-15, cables are $3 each, and housing is by the foot. Granted, I don't know the condition of your bike and components, but you may have to add in new brake cables and housing, plus new bar tape. I can see exceeding $180 pretty quick to be honest.
    Jesse

  21. #21
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    My primary winter commuter has eight cogs in the rear. Most of my ride is relatively flat, except for a 17% grade hill I can't avoid on the way home. So, I ended up with a triple 50-39-30. In addition I'm using Shimano Sora brifters (nowhere near the top of the line), because the smaller thumb shifter is easier for me to manage with thick lobster gloves or mittens. In any event, I've ridden these hard for three years in all kinds of nasty winter weather and have had no problems with them. Are they as quick and smooth as my Dura Ace brifters on my go fast road bike? No, but they are more than adequate.
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  22. #22
    Member Reinofratch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    In addition I'm using Shimano Sora brifters (nowhere near the top of the line), because the smaller thumb shifter is easier for me to manage with thick lobster gloves or mitten
    Great advice. After I get a new bike when ive saved up this one will probably be my winter ride, so ill keep the ease of use with mittens and space in mind!

    Quote Originally Posted by JReade View Post
    I'm gonna go against the trend here... $180 is a good price. ... I can see exceeding $180 pretty quick to be honest.
    You know, I thought it seemed cheap too but I havent had any work done so I didnt know. I if I was getting work done on a similar scale on my truck it would cost 300 for labor alone! Lol

    Quote Originally Posted by AlTheKiller View Post
    my road bike uses entry level Shimano rsx brifters from the mid nineties... 7 speed. I NEVER miss the "faster, crisper, smoother" shifting of the "nicer" bikes I ride every day.
    Awesome news for me. I think I might look for 8 speed rear shifter just incase I want to buy a single extra cog later since I have a spacer for it anyways. But I'm glad to hear you prefer the simplicity of the 7. and if I find I like shifting more ofter once shifting becomes easier, ill just save up for a 10 speed second bike!




    Thanks everyone for all the input. I learned a lot and feel so much more confident on deciding to not upgrade to 10 cogs. 14 gears is adequate, and I'll soend my savings on a pair of clipless platforms and shoes or a few pairs of bike pants!
    Last edited by Reinofratch; 02-03-14 at 02:54 PM. Reason: typo

  23. #23
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    erm...i but most of my 10 speed chains for $10-15.
    I prefer SRAM chains. Also,I was giving an example;most of the folks who come to my clinic who need a new chain just buy them at one of the local shops,and the prices I gave are what they charge around here.

    Quote Originally Posted by JReade View Post
    I'm gonna go against the trend here... $180 is a good price. Old RSX 7 speed STI aren't the easiest to find, and they may be a few clicks away from death. I looked on ebay, and there was one set for $40 (which has never been tested) and another set for over a hundred.
    Shimano makes new 7spd STI's for $80 or so.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member JReade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    I prefer SRAM chains. Also,I was giving an example;most of the folks who come to my clinic who need a new chain just buy them at one of the local shops,and the prices I gave are what they charge around here.



    Shimano makes new 7spd STI's for $80 or so.
    Exactly my point. I've bought and installed a set before on a Raleigh technum. 80, doesn't come with brake cables, or downtube stops. You'll have to pull the brake cables out to re-run through the new levers, so I hope they are long enough, and the end isn't frayed, or it'll be close to impossible to do. If the housing is long enough to reach inside the new levers, it'll be lucky...and depending on the bar tape condition, things might escalate. I figure having a pro do it and tune it all (for someone who is new to this) isn't a bad deal.
    Jesse

  25. #25
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    actually, seems like overkill to me and I am basically a goof when it comes to my own repairs. I only do basics like brakes, shifters handlebar tape etc... I wonder if its just my local bike shop but if I buy shifter cables, they always ask if I also need casing. so it seems that for a little more you can get the casing which you can cut to size. its less than a 10$ difference (I think it was more like 2$ difference but don't remember what it was exactly...)

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