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  1. #1
    Junior Member gordonzo's Avatar
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    Setting up a 70's Shimano Eagle II Derailleur

    I have a late 70's Garanta (German made) folding bicycle with a Shimano Eagle II derailleur and thumb-shifter. I know this derailleur is out of date and was low end when new BUT - does anyone have any experience with setting this up properly. I can only get 4 gears out of 5. It will only shift 1 - 2 - 4 - 5. From the low (large) gear it takes a lot of lever movement to get it to move. Is it salvageable to keep original or time for an upgrade? If upgrade time, is there a recommended inexpensive derailleur and compatible twist grip shifter available? This is just a campground bike. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Each Drop of Sweat Counts
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    Does it have a hangar and is the hangar bent?

  3. #3
    Junior Member gordonzo's Avatar
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    It is an axle mount. It has an offset bend in the axle mount to clear the spokes but looks OK to me other than that?
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  4. #4
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    Is the gearing indexed or friction? I.e. does each gear click precisely into place, or does the lever move smoothly?

    What's odd is that you aren't missing one of the outer gears, but the middle gear.

    If you have indexed gears - when you shift from 2 to 3, does it jump cleanly to 4, or does it skip and rattle while not engaging 3 cleanly?

    If you have friction gears - try moving the lever by a smaller amount and see if you can get it to engage 3.

    You're sure it's the middle gear that isn't engaging? If you were missing either the biggest or the smallest gear, I'd say either the derailleur hanger is bent or the high/low screws need a quick adjustment.

    If you're looking for a cheap replacement, I'm a big fan of friction shifters myself.. They're very cheap and work with any derailleur. All you need to do is set the high/low limit screws correctly and you can't go wrong. After a little while you get used to not having the index and will most likely only mis-shift rarely if ever.
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  5. #5
    Junior Member gordonzo's Avatar
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    The shifter is a Shimano SIS thumb shifter. It may not be original to the bike? May have had a friction shift originally? The chain rattles along almost making the shift from 2 to 3 but not quite. Then the next click drops it cleanly down to 4th. Shifting up the gears works poorly, too. The upper and lower limits work fine. Strange, eh? I have an older mountain bike I can use for parts. It has a (cheapo) Shimano SIS derailleur and twist shifter that work OK (not great but acceptable). It is a 6 spd rear setup but would this work on the 5 spd folder?

  6. #6
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    The cog spacing looks narrow between cogs 2 and 3 on the freewheel. You could always unscrew the cogs and add a spacer. One of the cogs may have been flipped around.

    Your shifting problems are likely due to the freewheel and the fact that this derailleur was originally a friction shifter, and not a particularly good one. The SIS shifter is not likely to work with it.

    Get a SunTour rear if you want to stay historically in period and have a better shifter. Five and six speed freewheels from that era had the same cog spacing, but different hub spacing.

    I was a bike mechanic in those days and Shimano Eagles were about as cheap a derailleur as you could get. If you want a more classic look, find an old Simplex derailluer, not as good as a SunTour, but they actually worked pretty well. With the proper shifter and freewheel the Eagle should work OK, but it was a pretty low-end component. If you want to stick with Shimano parts, try and find a Crane or Tourney.

    You realize we want to see a photo of the whole bike, not just the derailleur and freewheel.

  7. #7
    Junior Member gordonzo's Avatar
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    Here is a photo of the bike. It is late 70's? Garanta made in Germany. It is heavy and does not fold very compact but rides really well. It already has some non-original parts on it and I am not concerned about originality. I have a Sunrace 514 derailleur and twist grip from an old mountain bike that I can put on but will the long-cage derailleur work on the 20" wheel?
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  8. #8
    Junior Member gordonzo's Avatar
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    FOLLOW UP - I just discovered that the Shimano SIS shifter has a smaller lever on the bottom that enages or disengages the index shifting. With the index shift disengaged it becomes a very effective friction thumb shifter and it is (surprisingly) easy to grind and find all 5 gears (like we used to do on our old 10 speeds). I guess that tells me that the shifter is not original? It also looks like the cranks and pedals have been changed. It has two cogs up front but you have to manually select the small or large one (no shifter). That makes 10 speeds available but again this is probably not original? There are also no cable clips - the cables are taped to the frame! Is there a better way to secure the cables? Thanks for any and all comments and assistance.

  9. #9
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Cone View Post
    The cog spacing looks narrow between cogs 2 and 3 on the freewheel. You could always unscrew the cogs and add a spacer. One of the cogs may have been flipped around.
    I think this could be the problem.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordonzo View Post
    FOLLOW UP - I guess that tells me that the shifter is not original?......That makes 10 speeds available but again this is probably not original? There are also no cable clips - the cables are taped to the frame! Is there a better way to secure the cables? Thanks for any and all comments and assistance.
    Glad you have the full range of gears now!

    I would guess the SIS shifter is about a decade newer than the derailleur.

    These sort of U-frame bikes were normally 5-speeds because the fat tube made it impossible to mount a normal front derailleur.

    I would use nylon zip-ties to hold the cables in place.

  11. #11
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    You would probably have to fit a new freewheel, chain and mech to get it to index correctly

    though I have heard of people modding old mechs to index.

    Ive put front mechs on 20" wheeled bikes. Just seems to get a lot of midrange gears.
    Also if a triple is fitted a long cage rear mech would be needed. Which would be very near the ground. Even a short cage is a bit low on a 20" wheel

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