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  1. #1
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    Is it possible to upgrade a frame shifter from an old road bike to an STI?

    if so, how much do you think that costs?

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    buy a new bike with all the features you wish is a fixed price..

    answer to your question ,

    if you have to ask, without doing any of your own research; it's more than you wish.

  3. #3
    Senior Member spectastic's Avatar
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    I agree, not worth upgrading an old steel vintage, unless you're upgrading the entire bike. Nevertheless, neither solution is very cost effective.
    5/20

  4. #4
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    We did with an 88 Bianchi, from 6 to 7 speed. Years back the level of min sti available in 7 speed was rsx. 7 speed was the max we could go by spreading the chain stays.

    Old road bike, what speed and what spread are you talking about,. If it's an 8 speed old road bike, it would be easier to find compatible parts than a 6 speed because of the rear spacing.

    You'd need shifters for one, new cassette and chain. That can get expensive figuring 8 speed shifters start at about $150 on line. Parts form a bike shop will run you more. Cassettes about $60 and a chain at least $20. Plus hardware that connect the barrel adjusters to the bolt running thru the down tube if the shifters don't include it.

    I say $240 min and if you have to pay a shop to do it, sheesh!

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Have an '88 Miyata NineTwelve that was originally 2x7 and is now 2x10 without frame spreading required. Could have put on any STI's on the market - stuck with DuraAce DT shifters instead. Why exactly are STI's considered an 'upgrade'?

    I'm assuming your own results with rear axle widths will depend on the original width of your own rear axle frame spacing. What exactly are we looking at?
    Last edited by Burton; 05-04-13 at 01:28 AM.

  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    This depends on what kind of old bike you have... many people upgrade their old bicycles with newer components and if you want to go the simplest route, down tube mounted STI shifters are rather nice.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    This depends on what kind of old bike you have... many people upgrade their old bicycles with newer components and if you want to go the simplest route, down tube mounted STI shifters are rather nice.
    Sixty Fiver, explain please? I thought STI was, by definition, the integrated brake/shifters system. Do you mean downtube mounted indexed shifters? Or is there some system I haven't heard of?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  8. #8
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Less than $100 if you do it and you're patient about buying the right parts, about $250 if you bring it to a shop and tell them to do it without sourcing any parts.

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

  9. #9
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
    Less than $100 if you do it and you're patient about buying the right parts, about $250 if you bring it to a shop and tell them to do it without sourcing any parts.
    Very optimistic pricing.

    I spent $350 on new Centaur shifters, chain, cassette and used rear derailleur and rear wheel, and did all the work myself.
    Not sure how I could have got everything for $100, even old used parts off Ebay.
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  10. #10
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    Very optimistic pricing.

    I spent $350 on new Centaur shifters, chain, cassette and used rear derailleur and rear wheel, and did all the work myself.
    Not sure how I could have got everything for $100, even old used parts off Ebay.
    I did a conversion like this once, but all I needed to change was my shifters to brifters... that I got from IthaDan for about 100 if I remember right.
    “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”


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  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by relnix View Post
    if so, how much do you think that costs?
    You can never change just one part on a bicycle. Everything on a bicycle works together. Almost anything that you do will make it necessary to change some other part to make the whole package work.

    If you have a bike with down tube shifters, it probably has 126 mm or even 120 mm dropout spacing. Since most STI shifters are for 8-speed or more, you'll probably have to adjust your frame spacing to accommodate a wider rear hub. What size tires do you have? Lots of older bikes have 27" rims. New 8+ rear wheels are going to have 700c rims. You might be able to adjust your brakes down to fit the slightly smaller wheel size, but I wouldn't bet on it. Are your existing shifters friction or indexed? If they're not indexed, you might as well put new derailleurs on your shopping list. Finally, STI shifters are probably the most expensive component on your bicycle. They're not super problem prone but, the grease in used ones that have been sitting around for a long time is likely to have dried up so they might not be reilable.

    Bottom line: It definitely can be done but the cost will vary with how much you have to change.

  12. #12
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Retro Grouch hit the nail on the head. Brifters are meant for modern bikes;I don't think they were even made in 7spd.

    relnix: what are you looking to do? If you just want to replace the shifters,the quickest/cheapest solution would be barcons,which plug into the ends of the handlebar. Set to friction they'll work with almost anything. If you're looking to get your shifters up with your brake levers,they do make adapters for barcons or old thumbies that mount them next to the levers,but they can be kind of pricey as well(around $150).

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  13. #13
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Retro Grouch hit the nail on the head. Brifters are meant for modern bikes;I don't think they were even made in 7spd.

    relnix: what are you looking to do? If you just want to replace the shifters,the quickest/cheapest solution would be barcons,which plug into the ends of the handlebar. Set to friction they'll work with almost anything. If you're looking to get your shifters up with your brake levers,they do make adapters for barcons or old thumbies that mount them next to the levers,but they can be kind of pricey as well(around $150).
    I converted a downtube-shifted 7-speed rear to an RSX-shifted bike for the cost of the brifters and some new cabling. For more than that, though, you'd save money and end up with a better product by buying a new(er) bike with the features you want.

  14. #14
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Yes, it's possible. It's going to cost a bunch of money. If the old bike is decent quality and you simply want upgraded tech, go for it. If the bike is medium or low quality, it's easier and cheaper to buy a new bike.

    There are lots of examples of STI-on-old-frames on this C&V thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-Ergos/page114
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Brifters are meant for modern bikes;I don't think they were even made in 7spd.
    Shimano recently released these.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    I converted a downtube-shifted 7-speed rear to an RSX-shifted bike for the cost of the brifters and some new cabling. For more than that, though, you'd save money and end up with a better product by buying a new(er) bike with the features you want.
    Did you already have an indexed drivetrain ?
    Converting from a non-indexed drivetrain is more involved as mentioned earlier.

    So it all depends on the starting point and desired result.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    I don't think they were even made in 7spd.
    i have a 92 trek 2300 composite bike thrift store find i am in the middle of restoring. it had 7 speed shimano 600 sti shifters when it was new.

  18. #18
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Retro Grouch hit the nail on the head. Brifters are meant for modern bikes;I don't think they were even made in 7spd.
    Of course they were, got some right here and had them on another bike back back in 97 (?)

    RSX 7 speed brifters


  19. #19
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
    I did a conversion like this once, but all I needed to change was my shifters to brifters... that I got from IthaDan for about 100 if I remember right.
    You sure did. Was it you that paid cash? It was pretty cool to open the envelope to find benjamin looking back at me.

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

  20. #20
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    OK, who here has any idea what bike the OP is starting with?

    I've worked over a bunch of bikes in my time. I enjoy doing it and I generally encourage other posters to do the same. On the other hand, I also try to warn inexperienced posters to think through and to cost out a project before they spend ANY money. Once you get started buying components, every dollar that you spend makes it that much harder to walk away from buying one more part to make it work. Every dollar that you put into a crummy old bike is one more dollar taken out of your fund for buying the kind of bike that you really want.

  21. #21
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    OK, who here has any idea what bike the OP is starting with?

    I've worked over a bunch of bikes in my time. I enjoy doing it and I generally encourage other posters to do the same. On the other hand, I also try to warn inexperienced posters to think through and to cost out a project before they spend ANY money. Once you get started buying components, every dollar that you spend makes it that much harder to walk away from buying one more part to make it work. Every dollar that you put into a crummy old bike is one more dollar taken out of your fund for buying the kind of bike that you really want.
    Totally agree. As soon as you start talking indexed shifters of any kind and you change the chain width being used - that impacts the derailleur cage width required and things can get messy pretty quick. Not to mention the new seat you might want to go with the new bar tape

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    OK, who here has any idea what bike the OP is starting with?
    He has a Trek 420.
    Quote Originally Posted by relnix View Post
    I bought a Trek Fast Track 420 off craigslist a while ago and been riding it.

  23. #23
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomCat_Ford View Post
    Shimano recently released these.
    Wow,something reasonably priced from Shimano.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomCat_Ford View Post
    Shimano recently released these.
    I'm familar with these as I'm trying to help a "friend of a friend" re-hab a 90s 7 speed STI bike. His original 3X7 speed STI's are busted.

    What I really wonder about is why they made this new offering incompatible with triple front? I mean, a lot of the old 7 speed STI bikes had triples. It was very common. Plus, a triple front shifter is double compatible - so you're not losing anything there - you still only have to manufacturer one type of front shifter.

    Craziness.

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