Help with front derailleur issues 2003 Bianchi Axis
I just bought a 2003 Bianchi Axis and have brought it to 2 different shops in the hope that they can help me get the front derailleur working properly. So far, one of the shops told me it wouldnt be possible since the Shimano 105 and the Shimano LX FD (stock configuration) wont work together and suggested that I get a 105 Front Derailleur. The other shop got it to shift decently well but also said the shifter/derailleur combo dont have the proper cable pull ratios. What are my best options? I have a bar end front shifter that may work? or Ive seen the CX70 derailleur? or Get the pully? thanks for your opinions! Im really looking to spend the least possible... Thanks!
2013 Kona Jake, 2008 Kona Major Jake, 2013 Kona Jake the Snake, 1999 Kona Muni Mula, 2012 Ridley Excalibur, 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker
What both shops told you is basically true. With a double chainring setup you can make the mismatched MTB/road combination work (as the second shop apparently did), but it will be less than ideal.
If you aren't happy with the way the second shop got it working then your options are pretty much as you described.
Bar end shifters offer the best possible front end shifting. You lose brake/shifter integration (unless you go with RetroShift!), but you gain perfect control of the derailleur position.
I believe Shimano changed the cable pull ratio of their road front derailleurs with the latest round of updates (5700/6700/CX70), so I think it's possible that the CX70 front derailleur wouldn't work for you. I'm not sure of the details, but I think pre-1990 Shimano MTB front derailleurs had cable pull closer to the road models (possibly the same), but I don't know if you'd be able to find one that was top-pull.
Problem Solvers makes a clamp-on derailleur pulley, and you could couple that with a pre-5700/6700 road front derailleur. You can usually find those cheap on eBay.
Cheapest possible solution: live with what you have.
In your shoes, I'd go with the pulley+road FD solution.