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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 02-06-13, 10:14 PM   #1
Bornco
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Shifting Upgrades?

Hi,

We're riding an early 90's Santana Arriva. It's an 8 speed with bar end shifters. I would really like to ditch the bar ends and go with some brifters. I like the idea of the stronger chain/possibly easier to tune shifting that comes with an 8 speed so I'd like to keep it an 8 speed if possible. Are there any good options for using brifters and keeping this bike an 8 speed? Would it be better to convert to 9 speed if I would like brifters? Doing this as frugally as possible would sit better with my wife, but I'm wondering if there are any inexpensive choices besides Shimano Tiagra? Our rear derailleur is the original Shimano XTR that came on the bike. We ride a triple so that is also another factor to consider. I might even be willing to put flat bars on it and use mtn bike thumb shifters if that would work because I love the shifting on my mtn bike and it's an 8 speed, not sure what I'd think about flat bars for 4 hour rides though.

Any and all input is welcome and appreciated,

Jack
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Old 02-07-13, 07:34 AM   #2
merlinextraligh
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I'd go with Shimano Ultegra 9 speed (6500). You should be able to find good used, or possibly even NOS at a reasonable price.

It will work with your current derailluers, and you likely need a new cassette andd chain anyway.

The 9 speed stuff isn't as old, as higher end 8 speed, so there should be better availability.
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Old 02-07-13, 07:37 AM   #3
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A different approach may work for you since you could use your existing bar ends to have these made.
http://retroshift.com/

I have not used these and so do not vouch for them but they look like they might allow you to use 8-speed and be very durable.
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Old 02-07-13, 10:01 AM   #4
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i'd just scour ebay for some older shimano brifters. I scored a set of sora 3x9's recently for under $50.
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Old 02-07-13, 10:11 AM   #5
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In our many decades as tandemistas have used all kinds of shifters; from downtube to barends, Gripshift, STI triple, Di-2 (electronic), etc.
The most reliable and easiest we have found are barend shifters. No fancy internals, no fidgeting and very long lifespan (50,000+ miles).
Yup, that's what we have on our tandem right now.
Do as you like, of course, but hang on to those barend shifters, you may want to go back to 'em!
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-07-13, 08:49 PM   #6
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Thanks everybody, I appreciate your input. The retroshifts that waynesulak mentioned are what I'm thinking I will go with, they sound exactly like what I want/need. I agree with Rudy that barends shift great. The reason I'm wanting to change is that I don't ride in the drops that much except in traffic. Since we have a lot of rolling hills and I have to shift a lot it seems like I'm always taking my right hand off the hoods to drop down to the barends. Then we ride in traffic I always feel like I have to ride in the drops so that I don't have to take my hand off the bars and lose fast access to our rear brake in case we need to stop quickly.

Thanks again,

Jack
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Old 02-07-13, 10:19 PM   #7
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I would strongly recommend Campy 10 speed. 10 speed chains are plenty strong and durable enough for tandem use. I have Campy Centaur shifters and use a JTEK shiftmate so it works with a Shimano drivetrain. You can buy the Campy shifters pretty cheap from any number of UK online shops but I prefer Ribble.
Having two more cogs on the back will give more gears meaning either a wider range or smaller steps between gears. I prefer the ergonomics and shifting of Campy over Shimano and the shifters are rebuildable unlike Shimano which go into the trash when they wear out.
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Old 02-08-13, 06:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bornco View Post
Thanks everybody, I appreciate your input. The retroshifts that waynesulak mentioned are what I'm thinking I will go with, they sound exactly like what I want/need. I agree with Rudy that barends shift great. The reason I'm wanting to change is that I don't ride in the drops that much except in traffic. Since we have a lot of rolling hills and I have to shift a lot it seems like I'm always taking my right hand off the hoods to drop down to the barends. Then we ride in traffic I always feel like I have to ride in the drops so that I don't have to take my hand off the bars and lose fast access to our rear brake in case we need to stop quickly.

Thanks again,

Jack

Let us know how the Retroshift works out. I have never used it but it seems like a very robust and low cost option if you put a lot of miles on them and don't need to shift from the drops.

I use Campy 10 speed and Shimano cogs a love them however not a cheap upgrade from bar ends and I rebuild the right shifter every 6,000 miles or so. Retroshift would not work for me since I spend about 40% of the time in the drops.
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Old 02-08-13, 01:20 PM   #9
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That is way cool! Thanks for link.
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