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  1. #1
    Junior Member dclout's Avatar
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    Should I upgrade gearing on a 1994 T200?

    My wife and I have a 1994 (I think) Trek T-200. We bought it new in 1995 or so, and it saw a fair bit of use, including some loaded touring. Early on we replaced both wheels due to a faulty rear hub and a ton of broken spokes. We are now getting back into tandem cycling after about 10 years off.

    My major issue with this bike is that the shifting has always been temperamental. It came with an 8 speed xtr drive train. The only changes we made were replacing the cluster with a 32-12 (or 11?) and replacing the granny with a 24 tooth. We also installed a device which routes the rear derailleur cable over a pulley to eliminate the 90 degree bend in the cable housing at that point. The shifters are indexed bar ends.

    The shifting works, as long as I have recently adjusted it, but it has always been finicky. When on tour I usually end up switching the bar end shifter to friction at some point.

    So, finally, the question. The tandem's shifting is much worse than my new single with brifters. Has the technology improved to the point where I can significantly improve my shifting by making some changes to the drive train (if so, what)? Is this worth doing, or am I polishing something that shouldn't be polished?

    Thanks,
    Dennis

  2. #2
    WPH
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    Dennis


    Great to hear you've resurrected the venerable T200. I might be biased, but it is obvious to me that these bikes must be amongst the very best EVER made.

    Anyway, you've opened a can of worms with your question, the comments will flow thick and fast. Check out the recent Kuwahara thread a bit further down the page to get a feel for the thinking.

    Could you post a picture of the pulley system you installed to deal with the RD cable? I use a standard 3m long gear inner and standard cable outers and all the cable bends are nice and gentle and conventional.

    Upgrading the gearing might be worthwhile if you can get the bits and pieces for the right price, perhaps used gear coming off suitable single bikes. The STI shifters/brifters are popular. The cable inners and outers need to be in good condition for optimal operation though because the tolerances are much finer than in a friction shifter.

    I have had success upgrading on my Fuji tandem. I found a Tiagra triple (left-hand) shifter in fair condition for <$30 and my brother donated a very used right-hand 9sp Ultegra shifter. I had a new 9sp chain in stock and bought a new 9sp cassette. The cranks/rings and both derailleurs were fine, the cassette went onto the freehub body perfectly. The total upgrade cost was about $100 including cables (actually I had to get travel agents for the v-brakes but this won't trouble you on a T200 because they came with cantilevers which work with standard road brake levers) and I got one extra cog on the back and drop bars not flat bars.

    I like the STI shifters on the Fuji. The extra cog gives me smaller jumps between gears on a casette of the same overall range as the 8sp setup: the smaller jumps are better when cruising on flat-ish terrain.

    Not sure if you need a new rear hub to go to 8 or 9sp - probably not. Sheldon has the data: http://sheldonbrown.com/k7.html#bodycompat. You will probably not have to spread the rear triangle if the over locknut dimension (OLD) is already 145mm, or if the current rear hub accepts a suitable freehub body. Personally I wouldn't touch the stoker crank or chainrings, although I have read the spacing between the chainrings will not work very well with the stops on modern STI brifters.

    I think it will come down to the economics. You could spend >$500 on upgrades, or sell the bike for $800, keep the $500 and buy a used five year old Cannondale, Co-Motion or alloy Trek for $2K and call it an anniversary present (get the kids to chip in a few $$ too, for the occasion).

  3. #3
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    Are your shifting problems on the front or back? Your chain rings probably came 52,42,30 and the 24 tooth granny would be a large jump to shift. For the rear shifting, the kind of cog set can make a difference. A different cog set might improve shifting and some people feel that shimano shifts best with shimano.

    I had an '95 Ibis tandem with 8 speed XTR, a Specialized crank, and Shimano bar end shifters. The front shifting was never good but but the rear shifted well. As more cogs have been added the spacing has become tighter and the shifting requires more adjusting. Because of cable lengths, the shifting on a tandem takes more care than a single.

  4. #4
    Junior Member dclout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandem rider View Post
    Are your shifting problems on the front or back? Your chain rings probably came 52,42,30 and the 24 tooth granny would be a large jump to shift. For the rear shifting, the kind of cog set can make a difference. A different cog set might improve shifting and some people feel that shimano shifts best with shimano.

    I had an '95 Ibis tandem with 8 speed XTR, a Specialized crank, and Shimano bar end shifters. The front shifting was never good but but the rear shifted well. As more cogs have been added the spacing has become tighter and the shifting requires more adjusting. Because of cable lengths, the shifting on a tandem takes more care than a single.
    On the front I just use friction shifting and it works well. The back shifting drives me nuts. Maybe I should just accept friction shifting on the back too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member IbisTouche's Avatar
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    We are still riding our two Ibis Touche, with 140 mm Sansin hubs. Sometimes we have huge problems with index, but we then shift to friction. On a tandem it is very important to shift fast and some ofthe tempo is lost in friction shifting - we prefer index if we can get it to work good.

  6. #6
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    We have a 1994 Santana Sovereign that was originally 8sp indexed XTR with bar ends. I have since changed it to 9sp STI using parts I had (Ultegra brifters, Shimano Deore LX rear dr and a 9 speed cluster and new chain). Some things to note:

    - I had to put a 1mm spacer behind the new 9sp cluster (11-32) because the old hub was not a Hyperglide-C body. Sheldon Brown has more info on this (at some point I will grind the splines, but haven't gotten around to it)
    - If you don't want to drop big money on new brifters check out the Performance Forte 9-speed dual control levers. These are made by microshift and are currently $130 a pair at Performance and work on triples. I had a set on another bike and they worked great. They are a bit different than the Shimanos -- instead of a pivoting brake lever they have two paddles. Also the feel is a bit more positive (some may say less refined) than Shimano, but I think they are a great way to get brifters at a reasonable price.
    - I left my front friction for now. I couldn't get it working reliably with indexing probably because I need to replace the front XTR dr (and the chainline on my 165mm spaced Santana isn't helping either).
    - Taking advice from others on this forum I got some cable liner and ran that all the way from my downtube cable stops to beyond the stoker bottom bracket. This eliminated any metal-to-cable contact and makes for a pretty clean look. This improved shifts to smaller cogs.

    And after this my 9sp index shifting works much better than the original 8sp.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dclout View Post
    On the front I just use friction shifting and it works well. The back shifting drives me nuts. Maybe I should just accept friction shifting on the back too.
    I may be stating the obvious but have you checked the alignment of your derailleur hanger?

  8. #8
    Junior Member dclout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
    I may be stating the obvious but have you checked the alignment of your derailleur hanger?
    Not obvious to me anyways. Is that something I can do at home?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dclout View Post
    Not obvious to me anyways. Is that something I can do at home?
    It needs a special tool to verify that the derailleur bolt is being held parallel to the axle. If you like buying tools, get a Park DAG-2, otherwise bring it to your LBS, it only takes a few minutes and they may do it on the spot rather than make room to hold a tandem.

    http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...nger-alignment

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
    I may be stating the obvious but have you checked the alignment of your derailleur hanger?
    Good point. That could be your problem.

  11. #11
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WPH View Post
    .......Great to hear you've resurrected the venerable T200. I might be biased, but it is obvious to me that these bikes must be amongst the very best EVER made........
    Ditto. The Trek T50/T100/T200 shared the same frame and fork, and many components.

    The frames were originally spaced 140mm.

    We got our T50 used for an incredible deal Previous owners had installed 28-44-54 at the front, and kept the original Suntour 12-30 7 speed cassette on the rear with Shimano XTR derailleurs. We rode it that way for a couple of years, then the rear rim cracked circumferentially. I and the LBS were unsuccessful in removing the Suntour cassette (take two chainwhips) and the LBS even broke one of their chainwhips....

    Replaced the hubs with Wheel Master 40H tandem hubs, used a 2x 2mm shims to bring the rear to 139mm (fits perfectly), Wheelsmith SS14 spokes, Velocity Dyad rims. It is set up with a SRAM X.9 long cage RD, SRAM 11-34 9 speed cassette and SRAM X.0 twist grip shifter, original cable routing with new cable and new housing. Dialed it in initial, rode about 100 miles with lots of shifting, and some tweaking. It has shifted perfectly with no adjustments since. Having an adjuster on the shifter is great for the tweaking during the initial cable break in period.

    It is flat bar, with extensions.

    The Wheel Master hub are cartridge bearings. The rear axle is a beefy 14mm diameter, stepping down to 10mm at the very end. Axle strength is proportional to the diameter of the axle raised to the 4th power. Thus a 14mm axle is nearly 4X as strong as a 10mm axle - all else being equal. Very important to this 500+lbs team.

    I have not had good experience with Shimano freewheels and cassettes, I have had good experience with Sunrace, SRAM and DNP.

    Another source for MicroShift 3 x 9 brifters: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CJXMEDM/...I212TZC4MU38GN
    Last edited by nfmisso; 02-05-14 at 10:13 AM.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  12. #12
    WPH
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    Quote Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
    Ditto.

    Replaced the hubs with Wheel Master 40H tandem hubs, used a 2x 2mm shims to bring the rear to 139mm (fits perfectly), Wheelsmith SS14 spokes, Velocity Dyad rims. It is set up with a SRAM X.9 long cage RD, SRAM 11-34 9 speed cassette and SRAM X.0 twist grip shifter, original cable routing with new cable and new housing. Dialed it in initial, rode about 100 miles with lots of shifting, and some tweaking. It has shifted perfectly with no adjustments since. Having an adjuster on the shifter is great for the tweaking during the initial cable break in period.

    The Wheel Master hub are cartridge bearings. The rear axle is a beefy 14mm diameter, stepping down to 10mm at the very end. Axle strength is proportional to the diameter of the axle raised to the 4th power. Thus a 14mm axle is nearly 4X as strong as a 10mm axle - all else being equal. Very important to this 500+lbs team.

    Another source for MicroShift 3 x 9 brifters: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CJXMEDM/...I212TZC4MU38GN
    Nigel


    I remember a few months/a year back when you were looking at the wheel replacements on the T50. Your experience is proof that we don't have to spend big bucks to update this old but still very good equipment. The Wheelmaster rear tandem hubs are about $35 on Amazon. A new hub = a new rear wheel, and an opportunity to get the dishing right. Plus you can choose the spokes and rim: strong reliable kit is available for reasonable prices.

    SRAM MTB stuff is cheap as chips (because a bunch of blokes have taken it off their tandems when swapping to drop bars [looking at you TRH]). Works well.

    I see the Microshift 3 x 9 shifters for $126 on amazon. CRC currently has cheap 105 3 x 10 shifters, but going to 10sp is another pair of shoes altogether!

    Caution re newer RDs - some of the Shimano models do not have a barrel adjuster on the back of the derailleur. There needs to be an adjustment point elsewhere in the cable run, which on a T50/100/200 can be at the downtube lever boss, but newer bikes (KHS Milano) often do not come with lever bosses.


    Will

  13. #13
    Junior Member dclout's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. I think I will get my derailleur hanger checked. I also appreciate the suggestions for alternate equipment choices.

    One question I am still curious about is how does 20 year old XTR compare with modern stuff? If I were to replace it with new highish end road or mountain bike derailleurs would my shifting likely improve? One note is that you will have to pry my drop bars from my cold, dead hands, so any new solution would either need to work with my bar ends or brifters.

    Thanks again,
    Dennis

  14. #14
    WPH
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    Quote Originally Posted by dclout View Post
    One question I am still curious about is how does 20 year old XTR compare with modern stuff? If I were to replace it with new highish end road or mountain bike derailleurs would my shifting likely improve?

    Thanks again,
    Dennis
    Providing all the components are in good order, the changing on the newer equipment is faster and more reliable under load due to systemic integration, narrower chains, better ramping and cutouts on cogs, ramping and sculpting on chainrings, and improved geometry in both front and rear derailleurs.

    On the other foot the new stuff is generally more complicated, possibly less durable, and some say more finicky (especially with long cables on tandems). Plus the manufacturers churn out new models partly to sell more units, even though the older designs are just as good.

    The actual gear levers shouldn't affect changing much, although in my view the ergonomics have improved a fair bit in 20 years. Even Cane Creek aero brake levers ($30) have a nicer hood shape and curve on the lever itself than, say, Dura Ace aero levers of the mid 1990s. Any modern brifters should be good, while bar-ends are still bar-ends and hopefully always will be.

    I am happy to do the odd tweak on my bikes and enjoy fossicking for good deals on parts so the advantages of newer kit outweigh the disadvantages by a fair margin.

    WPH

  15. #15
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dclout View Post
    ......
    One question I am still curious about is how does 20 year old XTR compare with modern stuff? If I were to replace it with new highish end road or mountain bike derailleurs would my shifting likely improve? .......
    Hi Dennis;

    I noticed a HUGE improvement with the change to the new SRAM X.9 over the original. I did not change the front derailleur. Staying with Shimano, I would suggest a 9 speed M592 or higher end RD, which will work with 7, 8, 9 and 10 speed road shifters, and handle the wide range gears typical of tandems.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

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