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  1. #1
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    Convert the drivetrain of a Nashbar touring bike

    Happy new year!

    I just bought a Nashbar Steel Touring Bike from Nashbar. Its drivetrain comes with FSA Vero 50/39/30T, Shimano 105 Shifter, Shimano 105 front and rear Derailleurs, SRAM 10-Speed (11-28T) cassette.

    My plan is to sell the whole drivetrain once I get the bike, and then convert it to a bike suitable for both touring and commuting. I have two questions here:

    1) Is it easy to convert a STI shifter to a bar end shifter? Do I need to change the cable and cable housing?

    2) What kind of derailleurs, shifter, crankset, cassette do you recommend for my touring bike? I think I want a 3x9 speed drivetrain. I do not have much money to spend. So please do not suggest any top product. I know they have good quality, but also high price. I just want something durable and inexpensive.

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    you're getting a nice drivetrain, so why change it out? If you're short on funds just do the upgrades you need now for commuting & touring (racks, bags, etc), and ride the bike for awhile to see how you like the brifter set-up.

    If you really want to do it just change the brifters to bar-end shifters and standard brake levers. Shifters will be about $100 new (don't know if they work of ten-speed cassettes), and levers about $40. Look on ebay for cheaper stuff. The FSA Vero crank is a square taper BB which is sealed, so it'll work nicely for the rough,wet, and dirty roads you'll find ahead of you on commutes and tours; maybe just swap the 30t ring for a smaller 26t.
    Are we having fun yet?

  3. #3
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    I like bar end shifter because it is more reliable and easier to maintain than STI. It will be my long distance touring bike. So I want to change out the cassette and crankset to lower values. I do not need 10 speed system on a touring bike so I may like to sell the 10 speed 105 group set. I should admit part of the reason to sell 105 is to earn some money for other touring accessaries.

    You can say it is actually a downgrade from 105. But I just want to make a bike more comfortable for touring.

    Is it hard to change the shifter? Besides the shifter, do I need to buy a new cable and its housing? Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by skidder View Post
    you're getting a nice drivetrain, so why change it out? If you're short on funds just do the upgrades you need now for commuting & touring (racks, bags, etc), and ride the bike for awhile to see how you like the brifter set-up.

    If you really want to do it just change the brifters to bar-end shifters and standard brake levers. Shifters will be about $100 new (don't know if they work of ten-speed cassettes), and levers about $40. Look on ebay for cheaper stuff. The FSA Vero crank is a square taper BB which is sealed, so it'll work nicely for the rough,wet, and dirty roads you'll find ahead of you on commutes and tours; maybe just swap the 30t ring for a smaller 26t.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It of course requires removing and re-taping your bars . and buying new brake levers ..

    should be able to resell he STI, Might be a good time to also de gadget back to 9 speed
    or even 8.. as in the long run as the cassettes and chains wear out the 8&9 will cost less..

    the 8 speed bar end shifters are still available .. cog spacing wide enough even friction shifting would function,
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-02-14 at 09:11 PM.

  5. #5
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    I'm with skidder on this. Converting to 9 speed is going to be involved. I'm going to assume that by "lower values" you mean lower gearing for climbing hills. So, you'll definitely need 9 speed bar end shifters, a 9 speed chain, a 9 speed cassette with a larger cog (32T/34T), a new rear derailleur that is 9 speed compatible and can shift the larger cog (mountain bike derailleur), brake levers. You could keep the cranks/bottom bracket and change to a small 26T chainring if you choose, this would simplify things. You might be able to reuse the cables/housing and bar tape, but maybe not. So assume that you'll need to replace them when budgeting. Simply changing the shifters to 9 speed isn't going to get it done.
    If you are doing the work yourself, you'll need the tools also. I figure metric allen wrenches, cassette removal tool, chain whip, cable cutters, and chain tool at a minimum. If changing the cranks/bottom bracket, you'll also need a crank puller and a bottom bracket removal tool (plus a wrench or socket to turn it). I think that about covers it. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

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    Yes, a new cable and some new outer housing would be needed if you switch to bar end shifters. Your old rear inner cable may be useable for front so might only need one new inner cable. The outer housing can be generic STI compatable shifter housing, does not need to be the expensive stuff. If you buy new bar end shifters I think they come with new cable.

    I use 8 speed on my derailleur touring bikes. When I set up my first touring bike, I looked at the cogs on 8 speed and 9 speed 11/32 cassettes, specifically Sram cassettes. The only difference was that the 9 speed had a 24t and a 28t cog, the 8 speed instead had a 26t cog. Since I figured that I would spend the vast majority of my time in the range of the 14t to 21t cogs, I got the 8 speed instead of 9 speed since both 8 and 9 speed cassettes had the same cog sizes in that range.

    I am running a 24t granny gear on my triple. I agree with whoever it was (above) that said you want something smaller than a 30t granny gear. I can't use the 24t when I am using the 11t or 12t rear cogs, the derailleur cage won't take up all the slack, but that is badly cross chained so those are gears I would not use anyway.

  7. #7
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Sti's are pretty reliable, especially when they are young. Why not simply bring a set of friction bar ends in a pannier for a possible quick retrofit should something go wrong? A few ounces, and you're set. Just undo the handlebar tape, install, and off you go.
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    Senior Member 58Kogswell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xybaby View Post
    I should admit part of the reason to sell 105 is to earn some money for other touring accessaries.
    If what you mean by this is that you will end up with more money after you do the conversion because (you think) the parts you are selling will bring more in than you will spend on the parts you buy to replace the originals you are about to find that is not the case. You might even end up spending money for some assistance in installing the new parts (or at least for some tools to do the job) judging by what you have said and asked. The parts you take off your bike will not bring what some people are willing to pay for new parts because they are no longer new once they were installed on your bike even if your bike was not ridden. They are used.

    I wish you luck but you are about to undertake a fairly extensive project which is going to cost you money in the end. As others have said - Just swap the 30 tooth front ring for a 26 or so and ride the bike.

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    That gearing is just so wrong for a touring bike (IMHO)
    I'd be wanting a front set up which included a 20 or 22T front chainring.
    For the rear I'd be looking for a cassette which gave me a 34 or 36T ring.
    This is for loaded hill climbing which especially for someone new to loaded touring, which should offer you something close to the range of 17 gear inches for low gearing and up to a max of around 90 to 100 in the top end.
    I went with the 90 gear inches myself as I just cant make use of anything higher.
    The gearing most useful is at the low end in my opinion.
    Have a play with Sheldons calculator to see what you can come up with.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/ Change the drop box menu to gear inches
    You might be utilising 26" wheels which I'm a little unfamiliar with but Sheldons page should see you right.
    Ask if you get stuck.
    Some people dont mind higher gearing due to there being no hills where they live and it gets up my nose when they suggest high gearing for others use.
    A loaded touring bike is not a racing bike and you'll find high gears of little use except wearing out knees I reckon.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    Sti's are pretty reliable, especially when they are young. Why not simply bring a set of friction bar ends in a pannier for a possible quick retrofit should something go wrong? A few ounces, and you're set. Just undo the handlebar tape, install, and off you go.
    I agree with this.

    If you want lower gearing, swap the 30T granny for a 24T and voila!
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    Thank you for the advice. I do want to earn a little cash out of these parts. But maybe you are right. It may not be the case. The main reasons I want to do this conversion are: (1) bar end shifter; (2) lower gearing. This bike will be my commuting bike too. It may sometimes sit on the corner of the street. I do not want to have 105 group set on it to catch somebody's eyes. I have most of the tools. Since it is snowing outside, I guess it is the perfect time to get my hands dirty.

    I decide to keep the front crank (only change 30t to 26t), but swap all the derailleurs, cassette, and shifters.



    Quote Originally Posted by 58Kogswell View Post
    If what you mean by this is that you will end up with more money after you do the conversion because (you think) the parts you are selling will bring more in than you will spend on the parts you buy to replace the originals you are about to find that is not the case. You might even end up spending money for some assistance in installing the new parts (or at least for some tools to do the job) judging by what you have said and asked. The parts you take off your bike will not bring what some people are willing to pay for new parts because they are no longer new once they were installed on your bike even if your bike was not ridden. They are used.

    I wish you luck but you are about to undertake a fairly extensive project which is going to cost you money in the end. As others have said - Just swap the 30 tooth front ring for a 26 or so and ride the bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    I agree with this.

    If you want lower gearing, swap the 30T granny for a 24T and voila!
    I dunno if that'll play nicely with the front derailleur or not... shimano says 20T capacity for the FD. The FD also has a shaped cage for certain kinds of rings so that factors into things too. I don't know how much it really matters but it might.

    Here's a shopping list that might work out for you to convert this to a 3x8 touring setup with lower gears
    triple crank
    113mm bb (might need longer/shorter spindle)
    8 speed cassette 11-32
    alivio rear derailleur
    8 speed bar ends
    8 speed chain
    fd-2403 triple FD
    tektro levers

    Add another 10-20$ for new cables and housings, you'll likely more housing for the bar-end shifters for the front part of the cable runs but you might be able to reuse both the brakes housings and cables, but probably have to get a new cable for the rear derailleur (maybe even a tandem shifter length if you have a big frame and long stem) and use your current RD cable for the front derailleur. I don't know what the used parts market in your area is like but I doubt you'd be able to recoup the cost for all those new parts. If you can get a 150 for them all (which is optimistic in my mind) you can save half the cost of all those parts. When selling the parts call them "take offs" since they are used but haven't been riding. You might also wanna check out what your LBS would charge to do all this work and if they'd comp you for the take-off parts, heck they might have a bin with some or all of the parts you need from other people's bike that changed them out when they purchased their bikes new.

    This isn't the only way to go about this kind of thing either, sometimes buying an entry level hybrid with a 3x9 drivetrain at a bike shop and having them put drop bars, levers and bar-end shifters might work out to be cheaper than the mail-order touring bike and drive-train swap.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by xybaby View Post
    I like bar end shifter because it is more reliable and easier to maintain than STI.
    Not really. Shifters of any flavor just aren't much of a problem. I have STI's that have 12,000 miles and 7 years of commuting on them without issue. In 30 years of bicycle commuting, touring, mountain bike riding and recreational riding, I've broken one shifter. I've had 32 bikes in the time frame. Shifters are far more robust than many think they are.

    You aren't going to make much money on the 105 stuff, not considering that the money you'll have to pay to change the drivetrain of the bike. It's going to be a wash and you might even lose money. Granted, the drivetrain on your bike is something of a hot mess when it comes to touring gears, but don't expect to recoop much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    I dunno if that'll play nicely with the front derailleur or not... shimano says 20T capacity for the FD. The FD also has a shaped cage for certain kinds of rings so that factors into things too. I don't know how much it really matters but it might.
    You're right that it might matter.

    That being said, front derailleurs, however, are notoriously underrated by their manufacture. (I use a 10 speed SRAM MTB derailleur for my 9 speed 50/39/24 triple and it shifts flawlessly.)

    To the OP, I think if you try and go ahead with swapping out the transmission, it's going to end up costing you a fair bit more than you think, and I doubt you'll get that back by selling what's on there.

    (I've been wrong before...)
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    I dunno if that'll play nicely with the front derailleur or not... shimano says 20T capacity for the FD. The FD also has a shaped cage for certain kinds of rings so that factors into things too. I don't know how much it really matters but it might.
    I'm currently using a 26/36/48 9-speed MTB trekking crank with my 10-speed Ultegra 6600-series shifters and FD. Setup was a little more finicky than usual, but since then it's been reliable and shifts well (though not quite as crisply as with the stock crank). For chainrings smaller than 26 teeth, or a capacity larger than 22 teeth, you might have problems with dropping the chain off the inside of the small ring. I'd plan to install a Deda Elementi "Dog Fang" or similar chain keeper if I were using one of those setups.

    I don't know what the used parts market in your area is like but I doubt you'd be able to recoup the cost for all those new parts. If you can get a 150 for them all (which is optimistic in my mind) you can save half the cost of all those parts.
    If the OP's original parts are relatively unused, I'd be looking to get around $300 for the shifters, derailleurs, crank, bottom bracket, chain, and cassette. Demand might be a little soft due to the non-Shimano crank, but I think the gruppo would sell at that price.

    Of course, if it were me I'd leave the 105-components on the bike. Most of the bike industry has moved to 10-speed parts, so any 7- or 8-speed parts you can buy new are likely to be cheap crap. 105 is solid and, at least in my area, 10-speed spare parts are easier to come by than 7-, 8-, or 9-speed. If the OP had to have bar-end shifters, which you couldn't pay me to use, I think he'd be better off keeping the majority of the current drive-train and replacing just the shifters.

  16. #16
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    FWIW, I have 10sp 105 at the back with 10sp Dura-Ace downtube shifters. They work perfectly. But you're not going to make money by switching.

  17. #17
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    You're right that it might matter.

    That being said, front derailleurs, however, are notoriously underrated by their manufacture. (I use a 10 speed SRAM MTB derailleur for my 9 speed 50/39/24 triple and it shifts flawlessly.)

    To the OP, I think if you try and go ahead with swapping out the transmission, it's going to end up costing you a fair bit more than you think, and I doubt you'll get that back by selling what's on there.

    (I've been wrong before...)
    It probably won't. The 105 is a bit pickier than the Tiagra but I have a Tiagra that is shifting a 46/34/20 and it does it just fine.
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  18. #18
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    Another twist.

    Bar con the RD and buy a new integrated crank. If your FD is clamp on you should only be out one bar-con a smidgen of cable and a crank.

    Why do I like this setup? Finickiness usually happens with the RD and I HATE BAR-CON SHIFTING with my left hand.

    Gearing: Gearing is a personal thing but if you are a stronger rider a 32T middle may drive you batty when unloaded.

  19. #19
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Swap the rear cogs out for something with a 34T bailout gear.
    After that, just put a 26 or 28 tooth ring up front.

    Ride it for a while, see how things work out.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    Swap the rear cogs out for something with a 34T bailout gear.
    That's going to be a little difficult given that his current RD isn't rated for anything above 28T in the rear...

  21. #21
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Another solution is to tour LIGHT. There are threads on this-- and whole forums focused on backpacking light. 30/28 is pretty decent at 28.3 gear inches or so. I mean, you can always walk that one insane hill on the tour. You don't have to tell us about it.

    If you need lower gearing, swapping the RD out and getting an 11-36 10 speed cassette takes the gearing down to 22 g.i.
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  22. #22
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    A complete new 105 triple group from Ribble, including brakes and crankset, is $500 including shipping. You won't be selling a full 105 group, and you will be selling in a used channel. What are you expecting to clear? $225? Bar end shifters, brake levers, crank, FD, cassette, chain, maybe RD, probably tape, brake cables, maybe gear cables (need new but may come with shifters). Good luck getting that for what you clear, much less having extra.

    If you are only doing it for reliability, ride what you have til it breaks.

    If you are only doing it for theft proofing, black rustoleum is $4, and your 105 parts will look Sora.
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    Thanks guys! It looks like I should change my mind and keep the drivetrain. If I plan to switch the rear cassette to 11-34t 10 speed one, will 105 handle it well? On shimano website, the max for 105 RD is 28T.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by xybaby View Post
    Thanks guys! It looks like I should change my mind and keep the drivetrain. If I plan to switch the rear cassette to 11-34t 10 speed one, will 105 handle it well? On shimano website, the max for 105 RD is 28T.
    My 105 handled the 11/34 fine.

    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 01-05-14 at 09:33 AM.
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    Thanks! That's great! But do you feel any slight rubbing with 34t? In my case, the whole drivetrain will exceed the max sprocket and total capacity requirement of the 105 component. I just feel it will be harder to adjust it properly.


    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    My 105 handled the 11/34 fine.

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