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Old 01-11-19, 05:46 PM
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The Golden Boy 
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Location: Waukesha WI
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Bikes: 1977 Trek TX700; 1978/79 Trek 736; 1984 Specialized Stumpjumper Sport; 1984 Schwinn Voyageur SP; 1985 Trek 620; 1985 Trek 720; 1986 Trek 400 Elance; 1987 Schwinn High Sierra; 1990 Miyata 1000LT

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Only the Simplex Retrofriction shifters (with one exception) are Retrofriction.

Some dud who liked to use words they didn't understand, or wanted to sell some stuff started referring to every ratcheting, or clutched shifter as "retrofriction."

If it ratchets- it's not a Retrofriction shifter.

If it doesn't have a smooth, clutched action- it's not a Retrofriction shifter.

Suntour NEVER made a Retrofriction shifter. Regardless of what it says on Velobase.

Sachs/Huret Never made a Retrofriction shifter. Regardless of what it says on Velobase.

Shimano never made a Retrofriction shifter. Regardless of what it says on Velobase.

Campagnolo did make a "retrofriction" shifter- a spring loaded, clutched shifter- it was made around 1985- right before the indexing era.



Suntour made 2 different types of ratcheting shifters- the same action used on the Bar Cons and other ratcheting shifters throughout most of the 70s and half the 80s. Around 1984/85 there was a version of ratcheting shifters that is commonly referred to as the Sprint shifters- they have a much finer toothed ratcheting action. This is the action on the ratcheting shifters for Sprint and Superbe Pro shifters- then later on the left Command Shifter. This is also the action that was copied by Rivendell/DiaCompe for the Silver/DiaCompe ENE shifters.

Sachs Huret made some ratcheting shifters that have a really similar toothing (is that a word?) to the Suntour Power shifters, but the clutching action was a little different. I think they feel smoother, more buttery.

Shimano made a few different shifters that have been referred to as "Retrofriction." The old Fingertip Control shifters have a spring that counters the spring on the derailleur. There's no real clutch- so you pull the lever and it either pulls against the derailleur spring or the shifter spring- and I guess you hope that it stays put. Shimano also made some pretty nifty 2-way ratcheting shifters- they're pretty nice- the toothing is, again, pretty similar to the Suntour Power Shifters, but they ratcheted in both directions, unlike the other ratcheting, clutched shifters.
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Last edited by The Golden Boy; 01-11-19 at 05:57 PM.
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