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Can I convert from Shimano STI to Downtube or something that works better for me?

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Can I convert from Shimano STI to Downtube or something that works better for me?

Old 06-04-17, 09:46 PM
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TucsonAZ
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Can I convert from Shimano STI to Downtube or something that works better for me?

I am in the process of building a bike and I'm starting with the frame but already know I want trekking bars on the road bike, the STI combo shifter/brakes doesn't really work well for my needs and I'm not such a hard core rider that down tube shifting is a pain or safety issue for me. Is there something that works well from trekking bars? A lot of the components I'm finding for my build include the STI, is it easy to convert to something else and just sell those off?

Any info would be helpful as it's already tough to hunt down photos of trekking bars on a road bike.
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Old 06-04-17, 09:59 PM
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I believe Shimano has thumb shifters for Tiagra and below which you can use on a butterfly trekking bar which is what I assume you want.

If you're on a 11 speed you can try Microshift shifters:
microSHIFT -The best control system

If you want a friction option you can possibly try their bar-end shifters, though you may need to install it on auxiliary bars so there are "bar ends" available.
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Old 06-04-17, 10:11 PM
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You can mount flat bar levers on the flats of trekking bars. Your options will vary depending on the rest of your drivetrain components -- specifically derailleur models and number of 'speeds'. If you're doing a 10-speed drivetrain, you can use Shimano's Tiagra flat bar shifters whether or not the rest of your components are Tiagra. You'd want 4700 series for Shimano's current Tiagra 4700 derailleurs. 4600 series shifters for any other Shimano road 10-speed derailleurs (that were introduced before 4700).

Last edited by SkyDog75; 06-05-17 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 06-04-17, 10:26 PM
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I'm about to sound super ignorant here I'm sure but as things sit I have the option of a rear wheel with 9 gears and a front crankset with 2 or 3 gears. I'm thinking I can just bolt the wheel set on and go with the crankset of my choosing? The derailleurs both front and rear are both 105, the cranksets are some brand I don't know, the brakes I have are older Ultegra. I don't know what series (is that how old they are) any of it is and don't k now how to find out.
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Old 06-04-17, 10:57 PM
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The use of downtube shifters will depend on the bike. Does it have shifter bosses? If not, can you buy clamp-on bosses? Vintage parts often have problems with new oversized tubing.

Indexed shifters are nice, but friction shifters work well with modern free wheels and cassettes with shift gates.
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Old 06-04-17, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TucsonAZ View Post
I have the option of a rear wheel with 9 gears...
Shimano freehubs are generally compatible between 8, 9, and 10 speed, so assuming the wheel has a Shimano-compatible freehub, you can likely run 8, 9, or 10-speed cassettes to mate with whatever other components you have/choose.

Originally Posted by TucsonAZ View Post
The derailleurs both front and rear are both 105...
So long as they're not 11-speed derailleurs, these are also flexible. With the exception of new Tiagra 4700 parts, Shimano used the same cable pull ratio for all their indexing road bike drivetrains up through 10-speed. So your 105 derailleurs will also work with 8/9/10 speed cassettes and shifters.

So, in a nutshell, your rear wheel and derailleurs both will let you run 8, 9, or 10 speed drivetrains. Just match the number of cogs on the cassette to the shifters' ratings. Want to run 10 cogs in back? Sure. Just use 10-speed shifters (other than Tiagra 4700).

Originally Posted by TucsonAZ View Post
...and a front crankset with 2 or 3 gears...
Shimano STI front derailleurs are double- or triple-specific. If you choose a triple crankset and you have a double derailleur, you'll want to replace the derailleur with a triple model. Thankfully, front derailleurs tend to be inexpensive, so you don't need to let your on-hand derailleur limit your choice.

Rear derailleurs are also affected by your choice of crankset. If you run a triple crankset, you'll likely need a long cage rear derailleur to handle the wide gearing range. (Wide gearing ranges mean lots of chain slack when using the small chainring up front and the rear derailleur needs a long enough cage to swing back and take up that slack.)

Shifters are also double- or triple-specific. So when you figure out the derailleur and crankset situation, choose a set of shifters to match the number of rings on your crankset.
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Old 06-05-17, 12:18 AM
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Okay, I have been looking into it a little and it's looking like bar end shifters would work best for my needs. Can I do this with the 27 speed, do I seriously need 27 speeds or is 18 plenty and easier to do with down tubes? Any suggestions on which to get?

Thanks a lot to those responding, super helpful information for me!

* I just did some looking into it, sounds like 18 is more than enough.

Last edited by TucsonAZ; 06-05-17 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 06-05-17, 01:01 PM
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You may also try purchasing a set of Paul "thumbies" that will allow your barend shifters to be mounterd to the top of the handlebars next to your grips. The Pauls are brand specific but there are other manufacturers producing similar products, you will need to read the description carefully because the clamp diameters vary and the shifter pods (I think that's what they are called) are specific to the number of cogs you will be using them on.
I never liked reaching down to shift.
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Old 06-05-17, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TucsonAZ View Post
Okay, I have been looking into it a little and it's looking like bar end shifters would work best for my needs. Can I do this with the 27 speed, do I seriously need 27 speeds or is 18 plenty and easier to do with down tubes? Any suggestions on which to get?

Thanks a lot to those responding, super helpful information for me!

* I just did some looking into it, sounds like 18 is more than enough.
It depends on the application. 33 speed? More? CVT?

Most roadies choose 2x shifting.

MTBs, use 1x, 2x, or 3x.

Cargo, often 3x

Touring, 2x or 3x, depends on person and application.

More and more choices are now available with super wide gearing options.
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Old 06-05-17, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TucsonAZ View Post
I am in the process of building a bike and I'm starting with the frame but already know I want trekking bars on the road bike, the STI combo shifter/brakes doesn't really work well for my needs and I'm not such a hard core rider that down tube shifting is a pain or safety issue for me. Is there something that works well from trekking bars? A lot of the components I'm finding for my build include the STI, is it easy to convert to something else and just sell those off?

Any info would be helpful as it's already tough to hunt down photos of trekking bars on a road bike.
I know it is out of fashion, but IMO the type of shifter that would work both functionally and aeshetically with trekking bars are grip shifters.
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Old 06-05-17, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I know it is out of fashion, but IMO the type of shifter that would work both functionally and aeshetically with trekking bars are grip shifters.
Oh now that's just wrong! Anything but that! I us ergonomic grips too and would hate these things, I would rather have the shifters be mounted low on the fork!

I'm going to go with the bar ends I think, there seems to be a fair number of Dura Ace floating around for a fair price, couldn't find any 105s though.
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