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Switching to brifters

Old 03-15-21, 07:17 PM
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partyanimal
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Switching to brifters

So I'm looking to buy this Cannondale St1000 for my wife tomorrow. I want to convert it back to original as much as possible, including drop bars. But I'd like to add brifters. It looks like whoever put the flat bar on already added cable stops. And I think it has the original Suntour derailers. I'll admit I have no idea how to do this but have done a little work on my bikes before, so I'm somewhat mechanically inclined and I'd like to eventually learn how to do all this myself. Also, they're only asking $150 for the bike and from what I've seen it's a pretty well sought after bike. I don't mind putting a little money into it but don't want spend more than just buying a decent new touring bike.

Any idea if the derailer would be compatible and what this job would look like? Here's a pic of the bike as it is now (going to check it out tomorrow).

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Old 03-15-21, 07:26 PM
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This is what you have ahead of you.

It looks like a pre-90’s Cannondale. Hopefully it uses a freewheel and not a Suntour cassette. But that means you are limited to 7 speeds. I’m guessing it is a Suntour 6 speed freewheel. If it is a Suntour cassette you are kinda toast.

You’ll have to replace all the derailleurs and get Shimano 7-9 speed mtb rear derailleur and road triple front derailleur. Probably Tourney 7 speed STI shifters, maybe Microshift.

If anything else is worn, that will add to the expense.

I like Cannondales, but I wouldn’t consider that one highly sought after.

John
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Old 03-15-21, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
This is what you have ahead of you.

It looks like a pre-90ís Cannondale. Hopefully it uses a freewheel and not a Suntour cassette. But that means you are limited to 7 speeds. Iím guessing it is a Suntour 6 speed freewheel. If it is a Suntour cassette you are kinda toast.

Youíll have to replace all the derailleurs and get Shimano 7-9 speed mtb rear derailleur and road triple front derailleur. Probably Tourney 7 speed STI shifters, maybe Microshift.

If anything else is worn, that will add to the expense.

I like Cannondales, but I wouldnít consider that one highly sought after.

John
Thanks. Obviously the bars and shifters have been changed, they're Shimanos. The rear derailer is a Suntour. Not sure if the cassette is original but here's a more pics of the bike as well as the specs on what I think this is which is a 1991.


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Old 03-15-21, 07:58 PM
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If you’re OK with keeping it 7 speed, and everything shifts nicely now, I’d be tempted to buy a set of 7 speed used Shimano (rare) or Microshift STI’s and see how it works.
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Old 03-15-21, 08:13 PM
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I'd question how well that bike shifts to begin with. That era suntour was never meant to work with shimano sis shifting. Microshift will be your easiest and best to get a hold of but you might need a pair of derailleurs and a chain. Might not be worth changing it vs. finding something with sti levers already built in.
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Old 03-15-21, 08:15 PM
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Be aware that 7- speed freewheels are becoming more rare. There's a thread on the Classic&Vintage forum about replacing a 14-30 6-speed, and only 14-28 seem to be available.

The 7-speed options either top out at 28t, are the 14-24+34 'Alpine' option with a big gap, or are the IRD 13-32t evenly spaced one for $80.

If anything needs replacing, you may find yourself with a decision: Am I embracing vintage mechanic work as a hobby? Or, am I replacing wheel, shifter, derailleurs, to get to 8-speed or later?
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Old 03-15-21, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
If youíre OK with keeping it 7 speed, and everything shifts nicely now, Iíd be tempted to buy a set of 7 speed used Shimano (rare) or Microshift STIís and see how it works.
Yeah, my wife will not be doing any crazy long road trip, big hills or anything. Mostly flat-ish rail trails etc, so I'm perfectly fine keeping it 7 speed. I assume since it's indexed shifting now, it wouldn't be a huge stretch to change out the current ones for brifters - that sound right?
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Old 03-15-21, 08:45 PM
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If you can find a MicroShift R7 2x7 integrated brake/shift lever kit for drop bars, you might be able to swap only to a drop bar, the MicroShift R7, and get a Shimano SIS 7-speed rear derailleur (Deore LX or comparable).

The R7 might work okay with the existing Suntour front derailleur -- try it and see. If not, it won't be too expensive to replace the FD.

I've used the MicroShift R7 brake/shifter on a couple of road bike frames using whatever components I had in the parts bin: older Shimano 105, 600 Tricolor Ultegra, Deore LX. No problems.

I'm considering swapping that R7 over to my older Centurion Ironman, which is currently mostly original with Suntour GPX group. I like downtube shifters but must admit there are times riding in crosswinds or on gravel I'd rather keep my hands on the bar while shifting. I know I'll need to replace the rear derailleur to an older Shimano 600 Tricolor Ultegra RD, but I have a couple of those in a box. Not sure about the front derailleur but I have two or three older Shimano FDs ready to go.

BTW, while the "MicroNew" 2x7 brifter kit is often suggested as a substitute for the discontinued MicroShift R7, there are some negative reviews from users about the MicroNew. Approach with caution. The MicroShift is good quality for the price considering it's plasticky and clunky in operation compared with the Dura Ace brifters. But the MicroShift is also non-finicky and probably will never develop gummy lubricant because it doesn't seem to use or need any lubricant. That may limit the life span and serviceability, but I've used the R7 kit for a couple of years on a couple of different frames and it works great.
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Old 03-15-21, 08:52 PM
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Agree it is a 1991. The dropouts made me think it was from the 80’s.

Others have chimed in, but is it index shifting now. I don’t recognize the shifters and I don’t see SIS and Shimano and Suntour don’t play together very well.

This would still be a tough decision. I can tell you how I have approached it with my wife. For over 30 years, I have tried to get her the best I could find, within reason, set it up to be as easy as possible, and more importantly, a bike she would like; starting with Shimano 600 SIS shifters and derailleurs in 1986 to replace friction shifters. Happy wife, happier bikeman.

You need to think out if you want non-ramped flat chainrings with your brifters. My wife used them with a double, but her current bike is a triple with ramps and shifts much easier. Also, I thought the ‘91 Cannomdale catalog list an ST600 (no racks) at 25lbs. If so that is one more thing.

John
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Old 03-15-21, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Agree it is a 1991. The dropouts made me think it was from the 80ís.

Others have chimed in, but is it index shifting now. I donít recognize the shifters and I donít see SIS and Shimano and Suntour donít play together very well.

This would still be a tough decision. I can tell you how I have approached it with my wife. For over 30 years, I have tried to get her the best I could find, within reason, set it up to be as easy as possible, and more importantly, a bike she would like; starting with Shimano 600 SIS shifters and derailleurs in 1986 to replace friction shifters. Happy wife, happier bikeman.

You need to think out if you want non-ramped flat chainrings with your brifters. My wife used them with a double, but her current bike is a triple with ramps and shifts much easier. Also, I thought the Ď91 Cannomdale catalog list an ST600 (no racks) at 25lbs. If so that is one more thing.

John
She doesn't really know a lot about what she wants except the drop bars - mostly for aesthetics but just more riding positions. She's not picky otherwise as she's not a huge biker. I'm mostly trying to get her into it more outside of just riding our oold 3spds to the bar. Looking for something somewhat cheap but also I'm not a pro at this so something fairly easy.

What is the non-ramped vs ramped and what would be the advantage of either one?
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Old 03-15-21, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by partyanimal View Post
What is the non-ramped vs ramped and what would be the advantage of either one?
Sometime in the late 80’s when the left chainring shifters went from friction to index, triggers or STI, pins/ramps were added to the chainrings to lift the chain onto the next larger chainring.

I still use downtube shifters, but I didn’t find a problem using brifters and flat rings when testing out my wife’s bike, maybe just my technique. But some people have trouble using brifters without shifting aids. And coming from a 3 speed single chainring it is something to consider.

John

Edit Added: Your ST1000 came with Gripshift and the left/front derailleur is not indexed on Gripshift shifters.
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Old 03-15-21, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Sometime in the late 80ís when the left chainring shifters went from friction to index, triggers or STI, pins/ramps were added to the chainrings to lift the chain onto the next larger chainring.

I still use downtube shifters, but I didnít find a problem using brifters and flat rings when testing out my wifeís bike, maybe just my technique. But some people have trouble using brifters without shifting aids. And coming from a 3 speed single chainring it is something to consider.

John

Edit Added: Your ST1000 came with Gripshift and the left/front derailleur is not indexed on Gripshift shifters.
Thanks for the info. I just assumed the gripshifters were always indexed the way they work.
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Old 03-15-21, 09:53 PM
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The rear derailleur Gripshift shifters were indexed.

I don’t want to talk you out of this. It is just a bike and no matter how you set it up it will work.

John
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Old 03-15-21, 10:14 PM
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More than a few think highly of the ST1000.

One option for 126mm rear spacing-get a seven speed hyperglide cassette hub. You then have more gearing options-7 speed or you can run 8 of 9 cogs from a 9 speed cassette or maybe even 9 of 10. Get some 9 speed shifters, compatible derailleurs and a cassette. You know you will be golden.

Last edited by Ross200; 03-15-21 at 10:19 PM. Reason: redundant
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Old 03-16-21, 01:34 AM
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Ramped and pinned large chainrings are nice but not essential. I've used the MicroShift R7 indexed shifters -- front and rear -- with old school Shimano Biopace eccentric chainrings, no ramped or pinned aids. No problems. It does take a bit more care in adjusting the front derailleur and the left/front shift lever and cable tension doodads -- I use the nice Shimano lever type cable adjuster mounted on the cable stops on the front end of the downtube so I can tweak it a notch or two while riding if needed.

If you decide to get a ramped and pinned large chainring Vuelta SE Plus rings are good quality and reasonably priced.
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Old 03-16-21, 06:59 AM
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Not that it really matters, but those flat-bar brake levers are for V-Brakes, even though the bike is outfitted for cantilevers. Hopefully the rims haven't been damaged by the excessive force from the long pull levers, or maybe they're a model that allowed for long/short selection. Anyway, it looks like a fun project!
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Old 03-16-21, 08:20 AM
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If the bike fits her position now with flat bars, then it might not with drops. That is already a pretty short stem on that one. When you add drop bars, then you'll be extending the reach to the STI's and to the forward part of the drop. So it might no longer be a decent fitting bike.

I haven't looked and compared closely, because I've no use for a flat bar bike. But I've always imagined that the frame reach is longer on them compared to a frame made with drop bars in mind.

Although if I'd looked first I'd see that the bike might have originally come with drop bars. But still if it fits a person with flat bars, then it might not be a good fit with drops.
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Old 03-16-21, 09:01 AM
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You could also try these Gevenalle style brake shifters that are friction shift and compatible with your derailleurs. AUDAX – Shifting Systems with Friction Shifters or available without shift levers. – Gevenalle Video of how they work here. Shifters – Gevenalle
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Old 03-16-21, 11:08 AM
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One thing about the dropout spacing. I have to believe that the rear dropout width on your 1991 is 130mm or at least 128mm. By 1991, 130mm was becoming the typical road and mountain was 130mm/135mm. In 1992, which would be my year of choice, the T1000 was running an XT drivetrain. I have to believe the frame is the same as the 1991.

But this does mean that you can probably fit a 130mm rear hub into the frame if need be. Actually many people have shoved 130mm rear hubs into the massive rear triangle and dropout on 126mm Cannondales.

This does mean that this bike can be upgraded with 8-10 speed cassette setup one day if it is a good bike for your wife. And depending on terrain and speed criteria, you can one day go to a 1x10 and eliminate chainring shifting. Not that you want to get ahead of yourself, but having her ride as is for a while, might give you some direction on which way to go.

John
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Old 03-16-21, 11:47 AM
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Not sure how they work with the cantilever brakes. I am running a Microshift 7 speed on my Panasonic. Works flawlessly. Don't worry about what they say about 7 speeds becoming dinosaurs. We have a few years left for that. I have had zero issues with parts. Additionally, if you ever feel like it down the road you can always change your setup to a newer drivetrain. Honestly, though, I seem to have adapted to running fewer gears quite well. When I ride a 2x 10/11 I find myself purposely skipping a gear or two because they are just too tight together.
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Old 03-16-21, 07:33 PM
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The guy ghosted me today in looking at the bike so may be a non-issue. I might give him another chance tomorrow as he was messaging me after wanting to set something up. He sounds motivated, maybe I can get it for cheaper.
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Old 03-17-21, 09:44 AM
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I don’t know if this is doable but since the reason for putting drop a handlebar is purely for aesthetics, might it be possible to use the OEM brake/shifters and simply slide them as close to the center of the dropbar as possible? Perhaps install some V-brake “noodles” to route the cables out of the levers. Install some “dummy” hooded brake mounts “sans” levers in the usual position on the dropbar for those (I suspect rare) times when the OP’s wife isn’t riding with her hands on the level part of the bar! Difference in bar diameter may require shimming but that would be easy. Minimal expense and since the original equipment is being used, if it worked before, it should continue to work.
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Old 03-17-21, 11:46 AM
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Lots of existing incompatibility there.
Look like Shimano EF 25 shifters which in theory won't index with the Suntour derailleur. Brakes say "V Brake" which is longer pull than the cantilever brakes on the bike.

Looks like a parts box build that probably isn't working as expected and didn't feel like doing or spending to work correctly.
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