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Friction shifters

Old 12-19-11, 11:48 AM
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tony_merlino
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Friction shifters

Will generic friction shifters work with any arbitrary set of components? It seems like they should, but I'm wondering if not all of them provide sufficient travel. Also - are there decent ones available? All I find online is the really cheap Sunrace stuff, with no reviews.

I replaced the old original Shimano indexed shifters that were integrated with the brake levers (7 speed - the bike is an early-90s MTB), with Shimano 7-speed twist grip shifters when the original ones died, and I can't get the rear to work right, so I was thinking of throwing up my hands and replacing the rear shifter with a simple friction shifter that will let me get into all the gears without hopping.

Thanks!
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Old 12-19-11, 12:08 PM
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FBinNY
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They should work with just about anything, except possibly with Sram because the 1:1 actuation ratio uses more cable than average. Even with Sram it might still work, but it'll be close since the average system uses just about half the total 180 degree lever travel.

BTW- I have a bunch of leftover new Sram 7s and 8s shifters made for Shimano (and analog) derailleurs. I have both twist and trigger styles in a few quality ranges, all at good prices.

fb

Last edited by FBinNY; 12-19-11 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 12-19-11, 12:14 PM
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Seven speed MTB style shifters are available just about anywhere on line. Amazon for one, but there are hundreds of sources selling them. Personal taste here, but I can't stand the twist grip shifters. Assuming you have Shimano derailleurs (big jump as you did not mention either way), the $13 Tourney trigger shifters are my favorite, and I put them on just about every MTB from that era, including the three in my keeper fleet right now.

For $13, you get the shifters, new cables and new housings. Tough to beat IMHO.

OK, another assumption, new shifter not working right (Shimano with Shimano?), then you have another issue, either a set up problem, cable housing, or bent derailleur hanger. All are easy fixes. Did you reuse old housing? Park tool site has good instructions on setting up shifters.

I am not a fan of the Sunrace shifters, the ones I have seen were really cheap.

Last edited by wrk101; 12-19-11 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 12-19-11, 12:22 PM
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Hi

I replaced the twist grip shifters on my mtb with a plastic shimano thumb friction shifter and it works perfectly and never needs adjusting which was commonplace with older friction shifters.It was very cheap 5euros , very light and suprisingly easy to use, never missed a shift.
Friction should work with any derailleur ,sprocket combo the throw on the lever might change, but you will ge used to it pretty quickly.
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Old 12-19-11, 02:05 PM
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tony_merlino
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Seven speed MTB style shifters are available just about anywhere on line. Amazon for one, but there are hundreds of sources selling them. Personal taste here, but I can't stand the twist grip shifters. Assuming you have Shimano derailleurs (big jump as you did not mention either way), the $13 Tourney trigger shifters are my favorite, and I put them on just about every MTB from that era, including the three in my keeper fleet right now.

For $13, you get the shifters, new cables and new housings. Tough to beat IMHO.

OK, another assumption, new shifter not working right (Shimano with Shimano?), then you have another issue, either a set up problem, cable housing, or bent derailleur hanger. All are easy fixes. Did you reuse old housing? Park tool site has good instructions on setting up shifters.

I am not a fan of the Sunrace shifters, the ones I have seen were really cheap.
The shifters aren't new - they're about a year and a half old, and they worked fine until a few days ago.

The cables and housings are brand new - my LBS put them on for me about 6 weeks ago, when I put new handlebars and a stem extender on the bike. When I got the bike home, it wouldn't go onto the big cog. I had decided to let them do the job, for a lot more than what it would have cost me, because I didn't want to wait for parts or buy the tools, but that last negative experience with them convinced me that it's worth getting what I need and learning to do it myself.

I did have to take up about 1/4" of the cable when I first got the bike home, to get it to go onto big cog, and it worked well enough (at least it would go into and stay in every gear) until a few days ago. I've cleaned and lubed my chain, thinking that might have been the reason it was jumping, but that's not it. And the wheel is centered and oriented in line with the frame.

I'll check on the derailleur hanger - that's a possibility I didn't try...

Thanks!
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Old 12-19-11, 02:13 PM
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If you had to adjust it after they "fixed" it, I'd have taken it back and had them do it right. Assuming the components are of such quality that it's possible to have it done right and stay. I've heard that with some very bottom end X-mart stuff, perfect adjustment is impossible.

I run 6 speed friction shifting because my indexing is off but I don't want to tear it apart to fix because I have a whole new 8 speed setup (crankset, FD, RD, shift levers, cassette) waiting for me to have the time to build up the wheels and throw it all on and friction isn't a problem. Works well for me.
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Old 12-19-11, 03:30 PM
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Amazon for one, but there are hundreds of sources selling them. Personal taste here, but I can't stand the twist grip shifters.
I have to agree on this I hate them also. I have to try and work on them at the bike coop where I volunteer, the cheaper ones on most mid to low end mountain bike just suck. They wear out quick don't shift good and you can't even manage to replace the shift cable on about half of them.
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Old 12-19-11, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
If you had to adjust it after they "fixed" it, I'd have taken it back and had them do it right. Assuming the components are of such quality that it's possible to have it done right and stay. I've heard that with some very bottom end X-mart stuff, perfect adjustment is impossible.
I don't know what kind of cables/housings they used, but the other components, i.e. shifter, derailleur, cogs, etc) are Shimano. I probably should have brought it back, but I thought a 10 minute adjustment at home would be less trouble than schlepping the bike there. Plus, I was so disgusted with them that I really didn't want to deal with them anymore. Sounds silly, now that I read what I just wrote. But, so it goes.

This place used to be really good - it was a family business, established in the early 1950s. But the founder is long gone, and his descendants don't run the business the same way. Examples: always trying to upsell (which is ok, I know how to say "no"), quoting a price and then running over by nearly 40%, doing unauthorized "extras", and then just doing sloppy work.
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Old 12-19-11, 04:48 PM
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My long distance touring bike has had bar end friction shifters,
one or another has for 30 years.
Friction shifters or ratchet not indexed type levers need only be adjusted
by removing the slack from the cable .
the derailleurs limit screws stop it's motion over the last sprocket in the cluster.

of course if the derailleur hanger on the frame is bent, things can still go awry.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-19-11 at 04:53 PM.
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