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How to tell how many speeds derailleurs and shifters are made for?

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How to tell how many speeds derailleurs and shifters are made for?

Old 09-13-13, 10:14 AM
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jev
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How to tell how many speeds derailleurs and shifters are made for?

Hi,
When shopping for shifters and mechs/RDs or FDs, I see that they specify the number of speeds, i.e. number of cogs in the cassette, or double/triple chainring ... I realize that this isn't necessarily 100% inflexible in terms of mixing mismatched components, but my problem is that I bought a used bike with all Shimano Ultegra 6500 stuff ... circa 2001 or '02 I assume because that's when the frame was made ...

It came with a 9-speed cassette and double crank, so I assume that shifters and derailleurs correspond to that ... BUT, how do I know for sure? Is there 0% chance that the RD is made for 10 speed?? the right shifter? I wonder because the shifting is a bit off.

When I cycle through the gears, clicking up and down, it seems like there is an extra click possible at the smallest cog, which doesn't move anything because of the limit.

Also, it's definitely clear that my left shifter has 3 clicks/positions, but I understand that this doesn't necessarily mean that it's made for a triple. I guess one thing I can be certain of is that the FD is made for a double, based on its shape.

Thanks for any input
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Old 09-13-13, 10:30 AM
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For newer Shimano gear, including 6500-series Ultegra, to answer the question of what it was designed to work with, visit http://techdocs.shimano.com/ and look at the "SI" service information publications for your exact part numbers (should be stamped on the parts themselves).

What other setups the gear will work with is another matter entirely. Often gear can be made to work in non-standard setups (e.g. I use a 9s Shimano RD with 8s shifters & cassette on a 10s wheelset using a 9s chain), but there are numerous factors at play. If you have 6500-series shifters, they won't work with 10s cassettes** because the cable actuation ratio for Shimano 9s and 10s road gear is the same but the cassette spacing is different -- if the brifter shifts 9s properly, it won't shift 10s properly.

** In theory you could shift 9 of 10 with a 9s brifter if you had an appropriate cable actuation adapter like a Shiftmate #2.
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Old 09-13-13, 10:32 AM
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First thing I would think is that normal cable stretch is putting the shifting a touch off. There should be a barrel adjuster somewhere along the cable, probably at the derailleur. Turn it a couple of turns in the direction that effectively lengthens the casing. Should be counter clockwise, I believe. If I'm wrong, someone will correct me. Ride and readjust as needed.
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Old 09-13-13, 11:20 AM
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rear shifters have 1 less click than the number of speeds. The positions are start + X number of shifts totaling x+1 speeds.

front shifters are trickier, they can have many clicks, like a micro-shift system, allowing user trim, 1 for a double or two for a triple. However some have 2 clicks close together to allow trim adjustments on the outer chainring.

If your rear shifter is able to access all the rear sprockets, and still have one more position, then I'd suspect that you have one made for 9s with an 8s system, but there may be another reason.
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Old 09-13-13, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Front shifters are trickier, they can have many clicks, like a micro-shift system, allowing user trim, 1 for a double or two for a triple. However some have 2 clicks close together to allow trim adjustments on the outer chainring.
Please excuse the correction.
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Old 09-13-13, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Please excuse the correction.
No excuse is needed, the correction is appreciated. I went back and fixed the original.
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Old 09-13-13, 01:18 PM
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Thanks all.

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
If your rear shifter is able to access all the rear sprockets, and still have one more position, then I'd suspect that you have one made for 9s with an 8s system, but there may be another reason.
This could be my situation, except it's a 9s system (ie 9 sprocket cassette) with what I'm worried might be a shifter made for a 10s. But it is a 6500 series shifter (as best I can tell), with a RD-6500 derailleur. The only indication on the shifter (dual control lever) itself is sticker indicating ST-6501, which seems is maybe technically the number having to do with the flight deck stuff (I guess) because from the technical documentation on Shimano's site it seems like the number for the shifters themselves is maybe ST-6510. I'm not at all sure though.

Can anyone say for sure that all 6500-series shifters, for the entire length of time Shimano were making them, are necessarily 9-speed? I mean, I imagine that toward the beginning of 6500 production there were plenty of people still on 8 speed, and toward the end of production there were plenty of people on 10 speed. Simple question, does 6500 = 9 speed?
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Old 09-13-13, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jev View Post
Thanks all.



This could be my situation, except it's a 9s system (ie 9 sprocket cassette) with what I'm worried might be a shifter made for a 10s.
Here's a reliable way to confirm, shift to high gear, then pull the wire away from the down tube to make sure all slack is out, and see if you still have the phantom click.

Now shift toward low, keeping tension on the wire with your fingers and count clicks, while noting positive cable movemnet. Do thisin both directions, and remember that there is always one more position than clicks. (unless you have 3 hands or a friend you might want to remove the wheel so you don't need to pedal).

BTW- if you do somehow have a 10s shifter, the other symptom would be under travel since a 10s cassette is about the same width as a 9s. that means each shift comes up a bit short and by the time you get about halfway the trim will be materially off. If it does index correctly across the cassette it has to be a 9s unless maybe you've serendipitously altered the cable response by attaching the cable to the wrong side of pinch bolt.
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Old 09-13-13, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jev View Post
Can anyone say for sure that all 6500-series shifters, for the entire length of time Shimano were making them, are necessarily 9-speed? I mean, I imagine that toward the beginning of 6500 production there were plenty of people still on 8 speed, and toward the end of production there were plenty of people on 10 speed. Simple question, does 6500 = 9 speed?
Yep. 10-speed started with 6600: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimano#Road_groupsets
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Old 09-13-13, 02:16 PM
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jev, The first two digits of a Shimano road group's P/N often, but not always, indicate the level and the generation while the following two refer to minor variations. 65XX is Ultegra 9S.

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Old 09-13-13, 02:19 PM
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According to Shimano tech docs and time of manufacture, the 6500 series is intended for 9spd. Of course, with friction shifters and the right chain and cassette, they could be made to work with 7-10spd. My road bike is set up with a 6500 (SS) RD, 6500 FD (double), and non-Shimano barcon shifters (ratchet/friction). At the moment, I am running a 2X8, but that's just because I happened to have a NOS 8spd cassette and chain in the parts stash. I also have a NOS boxed set of 6500 barcons that I never used (available for sale, if anyone is interested). The right (in SIS mode), has eight clicks for indexing with 9spd cassettes. The left operates in friction mode only, so would work with 6500 or 6503 FD, I would think. I didn't realize that any front (left) Shimano Ultegra shifters from that era were indexed, but I'm no expert.
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Old 09-13-13, 02:36 PM
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Thanks again folks.
Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Ah, I should've tried wikipedia, font of all knowledge; thanks especially for this.

I wish that that chart were more complete though. Part of me suspects it could be not 100% accurate, because of the incompleteness. For instance, it shows you that STI levers are first introduced in 1990 on Dura-Ace 7400, while Ultegra was still in 6400 and I guess kept on downtube shifters; is it definitely true that Shimano kept brifters away from the Ultegra line until the 1997 introduction of 9sp 6500? Did they make no incremental year-to-year improvements to the line during those seven years? Apparently Sora doesn't get STIs til 2013 (3500) but when did the other lines get them?

Also, I know that the most recent Shimano shifters have the gear cabling routed under the hoods and along the bars -- the lowest-price line I've seen this on was Tiagra, I think. When was that first introduced on Dura-Ace? and when did it get thrown down to the cheaper lines? Does anyone know if any of the downmarket Shimano lines have 9s shifters with this cable routing?
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Old 09-13-13, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Cross Creek View Post
I also have a NOS boxed set of 6500 barcons that I never used (available for sale, if anyone is interested).
I'd be interested. I tried PMing you but apparently I my post count isn't high enough to earn the right to PM.
Please PM me with a price.
"barcon" = bar end, right? never heard that word before.
My right shifter is pretty much dead, so I'd be interested in any economically sensible solution. Have been considering Campy brifters but I'd consider bar ends too if the price makes sense. Though a friend running bar-ends tells me his knees bump them (?)
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Old 09-13-13, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jev View Post
is it definitely true that Shimano kept brifters away from the Ultegra line until the 1997 introduction of 9sp 6500?
No. See auction here for ST-6400 levers: http://www.ebay.com/itm/vintage-shim...-/151111031388

Originally Posted by jev View Post
Apparently Sora doesn't get STIs til 2013 (3500) but when did the other lines get them?
Sora has had dual control levers since 3300. Both 3300 and 3400 used a thumb button to release cable tension versus the lever behind the brake lever that 3500 now has.

Originally Posted by jev View Post
Also, I know that the most recent Shimano shifters have the gear cabling routed under the hoods and along the bars -- the lowest-price line I've seen this on was Tiagra, I think. When was that first introduced on Dura-Ace? and when did it get thrown down to the cheaper lines?
Dura Ace got hidden shift cables at 7900. 105 5700 is the lowest series with this routing.

Originally Posted by jev View Post
Does anyone know if any of the downmarket Shimano lines have 9s shifters with this cable routing?
No 9 speed Shimano shift levers have ever had (or likely will ever have) hidden cable routing.
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Old 09-13-13, 04:58 PM
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All 65xx front shifters are double/triple compatible.
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