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Upgrading an older, low-end bike to index shifting. Feasible?

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Upgrading an older, low-end bike to index shifting. Feasible?

Old 10-02-13, 10:26 PM
  #1  
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Upgrading an older, low-end bike to index shifting. Feasible?

I've convinced my girlfriend that we could have some fun riding together. So I'm fixing up her daughter's old bike for her to use.

It is an older Murray, probably 20ish years old. Heavy but fairly stout frame. 5-speed non-index shifting gear as shown in the photos below.

New cables and some lube worked wonders and it is rideable now... But the RD in particular is in pretty bad shape. the pivot where it attaches to the claw/hangar is very loose. Shifting is doable but very sloppy.

So... I found a Shimano Tourney RD with a Claw attachment on Amazon for cheap. Any reason I couldn't use it with the existing friction shifters?
https://tinyurl.com/mybpr4u

That got me thinking.... would it be feasible to add an index-compatible freewheel, chain and shifters to make it an index-shifting bike? (index rear; I'll leave the existing friction setup for the FD)
https://tinyurl.com/kjtlwfg
https://tinyurl.com/mhxc5kc
https://tinyurl.com/kxpqbqc

The frame has cheap stamped dropouts as you can see in the photos. The RD would attach with a claw-type hangar. So RD alignment would be iffy...

Any thoughts would be appreciated. If I can get it set up with reliable index shifting with the kind of gear I've linked it would be doable. The best answer is a new bike but that isn't in the cards at the moment...

Thanks in advance!

-Tom in SoCal

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
RD Side View.jpg (99.7 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg
RearFWTopView.jpg (94.9 KB, 12 views)
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Old 10-03-13, 08:04 AM
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Yes, you could change this bike to index shifting. But would it be worth the cost? If your GF's daughter could learn the friction shifting skills she would be a far better rider for it. It's like never learning to drive a clutched car. A fair chunk of control and feedback is never learned. Andy.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
If your GF's daughter could learn the friction shifting skills she would be a far better rider for it.
Based on the OP's first sentence it seem the girlfriend's daughter did learn to ride it with friction shifters. It's the girlfriend herself that the bike is being overhauled for and, perhaps, upgraded.

I agree that upgrading it all the way to index shifting is highly questionable from a cost standpoint and perhaps even a functional standpoint give the quality of the frame. Replace the current rear derailleur with the Tourney and be done with it.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Based on the OP's first sentence it seem the girlfriend's daughter did learn to ride it with friction shifters. It's the girlfriend herself that the bike is being overhauled for and, perhaps, upgraded.

I agree that upgrading it all the way to index shifting is highly questionable from a cost standpoint and perhaps even a functional standpoint give the quality of the frame. Replace the current rear derailleur with the Tourney and be done with it.
I don't see the statement of the daughter learning to control friction shifting. I see many people (I won't limit this comment to only kids) who ride a bike and have lot's of fun without shifting the gears. Andy.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I don't see the statement of the daughter learning to control friction shifting. I see many people (I won't limit this comment to only kids) who ride a bike and have lot's of fun without shifting the gears. Andy.
OK, good point. It is possible that the daughter never shifted the bike at all.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:52 AM
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Yes you can do it, and yes depending on circumstances it can be fairly cheap. If you have a bike co-op nearby they'll probably have piles of 6-7 speed freewheels, low end RD/FD's and piles of thumb shifters, rapid fires, twist grips etc that you can pick up for pennies on the dollar... possibly even a wheelset, if you can't get the parts used/from a buddies never going to use pile/co op then I'd say it's not going to be worth it as you'll pay more for the parts then you would for say a fully functional rigid mtb with indexed shifting and better brakes..

And in answer to your original question, the tourney will be fine with friction shifters.
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Old 10-03-13, 09:02 AM
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Seriously guys. It wasn't that long ago that friction shifting was the only choice and it was not an impediment to anybody (including women and children) riding back then. Agree that it has the benefit of directly observable cause and effect.
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Old 10-03-13, 09:04 AM
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Thanks to all.

I did not make it clear that I'm fixing this bike up for my GF to use; I'm hoping she enjoys it and if she does, we may buy a newer/better bike down the road. But at the moment I just want to get this one up and running.

So I'll stick with the new RD and worry about the other upgrades later on.

Thanks to all for your thoughts!

-Tom in SoCal
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Old 10-03-13, 10:01 AM
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Another option is that it's very possible you could fit a 7 speed freewheel with the Tourney RDER and keep the friction shifter.
That would give her a couple more usable gears.
One problem with 5 speed is the large steps from 3-4-5.

Some of this is dependent on frame/axle spacing & possible redishing of the wheel.
IF you have a co-op, These issues could be addressed relatively inexpensively + you could do a bit of other maintenance such as servicing the wheel bearings at the same time.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:23 AM
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Or , consider building an IGH wheel , simpler to use, shifts at low speeds.

the NuVinci CVR 360, has a continuously variable ratio, the gear is what feels right,
rather than a gear number.

or, Shimano 8 speed and Etc.

keep the wheel put it back in when you seek a better frame in a nicer bike,
if the later mood suits.

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Old 10-03-13, 10:28 AM
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It's definitely possible. I converted a 10-speed Peugeot mixte to indexed shifting (2x7) for my girlfriend using Shimano's SL-A070 shifters, an old Exage RD, and a 7-speed cassette wheel (thankfully the dropouts were already 126mm.) She loves it.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:34 AM
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I've changed several flat bar bikes to drop bars and I always go with friction shifters. No worries about matching cable pull of all the drivetrain components. It just works. Some component combinations shift smoother than others, but it always works.

As previously suggested, if you can do it on the cheap, you can, but I wouldn't invest any significant money in upgrading such a bike.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:50 AM
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Folks who live in your part of the world have no excuse to ride a crap bike...

https://www.bicicentro.org/

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https://bikerowave.org/

https://bikeoven.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ontariowheelhouse

https://www.slobikelane.org/cm/Home.html

https://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/...n_Bike_Program

https://www.valleybikery.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Burbi...53448764762526

https://caltechbikelab.blogspot.com/

https://bikesdelpueblosd.blogspot.com/

https://www.localbiketrader.com/

https://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/...ntura_Bike_HUB
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Old 10-03-13, 11:45 AM
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Why not have her ride the bike with friction shifters a while? If she (hopefully) says “I really like shifting a lot and would shift a lot more if it was a little easier” then the course of action is clear.

More likely, the conversation will be something like:
OP: “Hon, you should shift more often.”
GF: “What?”
OP: “You should shift gears more often.”
GF: “What’s that?”
OP: “You know, shifting gears, you should shift more often to make riding easier and more fun.”
GF: “Nah.”
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Old 10-03-13, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
Why not have her ride the bike with friction shifters a while? If she (hopefully) says “I really like shifting a lot and would shift a lot more if it was a little easier” then the course of action is clear.

More likely, the conversation will be something like:
OP: “Hon, you should shift more often.”
GF: “What?”
OP: “You should shift gears more often.”
GF: “What’s that?”
OP: “You know, shifting gears, you should shift more often to make riding easier and more fun.”
GF: “Nah.”
Either way, you're expecting her to pull herself up by the bootstraps. If her interest in riding bikes is tenuous at all, it's worth making the experience as easy and fun as possible, RIGHT NOW. Give her indexed shifting, more gears than she needs, let her ride at her pace, don't hassle her about shifting or pedalling habits, etc. If she wants to make things more challenging for herself in the future, great. But it's not that time for the OP's girlfriend yet.
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There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
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Last edited by ThermionicScott; 10-03-13 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 10-03-13, 12:39 PM
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Just put a ramped freewheel on there (the kind used with indexed shifters) and try that. It will shift MUCH better than a normal friction (flat) freewheel, and you don't have to worry about matching gears.
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