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Modern 7 speed shifters vs. vintage

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Modern 7 speed shifters vs. vintage

Old 02-05-14, 11:43 PM
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Narhay
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Modern 7 speed shifters vs. vintage performance

I currently have a set of Shimano XT M-092 rapid fire push-push shifters. I've had two sets of 3x7 shifters on my 1991 Team Marin. One had an issue with a broken spring in the rear shifter which wouldn't return the upshift lever and both sets with issues with the front derailleur dropping from the 3rd ring to the 1st (some of the time) and most recently something internal has audibly snapped to the point where I cannot shift to the large front cog anymore. I consider myself a decent bike mechanic and think I know how to adjust a derailleur (and had it at the shop once which left the mechanic there scratching his head on poor FD shifting).

Needless to say, I'm not going to be purchasing another set of these early rapid fire shifters as they have just not held up for me. I'm wondering if the past 23 years have improved shifters performance for 7 speed sets. Would something like the modern Acera SL-M310 3x7 shifters be an upgrade (without the prestigious XT mark, of course)? I have a set of XT 7 speed thumbies I use which are dead simple and seem to work fine but the problem being I only have the one set, two bikes, and others are more difficult and expensive to come by.
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Old 02-05-14, 11:56 PM
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New, simpler but intact will shift better than Old-and-broken/gummed up. But not as crisp as Old high-end in good condition. Whether you'd consider it an up- or a downgrade depends on the degree of wear an how good your muscle memory is.
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Old 02-05-14, 11:58 PM
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The new stuff feels a little cheap, but works well enough. 7 speed doesn't need ultimate precision. Next time you're at a big box store you can walk to the bikes aisle and play with the cheap shifters. I would go with whatever I could get for cheap.
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Old 02-06-14, 12:07 AM
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OTOH a liberal shot of WD-40 or similar into the innards will often do wonders for the performance of old shifters.
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Old 02-06-14, 12:28 AM
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If you like your thumbshifters, Deore II and DX work just as well at XT as far as I can tell. Usually don't have to troll eBay for long to find NOS or like new ones for pretty reasonable prices. Even XT units can be had for $50-ish on occasion.
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Old 02-06-14, 12:35 AM
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Thanks. I did the shot of wd40 several times with varying degrees of success but this time it has broken something internal. I've read that these early push-push shifters have had their fair share of issues over the years. I'll need to pull them to see what is wrong for sure but maybe I've just had a couple lemons.
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Old 02-06-14, 03:05 PM
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Friction shifting my 7 speed freewheel has been fine for decades .. triple crank up front another friction lever.
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Old 02-06-14, 04:14 PM
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i like shimano stuff, but... the Acera line just cuts a few too many corners for me. i'd look at the next step up, if available.
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Old 02-06-14, 04:18 PM
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Can't say with rapid fires, but with STI's despite the fact they cut a lot of the metal out of the components I'd have to say they perform better than my old 7 speed ones to date.. that doesn't mean they'll stand the test of time like my RSX's and 105's have though.
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Old 02-06-14, 05:47 PM
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These all-metal 3X7 shifters are favorites of mine. I just wish I could remember where I got them.

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Old 02-06-14, 05:50 PM
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The push-push shifters were the very earliest Rapidfire. I've never personally owned them but have used them and seen some gummed up ones over the years. Frankly, if they lasted 23 years I'd be happy with that.

I haven't used the newer low-end Shimano 3x7 Rapidfire but I've been curious due to the low cost and as an alternative to top-mount thumbshifters. As far as the thumbshifters are concerned, in my experience they don't last "forever" like some people would have you believe. When they're old and well used they still work but get sloppy. Shimano indexed downtube shifters, however, do seem to last forever. As mentioned above, I've also found no difference between the Deore, LX, and XT thumbshifters. They all look and seem to work exactly the same. Can you tell I have buyers remorse on a well-used pair of XTs?
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Old 02-12-14, 02:51 PM
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A bit of an update. I took the left front shifter apart last night and nothing seemed amiss...

Upon further inspection, the cable slipped at the FD anchor bolt a bit. This was that snap I heard and the shifter suddenly going loosey goosey on me. I put a new cable on, tightened the bolt, adjusted tension and I am back at it. Whoops, I take back my misgivings with these shifters. Now, what to do with the new acera set I ordered.

Last edited by Narhay; 02-12-14 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 02-12-14, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
A bit of an update. I took the left front shifter apart last night and nothing seemed amiss...

Upon further inspection, the cable slipped at the FD anchor bolt a bit. This was that snap I heard and the shifter suddenly going loosey goosey on me. I put a new cable on, tightened the bolt, adjusted tension and I am back at it. Whoops, I take back my misgivings with these shifters. Now, what to do with the new acera set I ordered.
cancel it...

if you actually ordered it at your LBS and anticipate, and hope to avoid, an uncomfortable face-to-face encounter, just lie. tell them your brother-in-law told you what to order and was full of it and admitted as much to you. most of us that have sisters (or brothers here in California) will relate and cut you some slack. if ordered over the internet, you're golden. cancellation is easy IME.
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Old 02-12-14, 04:01 PM
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Thanks, but not quite my style. I may just keep them around for that next project or resell. They were only $30 or so.

Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
cancel it...

if you actually ordered it at your LBS and anticipate, and hope to avoid, an uncomfortable face-to-face encounter, just lie. tell them your brother-in-law told you what to order and was full of it and admitted as much to you. most of us that have sisters (or brothers here in California) will relate and cut you some slack. if ordered over the internet, you're golden. cancellation is easy IME.
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Old 02-12-14, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
Thanks, but not quite my style. I may just keep them around for that next project or resell. They were only $30 or so.
If only they were 3x8 I'd offer to snap them up for a project I'm doing already using a couple acera parts
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Old 02-12-14, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
Thanks, but not quite my style. I may just keep them around for that next project or resell. They were only $30 or so.
Good for you. I'm glad you won't stick it to your LBS who ordered them in good faith.
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Old 02-12-14, 06:26 PM
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Have been using these XT shifters since 1991 and the right shifters have a friction mode that allows you to use with 8 / 9 / 10 speed cassettes
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Old 02-12-14, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
If you like your thumbshifters, Deore II and DX work just as well at XT as far as I can tell. Usually don't have to troll eBay for long to find NOS or like new ones for pretty reasonable prices. Even XT units can be had for $50-ish on occasion.
That's because they are the same. The only difference is the mounts. XT uses nicer mounts.
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Old 02-12-14, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
These all-metal 3X7 shifters are favorites of mine. I just wish I could remember where I got them.

ebay.
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Old 02-13-14, 06:25 AM
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No.
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Old 02-13-14, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
These all-metal 3X7 shifters are favorites of mine. I just wish I could remember where I got them.

We have a set of those at my co-op. No one seems to want them. The thing is that they look like the cable pull is asymmetrical rather than symmetrical like most modern shifters.

Like as the lever is rotated, the numbers get farther apart. I don't have them in front of me so I am kind of guessing but its like the 1-2 shift mark on the lever has 1mm between the 1 and 2, the 2-3 has 1.5mm, the 3-4, has 2mm, the 4-5 has 2.5mm and so on. No idea what brand they are but they are nice solid shiny shifters, all metal.
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Old 02-13-14, 06:59 PM
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You must be describing similar but different shifters. Mine work perfectly with Shimano derailers. The marks on the shifters are evenly spaced. What you are describing wouldn't work with any derailers, vintage or modern, as far as I know.

Somebody posted a link in C&V, and it wasn't to an eBay auction. They were so cheap that I bought them, even though I had no use for them at the time. Years later I put together a Peugeot MTB for my daughter's boyfriend and they were just what I needed.

Last edited by Grand Bois; 02-13-14 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 02-13-14, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
You must be describing similar but different shifters. Mine work perfectly with Shimano derailers. The marks on the shifters are evenly spaced. What you are describing wouldn't work with any derailers, vintage or modern, as far as I know.

Somebody posted a link in C&V, and it wasn't to an eBay auction. They were so cheap that I bought them, even though I had no use for them at the time. Years later I put together a Peugeot MTB for my daughter's boyfriend and they were just what I needed.
Do you know who made yours?
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Old 02-14-14, 05:57 AM
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I do not.
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Old 02-14-14, 08:40 AM
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I believe by the time that 7 speed shifters came out the geometry of some form of slant parallelogram was in use. So if the older RD were of good or high quality and not worn out or damaged they would work quite well.
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