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Thinking of converting from 7 speed to 9 speed

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Thinking of converting from 7 speed to 9 speed

Old 05-20-14, 05:18 PM
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Thinking of converting from 7 speed to 9 speed

I'm thinking of converting a 1985 Trek 600 from 7 speed to 9 speed. I know I'll need to change the rear hub and spread the frame a bit (currently 126). I'm wondering if the original Suntour BL downtube shifters will work with a 9 speed cassette and new Shimano long cage rear derailleur. In friction, of course. The bike does not have braze ons. The other question I have is if I get some modern downtube shifters from Shimano, will they work with the clamp setup on this bike?
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Old 05-20-14, 06:58 PM
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I would expect those shifters to work with 9 speed. Give it a try.
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Old 05-20-14, 07:14 PM
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But it wouldn't be able to shift all the cogs given that 7s cassettes are narrower than 8s/9s/10s. You'd be sacrificing 1 cog, either the upper or lower one.

And AFAIK, there are no more "modern downtube shifters". Shimano discontinued them when they went STI. There are still bar-end shifters though.
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Old 05-20-14, 07:29 PM
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my prediction is that those friction shifters will have no problem with a 9-speed cassette. awaiting the result...
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Old 05-20-14, 07:40 PM
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Not those shifters but I've got a pair of even older SunTour barcons shifting a 9-speed cassette. They have plenty of cable pull range. I wondered about my ability to make precise enough shifts for a friction 9-speed but there was virtually no learning curve at all.

Just for fun I googled 9-speed downtube shifters. I found 10-speed genuine Shimano shifters that are braze-on along with a Problem Solvers clamp-on shifter base. I also found a pair of SunRace 9-speed braze on shifters that were said to be Shimano indexing.

I'm thinking you'll have to think up a different excuse for not doing the project.
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Old 05-20-14, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by e_guevara View Post
But it wouldn't be able to shift all the cogs given that 7s cassettes are narrower than 8s/9s/10s. You'd be sacrificing 1 cog, either the upper or lower one.

And AFAIK, there are no more "modern downtube shifters". Shimano discontinued them when they went STI. There are still bar-end shifters though.
Those shifters should be able to wrap up more than enough cable to cover the width of a 9-speed cassette. Downtube shifters in general have plenty of cable pull.

Also, there are lots of "modern" downtube shifters from friction up through 10-speed indexed and, by now, probably 11-speed. What you probably can't find is newer "band on" downtube shifters as almost all newer ones are designed to use "braze-on" bosses.

And, no, the OP won't be able to fit newer downtube shifters to that Sun Tour clamp band. What he can do is use the Problem Solver's band-on adapter with newer levers:

Problem Solvers
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Old 05-20-14, 07:55 PM
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we were able to feel the gear shift lever motion required before Index shifting hit the market ..

limiting factor may be the rear dropout spread ..on the frame 6~7 was 126, 8&9 need it to be wider . 130 (or 135)
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Old 05-20-14, 08:09 PM
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Thank you all!
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Old 05-20-14, 08:16 PM
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I'm not sure how much the problem solvers piece costs, but when I did a similar conversion I managed to find an old school Shimano band clamp that worked with "modern" indexed downtube shifters. I think I paid $4 shipped on ebay. I fitted a pair of 8-speed Shimano 600 DT shifters. Now those are hard to find! I wish I could get my hands on another pair. Almost all the Shimano DT shifters I come across are 6 or 7 speed.
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Old 05-20-14, 08:23 PM
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Bar end shifters are another possibility but you'll need a cable clamp for the down tube, Amazon.com : Origin8 Clamp-On Frame Cable Stop, Double, 28.6mm Silver : Bike Cables And Cable Housings : Sports & Outdoors

If all you want is indexing, you could get a shimano tourney 7 speed brifter.
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Old 05-20-14, 11:21 PM
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Easiest way is to buy a 9 speed cassette and use 8 of the 9.
Install a 10 speed chain and see how you get on. It should work and if you like it you can go from there
The Shimano band on ratcheting 7speed DTS are very good and cheap.
I have the 9 spd index version and the ratcheting 7spd is far superior.
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Old 05-21-14, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by blamester View Post
Easiest way is to buy a 9 speed cassette and use 8 of the 9.
Install a 10 speed chain and see how you get on. It should work and if you like it you can go from there
The Shimano band on ratcheting 7speed DTS are very good and cheap.
I have the 9 spd index version and the ratcheting 7spd is far superior.
The OP has a freewheel hub, so he will need a new hub/wheel (as stated in the OP.) So, might as well get a 130mm 8/9/10 speed wheel from the start and run the desired amount of speeds without compromise.
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Old 05-23-14, 10:11 AM
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Jenson USA has the Shimano 10-sp indexed downtube shifters (Dura Ace!) and 8- and 9-speed indexed bar end shifters.

Dia-Compe makes friction shifters that can go on the downtube or bar ends that work up to 9-speeds. I use these myself on a 9-sp drivetrain. Rivendell and Velo-Orange have them and probably a few other places.
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Old 05-23-14, 11:15 AM
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Thanks for that info, their prices seem a bit lower than what I've found.
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Old 05-23-14, 12:00 PM
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Beware that more is not necessarily better. On my main bike I went from 7 to 9 some ages ago, but then dropped down to 8. The shifting is smoother with 8, chain is more rugged and I can break and reassemble the chain, unlike with 9. Converting between 8 and 9 is easier though, than between 7 and anything above.
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Old 05-23-14, 12:37 PM
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otg, For my '86/'88 Cannondale SR project I had the same drive train considerations. I bought from Velomine their CXP22/Sora wheelset (well made) and a HG50 14-25 9S cassette to go with a 42-52 Biopace crank set. I'm going to use Shimano 6503 STI levers and cable stops on the down tube. If I hadn't been able to revive the STI levers my choices, in order, were bar end or DT shifters. My RD is a short cage RX100, only because nobody uses this forgotten group on builds and matches the FD and brake calipers.

I have the D-A 9S bar ends on my distance roadie and shift quality is quite good. I expect the DT shifters to be as good.

Brad
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