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Converting downtube shifters to brifters

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Converting downtube shifters to brifters

Old 07-25-14, 09:57 PM
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peugeot.ash
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Converting downtube shifters to brifters

Hi I am planning to upgrade an old steel frame with downtube shifters with some 600tricolor brifters. I know I need to get some cable stops for the braze ons where the downtube shifters normally sit but where can I acquire these? My LBS doesnt stock them and was gonna charge an exorbitant amount to order them in.

Also, has anyone got any tips/tricks on how to make the process as smooth as possible?

Cheers for any advice
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Old 07-25-14, 10:02 PM
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Old 07-25-14, 11:07 PM
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The cable stops are usually packed with "consumer packaging" brifters. A shop that's installed a few sets might have extras laying around. Find a better bike shop.

If you want to order them, they're $15 plus shipping: Universal Cycles -- Shimano STI Downtube Cable Stop and Adjuster
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Old 07-26-14, 08:07 AM
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So you are only changing the shifters? What rear derailleur do you have?
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Old 07-26-14, 08:08 AM
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Also Amazon... Amazon.com: sti boss: Sports & Outdoors
(I've got them on almost all my road bikes)
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Old 07-26-14, 08:55 AM
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aint gonna be simple.. or cheap .. smooth as possible ? Make it N+1, buy a new bike already equipped as such . complete..

at least you know what size bike you need , they can take measurements off the bike that you like so well you would spend $500+ to convert..

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Old 07-26-14, 09:28 AM
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How many speeds (front/rear)? Freewheel, or cassette? Currently Shimano components, or...?

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Old 07-26-14, 10:49 AM
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o.O You guys are confusing me, the OP seems set on 6400 STI's and either already has them or plans to.. he states he has the braze ons on his downtube, so he's looking at 150-200 in parts, and if he does the wrenching himself nothing more in costs.. 500 dollar conversion and clamp on stops aren't needed in this case.. just his brifters and the 15 dollar boss converters. Assuming the OP has already matched his gears with his STI choice that is...
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Old 07-26-14, 12:21 PM
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The OP seems to be pretty set on converting his bike to brifters. Either he has already done the research, and knows that there will be complications (like the rear drop width), or hasn't got a clue and will soon get the hammer to his head.

I'd like to offer a simple solution to the "parts needed to convert" problem, and the cost of said parts. Simply look for an older bike that has a working Ultegra 7-speed brifter setup. The OP could buy one for $200-$400 (a Trek 2300 like the one I just got for $200 in trade) would fit the bill perfectly. Or, maybe a Trek 1500 from the right Model Year. I'm sure there are lots of other bikes out there that would/could serve as donors, AND the bonus benefit is that the OP could try riding the donor bike before stripping it. He might decide to simple ride the donor bike with the STI, and leave his old steel bike unmolested.
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Old 07-26-14, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by peugeot.ash View Post
Hi I am planning to upgrade an old steel frame with downtube shifters with some 600tricolor brifters. I know I need to get some cable stops for the braze ons where the downtube shifters normally sit but where can I acquire these? My LBS doesnt stock them and was gonna charge an exorbitant amount to order them in.
It sounds to me like all that you're looking for are the cable stops.

If your previous down tube shifters were Shimano braze ons with some square nubs on the down tube the cheapest way to get a pair is to PM me your address and I'll send you a set. Actually, every bike shop probably has a drawer full of the things so, if they like you, the cable stops might be a "gimmy".

If your previous down tube shifters were clamp-ons, you need to google "Problem Solvers". They'll have them but they aren't real cheap.
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Old 07-27-14, 08:52 AM
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Hello how are you. Do you converting your bike to brifters? Is hard jobs. What parts need replace on the bike. I have one road bike have downtube shifters i want put brifters on my bike
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Old 07-27-14, 12:34 PM
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I did 2 budget conversions on 2 of my old bikes to Campy 10 speed. About $350

Used rear wheel
new cassette, chain & shifters
used rear derailleur.

Kept the old crankset & front derailleur.

Expect to spend more depending on the level of components you want to use.
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Old 08-21-14, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bobbyl1966 View Post
Hello how are you. Do you converting your bike to brifters? Is hard jobs. What parts need replace on the bike. I have one road bike have downtube shifters i want put brifters on my bike
Wasnt as bad as I though. I have found (through trial and error) that the most difficult part was matching the right brifter to the rear cassette and making sure the cassette had the correct spacing. I had been using a shimano 600 free hub but it was set up with only 7 cogs which had slightly different spacing to the brifter. I also struggled with the front deraileur as the new one didnt shift across far enough to engage the large chainwheel. I fixed this by just using my old 6207 FD!
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Old 08-21-14, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
It sounds to me like all that you're looking for are the cable stops.

If your previous down tube shifters were Shimano braze ons with some square nubs on the down tube the cheapest way to get a pair is to PM me your address and I'll send you a set. Actually, every bike shop probably has a drawer full of the things so, if they like you, the cable stops might be a "gimmy".

If your previous down tube shifters were clamp-ons, you need to google "Problem Solvers". They'll have them but they aren't real cheap.
Thanks, yeah just bought some stops off evilbay as I had braze on DT shifters. Seems to be working, have installed everything but cannot get it fine tuned despite hours in the garage. My patience wore thin so its just getting tuned in my LBS currently (15$ for tuning of gears - cant complain)
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Old 08-21-14, 12:09 AM
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The parts I bought were a mini groupset - brifters with matching FD and RD. However, i ended up just using the RD as the new front one didnt move the chain far enough to change gear.
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Old 08-21-14, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
The OP seems to be pretty set on converting his bike to brifters. Either he has already done the research, and knows that there will be complications (like the rear drop width), or hasn't got a clue and will soon get the hammer to his head..
I may get derided for this, but can someone explain the relationship between the rear cassette spacing and the brifters that I use? I already have 8spd 6400 but I have read that these will be compatible with an older 7 speed cassette? I have just about set mine up and it seems to work ok (i have taken it to my LBS as the FD is causing some issues). Why have some people suggested I need a whole new rear wheel? could I not just change the freehub/cassette if it doesent work?
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Old 08-21-14, 02:22 AM
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8-speed cogs are closer together than 7-speed cogs are. So, 8-speed shifter will not move the derailleurs as far as 7-speed shifters will.

Which might explain why the 8-speed front derailleur may not have enough travel to shift the chainrings. Rear derailleurs have a little play in the pulleys, which could explain why the 8-speed rear shifter and derailleur appear to be working.
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Old 08-21-14, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
8-speed cogs are closer together than 7-speed cogs are. So, 8-speed shifter will not move the derailleurs as far as 7-speed shifters will.

Which might explain why the 8-speed front derailleur may not have enough travel to shift the chainrings. Rear derailleurs have a little play in the pulleys, which could explain why the 8-speed rear shifter and derailleur appear to be working.
It won't explain anything for the front derailleur, chainring spacings haven't really changed much in quite a while, and double chainrings are pretty forgiving in that respect anyway. I suspect the OP either had a front derailleur with a weird actuation ratio or had the cable installed the wrong side of the pinch bolt.

OP, the reason people have said you'll need a new rear wheel is that 7-speed freehubs will only take 7-speed cassettes, which are spaced slightly differently to 8-speed ones and may or may not work with 8-speed shifters (they seem to be OK for you). Replacing the freehub with an 8/9/10-speed one is usually possible (not all Shimano hubs allow it though) and means you'll need to redish the rear wheel, which isn't hugely difficult if you're OK with truing wheels but may result in spoke breakage issues on the left-hand side after a lot of miles.

People may also have thought you had an older wheel with a thread-on freewheel, which is usually what people have when they post asking for help doing a downtube shifter -> brifter conversion.
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Old 08-21-14, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by peugeot.ash View Post
I may get derided for this, but can someone explain the relationship between the rear cassette spacing and the brifters that I use? I already have 8spd 6400 but I have read that these will be compatible with an older 7 speed cassette? Why have some people suggested I need a whole new rear wheel? could I not just change the freehub/cassette if it doesent work?
Shimano 8-speed spacing is 4.8mm cog center to center. 7 speed is 5.0mm. Which means that your shifters pull slightly too little cable per 'click'. But the difference is close enough so that normally 8-speed shifters shift fine over a 7-speed cassette or freewheel. I have always been able to get it to work. If you really want the cog spacing to be exact, then pull apart the cassette and replace the 7-speed spacers with 8-speed ones. Or install 7 cogs from a stock 8-speed cassette. Any Co-op will have piles of old cassettes that can be scavenged.

When you run 7 cogs with the 8-speed shifters, make sure to lock out the derailleur's ability to go into the '8th gear'. Namely the spokes. Use the derailleur cable stops for this.

And all older shops have an drawer of abandoned downtube cable stops that came standard with STI shifters. Maybe half of the ones that came out of the box were ever installed. Our local Co-op sells the best of all of them, the Dura-Ace version (new) for $5 per pair. If you run out of options, and you local shop 'orders' them for you, insist that they come in unopened Shimano bagging with all documentation.
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Old 08-21-14, 08:43 PM
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Your bike is shift good now with the brifters? How do you feel now brifters is better than downtube shifters? Only one time i have ride bike with brifters is more comfortable than downtube shifters. On my bike i have downtube shifters is shift good but i not feel comfortable take out my hand from the handlebar that is when i speed or downhill that make me i lose time. What size cassete you have in your bike now. On my bike i put 53/39 and 9 speeds cassete 12-25. I not know if my wheels take more speeds cassete like 10 or 11. My cassete no have 16 and 18 cog. I hear that cogs is good i want try.
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