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Shifting down tube friction gears on a vintage bike.

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Shifting down tube friction gears on a vintage bike.

Old 06-25-18, 03:45 PM
  #51  
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I don't consider myself gifted when it comes to fine motor control, (my son consistently kicks my tail at fast paced first person shooter video games) but my wife and I picked friction shifting pretty easy (I had used it back in the early 80's, my wife never). She loves riding her Nishiki mixte with stem shifters and suicide levers. We actually did a mixte ride this morning, both using friction shifters.

Hey, Top I thought it was "operator headspace and timing"?
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Old 06-25-18, 05:23 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by 88Tempo View Post
I don't consider myself gifted when it comes to fine motor control, (my son consistently kicks my tail at fast paced first person shooter video games) but my wife and I picked friction shifting pretty easy (I had used it back in the early 80's, my wife never). She loves riding her Nishiki mixte with stem shifters and suicide levers. We actually did a mixte ride this morning, both using friction shifters.

Hey, Top I thought it was "operator headspace and timing"?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, minor paraphrase. Never was much of a Ma Deuce guy. Glad someone caught the reference.
FWIW I have an '89 Tempo.

Top
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Old 06-25-18, 05:25 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by top506 View Post
Operator failure/lack of training/ poor maintenance.
You're a no-go on this station.

Top
Ah, I see you don't read. Because we've already been over maintenance, and also the elitists who think that failure to master their obscure and hostile contraptions means that a person is deficient in some way.

Derailleur gears were bad for donkeys years but aren't anymore. You can get used to the old ones and even get a strange enjoyment out of being able to make them work, but that doesn't make them good. There's certainly no justification for encouraging people who've never used them before to start, when the new ones are way easier and have no downside, which is slam dunk objective superiority. This isn't the wrestling business, there is no need to earn your lumps dealing with six speed suntour freewheels before moving on to something better.

Sacred cows get pushed over.
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Old 06-25-18, 05:46 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Cute Boy Horse View Post
Ah, I see you don't read. Because we've already been over maintenance, and also the elitists who think that failure to master their obscure and hostile contraptions means that a person is deficient in some way.

Derailleur gears were bad for donkeys years but aren't anymore. You can get used to the old ones and even get a strange enjoyment out of being able to make them work, but that doesn't make them good. There's certainly no justification for encouraging people who've never used them before to start, when the new ones are way easier and have no downside, which is slam dunk objective superiority. This isn't the wrestling business, there is no need to earn your lumps dealing with six speed suntour freewheels before moving on to something better.

Sacred cows get pushed over.
It's not really that hard to learn. I'm 64 years old and had never ridden a bike with friction gears but after just 3 or 4 hours I'm getting the hang of it. I'm not going to win any races but I wouldn't with any gearing system. I believe the whole point to this is This is a Classic and Vintage forum. Would you want paddle shifters in a classic Porsche or Ferrari because using a clutch is harder to learn and isn't as efficient?
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Old 06-25-18, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Cute Boy Horse View Post
Ah, I see you don't read.
...
Sacred cows get pushed over.
Ah, a word of caution. You should be careful who you insult. Understand that this is C (as in Classic) & V (as in Vintage) so most participants here actually like older stuff. Sure, there are electric shifting systems and 11-speed systems, and electric bikes, and what the heck, motorcycles. But this forum is not about those things.

Also be aware that Top has done and experienced more things about bikes and about life in general than you seem to give him credit for. He, and many other participants in C&V, are world-class experts in things far beyond just sacred cows.

Anyway, shifting a friction system is easy. At least for some of us it is.
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Old 06-25-18, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by top506 View Post
Yeah, yeah, yeah, minor paraphrase. Never was much of a Ma Deuce guy. Glad someone caught the reference.
FWIW I have an '89 Tempo.

Top
I was never a M2 fan myself either, I knew my way around them though.
88 Tempo was my first somewhat sporty bike I decided to keep. The other 2 are a 84 Nishiki Prestige and a 73 Fuji Finest. Hoping to find a 974 in my size eventually.
I can't remember, is the 506th part of the 82nd?
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Old 06-25-18, 11:13 PM
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Back in 1962, the seller's instructions for my 1st derailleur bike ride: "You have to peddle while you shift, but ease up a bit, then move the lever a little until you feel it shift. If there's noise, move it back & forth til it quiets down"

It was a 5 speed. Just 1 lever, no front DR, so only half as hard to learn I guess.

Then he showed me the DR adjusting screws, "If the shifting gets screwed up, fiddle with these screws until it works again" Don
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Old 06-25-18, 11:41 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
I am 64 years old and this is my first bike with friction gearing on the down tube.
Is there a right or wrong way to do it? For me it seems easiest to put my hand on
the top tube and reach down with my index finger to either push forward or pull
back on the shift lever. I think having my hand on the top tube helps me to keep the bike stable
plus it positions my finger in the right place without looking down. Any different hints on shifting?
Thanks Bob
Honestly I never could get the hang of downtube shifters. My bikes are 25" / 63 cm frame size (tall), and the reach to the downtube always made me feel off balance. My solution? Bar-end shifters such as Suntour Barcons like on the bike below.
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Old 06-26-18, 07:01 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by 88Tempo View Post
I can't remember, is the 506th part of the 82nd?
Bounced around a bit in the past 70-odd years, but most often associated with the 101st ABN DIV. Was an air-assault outfit in my time, but always had one battalion on jump status.
Not so much nowadays, sadly.

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Old 06-26-18, 07:38 PM
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Top, The reason I asked was my great-uncle was in the 2/504 during WW2 and I thought it might be a sister brigade.

Back on topic I tried riding with some friction thumb shifters on an old Schwinn Mirada (85?) and they didn't work near as well for me as stem or down tube friction does. Need to track down a set of vintage bar end friction shifters to try out, since I haven't ridden those since the early 80's. He had a set on either a 70's Sports Tourer or a 70's Paramount (I can't remember which had what).
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Old 06-26-18, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 88Tempo View Post
Top, The reason I asked was my great-uncle was in the 2/504 during WW2 and I thought it might be a sister brigade.
"Devils in baggy pants". 504 PIR/INF (ABN) has much to be proud of.

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Old 06-26-18, 08:20 PM
  #62  
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I started riding in 85 and that's how I learned. After a very short time (as a 22 year old) I didn't need to trim, you just know. In 86 I got a panasonic dx 3000 with index down tube shifters. I didn't miss a beat from one into the other and didn't miss friction shifting.
Left hand for left shifter, right hand for right shifter. Curiously I use index finger and thumb when pulling shifters and palm when pushing shifters.
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Old 06-28-18, 11:00 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
If that was a t-shirt and available commercially, I'd surely like to get one!
They used to be Available on the Cyclofiend website here and it appears they are still orderable
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Old 06-28-18, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
When I ride my fixie, after a few hours my mind starts to go and my right hand starts wandering down to where the shifters would be, if there were any, and it sometimes takes me a moment or two to figure out why I can't find them. That's how much thought I put into shifting my down tube shifters. If they're there, I use them. I never think about them at all.
I have bikes with downtube, bar end, and command shifters.

Whenever I ride one that I haven't been on in awhile, I tend to reach everwhere except for where that bikes shifters are.
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Old 06-28-18, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Integration makes it much easier to shift out of the saddle, which can be handy in spirited riding. It allows you to more cleanly maintain a good stride during standing sprinting moments, and it's nice when hammering up short hills with lots of grade variation.

It's not a dealbreaker as far as whether you're able to ride with a given group or not, but that's the case for pretty much every "HUGE!" technological advancement in road bikes over the last several decades.
I've been so conditioned not to switch gears when out of the saddle I've never considered that. Perhaps. I do agree that when hammering over short grades with lots of variation, brifters would be handy. Realistically, it wouldn't get you dropped though, at least if you have normal skill levels at using DT that all racers/enthusiasts used to have. As you say, it's not a dealbreaker. All these small incremental improvements to add up though, it's true. My next bike, the one in my head, that has brifters on it...

I've been very mildly embarrassed once or twice just reaching for my shifters several times in this exact scenario when riding with people on modern bikes. Not that it actually slowed me down, but I have endured comments about reaching for my shifters like in olden days.

There is one situation you didn't mention. I stumbled into this on a club ride. I and another guy had (accidentally) dropped everyone and we were going fast in a paceline on a very slight downhill winding country road in a valley. Very heat warped asphalt and plenty of rough sections, and lots of grade variation, say between 0 and 2-3%. There were definitely some moments where the other guy could shift and I had to wait a bit for a smoother section or road, because I really needed both hands on the bars for control.
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Old 06-28-18, 01:00 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I've been so conditioned not to switch gears when out of the saddle...
Well, there is a good reason not to shift the front, and I'm sure you know this but noobies might not have thought if it yet. Front shifts move the section of chain under tension from pedaling. Rear shifts move the section of chain whose only tension is from the RD cage

That's not to say some stress isn't still involved in a rear shift. The chain moves from one sprocket to another underneath the FW, but eventually those links which straddle two sprockets move around to the top and come under pedaling tension. That puts some lateral stress on the sprockets. Teeth can break off. We've had that happen a few times on our tandem.

If you're in a race and absolutely need to keep hammering while you click your lever, well, whatever clicks your lever.
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Old 06-28-18, 02:45 PM
  #67  
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Down tube friction shifting is not difficult. I'm not especially coordinated, but I picked it up quickly when I was twelve and I can still manage at seventy.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:07 PM
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I've been known to ring the bell on one of my commuter bikes because the little lever is right where the shifter trigger is on one of my other bikes......
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Old 06-29-18, 08:02 AM
  #69  
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A rather entertaining and enlightening thread. I'm only 29 but I started riding with down tube shifters almost ten years ago. I've had the luxury of mostly using Suntour spring-loaded friction shifters with their "retrofriction" feel. I've also used some later Shimano 600 and Campagnolo indexed shifters and actually prefer to set the chain exactly where I like it, even when it takes a bit of trying. I also don't have to worry about as many tune ups as with indexed stuff. Just lately I've got some early-'60s Campagnolo Gran Sport derailleurs set up on a Frejus and find those quite a bit more delicate to handle than the newer Suntour, but the shifting is still smooth enough for me. I usually ride solo and when I'm going hard I'm typically not in need of shifting.

Being in a valley I actually don't shift frequently except when it's gusty - I find myself doing so often to match the effort I put into pedaling through the wind.

I've owned a couple of newer bikes with nice Ultegra and Chorus brifters, and I was enthusiastic about the wider range of gears and the ease of shifting, especially while I was trying to accelerate or decelerate. The new stuff certainly works better, but I don't find it necessary. The only bikes I've kept around for more than a season or two are all vintage and use down tube shifters.

-Gregory
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Old 06-29-18, 08:38 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by ryansu View Post
They used to be Available on the Cyclofiend website here and it appears they are still orderable
I tried that, got an immediate error message from PayPal about the vendor's account, so I e-mailed him, hoping to hear back but nothing yet.
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Old 06-29-18, 08:53 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Elbows bent in firm control, looking where the bike needs to go and a deft hand on the DT lever....welcome to 1978.

-Bandera
Same for 1958 or 1968 - there's a ton of heritage in this technique. I like your tutorial for how to learn this! I think learning to ride in a straight line with one hand in the drops or on the hood is an excellent prerequisite - skills building!!!
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Old 06-29-18, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Well, there is a good reason not to shift the front, and I'm sure you know this but noobies might not have thought if it yet. Front shifts move the section of chain under tension from pedaling. Rear shifts move the section of chain whose only tension is from the RD cage

That's not to say some stress isn't still involved in a rear shift. The chain moves from one sprocket to another underneath the FW, but eventually those links which straddle two sprockets move around to the top and come under pedaling tension. That puts some lateral stress on the sprockets. Teeth can break off. We've had that happen a few times on our tandem.

If you're in a race and absolutely need to keep hammering while you click your lever, well, whatever clicks your lever.
I wouldn't say that's a reason not to shift the front, I'd say that's a reason to shift the front with care.
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Old 06-29-18, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ollo_ollo View Post
Back in 1962, the seller's instructions for my 1st derailleur bike ride: "You have to peddle while you shift, but ease up a bit, then move the lever a little until you feel it shift. If there's noise, move it back & forth til it quiets down"

It was a 5 speed. Just 1 lever, no front DR, so only half as hard to learn I guess.

Then he showed me the DR adjusting screws, "If the shifting gets screwed up, fiddle with these screws until it works again" Don
Been riding 60 years, and I cannot sell while I'm on a bike, for the life of me! I can, however pedal when I'm on a bike! Real nicely!
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Old 06-29-18, 09:03 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
One key feature is your torso muscles have to hold your body stable instead of using your arms. Some people aren't used to doing that.
This is one area where learning some yoga is very helpful!
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Old 06-29-18, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
skills building!!!
When I joined a racing club "back when" there was just as much emphasis on learning the operational control of the machine, good form/pedaling technique and paceline etiquette/tactics as there was in building a solid endurance base, power and speed. Being able to smoothly and confidently operate the controls at pace in tight quarters on rough surfaces with calm firm control was/is a prerequisite to being a competent cyclist in any era. The basics remain the basics.

-Bandera
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