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Friction shifting 5 months later.

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Friction shifting 5 months later.

Old 11-09-18, 12:28 PM
  #1  
robertj298
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Friction shifting 5 months later.

It's been 5 months since my foray into classic Japanese bikes. My first was a Lotus Unique which has a
Suntour Blue line friction deraileur and shifter. Since then I've acquired a Centurion Ironman and a Miyata 912
which both have shimano indexed shifting on the downtube. The indexed shifting is fast but to me there is
something about the smoothness and the way the friction shifter eases into each gear after learning to use it.
Where I live is mostly flat farm land and I don't do a lot of shifting. I still go against advice and shift the friction
shifter with my hand on the top tube using my finger to ease the shifter forward or backward. To me that makes
more sense than holding the shifter between thumb and forefinger. It just hit me I have yet to try switching the
Shimano's indexed system to friction to compare it with the Suntour. Will have to wait for Spring to try that.
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Old 11-09-18, 12:44 PM
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There’s so any different options and actions for shifting. Finding the one that works for you and allows you to be comfortable changing gears while maintaining control of your bike is really what it’s about. From there, it’s the more nit picky things. I’m not such a fan of DT shifters. I don’t really have a whole lot of preference between index vs. friction- as long as the indexing works as smoothly as friction does. I also like to play around with different shifters and enjoy comparing them to what I like.

Most people who try the Simplex Retrofriction shifters generally love them. They have such a silky smooth action. Some people like the clutched ratcheting action of Suntour’s Power shifters- then around 1985 or so, Suntour made the ratcheting more fine. Some people dig pure friction shifters. As far as indexing goes, Suntour’s Accushift indexing seemed to have a large, authoritve click into gear, while Shimano’s SIS seemed to click in rather smoothly- and IMO it’s gotten smoother over the years.

Discovering this stuff is just part of the fun!
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Old 11-09-18, 03:14 PM
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Y'know, I was never able to get my accushift stuff to work. There was always 1 gear that it wasn't able to shift into. All the other shifts felt great, however.
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Old 11-09-18, 04:16 PM
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Sis

=It just hit me I have yet to try switching the
Shimano's indexed system to friction to compare it with the Suntour. Will have to wait for Spring to try that.
You might have to some day as I understand the Shimano SIS shiffters are not the most rugged thing . I even bought a set the other and it came with all the broken bits in the bag LOL . I love my IM's SIS and so far so good . If your SIS ever does pack up on you ask @texaspandj about his Dura Ace replacement . I'd tell you but I forgot .
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Old 11-09-18, 05:13 PM
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I prefer DT shifters, though I like bar ends also. My Trek 910 is a 1979 and pretty much stock so it's friction shifting.
I am checking out a 1987 Centurion Ironman Expert tomorrow with SIS DT shifters. Looking forward to that.
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Old 11-09-18, 05:20 PM
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Guess I really like the friction shifters - that's all I have with the exception of the Klein mountain bike. I like the simplicity of friction shifting. Besides, it's fun to come across someone who has only used brifters look at my bike and ask how I shift gears.
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Old 11-09-18, 05:47 PM
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I think you have a point, friction is so smooth compared to SIS. However, when you have multiple bikes it's so much easier to click shift as opposed to remembering each bikes friction touch.
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Old 11-09-18, 05:50 PM
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I think it's the tactile connection one develops when shifting with friction shifters that make it feel so much nicer than the "click and forget it" action of indexed shifters.
Plus, when you develop a smooth technic of shifting with a natural over shift and trim action on every shift, it becomes almost muscle memory and you do not even have to think about it. But the best thing with friction lever shifting is, if you have a really good, quick shifting RD like say a Suntour Cyclone MkII. Shifts really silent and smooth. Combine it with Simplex Retrofrictions and it is like heaven (Combination I had in the 80's on my PSV). Light, Precise and very smooooth!....unlike the click/clunck you usually get from indexed systems.
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Old 11-10-18, 03:10 AM
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Campy SR derailleurs plus Campy DT friction shifters plus Shimano 10 tooth pulley wheels plus Shimano UG freewheel plus Shimano stainless shift cables (heads sanded slightly to fit cable sockets) and Jagwire cable housing from the chainstay to the RD make a really nice combination...
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Old 11-10-18, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Campy SR derailleurs plus Campy DT friction shifters plus Shimano 10 tooth pulley wheels plus Shimano UG freewheel plus Shimano stainless shift cables (heads sanded slightly to fit cable sockets) and Jagwire cable housing from the chainstay to the RD make a really nice combination...
Sounds good to me.
I have owned only one indexed bike (Schwinn mountain bike with SunTour thumbies), and I have always operated it in friction mode, even when it had the "correct" 7-speed freewheel. Friction mode let me convert easily to my current 8-speed Shimano cassette.
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Old 11-10-18, 10:21 PM
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I've ridden the past 45 years with friction DT shifters. Have never had indexed or ratchet shifters. Using friction shifters is akin to playing the trombone--you just know where it is.
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Old 11-11-18, 01:11 AM
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Frictions shifting is the way to go. When I ride my Awol it feels so weird that it automatically can shift just by a flick of my wrist i have Shimano Tiagra STI shifters. When I ride my 1980 trek with downtime shifters it just feels right.
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Old 11-11-18, 04:21 AM
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OK I’ll play. Most of my vintage bikes use Devore XT friction shifter. They are as smooth as any I’ve tried. Plus they look great.
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Old 11-11-18, 05:34 AM
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Friction shifting with Indexing RDs

I'd been using Shimano Deore XT gears on my off road bike since 1992 and was always pleased with the thumb shifting on that bike.

My first foray into index shifting on road came when I picked up an Ironman about 10 years ago. I had to go through the whole system to get everything working properly. The final problem was a completely worn out upper pulley that was so loose it wobbled. Once I replaced it no more problems.

Getting back to friction shifting, the best of both worlds is using a rear derailleur designed for indexing, with friction levers. Even better retrofriction levers. My 1990 Bianchi Mondiale with Campy Dopler Retrtofriction levers and a Campy Mirage 9 Speed RD. It shifts like it's indexed but smooth with no clicks, especially with a HyperGlide cassette. No more trimming to get the chain centered.






The feature that allows rear derailleurs to index easily is the top pulley laterally floats side to side allowing the chain to self center on the sprocket: 1.5mm to 2.5mm is usually enough. I've modified upper pulleys on a lot of bikes to allow the lateral float. Even Campy NR rear derailleurs - no more 2 forward, 1 back trimming of the lever!

@The Golden Boy wrote: "Some people like the clutched ratcheting action of Suntour’s Power shifters- then around 1985 or so, Suntour made the ratcheting more fine."

I wasn't aware that there was a difference. BITD I never cared for Suntour Power shifters. The ratcheting always felt too coarse for me. Earlier this year I got a bike that has them with a Suntour V-GT rear derailleur. They felt completely different. I just assumed that maybe they were "broken in" and that's why they were so smooth?

After I overhauled the V-GT and modified the upper pulley, shifting is as smooth as Simplex Retrofriction levers.

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Old 11-11-18, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
I think you have a point, friction is so smooth compared to SIS. However, when you have multiple bikes it's so much easier to click shift as opposed to remembering each bikes friction touch.
Oh yes. On my 10 bikes I have 10 different transmissions: SIS or friction, various shifter locations, high normal or low normal FD, different FW ranges and tooth combos, 2 or 3 rings and tooth combos, brifters and triggers and thumbies, etc. I'm confused all the time as I rotate thru the "fleet" all the time. Part of the fun, eh? No, I don't have a favorite. They all work well.
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Old 11-11-18, 07:03 AM
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My Tommasini frame came to me with 130mm rear spacing so I built it up with 8-speed Shimano SIS and indexing DT levers. It worked fine but was like shifting a toaster, you pushed a button and had no other involvement. So I switched it to friction levers and it works just fine. The gearing has other minor issues, mostly because chain line is often sub-optimal with so many sprockets, but it's still a great bike. My other bikes are all friction, about evenly split 5-spd and 6-spd. I have no trouble switching from one to another.
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Old 11-11-18, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Getting back to friction shifting, the best of both worlds is using a rear derailleur designed for indexing, with friction levers. Even better retrofriction levers. My 1990 Bianchi Mondiale with Campy Dopler Retrtofriction levers and a Campy Mirage 9 Speed RD. It shifts like it's indexed but smooth with no clicks, especially with a HyperGlide cassette. No more trimming to get the chain centered.


@The Golden Boy wrote: "Some people like the clutched ratcheting action of Suntour’s Power shifters- then around 1985 or so, Suntour made the ratcheting more fine."

I wasn't aware that there was a difference. BITD I never cared for Suntour Power shifters. The ratcheting always felt too coarse for me. Earlier this year I got a bike that has them with a Suntour V-GT rear derailleur. They felt completely different. I just assumed that maybe they were "broken in" and that's why they were so smooth?

After I overhauled the V-GT and modified the upper pulley, shifting is as smooth as Simplex Retrofriction levers.

verktyg
I've read- and I haven't really come to a conclusion- that the hyperglide ramps are actually worse for friction shifting. As I recall, it's said the ramps assist or start moving the chain over before the derailleur has the pulley in position- where I can see where the "float" in the upper pulley would be beneficial there- but I can also see imprecision and chatter/clatter until you do move it to the right position- in other words you're not just fighting the cog- you're fighting the help and the cog (and the centeron pulley if you're using one)

Regarding the change in Power Shifters- I don't know if it was all across the Suntour line- but they're commonly (at least commonly here) referred to as the Sprint shifters. This is the same ratcheting action on the left Command Shifter (or any of the non-indexed left side upper level Accushift shifters- I've seen it on Superbe Pro, SL and Sprint).

@verktyg. Happy Veterans' Day!
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Old 11-11-18, 11:05 AM
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Veteran's day

Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
@verktyg. Happy Veterans' Day!
Same to you fella!

My best bud and I went out to lunch yesterday to celebrate the MC Birthday. The restaurant toked us "birthday cake" and shots of Jagger.

It's been too smokey to ride here in NorCal.

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Old 11-11-18, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Same to you fella!

My best bud and I went out to lunch yesterday to celebrate the MC Birthday. The restaurant toked us "birthday cake" and shots of Jagger.

It's been too smokey to ride here in NorCal.

verktyg :50;
With this being the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI- I can imagine this being a HUGE thing in Europe.
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Old 11-12-18, 01:33 AM
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Wait wait wait, I can use an indexed derailur with friction shifters?
is any modification necessary?
I am so intrigued and confused...
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Old 11-12-18, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Buellster View Post
Wait wait wait, I can use an indexed derailur with friction shifters?
is any modification necessary?
I am so intrigued and confused...
Sure.
You can use literally any derailleur with friction shifters.
No modification is necessary.
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Old 11-12-18, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
I still go against advice and shift the friction shifter with my hand on the top tube using my finger to ease the shifter forward or backward. To me that makes
more sense than holding the shifter between thumb and forefinger.
You must ride a substantially smaller frame than I. Even with my super-long hands, I could not reach the shifter when touching the top tube. Besides, for me, the precision is in the grasp of the lever by the fingers and the feel. <snick!>
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Old 11-12-18, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
You must ride a substantially smaller frame than I. Even with my super-long hands, I could not reach the shifter when touching the top tube. Besides, for me, the precision is in the grasp of the lever by the fingers and the feel. <snick!>
I guess to each his own. I don't pull the trigger on a rifle buy grasping it between my thumb and forefinger.
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Old 11-12-18, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post


Sure.
You can use literally any derailleur with friction shifters.
No modification is necessary.
This is interesting. I love friction shifters and have found I prefer them to the index DTs often. I may have to give if a shot....
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Old 11-12-18, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
I guess to each his own. I don't pull the trigger on a rifle buy grasping it between my thumb and forefinger.
Huh?

We agree on the "to each his own" part.

The rest is an odd reference. There is a technique for bolt action rifle fire used during the "mad minute" rapid fire exercise wherein the bolt handle/knob is retained between the thumb and forefinger and the trigger is actuated using the middle finger of the shooting hand - you never let go of the bolt handle except to reload. LOL!
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