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Shimano Dura-Ace 7900

Old 02-09-19, 06:14 AM
  #1  
letenn 
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Shimano Dura-Ace 7900

Hello All,

Anyone using this Dura-Ace 7900? I'm interested in 2x10 speed. I see the 10 speed downtube shifters are still available. I'd like to keep my bike looking as vintage as possible. I ride with younger guys that can climb way better than me. they run 2x11 Shimano 105 on their newer bikes. I think there advantage, besides age, is 50/34 cranks, and 11-32 cassettes.

Thanks.
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Old 02-09-19, 06:22 AM
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Are you asking about the downtube shifters or the group in general? What are you putting them on?
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Old 02-09-19, 08:19 AM
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50/34 and an 11-32 . That is a lower gear that my MTB. It runs a 48/38/28 and a 13-28 for off-road with 700c wheels. (No it is not a 29er it is a 700c MTB)

What is is your current gearing? You could always swap out your RD for a long cage model and wider FW.
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Old 02-09-19, 08:52 AM
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Converting a vintage bike to 2x10 using downtube shifters is possible and done frequently. However, the involvement is significant. If your bike is a 1990 or older model using a freewheel, the conversion will require a new rear hub, and it's often cheaper just to buy a new rear wheel. You will need new derailleurs and a new cassette. finally, its likely that you will need a new crankset.

I'm actually removing this set-up from a bike and could sell you all the parts needed, except the rear wheel.

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Old 02-09-19, 08:53 AM
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7900 is pure Dura Ace EXCEPT FOR THE STI. But you are going DT shifters, and that will be great. My brifters rattled and were very sensitive to cable friction. I get that the big boys have more and lower gears. "Spinning is winning" and all that. As others have pointed out, there are other ways to get lower gears.
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Old 02-09-19, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
50/34 and an 11-32 . That is a lower gear that my MTB. It runs a 48/38/28 and a 13-28 for off-road with 700c wheels. (No it is not a 29er it is a 700c MTB)
34/32 isnt lower than 28/28.

regardless, it's pretty common to see road bikes with 34/32 gearing now. To me, it also seems quite beneficial.
Anyone who can dominated with a 42/26 easy ratio should by all means rock it, but that's pretty limiting for many recreational riders, even avid ones. Wider range gearing opens up routes which leads to more fun.
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Old 02-09-19, 02:10 PM
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I recently put the Dura-Ace 7900 SL shifters on a 88 Ironman. It had already been modified with Exage triple crankset. I used Sugino 10 speed chainrings a 5600 105 rear derailleur and a 5700 105 front. I used a Giant wheelset that I had and Ultegra 11-28 cassette & 10 speed chain. It works like a charm. The left shifter is friction only so it works with a double or triple. They work like a Swiss watch. I did have to get a set of shifter boss covers that fit round tubes the shifters I bought came with flat ones. I found them on E-bay for a few bucks. I had to spring the chainstays to get the wheel in but it worked ok. A few weeks ago I had a bike shop cold set it to 130 mm and the wheel is a lot easier to get in. They charged me $20
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Old 02-09-19, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Converting a vintage bike to 2x10 using downtube shifters is possible and done frequently. However, the involvement is significant. If your bike is a 1990 or older model using a freewheel, the conversion will require a new rear hub, and it's often cheaper just to but a new rear wheel. You will need new derailleurs and a new cassette. finally, its likely that you will need a new crankset.

I'm actually removing this set-up from a bike and could sell you all the parts needed, except the rear wheel.
Did you sell the Dura-Ace shifters? I could use another set for a bike I am building for my granddaughter.
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Old 02-09-19, 02:15 PM
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At the point where I am using DT shifters, the first thing I prefer to do is eliminate any 1-tooth steps in the cassette's gearing.
This makes for fewer shifts and also prevents the severe cross-chaining needed to access lower gears while staying in the big ring.
So this allows for infrequent need of any front shifts.

With a 10-speed mtb cassette, just as with Shimano's latest and largest road cassette (their 11-34t 11s), there are no 1-tooth gear changes.
And with such a large range of ratios, it would make sense to just toss away the 11t cog from any 10s cassette so it might fit on a 7s freehub and 126mm axle spacing if that happens to be part of the existing bike's configuration.

I ride old bikes with DT or stem/headset-mounted levers and really haven't noticed much of a performance liability (even in sporting use) from use of cog ratios as widely spaced as 13-15-17-20-24t for the 1st four positions of a 5, 6 or 7-speed freewheel. But with 9 or 10 cogs this ratio spacing can easily get you up to a 34 or 36t low gear, with the small ring then reserved only for bail-outs. BTW, the 10-speed levers will index a large 10s cassette using any 9-speed Shimano MTB derailer.

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Old 02-09-19, 03:16 PM
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I run/have run 7700, 7800, and 7900 downtube shifters by DA, and like any 9 or 10-sp group, you need a rear freehub to hold a cassette, and an RD that plays nice with the shifters. The front being friction, not an issue.

Definitely opens up tons of options and retains the more traditional look.

Range-wise, I've run 53/38 and 11-34. The chain complained at 38/34. I've easily run 53/39 and 11-32, no issues. I believe the longer-cage road RD's (GS models in 9sp and 10sp) are rated at 34t wrap, total. I've exceeded that, but with a noise penalty, and I'm not sure I'd do it day in/day out.

A 9sp setup would use a longer-cage RD, the 6500 GS, 7700 GS, and probably a 5500 GS if they made one. I think Tiagra had a longer-cage 9sp model, too.

10-sp, I've used 6700 GS and 5600 and 5700 GS models. The 105 models (5600/5700) are much easier to source.

If you pair the RD/shifter combo with a compact front, just watch the chain wrap. If you insist on going over the chain wrap rating, I'd recommend you decide at which end of the scale you want issues, the big-big or small-small, and realize you should not be using either, most of the time. The narrow spacing in small/small will create chain rub on the big chainring. The big/big may have that RD stretched out pretty good.

I'm currently converting an Ergo 10-sp setup to Record DT shifters (converted from bar ends) and Chorus aero brake levers. The cost is about the same as Ergos, in my experience, as Campy aero brake levers in good shape, not cheap. But it retains a traditional look, and Campy had plenty of polished or silver 10sp offerings that still look traditional.

I don't get involved in gear spacing. Whatever is offered, I ride it. Easily done, good luck.
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Old 02-09-19, 05:44 PM
  #11  
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What @RobbieTunes said. I am also an avid user and 'upgrader' of vintage bikes to 7700, 7800, and 7900. The 10-speed downtube shifters are 7900, and the STI shifters, used normally, are 7900 (I have no idea what you're talking about, Classtime!) and don't rattle/aren't junk. I have a full 7900 groupset on my '87 Prologue, and it works flawlessly. The 10s 7900 downtube shifters do not have a friction mode for the rear like their 9s 7700 downtube shifter predecessors, so you lose that 'flexibility' while also dropping price on the unit. You do get another gear though, and they shift every bit as good as you could hope for. I have two sets of 7700 and 7900 downtube shifters--I like them that much, and they work that well.

Pair the shifters with a long cage RD (6600 10s Ultegra or 5600 10s 105 for more max-cog capability i.e. 32T easily) and some wide gearing and that will give you a good range to work with on all sorts of rides. Chain wrap (small-small) and RD stretch-out (big-big) are a matter of chain length and discipline while riding. I'd rather have enough chain to run a big-big gear combo (for those too tired and brainless mistake moments) than not enough chain. And if you have a long cage RD, that gives you a lot of grace and room to have a longer-than-normal chain. On my Black Lightning 2.0 '15 CAAD10 Black Disc bike, I run a 52/36 up front and an 11-28 out back. Long cage RD, full 6800 11s Ultegra. Running small-small is not a problem, and neither is running big-big. If you're getting a new chain for this build, might as well start with too much chain, test it through the gears, and incrementally shorten it until it gives you what you're looking for (without making it too short, of course).
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Old 02-09-19, 07:52 PM
  #12  
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Sorry for the late response, I was working today. I should have given more info.

The bike is an 89 Cannondale. I really like the bike. I currently have an Shimano Tri color 8 speed group on it. I bought a 12-32 cassette, but found myself hunting for the right cruise gear. My hope was to close that gap between cogs, while getting a larger cog in the back. I settled on a 12-28, but still ride in the next lower comfortable gear. I tried building a custom cassette, but I couldn't get it to shift right. My front chainrings are 38/48. 38 being the smallest I could use on the 130 BCD tricolor cranks I have.

I've completed a couple centuries on it. One thing I find annoying is my riding buddies, end up waiting for me on those long rides. I tell them to ride on, I'll catch up later, but would still like to keep up. I'm in good shape too. At least as good of shape as my friends. Their advantage is newer bikes with 11 speed shimano drivetrains. A new bike for me is out of the budget. Plus C&V is the bees knees.

Anyway, Thanks for all the replies and ideas.
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Old 02-10-19, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by letenn View Post
I currently have an Shimano Tri color 8 speed group on it.
That means you don't have to change out wheels, your rear will accept 8/9/10 and the 8000 series 11-32 and 11-34 cassettes.

Originally Posted by letenn View Post
My front chainrings are 38/48. 38 being the smallest I could use on the 130 BCD tricolor cranks I have.
If speed on the flats is an issue, that may be part of the problem. You've got to really spin a 48t to keep up with people of the same fitness spinning the same on 53t, or even 50t. If climbing is the issue, then I can see going compact to get smaller on the front small ring. A 110BCD crankset (they are out there in C&V) would give you a pretty wide set of options.

Originally Posted by letenn View Post
One thing I find annoying is my riding buddies, end up waiting for me on those long rides..
Pretty much nothing to do with the bike. Not enough information, but if you're running 48/38 and 12-28, and in the same shape they're in, find out what they're running.

Originally Posted by letenn View Post
Their advantage is newer bikes with 11 speed shimano drivetrains. .
I disagree with that. Something else is at play here, if you are in the same shape they're in.

Originally Posted by letenn View Post
Plus C&V is the bees knees..
Absolutely.

Originally Posted by letenn View Post
Anyway, Thanks for all the replies and ideas.
Any time. We don't have enough information, but on a tricolor setup, I'd go to a Shimano 8000 11-32 cassette, a set of 7800 or 7900 DT shifters, and a long-cage 105 RD, like a 5600 or 5700 or a Deore XT 9sp RD (in that case, get the 11-34 cassette)

Then find a 50t-52t front big ring, giving you a wider range, more speed, and easier climbing. Climb like a goat, better than now, and faster on the flats.
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Old 02-10-19, 01:20 AM
  #14  
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I agree, there is extra information needed for full context. Shimano has typically done a good job at spacing freewheels and cassettes, of any count, well. Type of terrain--all flat, mix, punchy hills, brutal climbs, etc--is also important to know.

If you have a mix of flat and brutal climbs, that can tax a super wide range 8-speed cassette (and thus rider) more than it would 10- or 11-speeds because the jumps are larger than they would be.

If you're running the flats for a lot of these rides with only mild hills, this is where the genius of Campagnolo gearing is really nice. So many of their 8- and 9-speed cassettes are 13-26, which is madness for Seattle riding as you need gears above and below that range. But for rolling hills and flats, that close a spacing is dynamite and lets you perfectly tailor your cadence to the road and headwinds. If you find yourself at the fast/small end of the cassette when riding with your friends, that's where a couple teeth jump can make a big difference in your cadence, potentially for the worse as a jump may be too large. Are you a spinner or a masher or in the middle?

You state under your avatar that you have what you believe to be a 1989 Cannondale SR400. If it came with Shimano 600 tricolor, it's an SR800. A picture and a serial number will confirm everything. If it is an SR800, I have the crit geometry of that, and they move very well. A picture (we love pictures--show off your ride, man!) would also tell us if there could be any fitment issues (getting power down is key) or out-of-the-norm setup. Heavy wheels? Heavy tires? Tires at too low a PSI? We just want to help! Really, though, show us your bike. We're here for the pretty, shiny things.
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Old 02-10-19, 06:02 AM
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Hello, It's an SR400. Originally came with Shimano 105. I bought a huge Peugeot (64cm I think) and swapped the group. I think it's a 6400. when it gets light out I'll look. And throw up some pics too. I do well on the flats actually. It's the climbs where I get dropped. That's why I thought about trying to get some bigger cogs in the back. It's not that big of a deal actually. And when I think about it, I'm older and probably just kidding myself, and not in as good of shape as I think.

Anyway, thanks for all the ideas. I'll try some of them out.
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Old 02-10-19, 11:28 AM
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The nice thing about Tricolor-all Shimano of that era, actually- is that with the exception of DA 740X it is all pretty much interchangable. For example, my Merckx Century is set up with mostly Tricolor but a compact crank made from a 6206 triple with 50/34 rings, an 80's Deore RD and an 11-34 cassette. Pretty sure I played with the middle section of the cassette to optimize cruising in the 16-17-18 cogs.

It's fast and does well in Arizona- I shipped it out to Tucson for their Tour last year- where the 50/11 combo give me mid 30's downhill speed and the 34/34 lets me climb, well, pretty much anything including Mt. Lemmon. All the rest is fitness on a good day, my friend.

Another example is the '88 Bottecchia Team Record I rode in yesterday's Tour de Palm Springs. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, it's a TOUGH event. Most of the bad climbing is in the first 18 miles, followed by 40 miles of high speed (34-ish) downward pitch rollers, then 40 miles of uphill pitch against strong headwinds. The Botty is mostly DA 7700, but with another 6206 compact (they also polish up nice and shiny) 50/34 and 7400/Open Pro wheels with a 7 speed Sachs 12-28 (12-13-15-17-21-24-28) freewheel (yup, freewheel), shifted by some Exage downtube shifters. Prior to the headwinds, average speed was in the high teens, and it shifted flawlessly while looking pretty darn spanky accoridng to the many compliments it received. And yes, that's a short cage 7700 RD out back shifting a 28 big cog in either the 50 or the 34 ring, no problem.

As others have suggested, I'd certainly go with something larger than a 48 big ring, and a 110 bcd crankset will make it easier to pair that with a smaller inner ring (think 34). A 34/28 will get you up a lot of big, long hills (that's as much or more than I need for even long hilly rides like Skyline Drive) but a Deore RD will get you even more climbing ease while wrapping the compact.
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Old 02-11-19, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
The nice thing about Tricolor-all Shimano of that era, actually- is that with the exception of DA 740X it is all pretty much interchangable. For example, my Merckx Century is set up with mostly Tricolor but a compact crank made from a 6206 triple with 50/34 rings, an 80's Deore RD and an 11-34 cassette. Pretty sure I played with the middle section of the cassette to optimize cruising in the 16-17-18 cogs.


Did you use the outer bolt holes and take off the inner smallest chainring? I think the inner BCD on older shimano triple cranksets were 74? I do have an older Shimano XT triple crankset on an old mountain bike I could try.
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Old 02-11-19, 06:41 PM
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89 cannondale..... is it 126 or 130 rear spacing..... I know OP noted he is running 8 speed, but is it 8 speed with spreading the stays? Lot of debate on aluminum frames on spread or not spread..

My departed 89 Miyata was 126 with 7 speed indexed tricolor 600, which is why I am bringing up this question
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Old 02-11-19, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by letenn View Post
Did you use the outer bolt holes and take off the inner smallest chainring? I think the inner BCD on older shimano triple cranksets were 74? I do have an older Shimano XT triple crankset on an old mountain bike I could try.
Correct. Use the outer 110 bcd mounts for the outer and inner rings and just leave the third ring sockets empty and out of the way.

Many if not most 89 Cannondale frames were 128, to accept either 126 or 130 hubs. Regardless, no harm in spreading (do not cold set) a 126 Cannondale to accept a 130 hub, been done many times.
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Old 02-11-19, 08:13 PM
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Actually I didn't know they were 128. Mine is. Actually almost 129. The 8 speed wheel I got off that other bike fit perfectly. Just thought I got lucky with some manufacturing "slop".
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Old 03-09-19, 08:09 PM
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I completed the conversion with the Dura Ace 7900 DT 10 speed shifters. I scored a 12-30 6700 cassette and a Shimano 105 5700 rear Derailleur. I got them cheap at the local Performance bike shop that had them on clearance for their store closing. I already had a 50/34 Vuelta crankset in my parts bin. I forgot I had that.

Set up and adjustment was a piece of cake. I did a quick 10 mile ride and all is well. I have a Hill climb ride tomorrow, so I'll see how it does.

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.
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Old 03-09-19, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
50/34 and an 11-32 . That is a lower gear that my MTB. It runs a 48/38/28 and a 13-28 for off-road with 700c wheels. (No it is not a 29er it is a 700c MTB)

What is is your current gearing? You could always swap out your RD for a long cage model and wider FW.
Hey Bianchigirll, I just notice your post. Is your MTB a Project 5 or 7? I've been looking for one of those for years. I test rode a Project 7 in the early 90s at a friends bike shop. I couldn't swing the expense otherwise I would have bought one.
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