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Replacing Friction downtube shifters.

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Replacing Friction downtube shifters.

Old 04-11-11, 12:33 PM
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glove
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Replacing Friction downtube shifters.

So I've got a great old road bike from the late 70s, everything's working fine, but I can't get used to the friction shifters. In researching switching to index shifters I came across Shimano Dura-Ace Braze On Shifters. What else needs to be swapped out other than the shifters to use these downtube index shifters?
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Old 04-11-11, 12:40 PM
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you can get "converters" which turn the downtube shifters into cable guide ends, then you can use brifters or barcons, or stem shifters if u like
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Old 04-11-11, 12:46 PM
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Unless you've got Dura-Ace derailleurs you don't wanna use Dura-Ace levers. They are specific for Dura-Ace.

You can use just about any other Shimano DT Index shifter though...105, Light Action, 600...

You'll most likely need a Shimano index-compatible Rear Derailleur although you can get lucky and have it work with Suntour stuff sometimes.
You'll need to put on new "Compressionless" Shifter Housing and Index compatible Inner wires.
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Old 04-11-11, 12:51 PM
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If you want to do it on the cheap, try the indexed levers and see how they work. You can always switch them over to friction if it's a total FAIL. +1 on getting SIS or other indexed compatible cable housing; even though it's just that little loop at the back, it can make a difference. Just buy a foot of the stuff from your LBS; that should be enough for the little loop at the back if you're using DT shifters. If decide you need new freewheel and derailleur, get something compatible with the rest of your system (i.e., Shimano, Suntour, etc.)
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Old 04-11-11, 12:53 PM
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Friction shifting takes a little time and practice to get used to but once mastered one can shift as smoothly and as quickly as someone with indexed dt shifters.

You need to match up the indexed shifter with the number of cogs you are running in the rear and the right / rear indexed shifter and left friction / front is a wonderful set up.

A decent set of used indexed dt shifters should not cost much and am sure many here have some sets kicking around.
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Old 04-11-11, 12:53 PM
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You'll need to check your rear axle spacing for what size freewheel you can use, likely you'll be limited or have to spread your frame.
Shifters and derailleurs and freewheels have to be selected together - a derailleur from the '70s won't work with any indexed system, and choices for freewheels (as opposed to cassettes) will also be a limitation.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:17 PM
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what kind of '70s bike? as other said it is more comples than simply adding index shifters.

I agree with Sixty Fiver, just ride it a bit and see if you get used to it. lots of us here use all kinds of shifters DT, barend, thumb, rapidfire, and brifters. it takes a bit of time to get used to but I have more trouble remembering which way to reach for the shifter than actualy using it.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by glove View Post
So I've got a great old road bike from the late 70s, everything's working fine, but I can't get used to the friction shifters.
Understand that here in C&V there is a sentiment toward preserving old bikes. The premise of "upgrading", say, a 1959 TR3 to an automatic transmission because you can't get used to the clutch would be considered sacrilege by some people. Which is not to say that you shouldn't upgrade your bike to make it rideable and comfortable. Just do it with forethought.

As for getting used to the DT friction shifters, it really isn't hard but it does take more than just 5 minutes practice. Friction shifters have some advantages over indexed, and some disadvantages. If the reach to the DT is what bothers you, consider switching to bar-end shifters.

A few people have already mentioned some of the problems and solutions you may encounter. You didn't say what kind of bike it was and how extensive your planned upgrades might be. That might make a difference. For example, if you try to squeeze a 7-speed freewheel into a 120mm rear spacing, or fit a 6-speed freewheel onto your 5-speed hub.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:23 PM
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When I got my mtb with twist grip shifters, I was always, often still do, twist it the wrong way! I am use to pulling back to up-shift not rotate forward! I know some don't care for twist shifteres but I like them so I can jump several cogs quickly.
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Old 04-11-11, 04:54 PM
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An important consideration regarding "Dura-Ace Braze On Shifters": does your bike have braze-on bosses for the current DT shifters, or are they clamp-on?
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Old 04-13-11, 07:47 PM
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What kind of shifters are they? What kind of bike is it? What kind of shifters and derailleurs does it have?

It's possible that your problem is not friction shifters in general, but those particular shifters. Maybe you need a nicer set of friction shifters (I prefer ratchet shifters). Nicer friction shifters means not having to change anything else (assuming everything else is in nice working order).

I guess we could give better answers with more info about the bike, though.
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Old 04-13-11, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Friction shifting takes a little time and practice to get used to but once mastered one can shift as smoothly and as quickly as someone with indexed dt shifters.
+1
FYI - If you want the convenience of shifting from the bars without having to reach down, get Kelly Take-Offs. They work great with friction shifters.
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Old 04-13-11, 08:32 PM
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I used to have a '62 TR3A, miss that funky little car.

Do those Kelly TakeOffs interfere with braking from the drops?
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Old 04-14-11, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by treebound View Post
I used to have a '62 TR3A, miss that funky little car.

Do those Kelly TakeOffs interfere with braking from the drops?
Not at all.
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Old 04-14-11, 05:51 PM
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Does anyone remember that old video of Rebecca Twigg reaching down to shift and bam! She get's passed?

Like everything, its just practice. I did crits for years back in the 80's with DL shifters.
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