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Your Favorite Downtube Shifters. Post some pics

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Your Favorite Downtube Shifters. Post some pics

Old 07-27-12, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Why is it harder to use downtube shifters on a tall frame? Aren't your arms correspondingly long? I don't think I have to drop my shoulder to reach that location; do you?
I dont think I have to reach much at all to shift. A few times while I was in the drops I accidently got the tire or spokes
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Old 07-27-12, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by hairnet
Is that a Huret band by the person that modifies and sells them on Ebay? I am thinking of buying one just in case I ever find some 8 speed shifters
It is, yes.

Originally Posted by Pars
These [retrofrictions], though on mine (clamp on, not braze on) I've never needed or wished for the D-ring as they stay perfectly adjusted. Best DT shifters I've ever used, making the Campy NR pair sit forlorn in my parts bin.
The Cyclone RD I'm using these with has a ridiculously strong return spring.

Originally Posted by noglider
Why is it harder to use downtube shifters on a tall frame? Aren't your arms correspondingly long? I don't think I have to drop my shoulder to reach that location; do you?
I'm not making it up. A 51cm frame is not the same as a 13/16 scale 63cm frame.
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Old 07-27-12, 07:32 AM
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The only thing I don't like about DT shifters is that I am constantly snagging the leg opening in my shorts on them when coming down from a stand up/leaned forward position
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Old 07-27-12, 07:35 AM
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Simplex/Mavic/Spidel retrofrictions are my favorite, but with the 'pro' modification: a simple bottle cage bolt to replace that awful screw. Hard to see I have to admit, but its there.

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Old 07-27-12, 10:34 AM
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I only have experience with Campy and Suntour Power Shifters, once their properly adjusted, I'd say they're about the same.
But, I'd love to try some of the various ones I see in this thread.

Here's a few pictures of NOS Suntour Power Shifters I picked up on ebay.
Seller had 10 sets (NOS) for $10 each.
In hindsight, I should have bought all 10.



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Old 07-27-12, 10:40 AM
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<-



Great pics in this thread!
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Old 07-27-12, 10:52 AM
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Based purely on aesthetics, I like the Shimano 600 Arabesque levers shown in the orginal post. I had a bike with that group years ago and always liked the way they looked and felt.
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Old 07-27-12, 11:01 AM
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first - cool thread / topic

hurets on my supercourse which i sold recently



campy on my magni

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Old 07-27-12, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1
I swear there's a SunTour DT lever with a very compact ratchet mech that looks like one of their stylish Superbes, but I can't find it in Velobase...must be very rare or I imagined it.
There is indeed a set of friction-only Sprint or Superbe levers with the ratcheting mechanism. I believe they are the LD-4850 shifters, though I am not sure (and can't find on Velobase either). Very elegant. I don't have a pic, but I do have an NOS set in my storage locker.

Here's a pic of the beautiful friction-only (non-ratcheting) Superbe levers I have on my girlfiriend's Atala build (currently stored 5000km away), certainly my favourite to look at, and perfectly functional:

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Old 07-27-12, 11:31 AM
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Unworthy1 wrote:
"...I swear there's a SunTour DT lever with a very compact ratchet mech that looks like one of their stylish Superbes, but I can't find it in Velobase...must be very rare or I imagined it."

You're right, those were the trim-looking Suntour Sprint levers that had the very fine-tooth ratchet in them. I bought a pair back in 1985 or so from Nashbar for my Cannondale R300.

True Retrofriction levers use a spring-wrap clutch instead of a ratchet, so there's no friction adjustment at all.
The beauty of that is that the positioning is infinite (no click-stops at all), for better feel and greater resolution and more-precise movement.

Shimano made perhaps THE first, true Retrofriction lever in the early 1970's!
They called it Unishift. Rather long and plain-looking, but with rubber tips, and delivers race-quality actuation just like Simplex's version.
Shown in foreground:



Shimano also made the "beer tap handles" in the VERY early 1970's that I saved for 15 years(!!!) before finally installing them last weekend on my 1972 American-Eagle / Nishiki Kokusai:

Last edited by dddd; 07-27-12 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 07-27-12, 11:35 AM
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I need more pictures of the beer tap levers. Those look great.
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Old 07-27-12, 11:45 AM
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Got a set of these waiting to go on a 650B build. DA 7700 9 speed.

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Old 07-27-12, 11:51 AM
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Nothing like the Dura-Ace surface finish. And what snap those have!


Thirdgenbird wrote: "I need more pictures of the beer tap levers. Those look great."

Only too happy to oblige. I got this new (used) Fuji A400 digital camera on Ebay (received last night). Payed $10 plus $5.65 shipping.




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Old 07-27-12, 11:56 AM
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Hi all! (first post)
I have an unidentified frame with these Shimano downtube shifters. There is something beautiful about them, I love them so. If anyone can ID them I would be grateful, as I have the almost complete group and would like to make it more complete. Also might assist me in identifying the frame.
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Old 07-27-12, 12:04 PM
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+1 for both appearance and function on the Simplex retrofriction levers. But these Zeus retrofrictions ain't bad either, and considerably harder to come by:

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Old 07-27-12, 12:04 PM
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These are on my recently restored 1991 Panasonic.


The bike
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Old 07-27-12, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by VonCarlos
I only have experience with Campy and Suntour Power Shifters, once their properly adjusted, I'd say they're about the same.
But, I'd love to try some of the various ones I see in this thread.

Here's a few pictures of NOS Suntour Power Shifters I picked up on ebay.
Seller had 10 sets (NOS) for $10 each.
In hindsight, I should have bought all 10.
I'd be interested in the seller, VonCarlos! I am ISO that same deal for Power Shifters. I also like the Sprint version, LD-4850, like I have on my Sequoia. Here's a few pics on my various shifter combos. The classic Campagnolo NR on my Masi and Gitane. Simplex Retrofriction (also a favorite) on my Eisentraut. The Trek gets Suntour Blue Line and the Sequoia with the Power Shifters. My Tesch gets 10-speed STI for it's Dura Ace RD-7402 shifting 9-speed spaced Dura Ace cogs on a 126 OLD.


BTW, I attribute the success of my Sequoia's 8-of-9-on-7 gearing on the precision and feel of the Power Shifters. I really like 'em.

I'd like to hear more about the Shimano Unishift and Shimano SLA400 Light Action types!

Jim

Last edited by leaping_gnome; 07-27-12 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 07-27-12, 12:11 PM
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These are some old SunTour shifters I had sitting nearby, they where last used on my dropped MTB project but I recently stripped that frame.
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Old 07-27-12, 12:45 PM
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My faves...


Stupid automatic typo correction feature... title should say "my faves."

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Old 07-27-12, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ku_painter
These are on my recently restored 1991 Panasonic.


The bike
Hey! I just saw this at Groody Brothers after the PC!
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Old 07-27-12, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH
Hey! I just saw this at Groody Brothers after the PC!
Yessir. They do great work
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Old 07-27-12, 01:53 PM
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Simplex retrofriction.... There is no substitute!

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Old 07-27-12, 01:55 PM
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Old 07-27-12, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by s70rguy
Simplex/Mavic/Spidel retrofrictions are my favorite, but with the 'pro' modification: a simple bottle cage bolt to replace that awful screw. Hard to see I have to admit, but its there.

What is the purpose of that tubing on the cable, does it cause the shifter to pull more cable? If so, what sort of material did you use and how well does it hold up over time?

Originally Posted by dddd
Unworthy1 wrote:
"...I swear there's a SunTour DT lever with a very compact ratchet mech that looks like one of their stylish Superbes, but I can't find it in Velobase...must be very rare or I imagined it."

You're right, those were the trim-looking Suntour Sprint levers that had the very fine-tooth ratchet in them. I bought a pair back in 1985 or so from Nashbar for my Cannondale R300.

True Retrofriction levers use a spring-wrap clutch instead of a ratchet, so there's no friction adjustment at all.
The beauty of that is that the positioning is infinite (no click-stops at all), for better feel and greater resolution and more-precise movement.

Shimano made perhaps THE first, true Retrofriction lever in the early 1970's!
They called it Unishift. Rather long and plain-looking, but with rubber tips, and delivers race-quality actuation just like Simplex's version.
Shown in foreground:



Shimano also made the "beer tap handles" in the VERY early 1970's that I saved for 15 years(!!!) before finally installing them last weekend on my 1972 American-Eagle / Nishiki Kokusai:

Originally Posted by leaping_gnome
I'd be interested in the seller, VonCarlos! I am ISO that same deal for Power Shifters. I also like the Sprint version, LD-4850, like I have on my Sequoia. Here's a few pics on my various shifter combos. The classic Campagnolo NR on my Masi and Gitane. Simplex Retrofriction (also a favorite) on my Eisentraut. The Trek gets Suntour Blue Line and the Sequoia with the Power Shifters. My Tesch gets 10-speed STI for it's Dura Ace RD-7402 shifting 9-speed spaced Dura Ace cogs on a 126 OLD.


BTW, I attribute the success of my Sequoia's 8-of-9-on-7 gearing on the precision and feel of the Power Shifters. I really like 'em.

I'd like to hear more about the Shimano Unishift and Shimano SLA400 Light Action types!

Jim
I Love those "beer tap" shifters! A forum member gifted me a different version that has a big clunky ball on top, but I haven't installed them yet.

For what it's worth, the two types of ratcheting Suntour levers (Sprint and Power Shifters) are still available as NOS through Bikestash.
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Old 07-27-12, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd
Those beer tap shifters are awesome! Never seen anything like 'em.

I'm partial to Simplex retrofriction shifters (as are many others, of course). I also like how these DA shifters turned out after I stripped, polished & filled them.

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