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Suntour Symmetric Conversion for Integrated Shifters

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Suntour Symmetric Conversion for Integrated Shifters

Old 05-17-14, 02:48 PM
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Suntour Symmetric Conversion for Integrated Shifters

So I want to convert my Univega Competizione to some integrated shifters. Many of y'all know that buying some cable stops to replace the downtube shifters is really all it takes; however, the Suntour Symmetric is a little more tricky. For those of you who don't know what the Suntour Symmetric is, it is a downtube shifter mechanism with automatic trim. Unlike most downtube shifters, the levers are on top of the tube like so:



The issue is that one side of the center piece that connects the levers together has a protrusion which doesn't allow the cable stops to be attached. So what I did was take a hack saw to the protrusion and then filed it down. Using the original screws, I was able to screw down the cable stops. One issue though is that the gray adjust knobs would hit the frame and the center piece. One way to fix it is to take off the plastic gray knobs and spring leaving only the metal cable stop. I think adjustment is still possible, but this way, the whole unit sits flush with the frame. Here are some pictures.


Protrusion from the right side. The left is ok.




File down to be more flush. Probably could have gone a little more.



I know this has been discussed before (https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...onversion.html), but I feel like not enough. From my experience, the process is really easy. The Suntour Symmetric was pretty cheap on ebay ($10) since I didn't want to modify my own. It looks better than the clamp on cable stops too. Also I didn't have to use any glue or JB Weld suggested in the linked post. The original screws were also long enough too.
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Old 05-17-14, 06:41 PM
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On frames with under-bb cable routing, I'd be concerned with possible cable rubbing along the sides of the downtube.

I once purchased a Symmetric/aero twin cable stop made by Suntour, it was dainty and elegant to the extreme.

Good job on this one, I hope the cabling runs free of the paintwork.
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Old 11-04-14, 02:37 PM
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Thanks Big Ed!!

Edfungus - thank you. i joined this forum for this thread. However my sacrificial Symmetric shifter was $30 shipped from Fleabay.

SO - what i would like to ask is this - your 3rd photo shows a sort of side-view and the brass cam is missing. im assuming you put the guts back in to screw the stops on, yes?
Also - your stops had flat sides already? i bought some at a velo-swap but the sides of the stops are curved to mate up to the downtube's curvature...

any input is appreciated. I have the stop adapters, the sacrificial symmetric shifter will arrive in a day or two, and i will show my results.

all this $$ and heartache is to run Silver Barend Shifters on my newly acquired 1984 Centurion Pro Tour 15 that i am rebuilding - FWIW...

Thanks again for sharing the setup!! Bradley.

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Old 11-12-14, 09:53 AM
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Okay, I am all done with my conversion. Thanks again to [MENTION=341541]edfungus[/MENTION] for his helpful pics... here are photos of my finished product, i posted them over in my build thread here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...l#post17299576
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Old 11-12-14, 12:49 PM
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No problem! Glad this post helped!
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Old 11-18-14, 09:16 AM
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A little more info on the Symmetric Shifter Cable Stop conversion:

When using the original screws to put the Shimano CS50 cable stops onto the modified shifter body, it felt as if only a few threads were grabbing and as i carefully turned the allen wrench it never felt solid. i just stopped turning when it felt like i was about to strip the tiny 0.50 pitched screw...

SO - i did the following modification to the sacrificial shifter body: using an M5 X 0.80 thread pitch tap, i tapped out the shifter cams to the WAY more common 0.80 thread pitch. this allowed me to use a longer screw, and a nicer looking button head in lieu of the "cheese head" screws that come on the original shifter. that also allowed me to use stainless steel instead of chromed alloy. the end result IMO is a cleaner, more fluid look to the cable stop modification.
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Old 08-18-22, 12:25 PM
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Newbie here - about to embark on this conversion. Two questions:

Is there any value in adding a washer in-between the suntour piece and the cable stops to leave enough space to keep the gray adjust knobs?

in lieu of retapping the brass pieces to allow for a longer, more widely found bolt, can you just use two new nuts underneath? Or just run a long bolt through both cable stops with and cap it with a nut on one side.

thanks!


“One issue though is that the gray adjust knobs would hit the frame and the center piece. One way to fix it is to take off the plastic gray knobs and spring leaving only the metal cable stop.”
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Old 08-18-22, 05:44 PM
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I have done this conversion and used a longer bolt thru the whole thing and put a nylock nut on the off side.
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Old 08-19-22, 05:23 AM
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Much more elegant than the kludge I cobbled together for my Klein:



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Old 08-21-22, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88
I have done this conversion and used a longer bolt thru the whole thing and put a nylock nut on the off side.
Thank - I need a backup plan in case my nut tapping job fails!
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Old 08-22-22, 09:21 AM
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This is good clean fun, but I'm not clear what's actually being done here. As the head to the thread suggests, this setup is designed to work with integrated shifters--some flavor of Shimano brifters, or what? And when all is said and done, this is meant to allow the OP to use integrated levers while still benefiting from the self-trimming feature of the Symmetric downtube shifters? I'm perhaps not the sharpest tool in the shed, but a little more explanation would be helpful to me. What problem are we trying to solve, if any?
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Old 08-22-22, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
This is good clean fun, but I'm not clear what's actually being done here. As the head to the thread suggests, this setup is designed to work with integrated shifters--some flavor of Shimano brifters, or what? And when all is said and done, this is meant to allow the OP to use integrated levers while still benefiting from the self-trimming feature of the Symmetric downtube shifters? I'm perhaps not the sharpest tool in the shed, but a little more explanation would be helpful to me. What problem are we trying to solve, if any?
If you want to use STIs you need a cable stop. This is impossible to do with a frame designed for Suntour Symmectric. So the fix is to alter the Suntour shifters in order to allow for the common cable stops typically used with normal downtube shifter bosses. Problem solved.

This thread reminds me..I really need to do this to my Focus so I can set it up with my Tiagra STIs i just got..I think I'll leave the left Suntour shifter on though for the FD. Lance Armstrong style
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Old 08-22-22, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by shoota
If you want to use STIs you need a cable stop. This is impossible to do with a frame designed for Suntour Symmectric. So the fix is to alter the Suntour shifters in order to allow for the common cable stops typically used with normal downtube shifter bosses. Problem solved.

This thread reminds me..I really need to do this to my Focus so I can set it up with my Tiagra STIs i just got..I think I'll leave the left Suntour shifter on though for the FD. Lance Armstrong style
Okay, I get it now. I do know why you need cable stops with integrated shift levers. I think I was thrown off by the fact that the first photo showed a band-clamp version of the Symmetric shifters, not the kind with a dedicated braze-on on the upper side of the down tube. If that had been the case, I couldn't understand why the OP did not adopt the simple, clean, period-correct solution of using a Suntour-branded stamped metal stop. (See attached image lifted from the Internet.)

So looking at the later photos, I am now guessing that the OP's bike does have the single-screw frame braze on? And that it it was thought unsuitable to fill that hole with an appropriate screw and mount a clamp-on double stop just above it? Or am I still confused?
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Old 08-22-22, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Okay, I get it now. I do know why you need cable stops with integrated shift levers. I think I was thrown off by the fact that the first photo showed a band-clamp version of the Symmetric shifters, not the kind with a dedicated braze-on on the upper side of the down tube. If that had been the case, I couldn't understand why the OP did not adopt the simple, clean, period-correct solution of using a Suntour-branded stamped metal stop. (See attached image lifted from the Internet.)

So looking at the later photos, I am now guessing that the OP's bike does have the single-screw frame braze on? And that it it was thought unsuitable to fill that hole with an appropriate screw and mount a clamp-on double stop just above it? Or am I still confused?
Nope, sounds like you're on the right track. As for why to modify the band clamp version?: probably because he already had it, so why not use it? That would be my logic anyway. (also, the symmetric system kinda sucks imo so I wouldn't care about drewing it)
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Old 08-22-22, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota
Nope, sounds like you're on the right track. As for why to modify the band clamp version?: probably because he already had it, so why not use it? That would be my logic anyway. (also, the symmetric system kinda sucks imo so I wouldn't care about drewing it)
Okay! Still not clear about whether this modification is based on a direct-mount shfter or the band-clamp version, since there are multiple photos of each. I think it involved the direct-mount version, but that's basically a guess.

It's a long trip around Robin Hood's barn sometimes, the but the end product looks good.
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Old 08-22-22, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Okay! Still not clear about whether this modification is based on a direct-mount shfter or the band-clamp version, since there are multiple photos of each. I think it involved the direct-mount version, but that's basically a guess.

It's a long trip around Robin Hood's barn sometimes, the but the end product looks good.
It's both. Same design, same problem, just different mounting.
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Old 08-22-22, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota
It's both. Same design, same problem, just different mounting.

Right, understood.

Not asking you to answer for the OP, but if the original shifter was the clamp-on type, I can't help wondering whether there was some reason to go to the effort of modifying it, rather that using the standard cable stop made for that very purpose? Of course, sometimes it's just fun to solve a common problem in an imaginative way--we all do it sometimes.
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Old 08-22-22, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Okay! Still not clear about whether this modification is based on a direct-mount shfter or the band-clamp version, since there are multiple photos of each. I think it involved the direct-mount version, but that's basically a guess.

It's a long trip around Robin Hood's barn sometimes, the but the end product looks good.
It's a solution for the direct mount version, with the boss on the top of the down tube. One can put a screw in the boss and use a clamp-on style, like you described, but for an elegant solution, one has to get creative. Suntour at some point sold a top-mount cable stop, but these are unicorn teeth, impossible to find. You can either fashion a cable stop yourself or you can modify the Symmetric shifter mount, which takes some jury rigging like that described in this thread because of the inner workings and unique threading of the shifter unit.

For the clamp-on version of the Symmetrics, you can simply use a different clamp-on solution, like you would any other bike that has no shifter bosses.
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Old 08-22-22, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf
It's a solution for the direct mount version, with the boss on the top of the down tube. One can put a screw in the boss and use a clamp-on style, like you described, but for an elegant solution, one has to get creative. Suntour at some point sold a top-mount cable stop, but these are unicorn teeth, impossible to find. You can either fashion a cable stop yourself or you can modify the Symmetric shifter mount, which takes some jury rigging like that described in this thread because of the inner workings and unique threading of the shifter unit.

For the clamp-on version of the Symmetrics, you can simply use a different clamp-on solution, like you would any other bike that has no shifter bosses.
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Old 08-22-22, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Right, understood.

Not asking you to answer for the OP, but if the original shifter was the clamp-on type, I can't help wondering whether there was some reason to go to the effort of modifying it, rather that using the standard cable stop made for that very purpose? Of course, sometimes it's just fun to solve a common problem in an imaginative way--we all do it sometimes.
Yeah for sure, I can answer for myself on this one. Suntour's endless band clamp design is dead sexy.
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Old 08-22-22, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf
Suntour at some point sold a top-mount cable stop, but these are unicorn teeth, impossible to find..



A Raleigh flick stand also had provisions as a cable stop but went below. I'm assuming you could use it on top and remove the stand part

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Old 08-23-22, 07:56 AM
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I did this conversion once [MENTION=52458]jonwvara[/MENTION] and it was purely because I couldn’t stand the idea of a cable stop above the braze on mount. I don’t think this type of particularity is unusual on this forum.
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