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Convert old shifter into new kind?

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Convert old shifter into new kind?

Old 07-30-18, 07:17 AM
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Convert old shifter into new kind?

I think i have what we called shifter tube? it is pretty old. how do I convert this old shifters into the drop bar end shifter? there are 2 pictures attached the one i have and the one i wanted into the drop bar. if there is are some videos that can show me how to, that would be great.one more thing, where can i look for to buy break cables and shifter cables as well? i have looked at the local bike shops.....i dont see it on the shelves. thanks.

Last edited by 2pedals5; 07-30-18 at 07:43 AM. Reason: error statement, forgot important note
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Old 07-30-18, 07:46 AM
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Installing the shifters themselves is easy - they clamp onto the handlebars just like brake levers. The bigger issue is ensuring compatibility between all the drive train components. Your old shifters look like friction (non-indexed) shifters, in that they don't have any built-in "clicks" at each gear, so they'll work with pretty much any number of gears. However, the shifters you want (brake/shifters, or "brifters") are designed to work with specific numbers of gears, be it 9, 10, 11 speed etc. Therefore, in addition to new brifters you'll likely also need to replace the derailleurs and the cassette. If you're currently running 6-7 speed on a freewheel (ie, the entire sprocket cluster and ratchet mechanism unscrews from the rear hub), then you're also looking at either replacing the rear hub and rebuilding the wheel, or buying a new rear wheel altogether. If your frame is older, it may not be able to fit a modern rear hub without having the rear dropouts spread, which is really a job for someone qualified. All of this is doable, but it's not a small job, and all those parts will start to add up. Unless you're wedded to this bike, I would consider just buying a new bike and save yourself the hassle
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Old 07-30-18, 08:03 AM
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Honestly, you're looking at changing all the gears and shifting system at a minimum and are likely better off getting a newer bike that comes with all the equipment. A used bike from the '90's should do it, and probably costs less than buying the parts.

The brake/shift levers that you want are only available for 7sp and higher rear cogs (because they didn't exist before then). Your bike probably also has a freewheel gear cluster, not the newer freehub style that you'd need for most of the modern gear clusters so you may be into a new rear wheel as well and likely cold-setting the frame to accept the wider axle of the newer gears too... The rear derailleur would need changing to match the shifters since they are designed as a set. It is all do-able, but you will be spending a fair amount of money on parts. If you do choose to go the conversion route, I'd look into some of the older Shimano equipment for 7sp. It is still around on eBay. From there, you can use a 7sp freewheel and respace the rear axle if yours is currently a 5sp.

New shift and brake cables should be stocked by most bike shops, but is usually on a big spool behind the counter since they will sell it by the foot. You can also buy cable replacement kits online.
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Old 07-30-18, 08:31 AM
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Why do you want to change them? Is it for comfort, functionality, or style?

I swapped the old brake levers on my vintage Schwinn purely for the sake of comfort. I was getting blisters from riding on the hoods on the old levers. I got Tetronix RL340 levers. They are much more comfy.

I'm still using the downtube shift levers that were on the bike when I bought it, but I've been using the bike to tow my daughter on her tag along and I'm thinking about trying some fully loaded touring and I may switch to bar end shifters soon so I can keep both hands on the bars while shifting:

If you just don't like the looks of the old levers and stem-mounted shifters that might be an option. Most, if not all, bar end shifters can be used in friction mode so you can keep the rest of your drivetrain as is.
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Old 07-30-18, 08:35 AM
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I concur with Litespud. To many (high-priced) components that need to be changed out just to accommodate the new shifters (brifters). Brifters, cables, derailleurs, hub (If you re-build the wheel that will surely include spokes/nipples. Have you built a wheel?), cassette. Cheaper to buy a new bike. Or, a frame that can accommodate all these newer style components and build it up yourself.

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Old 07-30-18, 08:50 AM
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Unless you have a big emotional attachment to the bike or the bike is rare/valuable I would not go down that path.

I have an older Raleigh and Italian Ciocc which I sometimes convert to the handler bar brifters and back to won tube depending on if I want to do some vintage rides.

If your bike has shimano components then the job is easier as 7 speed RD can work with an 8 speed shifter which are easier to find. You bike doesn't have down tube bosses but does have down tube cable stops so that should not be an issue. Not having down tube bosses means you can't use down tube shifters.

You need to let us know what components the bike has along with how many gears.

If can probably be done but as mentioned too many used bikes out there with the brifter type shifter/brakes. Not worth the conversion IMO
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Old 07-30-18, 09:15 AM
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If you really want to go through the process and have the money/time to spend, look up "RJ the bike guy"s youtube channel. Tons of incredibly good information to do exactly what you want to do.

Also, use Amazon for brake/shifter cables. I've bought/used the 10 packs of each, and they are just good enough to use. Not Jaguar quality, but good enough. There is also bulk housing. There is a difference between both the types of cables and housings. Brake/shifter cables are different from each other (the ends are different), and the housings are different too (brake housing is thicker).

Like the others above, I wouldn't recommend doing this. But, it is fun once you get started. Just keep in mind you're going to spend more then you realize. I've done this myself and spent more money than I initially thought. You're going to need shifters, front and rear derailleurs, cassette, chain, chain tools, metric allen wrenches, dremel tool (for clean housing cuts), and a shimano cassette tool. Also you will probably need to cold space the rear fork. RJ's youtube channel makes this pretty easy.

Also, what type of wheels do you have? (700c or 27")

Last edited by friday1970; 07-30-18 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 07-30-18, 09:47 AM
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New Bike Shopping time, perhaps ?

above, (reply 4) aero hidden cable , brake levers are simpler that your pictured
Sram integrated Brake & indexed shifter , levers costing quite a bit
(& are tip of the cost iceberg)

I have bar end shifters, on my bikes with drop bars.. and friction shift types..

i have looked at the local bike shops.....i don't see it on the shelves.
did you ask anyone, or just look and leave?

@ my nearby LBS they have cables in several bulk boxes and housing on a roll ,
in another couple boxes
but they are in the repair section,
not in little packages hanging from display hooks.

With, the exception of the Stainless steel cables, a higher cost item.



Last edited by fietsbob; 07-30-18 at 10:02 AM.
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