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Converting from friction downtube shifters to brifters

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Converting from friction downtube shifters to brifters

Old 10-10-21, 03:24 AM
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RidderAllard
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Converting from friction downtube shifters to brifters

Hi All,

I recently bought an old roadbike (superia explorer star). It has a 5sp freewheel with downtube friction shifters and an old shimano 600 (6100) derailleur.
I want to install indexed brifters (RSX ST-A416) but i'm unsure if my derailleur is compatible with these brifters. Anyone who knows this? If the derailleur is not compatible, what kind of derailleur should i get?
thanks in advance!
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Old 10-10-21, 05:11 AM
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Index shifting for a 5-speed freewheel? - Bike Forums
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Old 10-10-21, 05:38 AM
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Sorry i forgot to mention i will also put on a 7 or 8 sp freewheel haha
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Old 10-10-21, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by RidderAllard View Post
Sorry i forgot to mention i will also put on a 7 or 8 sp freewheel haha
You'll have to respace the frame as 5s is normally 120mm OLD, 7 126mm, and 8 130mm

Read comments here.
https://velobase.com/ViewComponent.a...=108&AbsPos=18

Compatible - Shimano index RD from 6-10s and 6-9s mountain are generally interchangeable with some exceptions (mostly Dura Ace of certain models). Fronts typically need road with road shifters and mountain with Mt shifters.

​​​​​​Retro roadies- old frames with STI's or Ergos

Last edited by dedhed; 10-10-21 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 10-10-21, 07:49 AM
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Yeah i figured i will have to space out the drop outs a bit but that is fine. So it seems i will need a new derailleur, any recomendations?

Thanks for the info!
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Old 10-10-21, 12:15 PM
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Depends on what you intend to run for gearing as to what RD options are available. Budget and supply chain availability as well.
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Old 10-10-21, 01:16 PM
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I will probably go with a 14-28 7 speed freewheel. Preferebly on a low budget and i would like the RD to match the retro/old school esthetics of the bike. I'm not sure about the two chainrings (I'm abroad right now so can't check) but i imagine it's pretty standard for bikes from back then.
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Old 10-11-21, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by RidderAllard View Post
I will probably go with a 14-28 7 speed freewheel. Preferebly on a low budget and i would like the RD to match the retro/old school esthetics of the bike. I'm not sure about the two chainrings (I'm abroad right now so can't check) but i imagine it's pretty standard for bikes from back then.
Shimano 600 Tricolor, Shimao RSX, Shimano Deore, Shimano 105, Shimano Sante, Shimano Exage 300, Shimano Exage 400, etc etc.
There are a lot of options from that period around when your shifters were new. There is nothing that will work from the period around when your bike was new because indexed shifting didnt exist then.
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Old 10-12-21, 09:20 AM
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If you can find them and can find one with low miles use 90s Campy brifters. Ones made for eight or nine speeds. They have lots of small clicks. I have used them with all sorts of derailleurs and many types of freewheel and cassette. It is almost like friction shifting with clicks. Works better if used with Campy cassettes matched to the shift levers. But you can get away with ridiculous stuff like shifting six speed freewheels with Simplex Prestige derailleurs from brifters. The shifting will not feel as precise as a matched system, it will get the gear you want and not slip.

The big virtue is you buy one obscure obsolete part and it works with anything. If attempting to assemble a 7 or 8 from parts and you have to go whole system that is just a lot of old parts. Of course Shimano parts are way more common in the graveyard than 90s Campy.
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Old 10-12-21, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RidderAllard View Post
Sorry i forgot to mention i will also put on a 7 or 8 sp freewheel haha

Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
You'll have to respace the frame as 5s is normally 120mm OLD, 7 126mm, and 8 130mm
Read comments here.
https://velobase.com/ViewComponent.a...=108&AbsPos=18
Compatible - Shimano index RD from 6-10s and 6-9s mountain are generally interchangeable with some exceptions (mostly Dura Ace of certain models). Fronts typically need road with road shifters and mountain with Mt shifters.
​​​​​​Retro roadies- old frames with STI's or Ergos
OP, yeah, so, 7 speed cog spacing is 5mm and 8 is 4.8, iff'n you're gonna screw with this:
you'll need to decide 7 or 8 spd (8 spd then means, as noted above - 130 rear spacing, which then allows 9 & 10 also)
Then get the appropriate rear wheel - 126 for 7 (depending on hub, you might be able to find a replacement axle and then also spacers for axle, to make a 126mm - re-dish wheel, and so on...), or 130 wheel for 8+
Then pick the shifter/brifter appropriate for the 'system'
Then if you have found/made a proper width wheel for the 7 or 8 spd shifter system you've decided on - you will have also decided and selected between 'freewheel' and 'cassette'.
If shimano cassette, and 8 spd, then you'll have to determine if it's uniglide or hyperglide hybrid - different cassettes... if 7 spd cassette, then you'll certainly do some searching to find a uniglide 7 spd cassette... or use an 8 spd cassette, ignore one cog... and hope the rest shift ok.
Then your choice for Rear Derailleur can be made from RDs which will work with your shifters...
...oh, you will prolly have to determine if your current chainrings will accept 7 or 8 (or more cogs...) chain width, and be able shift at all... older 5 spd rings are often too wide/thick to shift reasonably often with 8 spd, 7 spd can be borderline. newer replacement chainrings for old cranks may work - if they (either 2 or triple rings) fit the old cranks...

or enjoy the bike as it currently sits...
most riders who convert to 'modern' will do full drivetrain transplants (and coldset the rear triangle on steel - would not screw with other frame stock...)
If you don;t mind going with a Full change on a Drivetrain/Braking system, it can be a lot of fun, and a nice frame usually ride very nicely on the updated stuff...

80's Titan, 57 cm, Columbus SPX

Ride On
Yuri

Last edited by cyclezen; 10-12-21 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 10-12-21, 10:03 AM
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As of 2021 that Shimano 600 Group set could make you enough money to pay for at least half of what it would take to go to Brifters. You can spread the rear drop outs to take a 7 Speeds. You can find 7 Speed group sets still. So what you are looking for is a 7 Speed Indexed Group Set. You will find that more likely from an old Mountain Bike. That means the set will likely be a little beat up at best. I personally would stay with the set you have now. You should be able to go to a 6 Speed Free Wheel easy. You can get a free wheel with a 34T bail out gear. If your Shimano 600 rear derailuer is not long cage you can convert it pretty easy with long cage swing arms. You can also make some modifications to your crank. That will give you a wider range of chain to pull.

Oddly when it comes to old bikes Friction Shifters like loose balls rule!!!
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Old 10-12-21, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by RidderAllard View Post
Sorry i forgot to mention i will also put on a 7 or 8 sp freewheel haha
Originally Posted by RidderAllard View Post
Yeah i figured i will have to space out the drop outs a bit but that is fine.
You don't have to do any of that. You can run a Suntour Ultra 6 speed freewheel. It's only slightly wider than your existing 5 speed freewheel, so there is a good chance it will fit onto your current hub and dropout with no additional work. It's a bit on the expensive side, but this freewheel has the same cog spacing as the Shimano 7 speed. So you can use the Shimano 7 speed brifters (RSX ST-A410, Sora ST-3300, Tourney ST-A070) as well as the usual Microshift/ Sensah type alternatives.

The Suntour Winner, Winner Pro, New Winner and Pro compe freewheels are available with ultra spacing. Read here for more details:
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/suntour-freewheel.html
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Old 10-12-21, 04:17 PM
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I've had no chainring problems that were due to going from Ultra-6 friction to 7 speed indexed shifting with a new 10 speed rder and a standard 8-speed chain. The price of brifters and looks are the obstacles between me and STI - $120+ for ugly Shimano brifters, $110 for ugly Microshift, and $60 for ugly Micronew, which look like Microshift knockoffs. But my crankset is still TA Cyclotouriste.

I had my bike coldset to 128 mm, so it works for both 6/7 speed an 8-10(12?) speeds. 8-10 speed freewheels are available, but the axles a relatively easy to bend.

My Suntour V-GT and Cyclone GT both had the range necessary to shift the 7 speed freewheel. You may not need a new rder.
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