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Remakes of old school shifters

Old 11-23-23, 07:45 PM
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Remakes of old school shifters

It appears that friction shifters can be had that work with 5 to 13 speed in some cases. Thes shifters are capable of working with most derailers independent of whose platform they are from. they are made in barend, downtube, quill stem and the old command style. If you look at sites like Marry sales, Soma fab shop and Rivendell Bicycles you see a trend for old school mechanical bicycles and parts. I never had a problem with friction shifters and when index came out I thought it finicky and rough. I have never had integrated brake shifters. I currently only ride a Rohloff and don't understand when people complain about shifters not combined with brakes. If your integrated shifters fail there are old school new options available.
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Old 11-24-23, 06:12 PM
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Path Less Pedaled YouTube channel guy loves friction shifting and has videos on that. I have an old Trek bike with brifters. When cable broke off inside, I put downtube shifters on as there were bosses on the down tube, although the shifters are indexed.
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Old 11-24-23, 06:25 PM
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Velo Orange sells some nice shifters too.

I happen to like indexed for anything more than 8 speeds. I can shift 9 speeds with friction, but it's a little too fussy for my taste, too much fine precision needed to keep from getting ghost shifts. Others don't have an issue with that. But I wonder how many people actually easily and accurately shift 10-12 speeds with friction

I disagree about indexing. All the Shimano indexed shifters I've used back to IIRC 7 (?) speed through 9 speed work crisply and accurately and are easy to adjust. This even goes for the dreaded Campagnolo Syncro 8 speed shifters I use regularly. They work perfectly and were a definite upgrade from the friction shifters I used on that bike originally.

All that said, I could easily be happy with an 8 speed cassette and friction shifters if that was the only option available.
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Old 11-24-23, 07:04 PM
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I think indexed integrated brake/shifters are WONDERFUL! You can shift when and where you want, in the middle of all but the hardest climbs, don't have to shift ahead of time in anticipation of a climb or sprint, you get the gear you want each time.
I would not go back.
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Old 11-24-23, 08:18 PM
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I've used friction and many other types of shifters in the last 40 years. I have no objection to any of them but I choose integrated brake/shifters when there is a choice.
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Old 11-24-23, 09:45 PM
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Rivendale has an updated version of the SunTour Power Ratchet with finer ratchet teeth. Has anyone her used it? I love Power Ratches but stop at 7-speed. I cannot imagine it working well at 9-speed. My Superbe friction shifters work really well there but my old thumb injury means the rear sh8ifts are painful in cool weather and at worst, I barely have enough useful strength. A ratchet would be a real blessing. But I'm kinda addicted to the top-mounted shifters like the SunTour Symmetrics.

Maybe I'll pull the trigger on the Rivendale, toss it on whatever bike and check it out. If it passes, I'll make (or have made) a top-mount base to mount them on.
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Old 11-24-23, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick
It appears that friction shifters can be had that work with 5 to 13 speed in some cases. Thes shifters are capable of working with most derailers independent of whose platform they are from. they are made in barend, downtube, quill stem and the old command style. If you look at sites like Marry sales, Soma fab shop and Rivendell Bicycles you see a trend for old school mechanical bicycles and parts. I never had a problem with friction shifters and when index came out I thought it finicky and rough. I have never had integrated brake shifters. I currently only ride a Rohloff and don't understand when people complain about shifters not combined with brakes. If your integrated shifters fail there are old school new options available.
I am not sure if this is a question or a comment? If it is a comment itís all good and different strokes for different folks, I mean there are still people and manufacturers who love Penny Farthing bicycles. If it is a question 99.5% of new bicycles have chosen integrated shifting and that is because it is a superior system. However there is .5% of the market for you to explore.
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Old 11-24-23, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
Rivendale has an updated version of the SunTour Power Ratchet with finer ratchet teeth. Has anyone her used it? I love Power Ratches but stop at 7-speed. I cannot imagine it working well at 9-speed. My Superbe friction shifters work really well there but my old thumb injury means the rear sh8ifts are painful in cool weather and at worst, I barely have enough useful strength. A ratchet would be a real blessing. But I'm kinda addicted to the top-mounted shifters like the SunTour Symmetrics.

Maybe I'll pull the trigger on the Rivendale, toss it on whatever bike and check it out. If it passes, I'll make (or have made) a top-mount base to mount them on.
Not Rivendell, but Velo Orange has a couple of ratcheting options. I have a set of these that I used with 8 and 9 speed builds until switched to Campagnolo 8 speed Syncro shifters. These Dia Compe worked perfectly well for 8 speed Campy build, but I prefer the 8 speed Syncro I switched to by quite a bit. For a 9 speed shimano build, although the shifters were very nice, I didn't like shifting 9 speeds with them much preferred the indexed 9 speed Shimano bar ends that I used for several years before changing to 9 speed STI.

Dia-Compe ENE Down Tube Shifters – Velo Orange (velo-orange.com)

Last edited by Camilo; 11-24-23 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 11-24-23, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick
It appears that friction shifters can be had that work with 5 to 13 speed in some cases. Thes shifters are capable of working with most derailers independent of whose platform they are from. they are made in barend, downtube, quill stem and the old command style. If you look at sites like Marry sales, Soma fab shop and Rivendell Bicycles you see a trend for old school mechanical bicycles and parts. I never had a problem with friction shifters and when index came out I thought it finicky and rough. I have never had integrated brake shifters. I currently only ride a Rohloff and don't understand when people complain about shifters not combined with brakes. If your integrated shifters fail there are old school new options available.

It can be difficult to understand something you have never experienced, so you may have answered your own statement.

I have had and still do have friction down tube shifters on three bikes and integrated shifters (Campy and Shimano) on another three. As far as I am concerned, there is no comparison to the superior functionality of brifters (integrated units) to the down tube variety. Not that there is anything wrong with down tube friction and down tubed indexed shifters, but you canít shift while climbing out of the saddle, down-shifting while braking, or shifting with a water bottle in one hand. Shifting is just so much easier and faster when itís right there. I sure donít stress about them failing because both failures I have had in the past were gradual enough (fraying cables in the shifter housing) that there was plenty of cable to finish the ride safely with full functionality.

Again, nothing wrong with friction shifters, just like there is nothing wrong with a manual transmission (I have a manual and an automatic and appreciate both.)
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Old 11-25-23, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick
It appears that friction shifters can be had that work with 5 to 13 speed in some cases. Thes shifters are capable of working with most derailers independent of whose platform they are from. they are made in barend, downtube, quill stem and the old command style. If you look at sites like Marry sales, Soma fab shop and Rivendell Bicycles you see a trend for old school mechanical bicycles and parts. I never had a problem with friction shifters and when index came out I thought it finicky and rough. I have never had integrated brake shifters. I currently only ride a Rohloff and don't understand when people complain about shifters not combined with brakes. If your integrated shifters fail there are old school new options available.
Noted.
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Old 11-25-23, 01:10 AM
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I am not sure if this is a question or a comment? If it is a comment it’s all good and different strokes for different folks, I mean there are still people and manufacturers who love Penny Farthing bicycles. If it is a question 99.5% of new bicycles have chosen integrated shifting and that is because it is a superior system. However there is .5% of the market for you to explore.
Rivendale went to manufactures of the older components and had to have their silver shifter that will do friction up to 9 speed shifting built because the original tooling and molds were destroyed so the manufacture didn't have to continue to pay taxes on them. Merry sales did the same and they developed several style of friction shifters that will work on some 12 and 13 speed setups. lets say your brifters took a dive and there were no available replacements. You would have choices to still keep going. Rivendale and Velo Orange and Merry sales and Soma Fab Shop sale parts and complete bicycles for people who like friction shifters. They are not the mainstream and low volume but there are people who still purchase parts and bicycles with friction shifting. My Rohloff equipped bicycle is not the mainstream but Rohloff was producing over 60,000 hubs a year the last time I checked. I like choices and I posted on this because in was interesting to me and this being a forum were many observe it is probably interesting to some other members.

Last edited by Rick; 11-25-23 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 11-25-23, 04:58 AM
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Early '60's to early '90's with down tube friction was long enough for me. As with toe clips and straps, I moved on as soon as the new systems had proved themselves superior.

That said, anyone whose STI brake/shifters need replacing (in my case, because I didn't feel like giving them a messy WD-40 bath) should consider the Chinese alternatives, such as Microshift. I installed a set last year and prefer them to Shimano's STI.

The shifting mechanism is as simple and robust as that used in indexed down tube shifters (which are, of course, as nearly maintenance-free as friction shifters). And they cost about the same as (or maybe less than) the repro down tube shifters from Rivendell and the others.

Do you friction fans feel like outliers? Try being a fan of Grip Shift. I replaced the Suntour friction thumb shifters on my Cannondale SM-500 first with Shimano Rapidfire shifters and then, when those proved difficult to shift with mittens for wintertime commuting, with Grip Shift. Now that's all I'll use for my flat bar bikes. Easy to use, durable, and ridiculously cheap to replace, if I ever need to.
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Old 11-25-23, 09:02 AM
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I have indexed down tube shifters on my '84 Nishiki International 2x6. They work great. THey can be switched over to non-indexed shifting, but that makes each shift take a little longer and fussier since I have to gauge the progress of the shift. Two of my bikes have integrated, indexed shifters and they just work.

Three of my bikes have friction shifters (thumbies on the old folders and bar-ends on the 26" inter bike). They work well enough, but require me to pay attention.

I guess I would be in favor of which ever shifter type is the most reliable and trouble free, but all things being equal I would prefer indexed shifting.
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Old 11-25-23, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick
It appears that friction shifters can be had that work with 5 to 13 speed in some cases. Thes shifters are capable of working with most derailers independent of whose platform they are from. they are made in barend, downtube, quill stem and the old command style. If you look at sites like Marry sales, Soma fab shop and Rivendell Bicycles you see a trend for old school mechanical bicycles and parts. I never had a problem with friction shifters and when index came out I thought it finicky and rough. I have never had integrated brake shifters. I currently only ride a Rohloff and don't understand when people complain about shifters not combined with brakes. If your integrated shifters fail there are old school new options available.
OK. Nice mustache...
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Old 11-25-23, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG
I guess I would be in favor of which ever shifter type is the most reliable and trouble free, but all things being equal I would prefer indexed shifting.
Thatís why I use Dura Ace 7700 down tube shifters. More reliable, cables last forever and theyíre lighter to boot. Itís a win win win.
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Old 11-25-23, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick
If your integrated shifters fail there are old school new options available.
If your toilet breaks, you can always put an outhouse in the backyard. Or, you can just replace the toilet ...
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Old 11-25-23, 11:35 AM
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The op reads like it's AI generated.
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Old 11-25-23, 02:38 PM
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It can be difficult to understand something you have never experienced, so you may have answered your own statement.
This assumption is off. I have barcon indexed shifters on my Tandem. I have had indexed shifters on other bicycles also. The brifters just don't interest me. I have hydraulic rim brakes on my Tandem. So brifters are not available for what equipment I use on derailleur bicycles. My touring bicycle has a Rohloff on it. There is a way to use brifters with the Rohloff but you can't shift more than one or two gears at a time with it. I know some people are uncomfortable shifting with any shifter that requires them to move their hands away from the brake levers. Manufactures have made it so only their exact platform will work. The friction shifters will work on most anybodies derailers.
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Old 11-25-23, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick
This assumption is off. I have barcon indexed shifters on my Tandem. I have had indexed shifters on other bicycles also. The brifters just don't interest me. I have hydraulic rim brakes on my Tandem. So brifters are not available for what equipment I use on derailleur bicycles. My touring bicycle has a Rohloff on it. There is a way to use brifters with the Rohloff but you can't shift more than one or two gears at a time with it. I know some people are uncomfortable shifting with any shifter that requires them to move their hands away from the brake levers. Manufactures have made it so only their exact platform will work. The friction shifters will work on most anybodies derailers.
What is your point with all the posts in this thread?

Is this really just a lot of words to let others on the forum know that a handful of niche companies have limited stock of extremely niche shifting products?
If that's your point, then OK thanks for telling us.
If that isn't your point, what is it?
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Old 11-26-23, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
What is your point with all the posts in this thread?

Is this really just a lot of words to let others on the forum know that a handful of niche companies have limited stock of extremely niche shifting products?
If that's your point, then OK thanks for telling us.
If that isn't your point, what is it?
Is your point to be an ass?
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Old 11-26-23, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Is your point to be an ass?
It was a reasonable question.
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Old 11-26-23, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Is your point to be an ass?
I asked my question first.




But really, my point was to know what the objective is. Is it a PSA? Is it a help thread phrased poorly? Is it an opportunity for someone to practice a second language?
I couldn't figure out the purpose, so I asked.

If it's a PSA, I will suggest he post in c&v since those companies tend to hold the modern torch for c&v style and approach. In that forum, some genuinely don't know about modern friction shifting options.

Yep, I posted in a dismissive and critical manner. You picked up on the tone, kudos for proper interpretation.
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Old 11-27-23, 01:55 AM
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But really, my point was to know what the objective is. Is it a PSA? Is it a help thread phrased poorly? Is it an opportunity for someone to practice a second language?
I couldn't figure out the purpose, so I asked.
I gave more than enough info for anybody who had interest in the subject to learn something from it. Perhaps some of you could learn something from a communications class. Some of us get stuck in their point of view and miss the point of what is being presented. They then get confused and throw insults and innuendo. I occasionally See signs of well honed selective reasoning skills presented on these forums.
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Old 11-27-23, 08:43 AM
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I’d call the Gevenalle brake/shift combos “brifters,” despite the fact shifting is handled by thumb or downtube shifters which can be operated in either friction or index mode (depending on shifter model). They can also dump the whole cassette in a single swipe.

Gevenalle also do their shifter on the TRP Hylex hydro brake format, but I dunno if that might be compatible with any Madura or other hydro rim brake.

In any case, Gevenalle are an answer for those who want both friction shifting and brifters, or just want to add brifters to old, single digit speed drivetrains.

https://www.gevenalle.com/shifters/
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Old 11-27-23, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick
I gave more than enough info for anybody who had interest in the subject to learn something from it. Perhaps some of you could learn something from a communications class. Some of us get stuck in their point of view and miss the point of what is being presented. They then get confused and throw insults and innuendo. I occasionally See signs of well honed selective reasoning skills presented on these forums.
What do you think my point of view is on this?

In addition to a handful of modern indexed shifting drop bar bikes, I currently have a 1972 Peugeot 531 frame as a single speed and a bike with bar end shifters that controls a friction shifted 3x9 drivetrain.
I have owned and ridden at least 30 friction shifting bikes over the last 15 years- downtube Shimano friction, downtube SunTour friction, bar end SunTour friction, SunTour thumb friction, even a couple friction stem shifters, etc. Oh, rode Genevalle shifters too for 5 years, and sometimes in 2x11 friction.


I just re-read the thread and I guess this really is a PSA? I didnt realize there was a need for such a PSA, especially since if you just google '11 speed friction shifting', you get endless info from multiple forums sites, and VeloOrange's ENE shifters are the 2nd search result. It just didnt seem to be hidden information to me, so I didnt realize a PSA was needed.

Anyways- yeah a bar end shifters and downtube shifters can shift 11 or more cogs if there is enough pull in the shift lever, but after about 10 speeds, friction becomes pretty fiddly in my experience. I cant imagine intentionally choosing friction for 11 or 12 since the spacing is so narrow. But to each their own.
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