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Cheap friction shifters?

Old 07-17-13, 08:53 AM
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Cheap friction shifters?

I'm planning to convert my Sirrus to dropbars, and have been buying the required parts off ebay. The bar end shifters are an expensive proposition though. New Shimano Durace which support friction on both shifters will cost about $100. New Ultegra, with right indexed only, will cost about $75. I suspect I will need to add shifter cables and housing costs to this. Thought Amazon listed these as cables, housing included but can't see that now. On ebay, both these shifters sell pretty high.

So, if I want to do it cheaper, what options do I have? I'm quite willing to try friction bar end shifters as well.
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Old 07-17-13, 09:12 AM
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Falcon thumb shifters, seem to be packaged for about $25, housing cables and all ..

ask at Your LBS , most distributors stock them..

Bar end, power ratchet,
Auction [search, bid, win], Suntour had some 25 years ago, I've been using mine ever since..
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Old 07-17-13, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Falcon thumb shifters, seem to be packaged for about $25, housing cables and all ..

ask at Your LBS , most distributors stock them..

Bar end, power ratchet,
Auction [search, bid, win], Suntour had some 25 years ago, I've been using mine ever since..
Aren't the falcon thumbshifters for flat bars?
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Old 07-17-13, 09:31 AM
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The band is soft steel , you can use a longer bolt , and wrap them around the slightly larger diameter of road bars.
[15/16" vs 7/8"] on the top center of the bars, it is as if a flat bar use, but it works..

Might not be an elegant up to the minute look , technically .

were that required, just pony up for the indexed Shimano stuff. the 9 speed set is about $90, retail.
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Old 07-17-13, 06:06 PM
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I want the shifters to support friction on both, left and right. The Shimano Ultegra don't do that - do all Shimano Durace support right/left friction mode? I'm looking at ebay, and often the model isn't perfectly listed. Which specific models should I look out for?

Another option is to get Dia Compe (friction only) shifters for around 65 from wiggle, or 82 from velo-orange. Would be nice to have both, friction and indexed though - but if I have to have only one, I'll probably end up getting the friction only version.
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Old 07-17-13, 06:24 PM
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just nomenclature.. 8 speed is "ultegra". 9 speed is "Dura Ace".. the left ones are friction,

might score 2 lefts.

RBW got the sun tour sprint downtune levers, and Shimano's bar end pods reproduced, they work together..

Most downtube levers will .. ..
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Old 07-17-13, 09:55 PM
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Just in case someone else is looking for something similar:
Microshift BS T09 - 9 speed, but both front and rear are friction capable.
http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...5&category=162

Comes with a shift cable and not too expensive I suppose. Can't see any used ones for sale though - most ebay sellers stock the A09 model - right index only.
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Old 07-17-13, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by treadtread View Post
I want the shifters to support friction on both, left and right. The Shimano Ultegra don't do that - do all Shimano Durace support right/left friction mode? I'm looking at ebay, and often the model isn't perfectly listed. Which specific models should I look out for?

Another option is to get Dia Compe (friction only) shifters for around 65 from wiggle, or 82 from velo-orange. Would be nice to have both, friction and indexed though - but if I have to have only one, I'll probably end up getting the friction only version.
I have the Dura Ace models and yes, you can use friction on both sides. Left side is friction only, where the right side is either. I prefer friction over the indexed.
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Old 07-18-13, 06:08 AM
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I am pretty sure on all of the Shimano you can flip it to friction mode on the right. Buy a used set to save money. If you want to go friction than it won't matter if they are older ones with a lower index number.

Edited to add: I just looked and the Ultegra can indeed be flipped to friction on the right.

Last edited by Johnny Alien; 07-18-13 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 07-18-13, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Alien View Post
I am pretty sure on all of the Shimano you can flip it to friction mode on the right. Buy a used set to save money. If you want to go friction than it won't matte rif they are older ones with a lower index number.

Edited to add: I just looked and the Ultegra can indeed be flipped to friction on the right.

there was one model a couple years ago
i think of dura ace
that was not friction compatible on the right side

i dont know if they still make those or not
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Old 07-18-13, 10:57 AM
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I'll keep a lookout for a used set, or end up getting the Microshift - reviews were good. Anyway, looks like my conversion plan has gone awry at the moment - some stuff that I bought on ebay got delivered to the wrong address (I always had ebay stuff delivered to my office, not sure when I changed that to my home address - and I moved a few months ago). Status shows the package as delivered, so I'm not sure - maybe the existing tenants just kept it? Entirely my fault, so I may have just blown some of my budget

Edited to add: Shimano Duraace BS 79 doesn't support friction in the rear.

Last edited by treadtread; 07-18-13 at 11:00 AM. Reason: ..
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Old 07-18-13, 11:24 AM
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so this 10 or 11 speed ? is probably aimed just at racing. front of Tri Bars..
9 speed still has a ring to un index it.
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Old 07-18-13, 11:49 AM
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Yes, the 79 model is 10 speed.
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Old 07-18-13, 12:50 PM
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Cheap and newest 10 speed new stuff is nonsensical as a combined thing..

Old 5 by 2 is more that .. even before Cassette hubs at all..


Have used friction shifters for about 40 years, but I got off the 'more is better' cult, band wagon,
at 7 speeds.

that is what My Touring bike has .. triple crank ...

next bike I got an IGH.. 1 cog 1 chainring .

packing all those extra cogs in a limited space really is only satisfactory
for most people as a preset indexed set ..


want 10 ("20/30") speeds, on a road bike, now? might as well get Brifters.

electronic shifting is now allowing Triathletes, to have both ..
buttons on the Brifters, and out on their Aero Bars.

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-18-13 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 07-18-13, 01:33 PM
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My guess is that it doesn't support it because having 10 or 11 speeds with friction isn't going to work very well. So if someone is buying them for 10 or 11 then they would need indexing.

Last edited by Johnny Alien; 07-18-13 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 07-18-13, 02:15 PM
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You can use a friction shifter with a 10 speed but it will take some getting used to with closer cogs. Closer gears mean the chain has to be fine-tuned a bit more after getting it in to the right gear. With an 11 speed, give up on friction shifters.

The bar ends may be worth the money. They will give a sleeker look to the whole setup and you don't have to lift your hands off the bars to shift, unless you are riding in the top part of the drop bar.
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Old 07-18-13, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Cheap and newest 10 speed new stuff is nonsensical as a combined thing..

Old 5 by 2 is more that .. even before Cassette hubs at all..


Have used friction shifters for about 40 years, but I got off the 'more is better' cult, band wagon,
at 7 speeds.

that is what My Touring bike has .. triple crank ...

next bike I got an IGH.. 1 cog 1 chainring .

packing all those extra cogs in a limited space really is only satisfactory
for most people as a preset indexed set ..


want 10 ("20/30") speeds, on a road bike, now? might as well get Brifters.

electronic shifting is now allowing Triathletes, to have both ..
buttons on the Brifters, and out on their Aero Bars.
That is precisely my point. I don't want 9 or 10 speeds - I am perfectly happy with my current 8 speeds. I just need something that does the job at a reasonable cost and comparable quality - e.g., I am happy with my Altus and don't see a need to upgrade to Deore. I don't need Duraace - but I don't seem to have an option!
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Old 07-18-13, 06:36 PM
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a deft hand on an 8 speed .. will make up for the klick shifting .. just may have to see what is in recycled bike Co Ops ..

I have discontinued Campag MTB RD , mid 70's suntour power ratchet bar ends 7 speed seems as wide as they throw ,

might need like Jtech's cable travel pulleys . like the V brake travel agent for brakes , but it sits back on your RD.

then the cable moves further back there than at the lever..

New Ultegra, with right indexed only, will cost about $75.
If new in Box, as a pair, It should include housing, cables, and the adapter piece
to make a downtube shift boss into a cable housing stop with an adjuster.

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-18-13 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 07-19-13, 12:09 PM
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I bought some nice old Suntour thumb shifters on Ebay for $20.....Mtn bike though....These are seven speed shifters but work well on 8 speed in friction mode.



Racheting friction on the front.....Index or friction on the back.....Well made....Nice!

Sun Tour also made some nice bar end and downtube shifters,mostly 6-7 speed but will work with 8 speed on friction setting.

You should be able to find some Suntour barend shifters for $20-30 on Ebay.

Last edited by Booger1; 07-19-13 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 07-24-13, 06:22 AM
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So I've been tracking bar end shifters on ebay, without success so far. Just stopped by to say: one set of Suntour bar end shifters is currently selling for $53, with 6 hours to go .. and this does not include shipping! Now may be a good time to unload, if you've got some in the parts bin
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Old 07-24-13, 11:52 AM
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I have Suntour friction shifters on my bike. Picked them up for 2 bucks at my co-op.


(Sorry for the crappy pic, 'twas the best I had.)

Frickin' love 'em, I'd never go back to indexing on my bike.
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Old 07-24-13, 03:35 PM
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$107 + $8 shipping. Someone really loves Suntour!
http://www.ebay.com/itm/161068497789...84.m1438.l2649
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Old 07-24-13, 04:09 PM
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Bidding wars are good for the sellers..
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