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Downtube conversion

Old 07-13-10, 05:09 PM
  #1  
Chef151
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Downtube conversion

I have found a great bike for sale, a mid 80s de rosa bike, with downtube shifters, 105, in like new condition(says the owner). I've set a budget for my wife's first road bike (this is for her), up to $500.

I have all but closed a deal on a 2001 trek 2200 with 105, but this bike is calling to me, as we have looked for a while for a steel framed Italian bike for her to no avail until now. Now that ive found one, everything seems perfect on it, except the down tube shifting.

So now for the question, could I convert this bike to brighter style shifters(tiagra or 105, even used would be just fine with her) and still stay in my budget? The bike is being offered for $250.

Thanks!

Last edited by Chef151; 07-13-10 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 07-13-10, 05:25 PM
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What's wrong with the existing downtube shifters? My early 80s Ciocc has Campy downtube friction shifters and I much prefer them to the brake lever mounted "Nintendo" shifters that are the current fad.
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Old 07-13-10, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ciocc_cat View Post
What's wrong with the existing downtube shifters? My early 80s Ciocc has Campy downtube friction shifters and I much prefer them to the brake lever mounted "Nintendo" shifters that are the current fad.
"current fad"? Do you even know what the word "fad" means?
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Old 07-13-10, 05:31 PM
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I'd say you could easily stay under budget. You may have to look for some deals though, and do your own bike work.

You'd have to get new shifters, cable, cable housing, and possibly a new cassette/chain.
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Old 07-13-10, 05:32 PM
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Yes, it can be done.

If you guys/gals start going on group rides, you will have all kinds of deals at your disposal when it comes to gear and bikes, hell, some riders will even give you stuff.

I have basically given away old wheels, shifters, cranks, casettes, tires, etc. etc.

In fact, I have a brand new Campy Chorus rear cassette sitting here at the office to give to a rider that needs some extra teeth, he just needs to stop by for the install.

Granted, some towns suck for the biking scene, but it seems to be better than 15 years ago.

EDIT-I have probably 3 sets of wheels in the bathroom alone at my office, if you ride with me and need spares etc. I will gladly square you away, as will most other cyclists.
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Old 07-13-10, 05:34 PM
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Nothing wrong at all actually. She could certainly use them for a while and convert them, if she wants, later on.

De Rosa are great bikes from what little I've read, so it seems to be a good deal for a what looks to be a VERY clean bike.
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Old 07-13-10, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Sprocket Man View Post
"current fad"? Do you even know what the word "fad" means?
A fad, sometimes called a trend, meme or a craze, is any form of behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period, generally as a result of the behavior's being perceived as novel in some way. A fad is said to "catch on" when the number of people adopting it begins to increase rapidly. The behavior will normally fade quickly once the perception of novelty is gone.

Is that good enough for you?
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Old 07-13-10, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ciocc_cat View Post
A fad, sometimes called a trend, meme or a craze, is any form of behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period, generally as a result of the behavior's being perceived as novel in some way. A fad is said to "catch on" when the number of people adopting it begins to increase rapidly. The behavior will normally fade quickly once the perception of novelty is gone.

Is that good enough for you?
That's exactly what it means, but to call brake lever/shifter system a "fad" is stupid. I've owned bikes with "brifters" since '91. They've only increased in popularity since then. It's not a fad.
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Old 07-13-10, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Sprocket Man View Post
That's exactly what it means, but to call brake lever/shifter system a "fad" is stupid. I've owned bikes with "brifters" since '91. They've only increased in popularity since then. It's not a fad.
Not a fad? That's for future historians to decide, not you or I. Right now it still meets the definition of "fad" even if largely embraced by the pro-peleton copying cycling population. (Oh, why does the word "sheeple" come to mind?)

You stick with your "brifters" and I'll stay with my downtube friction shifters. I wouldn't put a spoiler on a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air any more than I'd put "brifters" on a classic 80s De Rosa, but to each his own.
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Old 07-13-10, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ciocc_cat View Post
Not a fad? That's for future historians to decide, not you or I.
Care to name me something that has increased in popularity every year for the last 20 years that can rightfully be called a fad?
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Old 07-13-10, 06:03 PM
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ciocc, i understand what you're trying to say, you like dt shifters better. but calling sti's a fad is a bit much. simply just incorrect.

and OP... yes, it can definitely be done within your budget.

contrary to what ciocc feels about DT shifters, i'm under the impression that STI's are safer, you don't have to remove your hands from the handlebars to shift.
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Old 07-13-10, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ptle View Post
I'd say you could easily stay under budget. You may have to look for some deals though, and do your own bike work.

You'd have to get new shifters, cable, cable housing, and possibly a new cassette/chain.
Don't forget rear wheel.

I converted my old steel for about $350, but could have done it for less. Take your time shopping for quality used parts.
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Old 07-13-10, 06:54 PM
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Damn!
Was about to make the two hour drive to Miami and I called the owner once more. He'd received a number of calls, and one guy was heading to his house to test ride it. I decided to go for it and told him that I would buy it for $350 if he would hold it for me. Unfortunately, the guy who arrived to see the bike before I could leave, met my price and it sold. I think I would have gone to $425 too oh well.

Here is the link if anybody is interested: https://miami.craigslist.org/brw/bik/1841353714.html

Thanks for the quick responses anyways!
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Old 07-13-10, 06:56 PM
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Barcons are a much cheaper alternative.
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Old 07-13-10, 07:14 PM
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A mid-80's de Rosa lugged steel frame? If it isn't trashed I wouldn't care what was hanging on it at that price. If it is my size I will be jealous. I have a lot of period correct stuff to throw on that frame.
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Old 07-13-10, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ciocc_cat View Post
Not a fad? That's for future historians to decide, not you or I. Right now it still meets the definition of "fad" even if largely embraced by the pro-peleton copying cycling population. (Oh, why does the word "sheeple" come to mind?)

You stick with your "brifters" and I'll stay with my downtube friction shifters. I wouldn't put a spoiler on a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air any more than I'd put "brifters" on a classic 80s De Rosa, but to each his own.
you're making this into a "brifter" vs downtube shifter debate for no reason.

i personally woudn't convert such a classic bike - i tend to like bikes that are period correct, but i'd never call "brifters" a fad.
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Old 07-13-10, 07:26 PM
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If you are just asking if you can upgrade to STI shifter style for $250 yes if you look for the parts, You will need on the budget side 105 shifters w/cable & housings and some cable stops for the frame, it the bike is not 10 speed a cassette and chain most like 105 cassette to keep price down.
This all can be found for the $250 budget.
I did this convesion https://www.jtgraphics.net/cannondale_sr500.htm but was not worried on budget but shows parts needed.
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Old 07-13-10, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Sprocket Man View Post
Care to name me something that has increased in popularity every year for the last 20 years that can rightfully be called a fad?
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Old 07-13-10, 07:51 PM
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$270 was the asking price? I would have bought first, asked later.
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Old 07-13-10, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ciocc_cat View Post
Not a fad? That's for future historians to decide, not you or I. Right now it still meets the definition of "fad" even if largely embraced by the pro-peleton copying cycling population. (Oh, why does the word "sheeple" come to mind?)

You stick with your "brifters" and I'll stay with my downtube friction shifters. I wouldn't put a spoiler on a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air any more than I'd put "brifters" on a classic 80s De Rosa, but to each his own.
Try telling us that as we beat you in a sprint.
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Old 07-13-10, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chado445510 View Post
Try telling us that as we beat you in a sprint.
You are shifting in a sprint? Are you saying that you didn't select the correct gear before the real sprint?

And there is no problem with shifting DT friction shifters under load if you know what you are doing,
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Old 07-13-10, 08:12 PM
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Anyone remember in the 80s when Schwinn avoided building mountain bikes because it was just a fad? Sorry, Schwinn, no do-overs.

To Chef151, I've made the change to brifters from downtube on three bikes, a Bianchi, Cannondale and a Nishiki Prestige. If you're a club rider that does 18MPH avg rides or faster, I recommend them. There is a big difference between taking your hand off the bars, reaching down, grabbing the shifter, pushing down to change a gear while focusing on the ride versus flicking your finger to shift while your hand stays on the hoods. This is especially true for a new rider who is still gaining riding confidence.
But there is much to consider. What is the spread between the dropouts, do you want to cold set the frame or, if it's 126mm, stay with the frame as is. Shimano made 7 speed RSX shifters that are usually available on ebay that will allow you to use a rear wheel with a 7 speed freewheel or, if you prefer, a 7 speed cassette. Either will work within the confines of a 126mm rear spacing. If you go to 8 speed or more you will have to go with 130mm. I believe the same is true for Campy 8 speed, but I must confess, I only have Campy 9 and 10 speed bikes so I'm not sure about Campy 8.
Good luck and keep coming back here for more info.
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Old 07-13-10, 08:21 PM
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The bike I built for my girlfriend has downtube shifters. She doesn't have a problem with them, although she would prefer brifters. But for a first road bike, I wouldn't overthink it too much.
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Old 07-13-10, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
You are shifting in a sprint? Are you saying that you didn't select the correct gear before the real sprint?

And there is no problem with shifting DT friction shifters under load if you know what you are doing,
I know you can shift under load but I can accelerate faster if I shift while sprinting because being a teenager, I can't push a huge gear like Petacchi and just go - I pick the right gear, but there is more than one correct gear between 22 and 32 mph.

I'd like to see someone shifting a DT shifter while out of the saddle.
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Old 07-13-10, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by chado445510 View Post

I'd like to see someone shifting a DT shifter while out of the saddle.
It's very possible to do. Especially if the shifters are indexed.
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