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  1. #1
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    Friction to Index Shifting

    Hi, new to this forum, but have been on the mountain bike forum fro some time now. Anyway, Ive searched but couldnt find anything, so Ill ask. I apologize if I missed this somewhere else.

    I have an OLD Bridgestone road bike that is probably 30 years old. I have recently brought it back to life, and ride it daily. I would however like to convert the friction shifting to indexed shifting. Is this as easy as adding an indexed shifter for 8 speeds, even though I only have 7, and just blocking off one of the "clicks"?

    Im a mountain bike guy, and have never had to deal with this before, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Brian

  2. #2
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    No. What indexing does is match the ammount of cable movement (and hence RD movement) to the distance between the cogs. Therefore you need to match your shifter to your cassette. Its not necessary to match the RD (as long as it has sufficient capacity) as it simply moves as far as the shifter demands.

  3. #3
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    So how would I tell what the spacing is? How would I know which shifter to buy? In the mountain bike world, there are SRAM, and Shimano, is the road bike world the same?

    Thanks again
    Brian

  4. #4
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    I am not an expert, but I believe there is no such thing as indexed 7 spd shifters. There was another post around here somewhere concerning this issue. You should build it with the friction shifters and live with it, learn to love it, because if you want to convert, you need to replace so much stuff you will need a new bike. The new setup will require a different rear wheel spacing, rear wheel,RD, Shifters, possibly frame.

  5. #5
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    I'm sorry but I don't want to lead you astray. If your bike is 30 years old there will be all sorts of considerations but best advice is usually not to try and modernise an old bike but just repair it.
    Off the top of my head things to check will be rear drop-out spacing, cassette or freewheel, wheel diameter, handle-bar diameter brake compatability. What are you trying to achieve. Purely indexed shifting or modern combined brake/shifters?
    My best guess is that you have a 7 speed freewheel and 126mm drop-outs. To go to Sora 8 speed shifters you will need a new hub (and therefore really a new wheel), 8 speed cassette plus chain and spread the frame to 130 mm. Oh new gear cables and possibly brake ones too and you still need to check that the shifters will fit your bars (new tape!) and will work with your brakes.
    Anything can be done if you have bucket loads of parts lying around and plenty of time but it is not worth speding out to buy all the parts.

  6. #6
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    What parts are currently on the frame? Anything from 1981 would be relatively easy to convert to seven speed with a seven speed freewheel, chain, indexable Shimano compatible RD and a seven speed shifter. Downtube shifters are more common, but there were 7 speed STI shifters, and scrounging one up is not impossible.
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  7. #7
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    The bike currently works fine, and I ride it every day, I just hate the friction shifters! It does have a 7 speed freewheel on it, and a Shimano RD. The levers for the shifters are on the downtube. It would seem that I could get a shifter to work with the 7 speed without a problem, just not sure if the spacing on the shifter would be ok? Is all I would really need is the shifter, and a cable/housing. I do not have integrated brakes/shifters, so it would seem to me this would be an easy deal. I dont care about the front, just the rear.

  8. #8
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    7 speed index shifting

    Quote Originally Posted by nov0798
    The bike currently works fine, and I ride it every day, I just hate the friction shifters! It does have a 7 speed freewheel on it, and a Shimano RD. The levers for the shifters are on the downtube. It would seem that I could get a shifter to work with the 7 speed without a problem, just not sure if the spacing on the shifter would be ok? Is all I would really need is the shifter, and a cable/housing. I do not have integrated brakes/shifters, so it would seem to me this would be an easy deal. I dont care about the front, just the rear.
    The only indexed shifting you could get for 7 speed would be downtube shifters - eBay is your best bet, though a bike shop might have a "junk drawer" with 7s downtube shifters in it. As others have noted, trying to update a 30 year old bike is like opening a black hole for money. 7 and 8 speed spacing are not the same, though they are close. You might get it to work, and then again it might work poorly. You could spend a lot of time and money and have something that is mediocre. Don't start down that path.

  9. #9
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    OK so they offer indexed downtube shifters? havent seen those. That may be the way to go, im just familiar with the ones that fit the handlebars. Like I said Im an off road rider, who uses the road to train for endurance. As for the money aspect of it, most of this stuff is relatively cheap (in my opinion). I wouldnt spend more on it than I could buy a new bike for, thats for sure!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    The only indexed shifting you could get for 7 speed would be downtube shifters - eBay is your best bet, though a bike shop might have a "junk drawer" with 7s downtube shifters in it. As others have noted, trying to update a 30 year old bike is like opening a black hole for money. 7 and 8 speed spacing are not the same, though they are close. You might get it to work, and then again it might work poorly. You could spend a lot of time and money and have something that is mediocre. Don't start down that path.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-RSX-7-Sp...item43a6e04fab

    Sometimes it is easy to feel like one is speaking French.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the link, but those wont work! I dont have the drop bars on the bike, I switched to a mountain bike bar on the bike, and converted it from quill to threadless, becuase of my height (6'4"). This option allows me to place the bars a little higher, resulting in a more confortable ride.

    Not sure if the French comment was directed at me, I just havent seen downtube indexed shifters, and a search on Ebay returned nothing?

  12. #12
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    I have found a bunch of available flat bar indexed 7 speed shifters over at Niagra Cycle,

    I'll see what I can find and add some links.

    It looks as though the trigger shifters I saw there with integrated brake levers are gone, but they still have some twist shifters for 7 speed.
    Last edited by chas0039; 05-07-2011 at 06:24 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nov0798
    Thanks for the link, but those wont work! I dont have the drop bars on the bike, I switched to a mountain bike bar on the bike, and converted it from quill to threadless, becuase of my height (6'4"). This option allows me to place the bars a little higher, resulting in a more confortable ride.

    Not sure if the French comment was directed at me, I just havent seen downtube indexed shifters, and a search on Ebay returned nothing?
    No, the French comment was for Kerry.

    If you want shifters for the bars of moutain bike, you might want to say that. There are seven speed shifters for mountain bike bars. All the Shimano compatible 7 speed MTB shifters, as well as the Grip Shift 7 will work with Shimano derailleurs and freewheel. Grip Shifters are very cheap and last a long time.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-RSX-7-Sp...item43a6e04fab

    Sometimes it is easy to feel like one is speaking French.

    Yes they are avail, but all things considered, how good do you think they are? It's a gamble. I've seen more RSX 7 speed shifters that are looser than a 2 bit hooker than I care to count. The others are so gummed up that the WD-40 trick doesn't work.



    Grip shifters should be your friend.
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  15. #15
    wim
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    Not that hard to find.

    Quote Originally Posted by nov0798
    I just havent seen downtube indexed shifters, and a search on Ebay returned nothing?
    7-speed Shimano 105 indexed (optional friction for the rear) downtube shifters had the model number SL-1051. Try your search again with that designation in the search term. Also ask, as said, bike shops for them. Many shops have a "vintage parts" bin.

  16. #16
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    Anything but Dura Ace will work of this list (ignoring the drop bar shifters):
    http://sporting-goods.shop.ebay.com/....c0.m270.l1313

    And most of these for flat bars:
    http://sporting-goods.shop.ebay.com/...=p3286.c0.m282
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  17. #17
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    I dont think the rear casette/freewheel is Shimano, i think it may be Suntour but not exactly sure. Anyway, I assume the Shimano indexed 7 speed stuff will match up to the spacing on the freewheel cogs?

  18. #18
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by nov0798
    I dont think the rear casette/freewheel is Shimano, i think it may be Suntour but not exactly sure. Anyway, I assume the Shimano indexed 7 speed stuff will match up to the spacing on the freewheel cogs?
    Both Shimano and Suntour 7-speed cogs had the same 5.0 mm spacing except the Suntour "MicroDrive" cogs, which had variable spacing.

  19. #19
    OES
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    Or you could mount the 7-speed shifters on Kelly Take-Offs, or use Suntour Command Shifters, which will roughly index a Shimano freewheel -- you might have one clattery cog.

    Either would be a bit hard to find, but not impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    The only indexed shifting you could get for 7 speed would be downtube shifters - eBay is your best bet, though a bike shop might have a "junk drawer" with 7s downtube shifters in it. As others have noted, trying to update a 30 year old bike is like opening a black hole for money. 7 and 8 speed spacing are not the same, though they are close. You might get it to work, and then again it might work poorly. You could spend a lot of time and money and have something that is mediocre. Don't start down that path.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OES
    Or you could mount the 7-speed shifters on Kelly Take-Offs, or use Suntour Command Shifters, which will roughly index a Shimano freewheel -- you might have one clattery cog.

    Either would be a bit hard to find, but not impossible.
    Flat bar.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  21. #21
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    I was going down the converting from friction to indexed road as well. After finding out the cost, I stopped. I'm having it tuned up today and a 6 free wheel to a 7 placed. The front shifter over shifts to the larger front sprocket and is scary when going >30mi/hr!! Hopefully that is an easy fix. Yep, forever trimming friction. I still have not got down which direction to move the front derailer intutively. Going to take some long rides to instinctively do I guess.

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