Downtube Shifters on Modern Derailleurs?
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  1. #1
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    Downtube Shifters on Modern Derailleurs?

    In theory, could you mount and use downtube shifters in friction mode on modern (road) derailleurs only limited by the shifter total cable pull?

    Specifically:
    Dura Ace DT shifters (I believe 7700 - rated 9 speed?)
    SRAM Force 22 WiFli
    Shimano 11-32 Cassette

    Iíve read itís ďpossibleĒ with limits and in this case, probably swapping to a 9 speed cassette.

    Anyone try this and successful? Or not possible and Iíd need a different/older rear derailleur?


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  2. #2
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    Any non-indexed down tube shifter will work with any range of cassette if that's the way you want to go. The Dura Ace 7700 dt shifters are a good choice. Another good choice is the Suntour Superbe Pro which has a ratcheting power shift in friction mode, just like the Simplex levers.

    Shifting however will take practice to get the shifts accurate & smooth because with 11 gears, its very easy to over shift & miss the gear that you actually wanted. Its just like driving a stick shift for the first time but with practice you will get more used to doing it.
    Last edited by stan01; 01-06-2020 at 07:40 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by stan01 View Post
    Any non-indexed down tube shifter will work with any range of cassette if that's the way you want to go. The Dura Ace 7700 dt shifters are a good choice. Another good choice is the Suntour Superbe Pro which has a ratcheting power shift in friction mode, just like the Simplex levers.

    Shifting however will take practice to get the shifts accurate & smooth because with 11 gears, its very easy to over shift & miss the gear that you actually wanted. Its just like driving a stick shift for the first time but with practice you will get more used to doing it.
    I would be interested in hearing from someone who did this. Back in the day with 7s friction shifting, many were challenged by the need to slightly over-shift and then center the derailleur with a smooth motion. This technique would be additionally challenged with 11s spacing, though the addition of shifting ramps, improved chains, floating top pulleys, etc. may address some of this.

  4. #4
    jkc
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    I was using my 7 speed Ultegra drivetrain on my trainer with 11 speed cassette (12-25) for awhile. The front was a pain but the rear was fine.

  5. #5
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    Bar-end shifters are downtube shifters mounted to handlebar plugs. If you want to run 9, 10 or 11 speed cassette and derailleur, just get a set of 9, 10 or 11 speed shifters. No need to run in friction mode unless you just really want to do that. Microshift makes good shifters at a reasonable price for this.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for everyoneís feedback! Took it to the shop today and the mechanic will see what they can do!

    Iíll post my results.

    Shimano Dura Ace 7700 Downtube shifters
    SRAM Force 22 WiFli
    SRAM 8 speed chain
    SRAM 11-32 8 speed cassette


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  7. #7
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    It's going to be friction so it'll work fine, just don't try to use the indexing on the shifter.
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  8. #8
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    Yeah, Iím actually assuming itíll work especially in friction mode and only using 8 speeds which I believe is lower than the 9 the Dura Aceís are rated for.


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  9. #9
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by instantturtle View Post
    Yeah, Iím actually assuming itíll work especially in friction mode and only using 8 speeds which I believe is lower than the 9 the Dura Aceís are rated for.


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    Well you've also got a SRAM derailleur and Shimano shifters...no way that would work together, other than in friction mode.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Well you've also got a SRAM derailleur and Shimano shifters...no way that would work together, other than in friction mode.
    Im sure Iím missing something here, but why?
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  11. #11
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Really? Because SRAM and Shimano have different cable pull : derailleur movement ratios. They always have. That and the fact there here has never been an 8 or 9 speed SRAM road derailleur so even if the ratio was compatible you'd have a 10 speed shifter and an 8 or 9 speed cassette. Friction is the only way to make this work.
    I work for some bike racers
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Really? Because SRAM and Shimano have different cable pull : derailleur movement ratios. They always have. That and the fact there here has never been an 8 or 9 speed SRAM road derailleur so even if the ratio was compatible you'd have a 10 speed shifter and an 8 or 9 speed cassette. Friction is the only way to make this work.
    Thats a great explanation! It nails why it works and how!! My question was more geared toward why would you run friction if you have the option of indexed short of a nice vintage ride?
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  13. #13
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    If you're going to run friction, and Simplex Retrofriction levers pull enough cable to work with your derailleur of choice, I would recommend them. They are, IMO, the finest friction shifters on the planet. They haven't been made in years, and can get pricey for NOS, but some nice used ones can be found at fair prices, if you shop around a bit.

    https://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com...-part-one.html

    https://sportifbicycle.blogspot.com/...rs-part-1.html

    https://sportifbicycle.blogspot.com/...rs-part-2.html

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Sim...YAAOSw0gVeCJsa


    I have a set mounted on an old Campagnolo equipped bike; and another set in the cabinet, just so I know I have them.
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