Try 3: 9 speed downtube shifters
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  1. #1
    Cannot bench own weight
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    Try 3: 9 speed downtube shifters

    In a couple of other threads, I've been looking for parts to build up a bike made for a century ride in the mountains. The goal as been to use as many spare parts as possible. Getting appropriate gearing is the issue.

    I think what I'm going to do is take my single speed (a different Colnago), put a spare MTB cassette (11-34) and MTB derailleur on, swap the 42 for a 39 in front. For shifting I'll just use a single downtube shifter.

    Is there anything special I need to know about working with Shimano 9 speed cassette and derailleur? Anyone have one (or a set) they want to sell?
    77th highest post count as of 9/4/2008

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I did this to a bike without shifter bosses, and went with an old Simano 600 clamp-on-- ran it in friction- and it worked great. You can use any freewheel/cassette you want in the rear with friction. You will gain retro-grouch curmudgeon points as you ponder how overrated indexing is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Einstruzende
    In a couple of other threads, I've been looking for parts to build up a bike made for a century ride in the mountains. The goal as been to use as many spare parts as possible. Getting appropriate gearing is the issue.

    I think what I'm going to do is take my single speed (a different Colnago), put a spare MTB cassette (11-34) and MTB derailleur on, swap the 42 for a 39 in front. For shifting I'll just use a single downtube shifter.

    Is there anything special I need to know about working with Shimano 9 speed cassette and derailleur? Anyone have one (or a set) they want to sell?

  3. #3
    Roadie with unshaven legs
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    Don't forget the narrower chain, too.

    Any modern Shimano or Campagnolo rear derailleur would shift a Shimano 9-speed cassette if you have friction shifters. The trick is to use a light touch as the amount of cable you need to pull is so little that you can easily move the lever too much and shift two gears. What I did when I last ran friction with a narrowly spaced cassette was to slowly and gently move the lever in the intended location until it shifted then trimmed it (you probably don't need to trim it if you use a new chain with a Shimano cassette and derailleur with the floating upper pulley).

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Get the shifter. Ride the bike.

    It'll work fine. There's no such thing as an N-speed Shimano RD, regardless of the value of "N". Except for 6-8 speed D/A, which wouldn't work for you anyway, any Shimano index-compatible RD will index with any Shimano-spaced cluster, so long as the shifters have the right number of clicks.

    Shimano MTB and road RDs have the same actuation ratio (derailleur movement to cable travel). Shimano FDs, for some reason nobody on earth can explain, are different. An MTB front derailleur won't index with a road shifter, and vice versa. The rears just work.

    A 1986 600EX rear derailleur will index with a 2007 10 speed DA brifter and cassette. On my tandem, I'm running a "7 speed" Deore XT rear derailleur with 8 speed Ultegra bar-ends, on a 7 speed Sachs freewheel. It indexes perfectly. As does the 9 speed Deore LX/8 speed Ultegra barcon/7 speed Sachs freewheel on the touring bike, and the 7 speed Deore XT thumbie/9 speed XTR RD/8 speed cassette on the MTB.

    Build it, adjust it, ride it.

    Depending on your frame, chain length, phase of the moon, whatever, you may need to leave the front derailleur on as a chain keeper. Try it without, but if the chain jumps in any gear, put it back on. My 1x7 town bike (built on a 1977 Panasonic-built Schwinn Super Le Tour 12.2) doesn't need one, but it's got long stays, and the old-school chainring has tall teeth and no ramps, pins, or shifting aids. Try setting the ring on both sides of the crank spider for best chainline. Mine's on the inside, but it's bike-specific. You'll need BMX chainring bolts, or spacers.

    the 1x7/8/9 is an interesting drivetrain. Very simple. No-thought shifting. Bigger jumps between gears than most are used to. To be happy, a rider needs to have a wide range of comfortable cadences and efforts. If you're the kind of rider who stays between 90-100 rpm, changing gears with every ripple in the road or change in speed, you'll need to adjust your legs and your head, and you may not like this setup at all. For me, it carries along with it a more relaxed kind of attitude toward riding the bike, and you give up some speed. Well, I would if I had any to begin with.

    I wouldn't set up my only bike this way, but I like it a lot on the right bike.

    Hope that helps.

    --Shannon

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Einstruzende
    In a couple of other threads, I've been looking for parts to build up a bike made for a century ride in the mountains. The goal as been to use as many spare parts as possible. Getting appropriate gearing is the issue.

    I think what I'm going to do is take my single speed (a different Colnago), put a spare MTB cassette (11-34) and MTB derailleur on, swap the 42 for a 39 in front. For shifting I'll just use a single downtube shifter.

    Is there anything special I need to know about working with Shimano 9 speed cassette and derailleur? Anyone have one (or a set) they want to sell?
    Depending on how fit you are, you might be better off leaving the 42 on the front. I just bought a new cassette to help me in the mountains: lowest gear is going to be 39x29. With a 34 rear cog, you might prefer the 42x11 combo for those downhills and whatever flats you find (with the wind at your back). Consult the local riders in the area you plan to ride in (or others who have ridden that century before), but I'd be surprised if many of them ride it with lower than 39x29, which is equivalent to 42x31. So you could probably even go with a 11x32 mtb cassette and be fine with the 42.

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