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  1. #1
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    Drop bar comuter

    I was given a very old Lugged steel 12spd Trek road bike with down tube shifters and drop bars. I am looking to either get some different shifters as I can't get used to friction or even down tube for that matter or would it be better to just forgo trying to retain drop bars and go with a straight bar and a different style shifter for it.

    It has a Suntour XL RD and Suntour FD.

    I have searched but never really come up with anything very use fall.

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure what you're looking for. When you say friction do you mean bar end? Have you considered STI/brifter style shifters? I'd guess you'd have to change most of your drivetrain to make them work.

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    Yes, I am referring to down tube shifters style that are friction. I was looking to not replace everything as to that point I might as well buy a new bike.

  4. #4
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    There's a style of shifter you can mount on the ends of your drop bars, like this:


    I would guess they'd be more versatile for use with what I'm guessing is 2x6 gearing.

    edit: after more research, there are also adapters that will let you mount your current downtube shifters either along the bar or at the bar end.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    edit: after more research, there are also adapters that will let you mount your current downtube shifters either along the bar or at the bar end.

    That's going to be your only economical choice, but of course that isn't going to do anything about the friction shifting. Be glad you didn't start riding before the mid 80s, when down tube friction was all there was. Suntour isn't around any more, and indexed shifters that are compatible with your freewheel/derailleur never existed. There's a good chance you'd have to replace the rear hub as well.

    To convert to STI you'd be looking at $500 minimum, I'd guess. To go to shimano bar ends, probably $300-350. I don't think your frame is anything special that would be worth pouring money into to upgrade, you could get a complete bike with the shifters you want for what it would cost to convert.

  6. #6
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    Sheldon Brown was a little less pessimistic than Joules:

    Freewheels (Thread on Type) for Bicycles from Harris Cyclery

    That includes:

    If your bike currently has a regular-spaced 6-speed freewheel, you can generally upgrade to 7-speed with little trouble. Since the sprockets are closer together on a 7-speed freewheel, the overall width is only very slightly wider than a regular-spaced 6-speed.

    Sun Tour indexed shifters pull less cable per shift than Shimano systems use. Thus, generally, you need to match Sun Tour indexed shifters with Sun Tour rear derailers.
    There's also Traditional Thread-on Freewheels which talks about upgrading older bikes to indexed.

    I don't know where you'd find any of that stuff new, but if there's a bike coop around they might have parts to try out.

  7. #7
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    Another option if it is the reach down to the down tube that bugs you, is to see if the local bike shop has an old set of Suntour friction stem mount shifters. That will bring them at least as close as bar end ones. Or something like this: IRD Silver SOS power ratchet Thumb shifters. Pauls let you mount shimano bar end shifters.

    That said I converted a 2 x 5 120 mm rear through 3 x 5, 3 x7, (cold set rear to 130 mm) finally 3 x 10. The last thing I did was go indexed with brifters. Others said I would take to them like a duck to water. I like them a lot but the friction Suntour stem mount on the 1 x 9 errand bike is fine (wider shifts so the delay is unimportant and you do get a feel fast for the shift points).

  8. #8
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    OK so after I wrote this I went to a local shop that seems to deal with old items. They had old Shimano 105 downtube shifters that were indexed that seemd to fit on some retroshift shifters. I am going to give them a trey and see what happens. I am probably just being stubborn in trying to make this comfortable like a new style road bike.

  9. #9
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    ^^ We need a picture. Some old road bikes are well worth the effort. If it fits you well and rides and handles well and makes you happy, to heck with what anyone else thinks. Nice classic workmanship is worth preserving. (Says this owner of 2 oldie but goodies.) Ask Rodar.

  10. #10
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    Nice classic workmanship is worth preserving. (Says this owner of 2 oldie but goodies.) Ask Rodar.
    Haha! Rodar doesn`t have a big stash of classic bikes, but he is sort of stuck in the 90s

    Scribble, you do have some options for upgrading and keeping the dropbars. But before you jump into it, how is the fit with the bars it has now? If you feel good on the bike as it stands, remember that it`s probably going to be too cramped for you with a flat bar. On the other hand, if you`re a bit stretched, the flat bar might actually be helpful in that respect. I`ve gone the other way (drop bars on an mtb) a few times and it`s possible, but it does kind of open up a can of worms with no guarantees as to how the bike is going to handle for you afterwards.

    If keeping the drop bar, the cheapest way to indexed rear shifting with currently available new parts would be a set of 8-speed bar ends with a 7-speed freewheel and any Shimano RD (even an old mtb model) from the 90s on. You can redish the current wheel for 7-speed and Shimano 8-speed shifters index just fine with 7-speed rear (you`ll just have a ghost position below your gtranny gear). That still leaves you with friction shifting up front (all bar ends and downtube shifters have friction only in front), but you might find that you actually prefer it in front- I`m one of a large "club" who like rear indexing and still want friction in front. Or you can hound eBay for 6-speed indexed DT levers- they probably won`t be expensive. New 8-speeds are fairly cheap, too:
    Amazon.com: Shimano SL-BS64 Ultegra Bar End Shifter Set (8-Speed): Sports & Outdoors

    If you want to throw a little bit more cash into the pit (we won`t try to stop you!) you can go with a modern wheel and 8 to 11 speed cassette along with the new shifters and derailler.

    If you want both front and rear indexed, the only options are flat bar or brifters. You already know your options for flat bar shifter/derailler combos and I don`t know anything about the brifter options, so can`t help you there.

    I call for pics too! Even if your bike isn`t anywhere near top of the line, it`s going to be a beautiful, nice riding steel frame, hand built in Wisconsin. There really weren`t any crappy models.

    EDIT: Suntour "Symmetry" warning. For several years, ST made some DT shifters that mounted behind the tube rather than on the sides. They were called Symmetry and also had some kind of cam activated FD trim feature. If you have those, I don`t think you can use "regular" DT shifters, but bar ends are still possbile with clamp-on housing stops.
    Recalculating....

  11. #11
    jrm
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    Another option is moving the shifters to the stem

    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  12. #12
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    Drop bar comuter-trek-bike.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    ^^ We need a picture. Some old road bikes are well worth the effort. If it fits you well and rides and handles well and makes you happy, to heck with what anyone else thinks. Nice classic workmanship is worth preserving. (Says this owner of 2 oldie but goodies.) Ask Rodar.
    Here is a pick how it looked when I got it minus the flat tires.

    When I get it back from the wheels being trued and I have the retroshift levers on I will take another pic of it.

  13. #13
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    Looks like a new saddle is in the offing. Also brake pads go very hard pretty fast and work like greased lightning in the rain. Meaning they don't. On advice I bought a set of Cool Stops. I like the aluminum fixture ones that have replaceable pads. They were an incredible upgrade! Very linear and precise feeling.

  14. #14
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    Re: Drop bar comuter

    Robbed a seat from the mountain bike I don't ride for the time being. I will keep that in mind about the pads.

    Sent from my Samsung galaxy S2

  15. #15
    weirdo
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    Nice! Those brass-colored headbadges went away in the mid 80s. I can`t see yours clearly, but it looks like the third generation:
    Believe - Trek Bicycle

    What model is it? Hope you get a lot of enjoyable miles out of the critter when you get it set up to your liking.
    Recalculating....

  16. #16
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    Re: Drop bar comuter

    I am not sure on what model it is. Where you would have the frame size in a new bike it says 22 in large numbers.
    I just got finished installing Retro shift units with shimano 105 downtube index shifters and it is very nice to ride now. It looks like I will need to pick up a 7spd freewheel to finish this project off.
    Sent from my Samsung galaxy S2

  17. #17
    weirdo
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    The retroshift thing looks like good plan- would like to try one myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by scribble79 View Post
    It looks like I will need to pick up a 7spd freewheel to finish this project off.
    Sent from my Samsung galaxy S2
    Something else just occurred to me. I hadn`t thought about it, but there were 6 speed cassettes for a short time. Are you sure you have a freewheel? That`s the most probable scenario, but do check before you buy another to make sure you don`t get stuck with a part you can`t use.

    Sent from a nearby part of the Milky Way Galaxy
    Recalculating....

  18. #18
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    Re: Drop bar comuter

    I honestly don't have the tools to do either. The shop that is helping me mentioned freewheel when I was there yesterday. I am going back tomorrow and we will see what we have. I'm mainly going off Sheldon brown's page about the compatability using a suntour rd with shimano index shifters.

    Sent from my Samsung galaxy S2

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    Re: Drop bar comuter

    I think I read Sheldon brown's page backwards. It says I can use a shimano rd with suntour 6apd shifters.
    I went the opposite. I went to shimano shifter with my suntour rd. It does shift gears but not smooth or correct at times.
    Sent from my Samsung galaxy S2

  20. #20
    weirdo
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    It was worth a shot. How many "speeds" are the 105 shifters you`re using? You may as well try them with the ST derailler and 7 speed cluster and see how it goes. Cross brand compatibility is complicated, sometimes with different spacings within the same brand/speed, and what some folks consider acceptable might be unacceptable for others. It`s easier to just try the combos you`re looking at and see how it does in practice rather than make your head spin reading all the theoretical possibilities. If all else fails, keep switching it all towards 7/8 speed Shimano and by the time you have it all Shimanized it`ll go. In the mean time, you can use the 105s in friction mode. It won`t take long to get te hang of it.
    Recalculating....

  21. #21
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    The Shimano shifters are 6 spd S.I.S. I may give the cluster a try and may just go with the new RD as well so I can swap that out at home. I don't have the tools for Cassettes or freewheel swapping. I can get it to go through the gears just not smoothly.
    When I shift from the smallest gear up the shifter clicks and I watch the RD move but it just doesn't move enough till you go to the next gear up from there.

  22. #22
    weirdo
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    Ah, for some reason I though you had picked up 7 or 8 speed shifters. In that case, the 7-speed freewheel is unlikely to work out, but you might end up needing a Shimano 6 in place of the ST. Do you have the derailller adjusted so the chain lines up nicely on one of the middle sprockets when the shifter is in its corresponding click? It sounds like you have a good suply of old stuff at the shop you`ve been going to- that should keep things from adding up too fast. Did you look for an old Shimano derailler?
    Recalculating....

  23. #23
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    I may have not adjusted the rear derailleur properly. I really just grabbed the new cable threaded it through the housings and clamped it down. I am thinking from everything I have read I will need a Shimano RD either way. The vintage shop I have been visiting should have a used one that they can sell me. The shifters were from them as well and were used but are working fine at this time. I really don't care for friction shifting but with them on the retro shift units it might not be so bad.

  24. #24
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    Well struck out at the shop I usually go to but am going to try a new one on the way home that thinks they may have something. I would just order a new unit if I new something that would work in its place.

    Any know a replacement in a shimano for a SUntour XL 6spd RD?

  25. #25
    weirdo
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    Bummer. I`d try adjusting again to see if the ST one will work- start from the middle and work out. If that won`t cut it, stop barking up the Suntour tree unless your aim is to go entirely ST. Indexed stuff needs needs to be the same brand (or 3rd party made to match that brand), so what you need to match are the shifters. Something like this
    Amazon.com: Shimano Acera M360 7 and 8-Speed Rear Derailleur with SmartCage, Black: Sports & Outdoors
    would work, but it`ll look much nicer if you can dig up an older one from when they were still shiny and purdy... old Deore, RSX, Exage, 600, etc. The derailler is the next-to-last step. If it flies that way, you`re done. If it still doesn`t index, you need a Shimano compatible 6 speed freewheel (used Shimano or any currently manufactured brand) and it`ll all be singing the same tune. But first, make sure it isn`t just out of adjustment.
    Last edited by rodar y rodar; 07-12-2013 at 02:31 PM.
    Recalculating....

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