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Practical limits of friction shifting? 7-8-9-10-11...

Old 11-12-19, 05:43 PM
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riva
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Practical limits of friction shifting? 7-8-9-10-11...

Soooo what are you all out there friction shifting... would appreciate successful combo info, will take fails too.
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Old 11-12-19, 05:51 PM
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I have one bike with Campy 10 and Campy retrofriction levers.....it shifts great IMO.
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Old 11-12-19, 05:54 PM
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8 speed Campy here. Couldn't get the 8 speed indexed levers to work. The 7 speed levers I'm using have to rotate 180 degrees to engage low gear!

Thankfully I never need low gear...yeah, right.

I did manage to get the indexed 8 speed levers to work in friction mode for a while, but eventually they just kept slipping out of gear.

Last edited by P!N20; 11-12-19 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 11-12-19, 06:56 PM
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When I used Shimano 6200 in friction on a 9sp, it worked great, but took a dainty touch, compared to the old "give it a measured nudge" method. I tried building a 10-sp friction setup, but it seemed like hiccupping shifted the bike.

7 speeds is about the sweet spot for my ham-fisted selecting of cogs and rings.
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Old 11-12-19, 07:13 PM
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I have a 1x8 thumb shifter setup....cheap sunrace shifters, .the cassette is a sram something,...not expensive but modern with ramps and do dads. it shifts really well, but is moderately easy to over shift....for me that is not big deal, just a slight nudge either way to correct.

for my my guess this is as far as I would go friction.....and my 9 and 11 speeds have shifted so well with index, I have little motivation to play with friction for those
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Old 11-12-19, 07:22 PM
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Reason I ask, wanting to use 8 to 11 speed type wheels on some 1982-1987 era hardware. Not liking how fiddly the shifting is. I guess I'm also in the ham fist club..
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Old 11-12-19, 07:22 PM
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Well... in all honesty the 10 speed friction setup on my old Orbea works wonderfully. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with using a modern 9 speed Ultegra RD. The shifters are the original Mavic 5 speed shifters the mid 80s bike came with. The wheel / cassette are Campagnolo and it's got Jagwire housing and cables. It really does shift really well.
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Old 11-12-19, 07:22 PM
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I use Suntour bar-end shifters (the classic ones with the silver body, black grip, and power ratchet mechanism) to shift 9-speed 11-34 cassettes for the past fifteen years or so. Works fine. I've used all manner of rear derailleurs with these, from old Suntour LePree to Campy something to Superplate-deer-head to Huret Duopar (do not recommend) to Shimano M952 XTR (works best imo) and similar era XT. It's all capable enough. Some say the ratchet teeth in the power ratchet are not close enough together for the small 9-speed jumps, but I have not found this to be a problem. I usually click over three teeth to change a gear, and rarely have to trim the lever back after a shift.

I have also used Campy NR downtube levers with Suntour Cyclone M2 that has had the limit screw stops filed down to shift a 9-speed road cassette on my Vitus. The shifter moves through nearly 180 degrees, but it works and it's easy enough to do that I can shift with mittens on.
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Old 11-12-19, 07:23 PM
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I am using 105 DT shift levers and rear derailleur, 6 speed but using friction mode, with a 6600 10 speed cassette, 12-27. It shifts great. I like the short travel for the gear changes. If the gear is a bit off, just feather the lever a bit and all is good. This is on an early 90's Ochsner road bike.
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Old 11-12-19, 07:35 PM
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I have 8 speed HG/Shimano L600 barcons/Cyclone first gen and MKII GT derailleurs/triples on multiple bikes. I did have some trouble getting a Suntour BL RD to shift 8 speed. I also have the same shifters/triples/7 speed with 105 and 600 derailleurs. I have the bikes set up where they will do big/small or small/big. However, they will only go onto the biggest or smallest sprocket from the middle ring or the corresponding big or granny ring.

Last edited by seypat; 11-12-19 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 11-12-19, 07:39 PM
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Yeah... the distance for the RD to travel isn't too much wider. It's just that the chain and gears are more narrow so shifting takes more 'finesse'!
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Old 11-12-19, 08:04 PM
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I have a 9 speed 11-34 cassette that I use with Suntour downtube shifters. It took a little while to get the touch, but I rarely wind up between cogs anymore.
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Old 11-12-19, 08:35 PM
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It's all about 'the feel'. Some have it, others don't.

Personally, I like 6207 friction shifters and a 10 speed cassette. But that's just me.
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Old 11-12-19, 08:50 PM
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I'm going 11 speed friction on a Kessels Merckx. I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 11-12-19, 09:16 PM
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Dura-ace bar con in friction mode running a 1x9 setup works great.
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Old 11-12-19, 10:50 PM
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This is a good topic. I'm planning on a 7 speed rear cassette and friction shifting.

It makes sense that as the number of rear cogs goes up the precision needed to position the derailleur goes up. The the issue arises of how precise are we willing to be. I think if we are riding the bike often, we would get used to it. I think the type of shifter makes a difference too. For instance with a bar con, we could stabilize our hand while we use our fingers to shift. For a down tube shifter, if we just move the lever without stabilizing the shifting hand, we would have less precision. Often, when I am shifting on down tube shifters, I will place my thumb on the top tube and use my fingers to shift in an effort to get more control. Perhaps you long legged guys, have long fingers too.
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Old 11-12-19, 11:32 PM
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Had my ti bike built with a boss for SunTour Superbe DT shifters, the ones on a box on top of the down tube. Love 'em. Bike has always been Campy 9-speed. Used SunTour large cage RDs for the bike's early years, then put on a Campy Mirage touring RD. Love it! Shifting is a good as it gets. (Yes, friction. But I mastered friction as a racer 40 years ago and like riding a bicycle, the skill doesn't leave once acquired.)

(It took me 10 years to learn that the SunTour shifter I picked up at some bike shop used and had that boss made for was a Superbe! Doen't say. I just knew it felt good and shifted well. Looks OK. Saw a photo here and realized what I had. Been a fan of the top mounted DTs since my racing days in the '70s. Yeah, you read that right. I wanted them before they existed because I used to hit the right shifter climbing walls in my 42-19 low. 42-13 on a 20% grade isn't fun!)

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Old 11-13-19, 02:21 AM
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7-speed Sunrace freewheel clusters work great for me with vintage Campy rear derailleurs and 8-speed chains.

I have two bikes setup like this with Triomphe bbs/cranks. They are uber quiet and shift wonderfully.
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Old 11-13-19, 02:35 AM
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10 speed with 7sp Shimano shifters 7700 rd shifts beautifully.
I did try 11 but I found it a bit fiddly and not worth it.
I have only installed 7 of the sprockets. Spacers to put the cassette in the centre of the freehub. I can use any gear with no trimming or rubbing on the FD.
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Old 11-13-19, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
7-speed Sunrace freewheel clusters work great for me with vintage Campy rear derailleurs and 8-speed chains.
Same here, even with the NR setup on the Raleigh Pro. 8-speed is doable with my Shimano 600 EX setup. Haven’t tried anything greater... yet!
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Old 11-13-19, 08:32 AM
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9 speed is about max for me and the shifters I have tried
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Old 11-13-19, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Boxkite View Post
Yeah... the distance for the RD to travel isn't too much wider. It's just that the chain and gears are more narrow so shifting takes more 'finesse'!

I misspoke, I meant the travel of the levers themselves. Even between 9 sp and 10 sp I can feel the difference. Honestly, for me, if it was less costly, I would change to brifters and more modern derailleurs. Just cannot beat the ease, convenience and handling of keeping my hands on the bars when changing gears.
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Old 11-13-19, 09:02 AM
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Anyone know how wide a cassette Simplex Retrofrictions will handle? The barrel is smaller than most on those, so more lever movement is required to shift. So I am thinking you might have more feel on closely spaced cogs. But I don’t know if they have the range. Have only used them with 6-speed.
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Old 11-13-19, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Anyone know how wide a cassette Simplex Retrofrictions will handle? The barrel is smaller than most on those, so more lever movement is required to shift. So I am thinking you might have more feel on closely spaced cogs. But I don’t know if they have the range. Have only used them with 6-speed.
I have been looking into this myself. I spoke to someone who had used them and the shifter ends up parallel with the downtube in low gears.
For that reason I wouldn't use them unless I could modify them by making the barrell bigger.
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Old 11-13-19, 12:23 PM
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If y'all are interested, I will throw a retrofriction on my Vitus and see if it can shift the Cyclone M2 through 9 speeds. I will also measure the cable pull. Might be a week or two before I get around to it though.

Enlarging the barrel won't be easy. The aluminum they're made of is probably not easily weldable and metal epoxy seems chintzy and slapdash.
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