Moving shifters from downtube to handlebars?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Stumbleweed, May 22, 2006.

  1. Stumbleweed

    Stumbleweed New Member

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    Hi,

    This is my first post here, and I have to say that it was brought on by a recent spill that I took due largely to the location of my shifters. I have an older (probably mid-late 80's) Pugeot 'Versailles' road bike with the shifters located on the downtube. I'm not a very experienced rider (I rode as a kid, and then started again recently to commute to work/school), so taking my hand off every time I need to shift probably isn't a good idea. I found that out the hard way when I was riding this weekend...

    Anyway, is moving the shifters from the downtube to the bars a fairly easy change? Or is it going to cost more to take care of than my bike is worth (I paid $100 for it)? I currently have the typical road bars (ram horn) -- not sure if that makes a difference or not. Thanks in advance for your help.
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    The change, itself, is fairly easy -- ALL of the options will require new derailleur cables & housing.

    It DOES require some skill (not a lot, mind you) AND may require a great deal more money than you are willing to spend -- it all depends on your perspective.

    The less expensive options will include:

    * bar end shifters which are often used for touring ... could be expensive -- figure on spending between $30US & $100US for the parts.

    * OLD "thumb" shifters (about $20US?) originally intended for the "original" mountain bikes from the late 80s & early 90s.

    * shift levers which mount to the gooseneck which were common on inexpensive bikes in the mid-to-late-70s. These would be "salvage" items ... if you bike shop has them, hopefully, they would charge you under $25US, total, for installing a set with new cables, etc.

    My "Winter" bike is an old Peugeot PH501 (see attachment). Probably the biggest difference between my Peugeot and yours is the tubing it was fabricated from.

    The ONLY original components on my Peugeot's frame are the rear dropout adjusting screws! I like the ride well enough (the main triangle has the same geometry as my Colnago) that it has been worth it TO ME to update it (including respacing the rear triangle to 130mm); but, I was able to do EVERYTHING myself (vs. paying the local bike shop to do the work); so, most of the components are fairly high-end but can be stripped from the frame and moved to almost any other frame.
     
  3. Stumbleweed

    Stumbleweed New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I do like my bike, and I plan on keeping it for a while (until I really feel like I need/deserve a nicer one)... I'll look into the changes you recommend at a local bike shop -- I'm most comfortable with the thumb shifters in general (from my experiences riding mountain bikes in my younger years), but I'm not sure how these would work with my bars. I tend to keep my hands on top of the bars instead of using the lower curved area (not sure what the technical term is...), so which of these options would be conducive to that style? I just don't want to have to take my hands off the bike any more to shift...

    Would changing bars to another style make it easier to accomodate the move? I don't mind the bars the way they are now, though I think that I might be more comfortable with the aero-style bars... Let me know what you think. Thanks again for the input.
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Changing the handlebars, too, IS an option.

    The aero-style bars, if we are on the same page, are the least stable since you have limited leveage. You will see that SOME people mount bar-end shifters at the ends of some of these (e.g., on time trial & triathlon bikes)

    Many people do opt for the flat-bar configuration on their road bikes -- essentially, mountain bike handlebars & shifters & brake levers. The cost can be expensive if you opt for all-new components.

    A friend wanted to turn his old Raleigh into a flat-bar last Summer when his 8-speed 105 STI shifter jammed -- the local bike shop which he prefers quoted him a price OVER $150US to make the change.

    The only thing you'll probably need to do when installing the thumb shifters is a large flat-bastard OR half-round file so you can file the inner "corners"/edges near the clamp's bolt holes ... most of the shifters have stamped steel clamps (which is what you want because the road bars have a slightly larger diameter than the MTB bars they are intended to be installed on). You may need longer bolts, too ...

    You can mount the thumb shifters ANYWHERE on the upper portion of the handlebar that you find convenient.

    You'll probably need cable stops which are generally fitted over the posts which currently hold your downtube shifters ...

    MOST, but perhaps not all, of the older thumb shifters can toggle between indexed AND friction mode -- that's a good thing.
     
  5. Stumbleweed

    Stumbleweed New Member

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    I think I said the wrong type of bars... Aero bars looked like what I was thinking of, but I believe that the ones that I had in mind were actually just flat bars with the bar ends installed...

    But either way, thanks for the advice. I'll go to my local bike shop and see what they think in terms of cost for the components. I can deal with the road bars for a while (the super low riding position isn't that comfortable for me), but I'll see how much the flat bars will set me back and make a decision then.

    Buying the cables/housing to make the change with the current bars won't hurt if I do end up getting the flat bars (since they'll be mounted in roughl the same place. So I'll start there and figure out what else I want to do with my budget.
     
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