What's a semidecent upgrade derailleur for a neighborhood bike

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by SkinnyOldGuy, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. SkinnyOldGuy

    SkinnyOldGuy New Member

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    What I mean is...

    I pulled an old Giant Option out of the junk and I think I'd like it to be my bike from now on -- a little more comfort than the old road bike.

    It would get a strip and paint (or something); and as long as I'm at it, it probably has the cheapest Shimano derailleurs, being the unpretentious machine that it is. Three gears in front, seven in back. The derailleurs say SIS on them.

    This business of not having to fish around for a gear is appealing to me, after all these years of fishing. The bike has the indexed controls on the handlebars. Maybe if I'm taking the bike apart I could put it back together with new derailleurs that are one step up in whatever it is that makes derailleurs better?

    The question being, what are derailleurs that are one step up from the original SIS type? (And what makes them better?)

    I went to the Shimano site but I don't really understand sites like that (high glamour low data). I guess I need human help. If someone would like to demonstrate their wisdom I'd be grateful.

    Thanks

    Sog

    PS Forgive me if it's impolite to ask more than one organization.
     
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  2. CalicoCat

    CalicoCat Member

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    If you want shimano, I'd go with 105. 105 is race worthy stuff, but not fancy or super high end. Ultegra is one step up, and dura ace is two steps up.
     
  3. SkinnyOldGuy

    SkinnyOldGuy New Member

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    Hey, thanks!

    Being as I know nothing about anything, will there be any problem as all the 105's seem to be for applications where there are a lot more gears than I have?

    I mean will the 105 front and rear derailleurs adjust down to 3- and 7- gear ranges?

    I figured out that the clamp diameter for the front is an issue. I will presume that the original SIS controls will work unless you tell me otherwise...

    Sog
     
  4. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Whats wrong with the components already on the bike?
     
  5. SkinnyOldGuy

    SkinnyOldGuy New Member

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    Well, frankly, I don't know that there is anything wrong with them. They didn't shift the whole range on the test ride but I know that there are adjustments for that.

    I just have an idea that if I take it apart and I can make something better with no real effort, I would. I wouldn't replace the steel handlebars and yoke with aluminum but if the derailleurs are a wear item it would be nice to have an upgrade. Is that stupid? It might be.

    Oh, and the screws and brackets are all rusty and they're a bit scuffed up. I guess that's a factor.

    Sog
     
  6. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

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    Given your preferences, I agree with replacing the derailleurs. The shifters will determine the number of gears, the limit screws on the derailleurs will need to be set. I suggest that you read the Sheldon Brown derailleur adjustment article on the Harris Cyclery website. There's also compatibility information there. I don't know if you will need road or mtn parts, it may not matter. It would be helpful to know the range of the cassette that you are using, as well as more info about the shifters.
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    7-speed drivetrains (the number of cogs on the rear wheel) are a rarity now The Shimano Acera/M191 is a 7-speed setup that comes on the Trek 7.1FX, and it's rugged and reliable. I don't know if it's available to the aftermarket, though. Another option is Shimano Alivio derailleurs, an upgrade from Acera, with SRAM 7/3-speed grip shifters. If you want to go cheap, Shimano Tourney is adequate but definitely a step down. I've used Tourney on a couple of restorations with satisfactory results, but its design and materials raise questions about long term reliability. All of these setups are inexpensive and appropriate for an old hybrid project. Your local shop should be able to give advice and order parts.
     
  8. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Actually, if you look in "all the right places" Shimano's website has a wealth of information. Go to the Tech Support Tab and select either Tech Docs or Tech Tips and you'll find everything from detail item specific documentation to indepth troubleshooting guides.

    http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/techdocs/content/cycle/SI/105/RD-5500-5501/SI-5TK0D-En_v1_m56577569830603908.pdf

    The above link is for an older 105 rear mech. The design hasn't changed that much over the years so everything in there is still pretty valid.

    The older shimano SIS stuff you had 7 speed SIS was late 80s, with SIS standing for Shimano Index System. It's just as robust as the newer versions. Clean it up, maybe get some new pulley wheels and have fun with it. If it works fine then it's all good.
     
  9. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Most of the improvement is in the handlebar controls (twist-grip or trigger) and front derailleurs (designed to shift better with indexing). Swampy is correct, though, about the robustness of the old SIS stuff. Also, the new 7- and 8-speed controls are compatible with SIS derailleurs. You might be satisfied to just clean up the old stuff and replace the cables and housings, or add new controls, or new controls and a front derailleur. Or go to a local shop and try a $400 hybrid to see what the fuss is.

    One part of the new systems that goes beyond controls and derailleurs, though, is ramping on the chainrings and freewheel cogs. But even without ramped cogs you should get most of the benefits of the new controls.

    Do you have a local shop?




    I went to the Shimano site but I don't really understand sites like that (high glamour low data). I guess I need human help. If someone would like to demonstrate their wisdom I'd be grateful.
     
  10. cycleheimer

    cycleheimer New Member

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    Try to revive what you have. Most components are spec'd out on the same level as all the other components. To see what is available, check out this link: http://www.niagaracycle.com/index.php?cPath=103 The deraileurs for that bike are less than $10 each. If you spend too much you will regret not having bought a new bike, and you will have missed out on the fun to be had from scavenging parts from other old bikes. BTW, 105 is pretty decent stuff. Good for a $1,000+ road bike.
     
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