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JunktionFET

Tell me all the things about bar shifter conversions

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I took my new PSN-10 for a ride and had a hell of a time using the downtube shifters. I'm sure that over time I could get used to it, but frankly I'm so used to the convenience of bar shifters that I think I'd rather just do a conversion.

I know I can get cable stays that screw into the downtube braze-ons and provide the adjustment point for new cables leading up to the bars, but that's about where my knowledge ends.

I was looking at some Campagnolo brake lever/shifter combos, but can't find any that are specifically for a 6 speed cassette. Seems the smallest they go is 8 speed. Would that work at all with my 6 speed? If not, what are my options? I was looking for Campagnolo parts because that's who makes the derailleurs and chainwheel, though the cassette itself is helicomatic (Maillard?)

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first -- love the new bike. at the risk of sounding like an enabler, you did the right thing. :)

second -- you don't have a cassette on this bike -- you have a freewheel setup. freewheels screw on to the hub (the format that you have is helicomatic, by maillard). here's a pic from sheldon brown's site that illustrates the difference:

freewheel-vs-k7_zpsc0e24d3e.jpg

because your setup is 6-speed, your rear spacing is 126mm. current standard spacing is 130mm for road bikes. you could easily switch to this but you would have to buy a new rear wheel/hub setup.

now, to answer your main question about brake/shifter combos (sometimes called "brifters") with your current drivetrain....bookmark this page. it's a crib sheet from sheldon brown's site with all sort of drivetrain spacing on it. because all current brake/shifter combo units are set up for indexed shifing, you will need to get shifters that are set up for the spacing of your freewheel. as your current freewheel has a spacing of 5.5mm, you will have to go with something intended for that spacing.

as you can see from looking at the freewheel/cassette spacing chart, most newer setups have tighter spacing than that (5.0mm or so) because of the larger amount of gears crammed into the same width (give or take 4mm). there are products out that that will let you use an older-style friction shifter on the brake lever but they're expensive; you're probably better off swapping out the rear wheel/hub, then your choices are limited only by your budget.

of course, if you change out your hub for something more modern, you may find that your rear derailleur does not have the correct range of adjustment for the new hub/cassette, then you're changing out your derailleur. you can see how all of this spirals out of control very quickly....on my wife's bike, i decided that i wanted her to have indexed shifting; i found the least expensive group that shimano makes that has fully indexed shifting (front & rear) and got parts that all work together. i can understand your wanting to keep the campy stuff that your bike came with but it's going to take some serious googling to find something that will work (if it's even out there)...

andré

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Thank you this is a huge help. I've found a few references online to people trying to do the same thing I am. It looks like there's a decent chunk of change involved no matter what. I want to keep the wheels, but relacing those hoops onto modern cassette hubs isn't cheap. I'm wondering if I should just strap a small set of thumb shifters onto the bars and call it a day. :P

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i got distracted last night so i didn't really finish. what you are really looking for is friction-shifted brifters. if you google that, one of the first pages that comes up for that recommends two alternatives:

1) kelly takeoffs

2) paul component thumbies

both have their pros and cons; they get the shifting up near your brake hoods but neither is a true friction-shifted brifter. imho friction-shifted brifters may exist, but if they do they are a low-volume fabricated item (like paul components stuff) that's going to be so expensive that you're better off replacing the entire driveline.

andré

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The Kelly take-off thing looks promising.

Here's another thought I just had. The Shimano 105 group I have for the Galaxie has a 6 speed cassette (and it's an actual cassette), and the downtube shifters have a friction and SIS index mode, which leads me to believe it is intrinsically index shifter compatible. Since the Galaxie is the more modern "high tech" bike of the bunch, I wonder if I should invest in upgraded/modernized components for it and use the 105 stuff on this new PSN-10.

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I spoke to the guy at KellyBikes last night. Very friendly. He doesn't have any of the TakeOffs in stock and he's in the process of finding his own tooling so he can fab them himself instead of outsourcing. He did have a set of used TakeOffs in presumably excellent condition, so I bought those from him :)

So now I need to get the new cables, and I'll probably end up renewing the wrap on the bars as well. Hell, I may just replace the brake cables, hoods, wrap, and shifter cables and be done with it. Hopefully that freewheel stays reliable.

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NOS benotto handlebar tape (original to our bikes) runs about US$30 a set now. :o i remember buying it for a couple of bucks back in the 80s when i was a poor college student. fortunately the newer stuff is better and cheaper than that.

i've heard that the supply of 6- and 7-speed freewheels is drying up, so you might want to keep your eyes open for NOS freewheels on ebay and grab a couple so that you have some spares.

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And as luck would have it, this particular PSN-10 has the unheard-of-ultra-rare Normandy helicomatic freewheel hub. If it ever needs replacement and I want to keep it stock, it wouldn't be sacrilege to use a Maillard since it seems Peugeot used both.

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