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Contemplating Components (warning: contains retrogrouch talk)

This topic contains 24 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Drewbacca 5 mos.

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JaySherman5000

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Jan 10 2014 at 10:55am #

Winter has set in, so that means more maintenance time, which in turn means I have been inspired to fix more of my first world bike problems. Awhile back, I noticed my newly installed 105 group was autoshifting (aka ghost-shifting) whenever I stood up on steep hills. I’ve done the requisite troubleshooting, and having replaced the slightly wobbly freehub body, trued the rear wheel, and meticulously aligned the drivetrain, I think I’ve narrowed it down to either too little friction at the shifter or a flexing frame.

The bike was made in the early 1990s (triple butted ChroMoly steel) and uses downtube shifters. The shifters I bought for it were whatever 7-speed Shimano braze-on type Mr. Kraynick was selling around March of last year. When I bought the shifters, I was using an 8-speed cassette, so I installed them and put the rear shifter in friction mode. I rode that way for a few months without issue.

Late last summer I installed a 105 rear derailer and crankset, along with a 9-speed cassette, assuming I could continue to run in friction mode without trouble. That’s when the bike became my personal sadist, forcing me into higher gears on steeper grades. Going forward, I don’t want to give up my downtube shifters for brifters, barcons, or some other fancy doo-dads. I just want a set of reliable shifters that won’t let me slip out of gear (assuming the frame isn’t flexing terribly).

So, does anyone out there have a recommendation? Thus far, I have found

Option 1: a set of index-only 9-spd shifters for ~$20

Option 2: a set of friction-only shifters for ~$50

Option 3: a set of Dura-Ace 9-spd shifters that can run in friction or index mode for ~$70

To me, the cheapest option makes sense because I’m still troubleshooting, but since these are components that are easily transferred to a new frame, the other two options have more appeal. Opinions and advice are well appreciated!


Marko82

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Jan 10 2014 at 12:10pm #

I have a similar age bike with down tube index/friction setup. I’m having a little bit of auto shifting at the moment myself and I think it’s because my jockey/idler pulleys are almost worn out. Not only are the teeth of the pulleys really worn, but the bearing is very sloppy so I think it’s letting everything move off center. I laid the bike down hard this spring and most likely bent the hanger a little thus contributing to all this. I need to get to Kraynick’s to get replacements and check the hanger, but the weather has been keeping me from putting in any more miles than I have to. Although today is very nice.


jonawebb

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Jan 10 2014 at 12:30pm #

You should be able to tell if your friction shifters are the problem, because the lever will be slipping out of position. If that’s not happening the problem is elsewhere and changing the shifters won’t have any effect. I would take a close look at the derailleur and see if there is any play at all between the guide pulley and the cassette. The frame seems unlikely to be the source of your problem; I’d guess the hanger or maybe the mounting bolt, or possibly your guide pulley is worn.


edmonds59

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Jan 10 2014 at 12:56pm #

I’m a little disappointed in terms of the retrogrouch talk. Your bikes are all so modern…


Benzo

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:11pm #

What have you tried to fix the slipping issues with your existing shifters? I would think that they can be serviced to correct whatever issues you are having.


JaySherman5000

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:15pm #

jonawebb wrote:You should be able to tell if your friction shifters are the problem, because the lever will be slipping out of position. If that’s not happening the problem is elsewhere and changing the shifters won’t have any effect. I would take a close look at the derailleur and see if there is any play at all between the guide pulley and the cassette. The frame seems unlikely to be the source of your problem; I’d guess the hanger or maybe the mounting bolt, or possibly your guide pulley is worn.

I’m pretty sure I have seen the shifter moving, despite having adjusted it to provide maximum friction. As for the pulleys, the derailer and cassette are still new (installed early Autumn, ridden sparingly), but I’ll be sure to take a closer look.

edmonds59 wrote:I’m a little disappointed in terms of the retrogrouch talk. Your bikes are all so modern…

Sorry to disappoint, I should’ve included that none of my four bikes have brifters, nor will they ever as long as they’re in my possession. I see so many hot-shot, young, dumb riders click-clacking away with their brifters all in mindless lockstep, oblivious to the joy of taking a hand off the hood of their brake lever and reaching down towards the spinning cheese grater that is the front wheel spokes and executing a perfect one-handed double shift sending the chain to the small ring and onto a larger cog just in time to start ascending away from the pack. Nevermind that they should be in the drops to begin with; these kids with their ratchets on their bars make me wanna puke. Suffice it to say I won’t be giving up my friction levers anytime soon. That’s right, you can have my DT shifters when you pry them from my cold, dead hands!


Jacob McCrea

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:16pm #

You might consider putting a Park Tool derailleur alignment gauge on the bike, which can show a misalignment that the eye can’t see. I have one of those sitting around if you want to give it a shot. I don’t have the time to go out of my way to get it to you, but I’m pretty easy to find.


Benzo

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:16pm #

Sounds like a problem sheldon has had with autoshifting…

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/autoshift.html

Bicycles.StackExchange also had a question about this problem as well.

http://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/3486/bike-is-shifting-on-its-own


jonawebb

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:31pm #

I had a problem like this with my friction shifters years ago, and it is difficult to solve. I think at one point I lost a washer or something and they were never the same. If the shift levers move I’d just replace them for $20 and be done with it.


JaySherman5000

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Jan 10 2014 at 2:30pm #

Benzo wrote:Sounds like a problem sheldon has had with autoshifting…

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/autoshift.html

Bicycles.StackExchange also had a question about this problem as well.

http://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/3486/bike-is-shifting-on-its-own

I read that Sheldon article when the problem first appeared, but I think I overlooked the obvious cable tension check mentioned at StackExchange. I’ll definitely add that to the top of the list of things I check tonight.

To your earlier question, I already disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled the shifter just to make sure everything was right. I even used the exploded diagram that came with them in the box to make sure everything went back together correctly.

Well, at least now my weekend is planned out. Test rides, here I come!


Drewbacca

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Jan 10 2014 at 2:33pm #

option two is likely no better than option one… option three would at least have some resale value.

Anyways, I need to go play with my hood-ratchets now.


Mikhail

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Jan 10 2014 at 6:53pm #

Rear derailleur alignment and cable (outer layer should not allow compression)


JaySherman5000

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Feb 24 2014 at 10:53am #

I’m re-using this thread for a new question: where to find V-brakes that aren’t basically disposable.

I’m having a common problem: I ride my touring bike all winter and that leads to my V-brake arms seizing up. I realized all too late that the arms pivot not on the frame posts, but on the bushing that sits on the posts. After some investigation, it seems that the bushings on my brakes are not made to be serviced, i.e. there is no way to open them up, clean them, and apply fresh lube. So it seems the only solution is to spend money replacing my V-brakes every year. I am not okay with this.

I did some digging around on the internet this morning, and it seems that some linear-pull brakes are made with bearings that can be opened up and serviced. Where I’m having trouble now is knowing which brakes have serviceable bearings and which ones don’t, as I shop online. Can anyone offer some advice on this?


cburch

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Feb 24 2014 at 4:34pm #

http://www.paulcomp.com/motolite.html

reliable, rebuildable, spare parts readily available from the manufacturer and the design hasn’t changed since 1990.


cburch

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Feb 24 2014 at 4:35pm #

cburch wrote:
http://www.paulcomp.com/motolite.html

reliable, rebuildable, spare parts readily available from the manufacturer and the design hasn’t changed since 1990.

ps: questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with an lbs.


Mick

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Feb 24 2014 at 4:46pm #

edmonds59 wrote:edmonds59
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Jan 10 2014 at 12:56pm # I’m a little disappointed in terms of the retrogrouch talk

They just don’t make retrogrouches like they used to.

SMDH.


Eric

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Feb 24 2014 at 6:50pm #

+1 on Pauls stuff.

Of just buy a new set of Deore V-brakes every year.


Drewbacca

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Feb 24 2014 at 7:41pm #

cburch wrote:ps: questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with an lbs.

questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with *a good* lbs.

I’m willing to bet that 9/10 wouldn’t recommend Paul and would have no idea what to suggest unless they knew of a good example from personal experience. So, I politely disagree with you… crowd-sourcing via the net is the best approach to this sort of question.


ericf

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Feb 25 2014 at 6:45am #

Drewbacca wrote:

cburch wrote:ps: questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with an lbs.

questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with *a good* lbs.

I’m willing to bet that 9/10 wouldn’t recommend Paul and would have no idea what to suggest unless they knew of a good example from personal experience. So, I politely disagree with you… crowd-sourcing via the net is the best approach to this sort of question.

I find that a combination of both approaches works best. When it comes to real, on the streets, practical knowledge, the LBS can’t be beat. That said, like all experts, LBS’es tend to become focused on their particular niche of the cycling world. There are times when I know more about new product than the LBS, thanks to the internet.
You can research on the internet, but nothing beats actually touching / holding said component or bicycle. One thing to avoid is “show rooming” where you fit /try/research at the LBS, and then buy on the ‘net. I would say that 75% of my parts are from LBS, with the remaining 25% being parts that I order because LBS doesn’t have or can’t get.


Drewbacca

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Feb 25 2014 at 8:11am #

^ completely agree ^

I’m just jaded by a lot of bad bike shop experiences… a *good shop* and a good mechanic will be more than happy to say “I don’t know” when that is, in fact, the case. A bad shop/mechanic will just make some garbage up. A good shop/mechanic will suggest searching the internet when it would be helpful. The hard part is learning to tell a good shop from a bad one.

Just to clarify… It’s always best to trust an actual experienced mechanic over some random voice on the net. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise.

Personally, I try to only order online when I need a part that no one has in stock locally. I don’t like ordering through an LBS when I can just have something delivered at home. If I support the LBS, I’m recognizing that I’m paying a little more for their overhead and the benefit of something being stocked on the shelf. I’d add to that, I’m also paying for the local shop’s expertise (but, again, that’s assuming that I’m getting solid info which is sadly not always the case).

Thank goodness for shops like Thick and FreezeThaw (State College), two examples where I’ve always had good experiences.


JaySherman5000

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Feb 25 2014 at 8:42am #

cburch wrote:
http://www.paulcomp.com/motolite.html

reliable, rebuildable, spare parts readily available from the manufacturer and the design hasn’t changed since 1990.

Thanks! that’s exactly the product I’m looking for. Now I just need payday to get here already…


Benzo

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Feb 25 2014 at 10:16am #

I personally don’t like paul brakes due to the way you set the spring tension. You need a wrench and an allen key and I find fine tuning them can be a pain (at least my experience with my Paul’s Touring Canti’s). Had them on my space horse for a while, put my tektro canti brakes back on.

I really just like utilizing that little spring holder below my brake post and then using the adjustment screws on the side of my brakes to set the tension.

However, despite my complaints about how to adjust the spring tension, the stopping power of the paul brakes is great. Don’t let my complaining stop you from getting them. You’ll probably love them.


cburch

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Feb 25 2014 at 2:18pm #

they do require a bit more setup initially, but the long term results are worth it imo.

as to bike shops recommending stuff like paul comp. i guess i forget that I’m a bit spoiled by having a great relationship with exactly the kind of shop that would suggest that sort of thing.


JaySherman5000

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Feb 26 2014 at 7:46pm #

So, moving further down this rabbit hole, does anyone in the bikepgh crowd have a good source for a Shimano Nexus 8-speed laced into a 700c rim? I’ve heard enough testimonials about IGHs, weighed the pros and cons, and looked at everything the internet has to offer about them. Now I’m stuck debating whether or not I should by just the hub & spokes and lace it up myself using an existing rim in my collection, or if I should just buy a complete wheel.

The last time I asked about dynohubs I was given the golden bit of advice that buying a complete wheel is usually cheaper than buying all the components separately. I’m wondering if that’s still true for this case. Advice?

pic unrelated.


Drewbacca

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Feb 26 2014 at 7:59pm #

JaySherman5000 wrote:The last time I asked about dynohubs I was given the golden bit of advice that buying a complete wheel is usually cheaper than buying all the components separately. I’m wondering if that’s still true for this case. Advice?

It’s generally true… the cheapest option (online) is probably the Handspun offerings. If you order through a local shop, it would probably run you the same as having a wheel built up would cost. It depends on if you are happy with what is out there, or want something more custom.

I did learn a lesson recently while rebuilding a used dynohub, which is, buy an extra set of cones when you purchase the hub (they may not be available a decade later when you search high and low). After going as far as talking to a few shimano reps on the phone, via the LBS, I ended up just sanding the cones down as best I could to remove pits. I still might try a set that Shimano says won’t work but I think they may with a little modification. Then again, the axle may be slightly bent and it’s all for naught. But, I digress…

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