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Low end bike that needs some upgrades to shifter
#1
Hi All,

This is my first post here so please bear with me when I ask dumb questions as I am a neophyte to bicycling, having had only coaster/cruiser and early 10-speed experience as a child and teen. That was many, many moons ago. Right now, I have decided to use a bicycle to stay in shape and for my local errands, as on my income, I do not wish to maintain myself in the sub-poverty level by attempting to buy, feed, insure and maintain a hydrocarbon-guzzling piece of machinery.

I recently purchased a Magna Great divide, 26", that has a 7-gear rear cassette and a F.I.S. Index system derailleur. It works OK, except that I really do not enjoy having the shifters in the handle grips. I would really like to upgrade to an on-handlebar set of shifters for both the front and read derailleurs. I know that I may sound like I am trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear here, but living on a fixed income does sort of limit what one can purchase.

I am just wondering if anyone out there has any suggestions about how I can go about replacing the OEM shifter mechanisms in the hand grips with something that will not break the exchequer and give me a better stability when shifting or riding off road - by simply placing the shifters to a location that does not interfere with control of the handlebars. (I have had several incidents, on the local trails, where I have suddenly changed gears when going over bumps as the stupid shifters rotated while being tightly gripped as I attempted to maintain control of my direction of travel!)

Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

Joanie
Use it or lose it? A very definite fact of life - especially after age 55...Sigh...
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#2
Change to thumb shifters or "Rapidfire" style.

Rapidfire:- http://harriscyclery.net/product/shimano-sl-mc40-stx-alivio-rapidfire-7-speed-1023.htm

These have 2 levers. One is operated with the thumb and the other with the index finger.
Press the "thumb" lever to go from small to next larger cog. Pull the "index" to go the opposite way.
The only thing to check is if they will match your derailleurs.

The cheapest option will be bar mounted friction shifters but you can get indexed ones.
These or similar:- http://www.ukbikestore.co.uk/product/97/sltx50r7/shimano-tx50-7-speed-thumb-shifter.html

You get both left and right matching versions.
Both types mount on the handlebar next to the brakes and you won't accidentally flick them.

The "rapidfire" mount under the bar and the "thumbshifter" mounts on top. You can then get rid of the "Gripshifts" and fit normal handgrips.

Another option would be stem mounted changers but then you would have to let go of the grips to change gear.
These mount on the handlebar stem but not my choice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stem_shifters.JPG

http://www.bikeworldusa.us/Stem-Mount-Shifter-Set-Bicycle-Bike/M/B000Q7GYAM.htm?traffic_src=GB&utm_medium=CSE&utm_source=GB&id=uk
[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
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#3
Hi cycleUK,

This looks exactly like what I was thinking about. The only problem I see here is determining the compatibility of the shifter and the dérailleurs, as you stated. To my simple mind, this would seem to be primarily a matter of exactly how far apart the individual cogs are on the cassette, along the length of it's central axis - or is there some other, more esoteric aspect there that I am not seeing/know about here?

Thank you for your reply and my wishes for a wonderful weekend,
Joanie
Use it or lose it? A very definite fact of life - especially after age 55...Sigh...
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#4
Hi Joanie,
Compatibility is probably not an issue as you have an Indexing system already.
More or less all 7 speeds have the same 5.0 mm sprocket pitch.
The only issue is if you chose to have an "Indexing" system then the dérailleurs usually have to match the shifters. ie Shimano shifter = Shimano dérailleur. If some other make then there could be a compatibility issue, but unlikely.
I have tried doing a search but not been able to find out the make of dérailleurs but this will probably be printed on them?

Do you intend using your local bike shop to supply and fit or do the job yourself ?

By the way while doing the search I came across this:-
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml00/00016a.html

Probably won't effect you ????
But if you have had the bars turn out of line with the front wheel then this is what the fault causes.
[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
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#5
I prefer the "trigger" style rapidfire type over grip shifters also. But since cost is an issue, here's a very simple solution.
- Buy a new set of full length grips
- move the twist shifters in on the bars another inch or so
- replace the existing 3/4 grips with full size
This way you'll have a full sized area to hold the bars without having your hands on the shifter. You'd have to move your hand slightly to shift, but it solves the issue of shifting due to bumps.
Just an idea...
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#6
Hi Joan

I see you are in SF CA, so here are some USA links that will work for you its not expensive. I just had the mc40 installed for a total cost of $60, ye thats a great deal. Was going to do it myself.

http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/SL407A04-Shimano+Stxalivio+Mc40+7+Speed.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=shimano+7+speed+shifter&tag=googhydr-20&index=sporting&hvadid=1694818721&ref=pd_sl_4uehoomv9d_b
Never Give Up!!!
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#7
I thought maybe I would add to the great answers above by mentioning that I recently went to a bike swap-meet and found many types of used shifters for sale at reasonable prices. But even those didn't match a friction thumbnail shifter I found at Nashbar for $0.99.
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_217490_-1_201511_10000_200468
The Nashbar shifter isn't very good though, but the point is there are a lot of low-cost options out there. Smile

Steve
Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
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#8
Hi All,

Thanks for the input. What I believe I will do for the short term is to take off the 3/4 grips, reverse the order of the grip shifter and hand brakes, from outboard to inboard, and then install full-length grips. I will be staying pretty much "onroad" until I can afford to replace the dérailleurs and shifters in one fell swoop with some decent Shimano jobbies.

I have done some research into what is on there right now, and I have found out that the dérailleurs are made by Falcon, a cheap OEM source for low end bicycles. I have about 60km on the bicycle right now and I am having to readjust the dérailleurs (especially the rear) about every 25km or so. One generally gets what one pays for.

Fortunately, I live in an area (Central East Bay) with a lot of pretty decent on-road bicycle trails, as well as some really neat off-road and park related ones as well. At least I will be able to get myself back in shape, and shed some pounds that I have gained after several surgeries and their resulting convalescences.

Wishes for a wonderful weekend to all! Enjoy the weather!
Joanie
Use it or lose it? A very definite fact of life - especially after age 55...Sigh...
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#9
Ye good luck with all that. Did you check your bike ser# to see if its not in the recall that CyclerUK found?
Not sure about the need to reverse things once you put the longer grips on. YMMV.

BTW you got Km in SF? We got miles in LA.:-)))
Never Give Up!!!
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#10
(05-08-2010, 02:32 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Ye good luck with all that. Did you check your bike ser# to see if its not in the recall that CyclerUK found?
Not sure about the need to reverse things once you put the longer grips on. YMMV.

BTW you got Km in SF? We got miles in LA.:-)))

Hi George,

I will check out the recall and see if there is anything to it in my circumstances.

I was considering the swap of position as to slide the brake and shifter inboard might make a world of difference in my ability to manipulate the brake levers. While I am a tall woman (5'10"), my hands are smaller than the average male of my height. I will examine the situation when I do the work and adjust accordingly. One of the things that I mentioned in my profile was that I am a retired (medically) aerospace quality engineer. Most of my career dealt with flight control systems on commercial and military large-frame transport aircraft and I am very aware of the ergonomics of human interfaces to machinery. I am also a better than average mechanic as I worked assembly and test for McDonnell/Douglas (Torrance and Long Beach), Rockwell International (Downey, Palmdale and Rocketdyne, Simi Valley), Hughs Aerospace and Lockheed, Burbank while going to college part time for my bachelor's and master's degrees - and then working as an engineer.

As far as the km/miles thing goes, I have been doing a lot of tech writing and drawing/specifications and standards conversions as a private contractor for several aerospace firms and military installations, since my retirement, to augment my pensions and Social Security. I am so used to dealing with km, as opposed to miles, that I am beginning to think in these terms. Slowly, but surely, even aviation in the U.S. is beginning to work into the metric system as it is now pretty much a universal thing in international aviation, engineering and the physical sciences. Having been a resident quality representative in Europe for several years seems to have reinforced this in my thinking as well. I'm afraid that I have been somewhat corrupted in this particular area of life! ;-)

Have a great weekend!
Use it or lose it? A very definite fact of life - especially after age 55...Sigh...
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#11
Yes I did notice that in your bio and see that you are quickly adopting to bicycle technology.It aint rocket science.

Some brakes have screw adjustable levers so you can set them closer to bars.This would require cable loosening too.

I am originally from Poland and have a BMW motorcycle so know all about km to mm.:-)

I replaced a 85 mph speedo on my Ducati motorcycle once with a euro 120mph one but did not realize that the odometer was still in km. Boy I thought I was getting great mpg.

BTW did you look at Alex's videos on this site for adjusting derailers, it may help with your miss shifts. Check the tech guide on top of this page.

Happy wrenching
Never Give Up!!!
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#12
(05-08-2010, 04:41 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Yes I did notice that in your bio and see that you are quickly adopting to bicycle technology.It aint rocket science.

Some brakes have screw adjustable levers so you can set them closer to bars.This would require cable loosening too.

I am originally from Poland and have a BMW motorcycle so know all about km to mm.:-)

I replaced a 85 mph speedo on my Ducati motorcycle once with a euro 120mph one but did not realize that the odometer was still in km. Boy I thought I was getting great mpg.

BTW did you look at Alex's videos on this site for adjusting derailers, it may help with your miss shifts. Check the tech guide on top of this page.

Happy wrenching

Hi George,

It would seem that we have quite a bit in common here. I commuted on a motorcycle for most of 30 years! My first husband was a Marine Corps weapons specialist type and when he was on leave, we did a lot of motorcycle touring together. After he met his demise in Viet Nam, I started riding his old Harley (registered in both of our names), which caused quite a stir back in the early 1970's! I found out that I really liked riding and kept it up. It was also a lot cheaper than operating a car!

As far as wrenching bikes goes, I agree that it is not rocket science, but I'll let you in on a little secret here. Once a rocket design goes into production, it is not all that more techie than car parts - or bicycle parts for that matter. There is a lot more Q.A. that goes into the machining and assembly (these things are designed to stand up to maximum power for minimum weight) but the technology is basically the same. Just watched over to the point where an equivalent car part that costs $30 will cost about $30,000 if it goes into a rocket engine!

Thanks for the info about Alex's videos. I will definitely check it out - after I do my morning ride tomorrow!

All the best
J
Use it or lose it? A very definite fact of life - especially after age 55...Sigh...
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