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Some newbie questions for nice.(9 posts)

Some newbie questions for nice.Jeff R
Aug 15, 2001 6:07 PM
I've been mountain biking for the last 7 years and Ive finally been bitten by the road bug. I was going to sell my Klein mountain bike (SO I can can buy a real nice road bike) but hesitated at the last moment and bought a used road bike instead. I purchased a 95/96' Ciocc with a Shimano 600 groupset in good condition for $250. I don't know what model it is or if I got a good deal. It has Colombus tubing and sports a teal/turquoise blue fade to white paint job. I have a bunch of questions for everyone. (I searched about 10 pages worth of threads for answers but I had no luck.)
1. It has a downtube shifters. Can I convert it over to the newer handle bar shifters?
2. It has a 7 speed rear hub. Can I go higher? 8 or 9?
3. It has Italian wheels made by "Fir". Are they any good?
4. How did the Shimano 600 groupset rate 5 years ago? Low end, middle, high? Is it known for reliability?
5.DO you think I got a good deal?

Thanks for any help. Its greatly appreciated.
re: Some newbie questions for nice.wes
Aug 15, 2001 6:52 PM
1) Yup, can't imagine why anyone got downtube shifters in '95, but it's a standard upgrade. Go to or for upgrade kits. There are many other online vendors but also try your LBS is you have a decent one around. They'll give you service you may need if you need help installing and tuning the stuff.

2) 7 speed rear hub is a problem. If you want to upgrade to STI shifters (brake lever/shifters) you'll have to go to at least 8 speed. This means you need a new rear hub (7 and 8 speed hubs are totally different - you can't get 8 cogs on the shimano 7 hubs) and this means the rear wheel needs to be rebuilt. Go to 9 while you are at it. The upgrade kits I mentioned above usually come with a rear hub. You will have to go higher. When Shimano was at 7 speed, the STI shifter technology was not available.

BTW - Colorado Cyclist has 9 speed STI for:
Dura Ace - $389 (shifters, rear cassette, rear derailleur, chain, no rear hub)
Ultegra - $275 (same components)

3) I have no experience with Fir wheels.

4) Shimano 600 is good stuff. It's not really pro level, but who really needs the extra 1% performance gain for an extra $500? You won't see many road racers with the stuff, but it's very high end on the "enthusiast" level. For shimano, Dura Ace is the stuff (what Lance rides) and Ultegra (or 600) is the next level down. You'll find it on bikes costing up to $2000 new. Good stuff.

5) Incredible deal. Ciocc is great stuff. I'll assume the Columbus tubing is steel. Back in '95 (i'm really skeptical about that since you have the downtube shifters. In '95, I think most people would have been buying STI's) check the Columbus decal for "SL" "SLX" "Genius" "EL-OS". I think these are the main ones. If you want, we can talk about old Columbus steel tubing in another post. Ciocc is fairly well known stuff in the US and very respected stuff inEurope.
re: Some newbie questions for nice.Birddog
Aug 15, 2001 10:11 PM
Wes,are you sure about needing new hubs? I thought I just slapped an 8 speed cassette on my same old hub when I upgraded. I think as long as it is a cassette, it is OK.

I think you got a sweet deal. It is pretty easy to upgrade esp if you don't need to change hubs. If you want to go cheaper when you upgrade, consider bar end shifters (poor mans STI). I have had them for years and they work great.
re: Some newbie questions for nice.wes
Aug 16, 2001 8:51 PM
Briddog - you might be right about the hubs. I'm not sure (maybe someone can verify) but I thought the spacing for a 7-speed was something like 126mm and 8 speed took us to 130mm. This means 2 things. The frame's rear triangle needs to be taken to a bike shop to increase the distance of therear drops, and at least a new axle needs to be put in. Now, pulling the rear stays apart by 4mm probably is no big deal, and if an 8-9 speed cassette fits on a 7 speed freehub, cool. I'm not sure though.

Noticed that the frame is Columbus SL. Good stuff. Most people don't need Columbus SLX. It's much stiffer, but is also alot heavier. If you weigh under 155-165 you can probably ride SL just fine. Since it's probably an older frame, make sure there's no rust in it. Ask around and see what the best way to prevent rust is. There's all sorts of stuff out there to treat the inside of the frame with.

re: Some newbie questions for nice.Jeff_R
Aug 16, 2001 1:48 PM
Yeah, I have a feeling it may be a little older. It was from a private owner and he seemed like he wasn't quite sure about the year. The tubing is Colombus SL steel. So when did downtube shifters get phased out?
Ill try to post some pics up later today. Somebody might be able to tell the vintage by looking at it.

Thanks for all the help everyone. I appreciate it!
some answers/guessesbreezydz
Aug 16, 2001 5:48 AM
1. Yes, it's a common upgrade.

2. I'd agree with the 1st guy, get a new hub and go to 9 speeds unless it requires spreading the stays to accomadate more gears.

3. I've loved my FIR Isidis tubular wheels - found them to be quite durable 10k miiles or more - and very comfortable.

4. Shimano 600 held the same spot in their product line as Ultegra does now - 2nd to Dura Ace. It's probably more than 5 years old.

5. Yes! It sounds like a shop put some good parts they weren't selling on a good frame they weren't selling and sold it all pretty cheap to get it off the floor. You did well to find this in decent shape for $250. Enjoy it or mark it up a bit and resell it.
7 speed STIfreddd
Aug 16, 2001 10:00 AM
You CAN upgrade your shifters to an STI type - see this link
those shifters have a bad rep, though.jw25
Aug 17, 2001 7:25 AM
You can upgrade to some 8 speed STI levers, though. Cog to cog spacing is the same for 7 and 8 speed cassettes, so the shifter will pull the right amount of cable. You'll have an extra click on one end, though (preferably the smaller cog - less chance of a chain in the spokes that way.)
$250 was a pretty good deal. Figure $80 for 8 speed STI (on Ebay or here), plus a few bucks for new cables and housing, and you'll get years of training out of it.
Too much misinformation for me to stay quiet.Spoke Wrench
Aug 17, 2001 6:48 PM
1. Shimano 8&9 speed cassettes use the same freehub body. The 7 speed freehub body is, quite obviously, narrower. You simply cannot put an 8 speed cassette on a 7 speed freehub body.

You can buy a spacer to put a 7 speed cassette onto an 8 speed freehub body. This usually involves grinding the rivet heads or removing the little bolts that hold the cassette together.

2. Shimano 7 speed and 8 speed cog spacing are not the same (5.0mm vs. 4.8mm). While that difference isn't very much, its enough to screw up your shifting. It is possible to get an 8 speed shifter to shift a 7 speed cassette, but the results are less than perfect. Generally you end up with a double shift every time you change directions in shifting.

It's possible to cobble together a bunch of mix and match components and make it "kinda work." If it was my bike though, I'd either leave it the way it is or else replace the whole drivetrain at one time with parts that match each other. That's the only way you are going to get the kind of performance that this classic frame deserves.

Good luck.