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Converting from downtube shifters to STI?(7 posts)

Converting from downtube shifters to STI?BigJ
Oct 1, 2001 5:26 AM
I've got an old Masi road bike that I've been putting a lot of miles on lately. Problem is, it was originally built in the late '80s, before the advent of integrated brake levers / shifters. I'd like to convert to STI, and was wondering what is involved in such a thing.

The bike currently has Shimano 600 derailleurs front and rear, with Shimano 600 brake levers and shifters; 7-speed casette (I think it's a casette - or is it actually a threaded freewheel? I dunno); Mavic clinher rims with Edco hubs.

Just wondering what and how I should upgrade, within a reasonable budget (say, $500.00). Should I have a new rear wheel built up with a new 9-speed casette - say, Ultegra? Or just put a new casette on my existing wheel? Then a new Ultegra derailleur set, with STI brake/shifter levers? And how do I integrate the new STI shifting mechanism onto the existing frame? I ask because I think I've seen instances where the upgrade has been done to frames with downtube-mount shifter braze-ons, and I recall seeing some special conversion hardware mounted on the downtubes.

I'm not the most mecahnically adept person in the world, but I'm trying to upgrade my bike repair skills. I've got tools (or can purchase them), and have Zinn's roadbike manual as well as Bicycling Mag's bike repair book.

Go ahead and reply here, or email me directly. Thanks in advance for any help!

- Jeff
re: Converting from downtube shifters to STI?Birddog
Oct 1, 2001 6:09 AM
It is much easier than you think. Upgrade kits are available mail order for $399 (Dura Ace) or $295 (Ultegra). The upgrade kit consists of shifter/brake levers, rear derailleur, cassette, and chain. Most recommend a new small chainring which is NOT included. Your front derailleur should work but you have some issues with your rear wheel and cassette/freewheel. The spacing has to be correct, but a good LBS should be able to do this. I seem to recall that when I went from a 7 speed cassette to an 8 speed that there was no problem, but someone else can weigh in on this matter. If you have a frewheel type, you'll have to either rebuild with an 8/9 speed freewheel type hub or buy a new one altogether. As for actual installation, just follow Zinn's instructions, and those that come with the kit. It is pretty straight forward. The shifter bosses where your downtube levers are located are just adapted to become the new adjuster and attachment location for the STI setup. You will need a good cable cutter and basic bike tools.
Good Luck
re: Converting from downtube shifters to STI?cyclequip
Oct 1, 2001 6:34 AM
Your best bet is to get a good upgrade kit that includes:
Both derailleurs, chain, shifters, inside chainring (a must or your f/mech will never work right), cassette. Your Edco hub is a problem. You'd best contact the agents to see if an 8/9speed freehub body/axle is available as a retrofit. If so, fit the body/axle, re-dish the wheel and you're OK. Otherwise a new rear hub and rebuild. Most you can do. The wheel might need a visit to a pro.
On The CheapAndy M-S
Oct 1, 2001 6:56 AM
The OTC method for going to integrated shifting is as follows.

1. Purchase a used set of Campagnolo 8-speed Ergo levers.

2. Install these on your 7-speed Shimano-equipped bike.

3. Enjoy.

You should be able to pick up such levers for less than $60; they work well, and you'll be able to decide fairly quickly whether or not you like integrated shifting enough to drop larget money on it, go with 9-speeds, and have your frame spread to fit.

These levers will work fine with your existing brakes and derailers, and should come with "downtube cable stops" to convert your DT shifter braze-ons to handle terminating the cable housing from the shifters.
Just an additional note about the framezelig1
Oct 1, 2001 7:29 AM
If it's a 7spd, cassette or freewheel, the width between your Masi's rear dropouts is 126mm. The 8/9 spd is 130mm. Given that your frame's steelx many people can and do just insert the wider axle wheel in place. I personally would have it spread by an extremely qualified bike shop or have it done by a local framebuilder with the correct tools so that the dropouts and rear derailleur are correctly aligned after being spread. I made the same switch as you and had my Marinoni spread by the framebuilder. The cost is negligible and should fit within your budget.
re: Converting from downtube shifters to STI?Jules
Oct 2, 2001 8:25 AM
I looked into this a couple years ago on my 1990 Univega but determined that it wasn't really worth the expense. What kind of frame do you have? Is it a really nice frame? Is it worth the expense to upgrade?

I would have had to replace the front & rear derailleurs, rear hub (mine is a 6-spd), cassette, chain, brakes, and I think even the crankset (Suntour Superbe Pro). That's practically the entire group.

I'm still riding the Univega with downtube shifters & Suntour components until I am in a position to buy a new bike. I'll still keep my old bike as a back up to my new bike though.
What model Univega? Man them oldscottfree
Oct 2, 2001 9:07 AM
Univegas is nice bikes!