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A know-nothing question - Down tube conversion to Ergo(6 posts)

A know-nothing question - Down tube conversion to ErgoMcAndrus
Feb 4, 2002 7:32 AM
This will sound like a real know-nothing question but it has been years since I've worked with down tube shifters.

My daughter has a circa late-80s bike with down tube shifters. I want to convert it to an older set of Campy Ergos that I have spare. I have not yet taken her shifters apart to examine the gizmos as the bike is with her at college.

I'm thinking I should be able to do this as the boss that holds the down tube shifters is the same type of boss that would hold the barrel adjusters in an Ergo arrangement.

I've done a quick internet search for any writings on this topic but I've come up blank.

Does this sound practical or are down tube shifter bosses incompatible with Ergo cable adjusters?
no problem...mickey
Feb 4, 2002 9:25 AM
Ergo levers come with cable stops that are made to bolt in place of downtube shifters. If you don't have an extra set of cable stops, you'll find them to be pretty pricey as a separate item ($30 as I recall). There should be a lot of unused stops available since most newer frames come with cable stops mounted on the frame. I've got a couple of pairs just sitting around.

The rear dropout spacing of the old frame is 126mm, compared to 130mm for newer frames. If the frame is steel, this won't pose a problem. If it's aluminum or carbon, placing a wider hub into the frame could cause a problem.
If you can't find stops, try Rivendellcory
Feb 4, 2002 9:45 AM
My used shifters came without stops, and the LBS's around here didn't want to fool with them. Rivendell ( has them cheaper than most--I think I paid $17 last fall (it's still more than they look like they're worth, but what can you do?).
That's what I figuredMcAndrus
Feb 4, 2002 10:04 AM
I was thinking it was doable but I just don't have the bike here to look at. On the spacing of the dropouts, I already know that I can get them spread if they're steel so I'm covered on that one.

Thanks for the opinion.
no problem...DMKiefer
Feb 5, 2002 9:09 AM
I dont understand how spreading an aluminum or carbon frame 4 mm could possibly do any harm. There is enough flex in the rear stays and you are only flexing each side 2 mm. I upgraded my '87 Trek 1500 to 9spd spreading the dropouts but not to the point of bending them permanantly. I have yet to have any problems. The frame is bonded as well. Am I missing something here?
reported problems...mickey
Feb 5, 2002 10:48 AM
I'm inclined to agree with you. Most chainstays and droputs can flex enough to work.

I have read reports from those who have experienced frame failure after installing a 130mm hub in a 126mm frame. Those who reported this occurance don't seem to realize that the old frame might have failed anyway. There's no way to know if the change in hubs was a direct cause of the failure.