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Barend Shifters and Chainrings(18 posts)

Barend Shifters and ChainringsJervis
May 13, 2003 2:54 PM
I posted about a week ago concerning the transformation of my bike from downtube friction shifters to the much easier to use STI's. Upon looking at all the variables (rear spacing, freewheel availability, rear wheel replacement for cassette hub, over all cost) I decided to go with the barend shifters, and was wondering if anyone has some experience with these. What are the pros/cons and how do they compare to STIs and downtube shifters? This brings about another question. My crankset is just a two speed and I can't seem to get my front deraileur to stay where I put it no matter how much I crank down on my shifter. I'm assuming this is a result of the deraileur tension pulling on the shifter, but I've come to realize that I don't even need my inner chainring. The one I stay on mostly is like a 52 tooth and the next in is something like a 48 or 46. Do I really need that inner chainring? And if not what kind of bolt can I use to plug up the place from where I'm going to remove the shifter. Or might it be a better idea to get the barend shifters and then purchase a smaller (32 or so) chainring to put on the inside. I don't think I need the inner chainring, as I seem to make it up hills just fine, but is it a good idea to have it for backup? I apologize for the barrage of questions, but any answers you all could supply would be most beneficial. Thanks much.
May 13, 2003 4:04 PM
First of all, where did you get a crank setup like that? Sounds kind of like the granny half step, but big. Weird.

Anyway, let me just say that I love bar-end shifters. They are smooth, reliable, and can be changed over to friction when everything goes to poop. They eliminate the need for matched cassettes and shifters and derailluers, etc. when used in friction mode. Barcons also sit in a nice convenient place, retaining the codgerly old-school nature, but giving the more ergonomic convenience. I would suggest getting a set of tandem brake cables and about 5 feet of extra SIS housing so you can route the cables under the tape , giving a clean, aerodynamic appearance (shimano only includes standard cables and housing which is not long enough to go under the tape).

You are not going to be able to fit a 32t ring on any road crank, unless you are running some small BCD mountain setup or something. They typical 130mm BCD allows a small ring of 38t to be used. This would be advisable to have. I thought the same thing, took mine off and did great for awhile. There will always come a time when you wish you had it though. So keep it.

The slipping derailluer may be due to the demise of the internal friction portion of your shifter. The shimano barcons have little ridges in them that will hold it in place if you go that route.

Now if you do get rid of the front derailluer, but also get the barcons, you can just use the cable stop that attaches to the shifter mount to cover it up and make it more aesthetically pleasing. Some guys who convert old roadies to fixers just leave the shifters on as "vestigial appendages", kind of a joke in the fixie world.

You might want to look at some single ring setups at, although they are not as high a gear setup.

Good luck.
So would it be a good idea to.....Jervis
May 13, 2003 5:05 PM
keep the inner ring on my crankset (old Shimano 600) or maybe get a smaller one and keep the front deraileur, or is it advisable at all to remove them all together. I'd like to keep the inner ring, but it serves me very little. My outer biggie is a 52 and the next down just jumps to 45, it's hard to notice a significant difference. Where might I be able to find a smaller ring for a 5 bolt crank (not sure on the size or how to measure, I'm used to mountain cranks)? Will I need to re-wrap my bars? Another question, is it possible to fit a 7 speed freewheel onto my rear hub (even though my frame's spaced at 126mm instead of the new standard 130)? Thanks again.
So would it be a good idea to.....Rusty Coggs
May 13, 2003 5:57 PM
your shimano 600 crank is 130 BCD and rings as small as 38 teeth are available.You don't have to rewrap bars. Almost all current 7 speed freewheels work with 126 dropout spacing.130 spacing is for 8,9, and 10 speed stuff.
More info...SenorPedro
May 13, 2003 6:01 PM
It depends on how you use this bike, what purpose does it serve you? If this is your only roadie and you plan to train on it and use it for long rides in which you need versatility, then keep the little ring. Go for something a little smaller. Typical cranksets have 52-39 or 52-42 setups.

If this is your commuter, urban, bum-around bike that you would like less maintenance and cost tied up in, then ditch the little ring. If you feel confident that you can push a 52 tooth ring everywhere you go, then keep that one, otherwise opt for something a little more versatile in the 48-45 range. That will give you a good coverage in your gear ratios without having to have 2 rings. You will also need to find some spacers or get shorter chainring bolts in order to use 1 ring.

Your 600 crankset is 130mm BCD (bolt circle diameter), which is standard tiagra, 105, ultegra, etc. size. Any of those rings would work, but I would recommend a Salsa ring, as they have no ramps and would not tempt your single ring setup to shift by itself.

If you dont want to route the cables under the tape, then you do not need to re-wrap your bars.

As far as the rear wheel is concerned, if you have a 126 hub, designed for a 6 speed FW, then you may have trouble just popping a 7 speed FW on and having it fit. Measure the width of your FW and then compare it to the 7 speed. If they are the same width, then it will work, no problem. If the 7 is larger, which it most likely will be, then the smallest cog would potentially make contact with your dropout and not work too well.

A solution to this problem would be adding 2mm spacers to each side of the axle, effectively making it spaced 130mm. This would then (theoretically) provide enough room for the smallest cog to be free from interference. I have not done this, but I have a 126 spaced frame that I am running a 130mm wheel in and have no problems.

Good luck, keep us posted.
Sr. Pedro speaks the truth; + my 2 centsDale Brigham
May 14, 2003 6:55 AM
Bar-end shifters, as Senor Pedro and others have noted, are the greatest. Functionality, simplicity, frugality, reliability -- everything that STI is not. Once you go bar-end, you'll never go back.

Here's my 2 cents:

Before you ditch the inner chainring and front derailleur, why don't you just give the setup a try with the bar-cons shifting the front mechanism? I think you will be surprised how well it works on a double (binary) front chainring setup. As Sr. Pedro noted, the left-hand bar-con will not allow the cable to slip, unlike your old downtube shifter. If you go single chainring on the front, you will need different chainring bolts (shorter), new chainring (smaller), and a new freewheel. That's a lot of stuff (and $$) to change out, when it seems the object here is to make an otherwise nice bike ride better without too much mucking about. If you don't like the double setup, you can always go single later (like getting a divorce!).

As to cable routing, Sr. Pedro likes the most elegant solution (cables under bar tape). On the other hand, on my two bar-con equipped bikes, I went for the easiest solution: simply run the derailler cable housing straight out of the bar-cons to loop around back to the downtube shifter bosses (mounts). No bar tape changing, either on installation or cable housing replacement. I find the the exposed housing to be no problem riding on the drops or in any other way. Of course, I'm lazy and hate to wrap bars, but if you like that activity, running the cable housing under the bar tape certainly looks nicer.

This will really be showing my age (that would be the Stone Age), but I have great fondness for the so-called "half-step" gearing that a 52-46 (or 47) provides. It was a very common chainring setup in the early '70s (the 1970s, that is) when I began riding derailleur-equipped bikes. In fact, most nice Euro bikes of that era came with a 52-47 on the front; the 52-40 or 52-42 setups ("Alpine gearing)") were less common on top-of-the-line bikes. Half-step gearing works great with friction shifting setups, because it allows you to do at least one fool-proof shift up front at any time, rather than searching for a cog in back.

Here's how half-step gearing works. Let's say you are cruising along in your big ring (52 tooth) and a middling cog (say, 19 tooth), and you come to a bit of a rise in the road. Just nudge that front shifter down to the small ring (46 or whatever it is), and happily climb the rise. On the crest, simply pull the shifter back to the big ring. No hunting for cogs, and the relatively small jump between 52 and 46 (6 teeth) is a reliable, no-chain drop shift every time compared to the "modern" 14 tooth leap on a 53-39 setup, which is balky and slow. Think of the front as your "indexed" shifter.

Okay, I'm sure that this is more than you wanted to hear. Regardless of which direction you decide to go (single or double), I commend you for restoring the health of a good bike rather than disgarding it. Good luck!

Half-step gearing ROCKS. Again, as you say, we areOldEdScott
May 14, 2003 7:43 AM
showing our age. It's been forever since I've had a half-step setup. I went 52-42 Alpine when I bought my Miyata in '85 (still ride that bike a lot), and believe it or not I've always intended to switch it to half-step (these things take TIME!)

When I finally caved in and bought a 'modern' bike last year, I was baffled by the nuttiness of 52-39, and remain so to this day. (Then again, I'm baffled by nine-speed setups that give you exactly as many usuable gears as my old seven-speed, but it's a lonely bafflement. Everyone seems to think it's PERFECTLY NORMAL. More cogs uber alles!)
re: Barend Shifters and ChainringsJervis
May 13, 2003 6:44 PM
Thanks guys, this helps. Just as with mtb's there's so much little crap to deal with to tweak it just right. This whole one ring sounds really good (less weight, no pesky deraileur) but I don't know if I'll be able to get enough crank. By that I mean that I can already out pedal my current setup (52x14). I suppose I don't need that much pedal power especially because I usually out pedal my setup going down hill, but I can always get something with a 12 or 11 tooth on the back. So maybe drop the front down to a 48 or 49 (do the make 49s?) and get a new 7speed freewheel with something like an 11 or 12 to 27 spread? I don't do racing or anything, this is just my means of exercise and training for mountain riding (in which I also don't race, I just like to be in shape). I usually do between 10 and 30 mile rides, do you think 7 speeds is enough? I figure if I have at least a 27 on the back I can tackle most hills. Where can I find
un-ramped chainrings and where can I get some shorter ring bolts or aluminum spacers for the bolts I have? Thanks again.
re: Barend Shifters and ChainringsSenorPedro
May 13, 2003 9:19 PM
Hey man, its good to see someone who has got q's. I think you are on the right track, if you go smaller ring up front and tighten the rear cluster, you should be able to maintain a similar set of gear ratios. Try out some different combos with the Gear Calculator. I would see if I could find an "ac" freewheel. The letters just denote the gearing; 11-13-15-18-21-24-28. has some of the best QBP prices available. You can get a 48 tooth Salsa ring from them for a reasonable price, plus it is not ramped. You can also get Single ring bolts from them, but chances are you can get some bmx ones from your LBS for cheaper.
Good luck with the project, post us a pic when you get done.

re: Barend Shifters and ChainringsJervis
May 13, 2003 11:27 PM
I've been looking into freewheels for a while now, and it seems that nobody has anything with less than a 13 or 14 tooth small cog. Any clue where to find something that starts at 11 or 12 and goes up to ,at the smallest, 27? Also, I've heard of that gear calculator and gave it a whack, and came out of the site totally baffled. What exactly do the percentages mean and what's the whole point of it? I suppose it makes sense, but why put so much stock into how hard you're pedaling (or whatever the ratios are trying to tell you)? Will I have to mount the 48t ring on the inside of the crank spider or the outside? I suppose I should just put it to where the chainline is fairly strait?
A thought: Barends are nice, but it's justOldEdScott
May 14, 2003 5:02 AM
possible (depending on what hand positions you prefer, and whether you have big hands, which you'll need) that Kelly Take Offs (or one Take Off, if you're going one ring) could be what you're looking for. Check it out here:

As far as freewheels less than 13 or 14 tooth, I don't think you're going to have much luck. The selection is pitiful, and you pretty much have to take what you can get (which is 13-28 or 14-28). Ebay is an option.
Yes, a viable option indeed.SenorPedro
May 14, 2003 9:36 AM
I have seen these devices and they are quite interesting. The best part is their ability to use your current shifter. This makes for a potentially cheaper setup than buying barcons.

If you go for the 7 speed route, then you will have trouble finding indexed shifters in that variety. You would most likely be using an 8 speed shifter on the friction setting, so keeping your old shifter would really not make a huge difference.

The take-offs stealthily mount next to the brake lever, giving them a clean look and popping the cable out like an STI. This is also an excellent conversation piece for people who have never seen them before. I know I was intrigued on my first encounter.

You are going to be pretty much resigned to eBay for the freewheel search, though. Here is an auction that I found. As you can see, it is a hot item.

Thanks for the corroboration Dale, you guys aren't really that old. Binda and Coppi are old ;)
re: Barend Shifters and ChainringsLC
May 14, 2003 9:23 AM
The gear calc is only really usefull for comparing different chainrings and cogs. Only your legs can say what gears you need to push. What it can do is say tell you what gear-inches you have right now with the 52, and the show you how it would change if you put a 48 big ring on.

For my classic project bike I finally gave up on the threaded on 6 speed freewheel gears and rebuilt the wheel with a 7 speed cassette type hub. There are so many more options with a cassette type hub as you can go down to at least a 12 and likely even a 11 tooth cog. If you really want 1 chainring then I would choose something around a 48 (maybe use your current middle ring?) along with a 12-28 cassette which will give you a range for almost any type road. If your really strong or don't have any steep hills then you could go with 11-26. 7 gears seems like a complete luxury coming off my single speed ;) I would still try to keep the 2 rings up front for better chainlines even though they are close in size.
re: Barend Shifters and ChainringsJervis
May 14, 2003 9:28 AM
Jeez, this has been racking my brain for a while, but I think I have it. I really dig the barcons idea so I'm gonna get a set of those and hope it solves my front deraileur slippage problem. I'm going to leave the front rings as they are and see how I like them, and maybe even try that half step method you all speak of. Oh, do the Barcons come with screw in cablestops to replace my shifters? I don't have to get a new freewheel now, but I might look into it as the bike i'm using was found in a lake. Yes that's right, a lake. A buddy of mine and I fished it out and ripped it down to the frame and fixed it up to a 24 pound tourer with bearings that run nicer than on my 9900. On that note, the tires on it at the moment are 27 x 1 1/4, is it possible for me to run a 1 1/8 or even a 1" tire on my rims (note this is not a useless upgrade, my tires are worn to frightening points)? Can I run kevlar bead? I've looked into a couple of good training tires and I like the Panaracer Pasela TG and the Continental Sport 1000. Thoughts? I'm pretty sure the rims will handle the smaller width, but I've never run Kevlar's this thin before. Again thank you all so much. You've saved me from my everlasting problem of upgrade fever.
May 14, 2003 9:44 AM
Thats an interesting story. Check my last post for a 7 speed 12-28 freewheel on eBay.

All shimano barcons come with the cable stop adapters included in the kit. If you buy them on eBay, then you may only get the shifters from someone. Ask.

As for the tires, if they are the ones from the lake, then you are scaring me. Yes you can use a kevlar bead, yes you can go smaller also. Regardless of what people will tell you, you really can fit most any width of tire on most any width of rim, especially with the clunky 27's. I don't know about the availability of kevlar bead 27's, but I am sure there are some somewhere.

Out of curiousity, what kind of bike do you have?

-It takes courage to save a bike from drowning. Good man.
May 14, 2003 9:59 AM
Ebay is a great place for deals on barcons too. I got a pair of mine from this seller for very cheap. He lists new ones frequently.
May 14, 2003 1:32 PM
I'm not sure exactly what model it is, but it's an old Cannondal CaD frame I believe. The paint and the model number were mostly gone off of it, but I'm going to try and get ahold of Cannondale and see if I can't find out what kind it is and get some deals (it's bare aluminum right now). I believe it's an old touring bike, as it has the 27" wheelset and the geometry is a bit different from most roadies. As for tires, I looked on Nashbar and they have like 10 different models of 27", some of which are kevlar bead (I was kindo of surprised). I'm gonna call Cannondale and go for a ride.
Tourer 500Jervis
May 14, 2003 1:33 PM
I just got ahold of Cannondale and they told me (by way of ID numer on the chainstay) that it's an 85 or 86 Tourer 500. I was close, give or take 10 years.