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View Full Version : Anyone use friction shifting on a 9-speed cassette?


d.vader123
12-27-2011, 10:32 PM
How's it working out? Is it that much harder than an 8-speed system? I have only read that it is harder because the rider needs to be more precise due to the closer spacing of the cassettes. Because of this, there could be higher chance of misshifts. That is how I understand the theory behind it.

Anyone with experience using 9-speed friction shifting please share your knowledge. I would like to hear about whether or not it is really difficult to friction shift on a 9-speed cassette or whether the problems some people have reported is a little exaggerated.

Louis
12-27-2011, 11:02 PM
I would like to hear about whether or not it is really difficult to friction shift on a 9-speed cassette or whether the problems some people have reported is a little exaggerated.

In my experience 9-spd is noticeably more finicky compared to 6-spd.

When I first went to 9-spd Shimano DT shifters I tried out the friction mode a few times just to see what is was like. Much more trouble than what I seemed to remember for 6-spd, so I went back to index and have stayed there since.

I have no data points for 8-spd friction or index.

Edit: Grant P claims that even his young daughter can do friction with no problems...

d.vader123
12-27-2011, 11:11 PM
In my experience 9-spd is noticeably more finicky compared to 6-spd.

When I first went to 9-spd Shimano DT shifters I tried out the friction mode a few times just to see what is was like. Much more trouble than what I seemed to remember for 6-spd, so I went back to index and have stayed there since.

I have no data points for 8-spd friction or index.

Edit: Grant P claims that even his young daughter can do friction with no problems...I would bet that 6, 7, and 8 will be pretty good, but 9 is the question mark to me.

10 is probably out of the question for me even though I'm sure there are some who are experts with it.

Grant P's claim is what made me consider 9-speed friction. I hope I didn't make a mistake. BTW, I'm planning to use Silver DT shifters.

thendenjeck
12-27-2011, 11:19 PM
personally, i found 9 spd friction highly irritating, even after 3 or 4 months, but my friend (a bike freight messenger) swears by it.

dave thompson
12-27-2011, 11:29 PM
My wife uses 9-speed friction on her touring bike and does fine with it. It took her a few miles to get used it, coming off STI shifting.

eddief
12-27-2011, 11:38 PM
a voice of reason.

My wife uses 9-speed friction on her toying bike and does fine with it. It took her a few miles to get used it, coming off STI shifting.

JLP
12-27-2011, 11:41 PM
I ride friction 9 and 10 all the time. No problems at all.

I thought it would be tricky, but my frame showed up before the 10 speed index shifters I had planned to use, so I put it together temporarily with old 7 speed shifters I had laying around. Three 300K rides and a month later I realized I never thought about the shifting, so I never bothered to switch when the index shifters arrived.

I did Paris Brest Paris with that bike this year.

I have nothing against index, as I have it on some of my bikes, but I did want to chime in that friction works fine with the newer stuff for some people. YMMV.

kenw
12-28-2011, 12:09 AM
One bike has dt shifters, the other has barend shifters;
no problems on either

d.vader123
12-28-2011, 12:15 AM
When you guys say no problems, do you mean that...

9-speed friction feels and acts the same as using friction shifters with a 7- or 8-speed cassette?

OR

9-speed friction is more difficult than 7- or 8-speed cassettes but still easy to use?

Thanks again!

dave thompson
12-28-2011, 12:19 AM
When you guys say no problems, do you mean that...

9-speed friction feels and acts the same as using friction shifters with a 7- or 8-speed cassette?

OR

9-speed friction is more difficult than 7- or 8-speed cassettes but still easy to use?

Thanks again!
A) The only difference with 9/10 speed friction shifting is the shorter 'throws' to reach the next gear.

Don't overthink it, it works. Easy.

JLP
12-28-2011, 12:21 AM
Well the spaces between the gears are closer, so you move the lever a bit less, but you just don't think about it. Want a bigger gear -- move the lever a bit. Want two -- move it a bit more.

The shaped teeth on modern cassettes just seem to hold the chain and require little trim. Sure, once in a while, you need to trim it, but not any more than with older systems.

If your bike has down tube shifter bosses, why not just try some out? If you don't like it, you can switch later. But honestly, my modern 9/10 speed bikes with friction are probably easier to use than old 5-6 speed stuff from back in the day. It is just something that is so easy I don't think about it.

cat6
12-28-2011, 12:23 AM
My big problem is dropping gear/ghost shifting gears when I come out of the saddle. Does that not ever happen to the others that use 9spd friction? It's very unsettling.

JLP
12-28-2011, 12:29 AM
My big problem is dropping gear/ghost shifting gears when I come out of the saddle. Does that not ever happen to the others that use 9spd friction? It's very unsettling.

Not at all frequently. Once or twice every 10,000 miles?

cat6
12-28-2011, 12:43 AM
Not at all frequently. Once or twice every 10,000 miles?

for me it's like once every 5-6 rides. it's pretty likely I'm just a lousy mechanic, but it happens frequently enough it can discourage me from any type of shifting on an aggressive climb.

JLP
12-28-2011, 12:57 AM
for me it's like once every 5-6 rides. it's pretty likely I'm just a lousy mechanic, but it happens frequently enough it can discourage me from any type of shifting on an aggressive climb.

Are you sure you don't have something else going on like a worn drivetrain, inadequate friction on the shifters, gummed up cables or something?

cat6
12-28-2011, 01:19 AM
Are you sure you don't have something else going on like a worn drivetrain, inadequate friction on the shifters, gummed up cables or something?

Nope, not sure. Which is why I said its likely I'm just a lousy mechanic :)

pavel
12-28-2011, 01:39 AM
I briefly ran campy 10 is friction mode - I gutted a synchro2 7 speed shifter and rebuilt it to do friction, and mounted it on a riv bar end pod. The only problem for me was getting enough cable tension to shift across the whole casette, but it did not have any problems like missed shifts.

Sometimes I do things just to see if they can be done without much regard for practicality :D

Kontact
12-28-2011, 02:39 AM
My big problem is dropping gear/ghost shifting gears when I come out of the saddle. Does that not ever happen to the others that use 9spd friction? It's very unsettling.
"Automatic" friction shifts are not unknown with friction shifters, especially with tightly spaced cassettes. It's from BB cable guide friction tugging the cable when the BB is flexed when standing - a big problem on less stiff frames. There's just so much friction you can put on the lever. Try lubing the BB guide.


One thing that helps with friction shifting is to use a shifter with relatively small cable pull per degree of shifter movement - a small diameter cable bail. The old Simplex retrofriction shifter is a good example, and a good shifter. You end up with more control because you have to move the shifter further per shift. The downside is how far you have to move the lever to get into your lowest gear.

cat6
12-28-2011, 02:55 AM
"Automatic" friction shifts are not unknown with friction shifters, especially with tightly spaced cassettes. It's from BB cable guide friction tugging the cable when the BB is flexed when standing - a big problem on less stiff frames. There's just so much friction you can put on the lever. Try lubing the BB guide.


One thing that helps with friction shifting is to use a shifter with relatively small cable pull per degree of shifter movement - a small diameter cable bail. The old Simplex retrofriction shifter is a good example, and a good shifter. You end up with more control because you have to move the shifter further per shift. The downside is how far you have to move the lever to get into your lowest gear.

Good info, thank you.

oldpotatoe
12-28-2011, 08:36 AM
How's it working out? Is it that much harder than an 8-speed system? I have only read that it is harder because the rider needs to be more precise due to the closer spacing of the cassettes. Because of this, there could be higher chance of misshifts. That is how I understand the theory behind it.

Anyone with experience using 9-speed friction shifting please share your knowledge. I would like to hear about whether or not it is really difficult to friction shift on a 9-speed cassette or whether the problems some people have reported is a little exaggerated.

Well yes, cogs closer together so smaller movements required of the shifter and some chain to cog 'noise' until chain centered but it ain't hard, works well, can use any rear wheel(7/8/9) if you are using a 9s chain. I ride friction shifting only on both my bicycles and really love the simplicity.
Somehow kill a rear derailleur? Replace with anything and it will work.

I think index/lever mounted shifting is 'necessary' for only 3 types of riders.

-Beginners
-MTB
-Racing(only because everybody else has it)

All else it's fiormly in the 'nice to have' catagory. IMHO.

Ken Robb
12-28-2011, 11:19 AM
I think you will find it works fine and the Silver Shifters with their power ratchet system work much better than a pure friction system like Campy Nuovo Record, etc.

Louis
12-28-2011, 02:05 PM
I'm as big a retro-grouch as there is out there, in "real life" and for cycling, but I've never bought into the "Friction is Zen" thing.

With index I don't have to mess around with trimming (we're talking 9-spd, not 6-spd, which is way more forgiving) so there is one less issue to deal with. Others may have calibrated fingers, in which case good for them. If they like, they can even join the Rapha gang and do L'Eroica with leather hair-net helmets and steak in their shorts.

Re-reading this, I didn't mean it to be a rant of any sort. Ride what works for you.

dave thompson
12-28-2011, 02:11 PM
I'm as big a retro-grouch as there is ...... <snipped> You looking to fill Rooney's slot at 60 Minutes? :p

Louis
12-28-2011, 02:18 PM
You looking to fill Rooney's slot at 60 Minutes? :p

Harumph.

jr59
12-28-2011, 02:30 PM
I don't know about 9, but my 8 speed sure does work good!

C-record of course!

We won't talk about the brakes.

Deltas of course!

noahgenda
12-28-2011, 04:06 PM
I run 9 speed barcons in friction mode, absolutely no problems.

DA barcons, Ultegra RD

I find that shifting "up" is trickier than "down" but it hasnt slowed me down, even on early morning foggy headed commutes.

I did lend out the bike though recently and the guy didnt shift because he said he couldnt figure it out, so...

palincss
12-28-2011, 04:31 PM
I would bet that 6, 7, and 8 will be pretty good, but 9 is the question mark to me.


Using the same Sun Tour Sprint downtube levers mounted in Shimano bar end pods (new ones are sold under the Silver name) I found 8 to be too hard to accurately downshift and not get ghost shifts afterwards, but 7 works fine for me and I like it quite a lot.

I've never tried 9 with that setup, but I'm confident it would be worse for me than 9. Others on lists I belong to have said they no trouble friction-shifting 9s and even 10s.

palincss
12-28-2011, 04:44 PM
The shaped teeth on modern cassettes just seem to hold the chain and require little trim. Sure, once in a while, you need to trim it, but not any more than with older systems.


Actually, I think the shaped teeth and shifting ramps on Hyperglide make it more difficult to friction shift, because they're designed to let the chain slip easily from one sprocket to the next, even to the point of not complaining at all when the chain is actually riding on both sprockets -- which in practice means you get no audible feedback when you haven't accurately centered the chain. That's fine most of the time, but if you downshifted as you were stopping at a light or stop sign, when you start back up and apply a lot of pressure on the crank it upshifts with a big slam.

You'd think the floating top pulley ("Centeron") would eliminate the need for trim -- that is, after all, what it was designed for -- but many people have said one trick to make friction shifting Hyperglide easier is to swap the two pulleys so that the top pulley does not float. That's said to create more audible feedback (chain noise) making it easier for you to center.

cp43
12-28-2011, 05:12 PM
I ran my TT bike with 9-spd friction for a couple weeks when I was too lazy to make it index right. 95% of the time it was fine, easy to get the right gear and get it to stay. The 5% was when I'd be not quite in the gear, but enough that it stayed under low effort, when I'd get out of the saddle, or put down more power it'd skip.

I wouldn't use it for a race/go fast bike, but I'd be happy with it for a touring/cruising bike. YMMV.

Chris

Ralph
12-28-2011, 09:09 PM
My experience is it work's fine if your chain is narrow also. You don't want to use an 8 speed chain on 9's cassette, and have the chain attempt to be on two cogs same time. That's what some of you are experiencing when you say it ghosts or slips, or doesn't settle on cog right, etc. I would try to use a 10's chain on 9's cassette and see how that works. Also....if using Shimano parts, I liked the reverse action (Rapid Rise) RD's better for friction shifting.

mtechnica
12-28-2011, 10:03 PM
Never tried 9 speed but 8 speed wasn't bad. 7 speed was better IMO. For 9 speed I would prefer indexing but I know people that use 9-10sp with friction and they don't seem to mind it. It may be a matter of just getting past the learning curve. I also agree that using modern narrow chains and ramped cassettes dramatically improves shifting performance even with just friction.

d.vader123
12-28-2011, 11:06 PM
Actually, I think the shaped teeth and shifting ramps on Hyperglide make it more difficult to friction shift, because they're designed to let the chain slip easily from one sprocket to the next, even to the point of not complaining at all when the chain is actually riding on both sprockets -- which in practice means you get no audible feedback when you haven't accurately centered the chain.The audible feedback is nice to have when I shift. Is that lost for 9-speed friction shifting? I remember getting it when I used an 8-speed friction shifting bike in the past.

telewhacker!
12-28-2011, 11:49 PM
I have used 9 speed with friction shifting bar cons for years on my travel bikes, I have never had any problem. Never met a baggage handler misalignment I couldn't compensate for. I can always install any deraileur in a pinch, and I am pretty easy on chains as well.

cat6
12-28-2011, 11:51 PM
The audible feedback is nice to have when I shift. Is that lost for 9-speed friction shifting? I remember getting it when I used an 8-speed friction shifting bike in the past.

The only audible you get is the chain switching gears....there's no click on the shifters, at least none that're in-sync with your shifts. Your 8 spd set up might have been indexed, at least it *sounds* that way. Pun intended :)

Kontact
12-29-2011, 12:57 AM
The only audible you get is the chain switching gears....there's no click on the shifters, at least none that're in-sync with your shifts. Your 8 spd set up might have been indexed, at least it *sounds* that way. Pun intended :)
Many pros, like Lemond, didn't like indexing because the sound of the shift telegraphed potential breaks to the competition - I knew racers in the early '90s who kept their Shimano shifters in friction mode. I'm sure lots of the pros never used a index downtube lever and went right from Simplex levers to Ergo or Zap.

palincss
12-29-2011, 08:57 AM
Just to clarify, the audible feedback I was speaking about was chain chatter, not the clicking of indexed levers: the chatter you used to get with old-style straight cut gear teeth as you were derailling the chain, the sound that led experienced hands to say to beginners, "While you're at it, grind me a pound, too."

bicycletricycle
12-29-2011, 09:04 AM
it works fine

corsaspeciale
12-29-2011, 09:07 AM
I have been using friction with campy 10 spd for about a year now and love it. Old style campy friction shifters not so good but using Rivendell's silver shifter is the one to use.

oldpotatoe
12-29-2011, 09:14 AM
I have been using friction with campy 10 spd for about a year now and love it. Old style campy friction shifters not so good but using Rivendell's silver shifter is the one to use.

Or big barrel Campagnolo '8s' retro friction shifters..those work great also with slant parallelogram RDers, to get to the lowest gear w/o the lever going waaaayyy back.

bobswire
12-29-2011, 10:47 AM
Late to the party but this 10 speed friction set up is the cats meow and doesn't care if it is campy or shimano wheel....enough said.

http://i40.tinypic.com/9lcsw7.jpg

Ken Robb
12-29-2011, 12:10 PM
nice-looking bike--and I usually don't care for straight forks. On this bike it seems to just fit right with the tubes.

corsaspeciale
12-29-2011, 01:18 PM
Or big barrel Campagnolo '8s' retro friction shifters..those work great also with slant parallelogram RDers, to get to the lowest gear w/o the lever going waaaayyy back.
I do have a set of those shifters but didnt try them yet. Spring overhaul i will swap them out and see.

John M
12-29-2011, 01:47 PM
I think you will find ......power ratchet system work much better than a pure friction system like Campy Nuovo Record, etc.

This is my experience. 9s cassette/9s chain, old Suntour power ratchet shifters--works great.

Toddtwenty2
12-29-2011, 02:39 PM
I've been using dura-ace bar-end shifters mounted to Paul thumbies, with a 9 speed cog and XT rear derailleur for the past two years. I get a ghost shift on rare occasion in the middle of the cog when out of the saddle. If I'm within the last couple gears in the cog, I never get ghost shifts. I wouldn't worry about it. It works well.