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1962 Varsity - Move Stem Shifters Ok?
#1
        Hi. This is my first post.
I have a 1962 Varsity that I've enjoyed riding since I was 10. I'm in my 60's now and just want to putz around the neighborhood.
In order to make the bike more comfortable I put a super big seat on it and 12" high handlebars. It's my Lazy-Boy on wheels.
As I hope you can see from the pictures I'd like to move the stem shifters (is that the right term?) up from their present position to the main bar. Since my handlebars now keep me up high when I want to shift I have to bend over pretty far to reach the shifters.
Can I safely move the shifters up to the main bar by the handlebars? It would be a lot easier to shift them if they were there. I do realize the wires wouldn't be tucked up against the tube as they are now. That's ok with me.
Will this modification affect the structure of the bike? I would have a bike store do this.
Is there a better idea for moving the stem shifters up or doing something else?

Thanks for any help or suggestions!

Mike Gallery
Bull Valley, Illinois
  Reply
#2
(04-03-2021, 10:15 PM)Mike Gallery Wrote:  Hi. This is my first post.

Can I safely move the shifters up to the main bar by the handlebars? It would be a lot easier to shift them if they were there. I do realize the wires wouldn't be tucked up against the tube as they are now. That's ok with me.
Will this modification affect the structure of the bike? I would have a bike store do this.
Is there a better idea for moving the stem shifters up or doing something else?

Thanks for any help or suggestions!

Mike Gallery
Bull Valley, Illinois

Welcome Mike,

The shifters you presently have are braze-on mounted downtube shifters ("suicide shifters"), and you will not be able to use them (without "extreme" modification) mounted as handlebar stem or top tube mounted shifters. Your present shift levers pivot on a threaded braze-on bosses that would have to be cut or ground off of the frame's down tube and welded back on to the position of convenience (top tube or bar stem). You should be able to find an old style (60s-70s) set of levers that can clamp onto the bar stem; probably $10-$20 or so, plus labor for mounting. They were very common in the 70s; my '75 Schwinn Varsity is set up that way from the factory. most bike shops have some old parts kicking around, Schwinn, Suntour, Huret; that should work. Or your can mount new or used bar mounted clamp-on thumb shifters just in front of your grips; cheap, easy to install, very convenient location. Both options are fairly inexpensive, and can be done quickly and cheaply at a bike shop or at home if the parts are available. You would probably need to get new cables and/or cable housings due to the length change when changing shifter locations.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#3
Hi, Jesper.

I really appreciate your response. It is most educational! I'll be sure to share this with my bike place and see what they can do. When I get this done I'll be sure to share a picture out here.

Thanks again!

Mike


(04-05-2021, 08:56 PM)Jesper Wrote:  
(04-03-2021, 10:15 PM)Mike Gallery Wrote:  Hi. This is my first post.

Can I safely move the shifters up to the main bar by the handlebars? It would be a lot easier to shift them if they were there. I do realize the wires wouldn't be tucked up against the tube as they are now. That's ok with me.
Will this modification affect the structure of the bike? I would have a bike store do this.
Is there a better idea for moving the stem shifters up or doing something else?

Thanks for any help or suggestions!

Mike Gallery
Bull Valley, Illinois

Welcome Mike,

The shifters you presently have are braze-on mounted downtube shifters ("suicide shifters"), and you will not be able to use them (without "extreme" modification) mounted as handlebar stem or top tube mounted shifters. Your present shift levers pivot on a threaded braze-on bosses that would have to be cut or ground off of the frame's down tube and welded back on to the position of convenience (top tube or bar stem). You should be able to find an old style (60s-70s) set of levers that can clamp onto the bar stem; probably $10-$20 or so, plus labor for mounting. They were very common in the 70s; my '75 Schwinn Varsity is set up that way from the factory. most bike shops have some old parts kicking around, Schwinn, Suntour, Huret; that should work. Or your can mount new or used bar mounted clamp-on thumb shifters just in front of your grips; cheap, easy to install, very convenient location. Both options are fairly inexpensive, and can be done quickly and cheaply at a bike shop or at home if the parts are available. You would probably need to get new cables and/or cable housings due to the length change when changing shifter locations.
  Reply
#4
(04-05-2021, 08:56 PM)Jesper Wrote:  
(04-03-2021, 10:15 PM)Mike Gallery Wrote:  Hi. This is my first post.

Can I safely move the shifters up to the main bar by the handlebars? It would be a lot easier to shift them if they were there. I do realize the wires wouldn't be tucked up against the tube as they are now. That's ok with me.
Will this modification affect the structure of the bike? I would have a bike store do this.
Is there a better idea for moving the stem shifters up or doing something else?

Thanks for any help or suggestions!

Mike Gallery
Bull Valley, Illinois

Welcome Mike,

The shifters you presently have are braze-on mounted downtube shifters ("suicide shifters"), and you will not be able to use them (without "extreme" modification) mounted as handlebar stem or top tube mounted shifters. Your present shift levers pivot on a threaded braze-on bosses that would have to be cut or ground off of the frame's down tube and welded back on to the position of convenience (top tube or bar stem). You should be able to find an old style (60s-70s) set of levers that can clamp onto the bar stem; probably $10-$20 or so, plus labor for mounting. They were very common in the 70s; my '75 Schwinn Varsity is set up that way from the factory. most bike shops have some old parts kicking around, Schwinn, Suntour, Huret; that should work. Or your can mount new or used bar mounted clamp-on thumb shifters just in front of your grips; cheap, easy to install, very convenient location. Both options are fairly inexpensive, and can be done quickly and cheaply at a bike shop or at home if the parts are available. You would probably need to get new cables and/or cable housings due to the length change when changing shifter locations.

Hi.
That's a lovely looking bike!

I signed up to the forum just because of the above reply.

  1. You DON'T have to grind those bosses off! Seriously, please don't.
  2. You can fit similar-looking thumb shifters to the handlebars - one on each side
  3. Your current set-up will be 'friction shift', and you can replicate this, or go for a newer 'indexed' version of the shifters (this will click from gear to gear)
  4. You'll need to fit bolt-on cable stops, which go onto those existing frame bosses - something like these: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Jagwire-STI-Downtube-Shift-Cable-Stops-Barrel-Adjusters-for-Shimano-Campagnolo/164545956900?hash=item264fb40c24:g:na8AAOSwVyhfR~ag
  5. You'll then add a length of outer cable housing to go from them to the new shifters on your handlebars. Make sure this is in a nice curve, and not too tight.
  6. Then fit new gear cable inners. Job done. Smile

Your local bike shop should be able to do all this for you - it's about half an hour's work for them, so budget something like $15 for the cable stops, $20 for new shifters (more expensive, shinier options are available - I'm assuming budget parts are OK. If you want something shiny, and 100% age appropriate, you'll find it on Ebay. Otherwise, Velo Orange make mounts that mean you'll be able to re-use your existing shifters on your handlebars. They're absolutely gorgeous, but they also cost Velo Orange prices $$$: https://velo-orange.com/collections/shifters/products/vo-thumb-shifter-mounts-22-2-23-8), $10 for cables, $20-30 for labour(?) (Local rates will vary - last bike shop I ran (UK), we'd charge something like £10-£15 for each shifter's labour).

Oh, and one last thing. Did I mention that's a lovely looking bike? Wink

Karl.
  Reply
#5
[quote='Karl McCracken' pid='40996' dateline='1617791229']

I agree with Karl about not removing the shifter bosses as they should be used for the cable stops if you modify the bike. Cutting them off is an extreme case situation and you would still need some sort of clamp on cable housing stop or guide. I hate classic frames that have had the bosses removed for a "fixie"/single speed mod.

Yes, Karl; it is a lovely bike. Those Schwinns had some nice fillet brazing or welding on the frames; very smooth!
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply


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