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PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers?

 

   


caf0

May 5, 12 7:18

Post #1 of 18 (1944 views)
PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? Quote | Reply

I need to swap the brifters on my road bikes w/ TT shifters and single brake levers. I'm not mechanically inclined, but I'm considering doing this procedure myself if it is fairly straightforward. I have 3 road bikes, 2 with SRAM rival double-tap brifters and 1 with Shimano ultegra. There are some videos I can watch, but those rarely capture the level of difficulty for an unskilled newbie mechanic wanna-be who currently only knows how to change a flat and replace a stem.

Is this a straightforward task, or are there "gotchas"?
About how long does it take for someone who can't do it blindfolded with one hand behind their back like you all (take a swag for a newbie)?
How many beers will I need afterwards to recover from this operation?

Thanks,
Cathy


Dave_Ryan

May 5, 12 8:24

Post #2 of 18 (1923 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [caf0] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

It's not a terribly hard job as it really comes down to removing the brifters completely and doing a new install on both the TT bar end shifters and the much simpler brake levers.

The gotcha's are that you will likely have to replace the brake cables and housings, shifter cables and housings or both. In fact you'll almost certainly want to use new cables both because cables should be replaced from time to time and it's a good opportunity and because rethreading a previously used cable that's kinked by the clamping bolt (on the brake or derailleur end) or frayed and unraveling can be a major PITA and new cables themselves only cost a few bucks.

The brake cable housings may work out just right in terms of length assuming you're going to use the same handlebars and a similar design of brake (e.g. hidden brake cables on the new brake levers). If you're swapping from road drops to aero base bars with internal cable routing then you may need new cable housings and threading those housings through many styles of carbon wing style base bars can be a challenge.

The shifter cable housings will likely need to be replaced or at least recut unless by some dumb luck the existing lengths work out correctly for your aero bar extension lengths. Always cut cable housings with a good bike cable cutter like the Park Tools or Pedro variety or something like a Dremel tool with a sharp rotary cutting blade and don't try to do it with general wire cutters. Even with a good tool you'll generally have to clean up the cut ends a bit and open them up so the cable slides freely. One trick is to make the cable cut, do a little clean up with the cutters or a file to remove any crushed bits of the outer spiral cable jacket then insert a cable from the far end of the housing and push it firmly through till it helps open up the cable liner sleeve which tends to get pinched shut when you cut cables and can be hard to reopen from the cut end.

Other minor gotchas that depend on the style and brand of bar end shifter and brake lever is that many of these require you to get the cables cut to the correct length which means a partial install for sizing purposes, then you have to partially disassemble either the shifters or brakes to securely mount them with the correct sized allen wrench and then reassemble them as you thread the new cable in through the shifting/braking mechanism into the now hidden cable that sits inside the aero bar extension/ base bar and then reassemble everything in place. If your bar extension and or base bar designs do not include completely hidden cable runs then this part is a bit easier.

Bottom line, if you can size and trim brake and shifter cables and housings and deal with things like unwrapping and wrapping bar tape not to mention clamping the various cables and then adjusting the brakes and derailleurs as necessary after completing the swap then the job isn't too hard but it'll likely take you a while on your first try as you figure things out. Just don't do this in a hurry or the day before an important ride or event and give yourself time to work through it and then test ride it to check for any issues.

There are a lot of good tutorials out there but the Park Tools website is always a good resource for things like this.

Good luck,
-Dave


Record10Carbon

May 5, 12 8:34

Post #3 of 18 (1918 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [Dave_Ryan] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Dave_Ryan wrote:
It's not a terribly hard job as it really comes down to removing the brifters completely and doing a new install on both the TT bar end shifters and the much simpler brake levers.

The gotcha's are that you will likely have to replace the brake cables and housings, shifter cables and housings or both. In fact you'll almost certainly want to use new cables both because cables should be replaced from time to time and it's a good opportunity and because rethreading a previously used cable that's kinked by the clamping bolt (on the brake or derailleur end) or frayed and unraveling can be a major PITA and new cables themselves only cost a few bucks. Well, maybe you can reuse the cables - but, why? I would get new cables - even more so if the housing is not a full housing. What can happen is that there is some oxidation on exposed parts of the cable and then it ends up in housing and is stiff from the friction of the oxidation.

The brake cable housings may work out just right in terms of length assuming you're going to use the same handlebars and a similar design of brake (e.g. hidden brake cables on the new brake levers). If you're swapping from road drops to aero base bars with internal cable routing then you may need new cable housings and threading those housings through many styles of carbon wing style base bars can be a challenge. That is a PITA and tricky no matter who you are. I have seen more than one first timer give up and drag the mess of parts to the LBS to get things properly fished in and out of frames and bars.

The shifter cable housings will likely need to be replaced or at least recut unless by some dumb luck the existing lengths work out correctly for your aero bar extension lengths. Always cut cable housings with a good bike cable cutter like the Park Tools or Pedro variety or something like a Dremel tool with a sharp rotary cutting blade and don't try to do it with general wire cutters. Even with a good tool you'll generally have to clean up the cut ends a bit and open them up so the cable slides freely. One trick is to make the cable cut, do a little clean up with the cutters or a file to remove any crushed bits of the outer spiral cable jacket then insert a cable from the far end of the housing and push it firmly through till it helps open up the cable liner sleeve which tends to get pinched shut when you cut cables and can be hard to reopen from the cut end. While you are right about quality tools - often a high quality cutter costs more than having an LBS do the work to begin with. Dremels are great and all but I prefer a bench grinder with a nice custom jig (that most shops make) that will give you a nice 90 deg end on your brake cables. Not so important to grind your shift cables being as they are radial. Then, if the cables he gets are Nokon, Gore or something fancy - and I hope they are being as they cost the same as OE sets...well, I can not count the sets of cables that are ruined by first timers. Especially Gore.

Other minor gotchas that depend on the style and brand of bar end shifter and brake lever is that many of these require you to get the cables cut to the correct length which means a partial install for sizing purposes, then you have to partially disassemble either the shifters or brakes to securely mount them with the correct sized allen wrench and then reassemble them as you thread the new cable in through the shifting/braking mechanism into the now hidden cable that sits inside the aero bar extension/ base bar and then reassemble everything in place. If your bar extension and or base bar designs do not include completely hidden cable runs then this part is a bit easier. And then be aware of bar twist and on and on and the other "gotchas" many first timers do...super clean install. Super clean shifting....but you can not turn the bars....I always have to laugh.

Bottom line, if you can size and trim brake and shifter cables and housings and deal with things like unwrapping and wrapping bar tape not to mention clamping the various cables and then adjusting the brakes and derailleurs as necessary after completing the swap then the job isn't too hard but it'll likely take you a while on your first try as you figure things out. Just don't do this in a hurry or the day before an important ride or event and give yourself time to work through it and then test ride it to check for any issues. Agreed.

There are a lot of good tutorials out there but the Park Tools website is always a good resource for things like this.

Good luck,
-Dave

----------------------------------------------------------

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it is all about?


caf0

May 5, 12 8:35

Post #4 of 18 (1918 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [Dave_Ryan] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Thank you! I would have used general wire cutters, you saved me on that one.
And I'm using the same road drop bars, not switching those out. Just the brifters.

Sounds like I need to clear the schedule for the first one. Good to have proper expectations.

Thanks!


Record10Carbon

May 5, 12 8:37

Post #5 of 18 (1916 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [caf0] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

What are the shifters on your end goal? STI or double tap? What kind of bars? Where on the bars? Who is going to re-wrap the bars?

----------------------------------------------------------

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it is all about?


rrutis

May 5, 12 8:44

Post #6 of 18 (1912 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [caf0] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Shouldn,t be too bad.
Start by buying new cables and housing along with a proper cable cutter. Chances are the new locations of the shifters and brake levers will need longer cables than you currently have.
When you cut housing the teflon liner gets crushed and needs to be opened up with a sharpened spoke or small screwdriver.
Get the new bars as close to the final position as you can.
Remember that shimano tt shifters have a reverse threaded bolt (righty loosy, lefty tighty)

Rich


rrutis

May 5, 12 8:48

Post #7 of 18 (1909 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [caf0] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I forgotto say that to make sure to check the housing and cable lengths carefully before cutting

Rich


caf0

May 5, 12 8:52

Post #8 of 18 (1903 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [R10C] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Quote:
What are the shifters on your end goal? STI or double tap? What kind of bars? Where on the bars? Who is going to re-wrap the bars?

On the 2 road bikes w/ Rival, I plan to use the SRAM 500 TT shifters on the bar ends and maybe the 500 single speed brake lever where the current brifters are. The bars are regular road bars, one is 3T Rotundo and another FSA (and the 3rd w/ ultegra components is 3T Ergonova - just what they came with back when I got them).

I've wrapped my bars before, so I be able to handle that. That's about the limit of my experience.


Record10Carbon

May 5, 12 8:59

Post #9 of 18 (1894 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [caf0] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Seems like an awful lot of work for an awful small gain....but hey, it is your money. Sure you could do it....now, the question turns to why? You are looking at spending +/- $300 or so with the cables and what not...and you are doing this for the aero advantage?

----------------------------------------------------------

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it is all about?


caf0

May 5, 12 9:04

Post #10 of 18 (1891 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [R10C] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Quote:
Seems like an awful lot of work for an awful small gain....but hey, it is your money. Sure you could do it....now, the question turns to why? You are looking at spending +/- $300 or so with the cables and what not...and you are doing this for the aero advantage?

Ha! No. I can barely shift anymore with my right hand, thumb deteriorating quickly. I'm either stuck with 2-speed bikes, or I switch out the shifting mechanism to something I _can_ do.


Record10Carbon

May 5, 12 9:14

Post #11 of 18 (1878 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [caf0] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Ahhhhhhhhh....now we have a whole new monster. Have you considered a standard bar end on your drops? Also, there really is no reason to trade out your lever. You can just leave it. If it rattles you just jam about 2" of cable in the unused cable hole and zip tie it to get rid of the rattle.

I have built a number of bikes in the years for people with functional disability to shift with one hand or the other. There really are many options out there - but most are not marketed well.

----------------------------------------------------------

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it is all about?


caf0

May 5, 12 9:23

Post #12 of 18 (1875 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [R10C] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Sorry for being ignorant: what is a standard bar end? I did a quick google just now w/o illumination. Maybe an old-style down-tube type shifter? Do they still exist? They'd be fine if they do. I've only seen the TT shifters and brifters.
Oh, cool I can keep my brifter levers. So I just need to recable the shifters then.


Record10Carbon

May 5, 12 13:23

Post #13 of 18 (1820 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [caf0] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Sure! You can get many down tube levers. Fact is, no matter if you are on 6-7-8-9-10 or 11 you can use ANY down tube shifter. Where you would have the issue is that most modern bikes will not accept a down tube shifter on the down tube. That is where items like the Profile Swift Shift, BarCons, GripShift and others that may be old - still function perfectly well with a modern shifting system (in friction mode).

SwiftShift




Grip Shift



Barcon



----------------------------------------------------------

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it is all about?


Record10Carbon

May 5, 12 13:26

Post #14 of 18 (1819 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [caf0] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

And yes you certainly do NOT need to change your brake levers. IF you have down tube shift boss' on your bike you can get a set of new old stock for a steal.




----------------------------------------------------------

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it is all about?


caf0

May 5, 12 16:37

Post #15 of 18 (1788 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [R10C] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Ahh, thanks for all the info. I was planning on using the TT shifters as what you've labeled "barcon", didn't realize there were alternatives. No down tube bosses on my bikes, tho.

Thank you. Will be an interesting experiment, no doubt. I'll tackle my bad-weather commuter first.


javelinguy

May 5, 12 17:47

Post #16 of 18 (1771 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [R10C] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

R10C wrote:
Sure! You can get many down tube levers. Fact is, no matter if you are on 6-7-8-9-10 or 11 you can use ANY down tube shifter. Where you would have the issue is that most modern bikes will not accept a down tube shifter on the down tube. That is where items like the Profile Swift Shift, BarCons, GripShift and others that may be old - still function perfectly well with a modern shifting system (in friction mode).






Grip Shift

The (old) road Grip Shifts can only be used with older systems up to 8 speeds and they had no friction mode option. When I say older systems I'm talking about the freewheel/cassette; the RD doesn't know how many speeds you have so you can use newer RDs on older 6/7/8s. Some older Grip Shifts only had 6 "clicks" making their use for 7 speeds (or less) while "later" ones were for 8 speeds (or less.) I love them and am still running them on my rigs; yes I'm old skool and have resisted moving to 8/9/10/11 although I have DA 7800 RDs on them.

_______________________________________________
Triple Threat Triathlon


Record10Carbon

May 5, 12 18:29

Post #17 of 18 (1754 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [javelinguy] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

You are correct. I was trying to find an image of the inline one that was for use on the Scott DH and such bars - it did have a friction mode. But in a rapid image search for the sake of the OP I stuck in that one. One of the best systems I ever put together for a guy with a handicap was a bar end for the rear Der. on the left side with an STi front shift lever. There was also a bike with a Mavic ZMS electric R. Der on the left side as well. The OP has a ton of options - just needs to be educated on what they are. Some kids working in the shops just sorta dont think outside the box.

----------------------------------------------------------

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it is all about?


javelinguy

May 5, 12 18:54

Post #18 of 18 (1743 views)
Re: PITA Score for replacing brifters w/ TT shifters + brake levers? [R10C] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I just installed a set of Grip Shifts first marketed for the ends of drop bars (with instructions for use on the Scott DH) on my latest build. For what I run (wheel wise) I just love 'em!

_______________________________________________
Triple Threat Triathlon

   
 
 
 



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