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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Haven't been on in a while, but I have started to get the itch to ride again! I have an 83 Fuji Supreme that is pretty stock and I am looking for some suggestions to get a little more out of it, mainly shifting. I know that I should put a ton into it so I am trying to stay relatively cheap.

One upgrade I plan on doing is putting clamp-on downtube shifters on to replace the stem shifters. As far as I know this should work fine with my current setup, but someone please tell me if it wont.

I also have problems shifting into my high gears when I pedal uphill. They begin to jump to lower gears. I suspect it is due to not enough tension on my levers, but I am not positive on that.

Basically I am looking for any simple tips or upgrades I can use to make for a more enjoyable ride.

Thanks,
Thor
 

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This is a tough age, and you're right to limit your expectations.

Do you have indexed or friction shifters?

Are you and I using "high gears" to refer to the same thing? When I say "high," I mean a higher gear ratio - harder to pedal. This corresponds to a physically smaller cog on the freewheel.

Do you have the ghost-shifting problem other times, or only when you're climbing?

How old are your cables and housings?

Is your chain stretched? Do you take care of it?
Chain Maintenance

FWIW, I've been down this road before. In general, it leads to either frustration or a singlespeed. :wink5:

EDIT: Oops - in general, finding contemporary clamp-on downtube shifters is going to be a big pain. Sunrace still makes a few, which your shop may or may not be able to order. You need to get the band size right. You may also be able to find just the band, and move your shift levers to the downtube but not replace them. You can also move them to the ends of your handlebars if you prefer. None of this will fix the underlying problem, but I think the stem is the worst location going for shifters, and like downtube better than bar end. Some people prefer bar end to downtube. You should identify the underlying problem before buying anything, though, and also price your complete repair package.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Haha, this bike is the least of my troubles I don't think it will be to frustrating if it doesn't improve.

I am not sure if it is friction or indexed. It clicks when I shift, but I still have to play with it to get it just right.

High gear for me is the easier to pedal gears. And I have this problem most of the time, but I can get it to stay in the easier to pedal gears with a little work on flat ground. On hills it only goes mid way through the gears before it kicks me back.

I am assuming everything is original. I have had a bike shop replace my BB bearings and it has new bar tape, but otherwise that is all.

I am not sure how stretched my chain is I was going to get a PC-830, but I wanted to wait to see if it was necessary. I lube my chain with chain lube.

EDIT to Respond to your edit: I HATE my stem shifters. I figured I could use most older style clamp on shifters and just put new cable on the bike.
 

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Well, that makes you close to the only person in the world who considers that "high."

The clicking means you have indexed shifters. Playing with it to get it right means your drivetrain's messed up. Since you can't access all of your gears, it's quite messed up.

If that bike fell in my lap and I had to fix it up and couldn't just singlespeed it, here's what I'd do.

First, measure the chain according to the instructions in the link I gave you. If it's stretched, throw it out.

Next, throw out the cables and housings. Replace them. Here's an article with more than you ever wanted to know about cables and housings. I like that it doesn't require use of a purpose-built housing cutter.
Cables

If your shifters are like my shifters, you don't really need to do anything with the front derailleur to tune it. The rear derailleur and shifter need to work together a certain way. Here's an article.
Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Rear Derailler Adjustments (derailleur)

IMHO, it's not worth screwing around with trying to tune a bike that has a worn chain or worn cables and housings. These are all cheap parts and all can make it impossible to get acceptable performance out of a drivetrain. So I think it's silly to try to troubleshoot a bike before hitting these "low-hanging fruit" items.

If you're replacing your cables and housings anyway, this can be a good time to try to move your shifters. That gets rid of a loop of housing, so it makes it a little easier to tune the drivetrain for best performance, and if you do it in the other order, you'll probably have to throw out some new cables. So see if you can find the clamp band you need for this part of the project. The disadvantage is that if your shifters are worn out (doubtful, but they are thirty years old) you'll have bought a clamp band and cut cables to work with them and you'll end up wasting those. But I'd gamble on the shifters themselves being fine.

It's possible that your freewheel is worn out. If your chain is stretched and you have problems with skipping when you install the new one, you probably need a new freewheel too. This can be another awkward decision point. How many cogs do you have now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a six speed cassette.

Some other questions I have are will I need indexed downtube shifters or can I use friction? Also, if I need indexed shifters does it matter how many speeds they are indexed for?
 

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Well, it's good that you have a 6-speed cassette - actually pretty easy to find new ones.

You can use friction shifters with just about any drivetrain. I prefer indexed shifters, however. I find them a lot easier to use, and for me the loss in compatibility is worth it. If you want indexed and want to be able to use them in that mode, the number of speeds does matter. Get something indexed for six speeds.

If you wanted to, you could probably move to 7-speed (HG) at this point. You just need both the shifter and the freewheel to be for seven. Make sure the freewheel fits on your hub and in your frame, but it's a pretty small change, so it'll probably be fine. This has the side benefit of facilitating a future swap to a freehub, if you wanted to later.
 

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Oops. Should've asked sooner.

Suntour's a big pain. Here's an article
http://sheldonbrown.com/suntour.html

Suntour had a couple of different spacings for 6-speed, and I don't believe their rear derailleurs shared the same actuation ratio as Shimano.

If your right shifter, rear derailleur and freewheel all work, great. If not, this is another of the tough decisions that maintaining older bikes causes again and again.
 

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The more I look into this the more tempted I am to just buy a slightly older trek 1000 or similar bike. I love how my bike rides, but the shifting is what kills me.
Before you do anything at all, I think that it would behoove you to join your friendly neighborhood bicycle co-op. Once you become a member, they will teach you how to both repair and upgrade your bicycle. They also usually have many extra bicycle parts available. Most bicycle co-ops have veteran bicycle mechanics who can properly instruct and guide you to reasonable solutions to bike problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I will have to see what is going on around here. Just moved to a new town for grad. school so I am not sure what is going on. It would be nice to know people who are more educated with bikes!
 

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I will have to see what is going on around here. Just moved to a new town for grad. school so I am not sure what is going on. It would be nice to know people who are more educated with bikes!
If there's is no co-op around, then there just might be a bicycle shop nearby that runs basic bicycle repair and maintenance classes or workshops.

OTOH, if you live in a somewhat rural town, you can also disclose your interest in bicycles and ask a LBS owner if you can either work there part time, or volunteer over the summer, in return for free bicycle repairs and parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I believe there are clubs here to join. The city has a reputation for being a very bicycle open area.

I wouldn't mind volunteering or working part time, but work and research will likely not permit that unless its weekends.
 

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I think I would make the jump to a newer bike. You could always hold onto the current steed and work on it as time/money permits. One area that has really improved over the last 20 years is the quality of the drivetrains. They all work so much better now regardless of maker or level than before. I will admit they also wear faster but on the whole they just work. If you only have limited time to ride why ruin it with a balky drivetrain? I like keeping old bikes running as much as the next person, I have a few but not as my main drivers. I think you will enjoy getting riding more with modern gear.
 

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I am not sure if it is friction or indexed. It clicks when I shift, but I still have to play with it to get it just right.
It sounds to me like you have suntour power shifters. Have a set of downtube power shifters on my bike and love em. With regards to the sunrace DT shifters, they should work fine provided they are properly adjusted. Proper adjustment and a new chain should rid the gear skipping problem.
 

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You know, if you're primarily riding on flat surfaces and there aren't any hillacious hills to climb, you could convert your Fuji Sumpreme to a single speed and not even have to worry about shifting at all.

Then once you get established and have saved some cash, you can then sell your single speed and get a brand new bonafide road racing bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You know, if you're primarily riding on flat surfaces and there aren't any hillacious hills to climb, you could convert your Fuji Sumpreme to a single speed and not even have to worry about shifting at all.

Then once you get established and have saved some cash, you can then sell your single speed and get a brand new bonafide road racing bike.
I thought about it, but it is pretty hilly here and I would like to progress in cycling.
 
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