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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    16

    Vintage Bianchi: possible to move shift levers?

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    I am looking at a Bianchi with a 1986-1987 campione sticker. Not sure of the model, but it is white with red lettering. A touring bike, 47cm. I cannot find it on the web.

    If the Bianchi fits me, and the price is right, I will be happy. I have been wanting a steel bike.
    One drawback: I would prefer to have shifting levers on the handle bars. I am not mechanical and would ask my LBS to do this. Is it a travesty to modify a vintage bike in this way? My ancient Motobecane had those levers and I never thought twice about it. But I was younger 35 years ago when I got that bike!

    BTW, the asking price is $125 on CL. Shimano shifters and deraillers. Reasonable, or a bit high?

    I am sadly realizing that I now prefer the ease of certain things mechanical, like an automatic transmission in my car and shifting levers near the brakes. Must be that last significant birthday that made me lazy!

    Thanks.
    beth AKA merlin
    Last edited by merlin; 10-12-2012 at 07:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Redding, CA
    Posts
    50
    I am a noob but I have seen where they have replaced and moved the sifters.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    9,059
    Quote Originally Posted by merlin View Post
    I am looking at a Bianchi with a 1986-1987 campione sticker. Not sure of the model, but it is white with red lettering. A touring bike, 47cm. I cannot find it on the web.

    If the Bianchi fits me, and the price is right, I will be happy. I have been wanting a steel bike.
    One drawback: I would prefer to have shifting levers on the handle bars. I am not mechanical and would ask my LBS to do this. Is it a travesty to modify a vintage bike in this way? My ancient Motobecane had those levers and I never thought twice about it. But I was younger 35 years ago when I got that bike!

    BTW, the asking price is $125 on CL. Shimano shifters and deraillers. Reasonable, or a bit high?

    I am sadly realizing that I now prefer the ease of certain things mechanical, like an automatic transmission in my car and shifting levers near the brakes. Must be that last significant birthday that made me lazy!

    Thanks.
    beth AKA merlin
    My namesake Trek 420 had downtube shifters. Eventually when I upgraded front and rear der my shop changed them to brifters pretty easily, you could not tell downtube shifters used to be there. Yes, it can be done.
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
    Gravel bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Favorite bike ~ Soma Buena Vista mixte
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    https://www.instagram.com/pugsley_adventuredog/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Taylor, MI
    Posts
    220
    Yes, it can be done, but it will be pricey. New brifters alone will cost about $300, not to mention derailleurs. I'm with you, I prefer indexed shifting and the brifters.

    P2
    2018 Trek Silque SLR6 - Selle SMP Glider
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    How many speeds in the rear? IIRC, if it's fewer than nine, there will not be compatible brifters ... and changing that out will require a new rear wheel and cold-setting the frame to accommodate the wider hub.

    I'm still thinking about updating my 1987 race bike, which has a 6-speed freehub. But it's a BIG job, and yes, expensive - brifters, rear derailleur, rear wheel with cassette, and the frame work.

    My old bike is a good enough frame to deserve it. It sounds like yours might be, too. But it's not for the faint of heart or wallet. At least this is a good time of year to be contemplating something like that (if you're in the northern hemisphere).
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,619
    sounds like a cool bike. I didn't know the old ones came that small. When do we get to see a photo?
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    575
    I had a vintage, steel, Terry frame updated with brifters. Most of the drive train and rear wheel HAD to be replaced to accommodate brifters. I allowed a few other, optional, drive train components to be updated to improve the final performance. The stuff that HAD to be replaced was quite expensive. The optional components added little to the final cost. I chose Shimano 105.

    In the end, I'm glad that I did it but the whole project turned out to cost much more than I had anticipated. I'm thinking that it was in the range of $1,400 with parts and labor but don't quote me on that.
    LORI
    Pivot Mach 4 / WTB
    Updated Vintage Terry Symmetry / Bontrager InForm RL WSD

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    Yeah, now that you mention it, going from 6 or 7 speed to 9 or 10 probably requires chainrings as well, to accommodate the narrower chain. I don't know that for sure, nor do I know whether you could slap new chainrings onto a vintage crankset or whether that would need to be replaced too.

    The limiting factor there is the number of speeds on the rear. If you had separate shifters and brakes on a 9 speed bike you could replace them with brifters alone.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    575
    The chain rings were a "must do" on my bike. Of course, one thing led to another and the crankset and the bottom bracket had to be updated to work with the new chain rings. Now that I say that, I'm not positive that the bottom bracket was replaced but I'm pretty sure that it was part of the equation.
    LORI
    Pivot Mach 4 / WTB
    Updated Vintage Terry Symmetry / Bontrager InForm RL WSD

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    575
    I've been thinking more about the final cost of my updated bike. I distinctly remember that the whole project was $2,200. That included $350 to purchase the original bike and have it shipped. It also included the entire new drive train, brakes, frame work to accommodate the new hub, rear wheel, tires, tubes, saddle, pedals, professional fit, drop bars, and a new quill (old fashioned handlebar stem). The drop bars and quill didn't have to be replaced as part of the update. They were replaced to get the bike to fit me better.

    I'm not sure that I would have gone through with the project had I known in advance how much it was going to cost. But again, I'm very happy with the end product and would do it again. In fact, I would have sprung for Ultrega had I known how much I was going to enjoy the updated bike. I'm happy enough with the 105, though.
    Last edited by Artista; 10-13-2012 at 11:26 AM.
    LORI
    Pivot Mach 4 / WTB
    Updated Vintage Terry Symmetry / Bontrager InForm RL WSD

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    rural Bedfordshire, England
    Posts
    177
    Following this thread with interest as I've been mulling over the same sort of changes on my 1970s Puch mixte. However, OP hasn't mentioned wanting/needing brifters, simply re-positioning shifters to handlebars. Is it possible to simply move the existing downtube shifters to somewhere on the handlebars? Or fit something like Paul thumbies? Seems to me that, absent any desire to change the actual gearing of the bike, that would do the trick. Or am I missing something?
    Rebecca

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    16
    Most helpful discussion! Thanks!
    I am not in a position to invest tons. A few years ago I rode a Bianchi and loved it, but ultimately chose to buy a Cannondale. Still have Bianchi lust, so have kept an eye out for one locally that I could test ride. Then this one appeared on CL.

    I have owned a 1978 Motobecane and a 1971 Astra (anyone remember Astras?) that had down tube shifters. At the time, they were just fine. Wish I had kept the Motobecane.

    I want to put wider tires on either my Cannondale road bike or the Bianchi so I can ride on trails. I am guessing the Bianchi has had some upgrades that may be good enough for me. The CL listing describes them.
    Have to see how it feels.
    Any thoughts on the asking price?

    Here's the link:
    http://maine.craigslist.org/bik/3329256698.html


    Beautiful day here in Maine. Crisp!

    beth

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    575
    It might be possible to convert to bar end shifters without altering any of the rest of the drivetrain. My upgrade was so extensive because I was set on brifters. I would have been happy to keep the original gearing but that wasn't possible when converting to brifters. Now I believe that the additional gearing contributed to my satisfaction with the update.
    Last edited by Artista; 10-13-2012 at 11:59 AM.
    LORI
    Pivot Mach 4 / WTB
    Updated Vintage Terry Symmetry / Bontrager InForm RL WSD

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    98
    Quote Originally Posted by merlin View Post
    Hi beth,

    The photos make it clear. To get brifters you'l be replacing nearly everything: levers (of course, this is the point ;-), front and rear derailleurs, chain, rear wheel (including new cassette), crank (including bottom bracket).

    Plus a few small thins, like handlebar tape. And strictly speaking, the brake calipers are not really compatible with modern brifters (different cable pull; they'll work but you'll have to pull hard on the levers).

    It would be worth it if you love the frame. It's beautiful, and lugged, but not top of the line or even high-middle of the line (the rear derailleur mounting plate gives it away). But if the size and fit are right and the looks tug at your heart, it could be worth it!

    '09 Trek 7.3 FX hybrid / Jett 155mm
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    '11 Cervelo S3 road / Selle Royal Seta 155mm
    Ischial tuberosities: 140mm center to center

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    575
    It seems that the brakes were some of the optional components that I had replaced. They didn't add much to the cost and now I have much better stopping power than if I had kept the old brakes. Stopping power is even more important to me than pedaling power
    LORI
    Pivot Mach 4 / WTB
    Updated Vintage Terry Symmetry / Bontrager InForm RL WSD

 

 

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