47 comments

  • Did you ever use friction shifters? ????

  • This bike is a piece of beauty !

  • I remember when SIS came out I thought it was bogus because it made a loud "clack" sound and made it so you couldn't surprise the other rider. Friction shifting could be silent if you did it right. Also as a matter of chuckles, when Campagnolo finally came out, begrudgingly, with indexed shifting, they announced it as the shifting method for "those who choose to abandon the shifting method of champions". What times they were…

  • Unfortunately we'll never see any videos on Campagnolo groupsets

  • I prefer friction, it never goes out of tune.

    The bike on my turbo has down tube shifters set to friction.

    The bike I ride outside doesn't have a friction setting, I've been pricing up a new bike with bar end shifters that I can set to friction.

  • My first real bike was a Giant Peloton Lite 1989, 6 speed Shimano SIS. I later redished the wheel to fit a 7 speed but lost the SIS, so it was friction ????

  • Until a year ago i was running a 1982 Koga Miyata bike with Shimano "Golden Arrow" derailleur (originally for a 6 speed) with a 9 speed cassette and a down tube friction shifter. With a little bit of feel and ear it was straight forward to fine tune the shifter. By the way, the Golden arrow was the predecessor of the 105 system. I then upgrade to a 11 speed rear wheel (by widening the rear chain stays (its a High Manganese steel bike) and that is when the friction shifting no longer worked because the shifting steps were too fine, and the derailleur too old (38 years) and worn and the chain hopped sprockets. Changing the derailleur to a Deore XT with MTB shifters works like a treat now.

  • SIS was important for racing where an instant reliable shift was needed to attack or sprint, but for everyone else I doubt it helped until STI and 9+ speeds came along. I love shifting from the brake levers, and of course it allows shifting whilst standing (without clever knee contortions), but if you’re downtube shifting and not racing, friction is more reliable and barely slower (and I’ve used it eight speed – using a five speed Sachs Huret derailleur).

  • @GCN Tech Great road bike video! I recently purchased a 1988 Cannondale for $175, it has a 60cm polished chromoly frame, with Shimano 105 SIS shifters, and 23c Ultra 3000 Continentals. This video makes me want to go out and ride…

  • Shimano just put into context what we did in the day anyway. But please shimano might be 100 year old not in cycling. Can we stop gcn being biased? Lets have some balance… More on campag aswell please

  • This seems more like a rah rah session for Shimano, why no mention of Campagnolo and their contributions during the same time period?

  • alex is the new GCN historian. I cant get enough of these vintage tech videos

  • Hey, you need to raise the saddle

  • Back in 1984 I could not afford Shimano Dura-Ace for my Azuki Imperial. Suntour Superbe PRO line was just coming up and offered all Dura-Ace had at a reduced price and just as good quality.Still have that bike in the garage. $45 for pedals,$35 for front d,$28 for rear d,$54 for cranks,$55 for large flange hubs and $50 for the brakes. Then Dad got a raise and bonus and got matching ( his blue mine red ) Rossin Corsa with Campagnolo Nuevo Record. Bike went into storage then.

  • To be exact, in what was the first Grand Tour win for Shimano in 1988, Andrew Hampsten won the Giro d'Italia with their first 8-speed groupset. One generation after the one on the featured bike.

  • this is amazing editing

  • Why did you choose that Gitane frame from Renault- system U teams and a Super U jersey? Both those teams used Campagnolo.

  • Is it just me, or is Alex’s seat height way too low in this vid?

  • Great video and I'm so glad that GCN is educating people on what was the foundation of the technology that people enjoy so much now. I have to say that Alex seems like a giant on that Gitane bike he's chosen to ride for the video?

  • Something this video reminded me of with friction shifters, how much you had to listen out to hear if the chain was running smoothly, something you just don’t do with modern systems, and how obsessive it could be to keep making micro movements of the lever, thinking you had it perfect, then a few seconds later move it again, god bless modern technology

  • My 1984 SIS 53/44, 6-speed still shifts smoothly and beautifully.

  • Had friction shifters from 1971 through 2000 when I bought a Cannondale with 105 STI. I had built a few bikes with Campagnolo's first attempt at indexed shifting (called Syncro) in the 80’s but kept those in friction mode, I guess because that’s what I was familiar with.

  • I still ride a steel road bike with friction shifters ???? SIS is pretty slick though.

  • Love ❤️ seeing all this old stuff from my younger days well done GCN

  • What a gorgeous machine !

  • For a long time I rode a Nishiki Continental which had a 3×6 drive train with half-step gearing with a granny ring (50-45-28). It had a Suntour group set originally with only friction shifting but a year later (1985?) an indexed shift lever was available. And oh yes – it had Shimano Biopace chain rings and the three pulley Suntour LePree rear derailleur. The half-step gearing was wonderful since you could always find a suitable gear with high precision. Later models of that bike had the Shimano STI-levers and evenly spaced front chain rings.

    I still have it, but finding parts for it is getting harder every year.

  • Dura ace 7400
    Now that was a fantastic groupset ,
    It would be nice if GCN did some digging about Suntour that other Japanese manufacturer who are probably as big as Shimano in the early 80's and gave cycling the slant-parallelogram rear mech and the cassette hub

  • With click shifting gone were the days when you could mix and match parts to your liking. Also with friction shifting you knew if you were with an experienced rider or a novice just by the smoothness of their shifting.

  • Come on. At least try to hide that the script is written by the shimano marketing department. I know you need advertisment money but this is embarassingly obvious.

  • I would love to hear more about that Gitane bike. That looks like it just came out of the 1987 Tour De France.

  • Wow , presenting a bike not in biggie, smalls… that’s a nice for me!

  • What an absolutely beautiful bike that is.

  • SunTour Led the way in this, and could have been better. But Shimano had the finacial clout to win this race

  • Yes, SIS was a big step but it is not about the indexed levers. Everyone who ever tried setting the levers to friction and using them that way knows that the main advance was in the sprocket-wheels with their sharp-edged and angled tips. Gears just click into place even with friction levers… and long before hyperglide was on the horizon. Try this with the old straight-edged sprocket-wheels in comparison. Making the levers indexed was just the cherry on the cake. Sorry, no cigar for this video as it misses the point: Here starts the evolution of the sprocket wheel from a simple disc into a sophisticated piece of engineering. Clickstops… a child with a drill could that!

  • You know your old when you did ride with down shifters on your Pinarello Montello.

  • Beautiful bike I remember those days well I think fignon rode for system U I'm sure?.

  • #GCN Tech what about Suntour indexed shifting on bar ends?

  • It seems like the saddle is too low

  • Hi GC,
    Is there any news from Shimano about their bike gear box with 13 speeds?

  • I know this is about the shifters but I miss seat covers like the one on this bike it just matches the bike so nicely

  • Where oh where did you get that Système U kit and how can I get one ?

  • My first road bike was a mid 70's Schwinn 10 spd with friction shifting. I've also ridden a mid 80s Kent which had friction shifting. A decade after I'd ridden either bike I bought an early 2000s Trek hybrid; the ease of shifting blew my mind. When I bought a new road bike a few years ago, it came with 5800 105 that absolutely cemented friction shifting as archaic by comparison.

  • There is still nothing like the sound, and sensation, and satisfaction one gets from the silky smooth combination of Simplex Retro Levers coupled to Campagnolo Front and rear ( in my case Triomphe) derailleurs , a bit like driving a car with non syncro mesh gearbox ,after a few weeks you just learn to get it right, and for that reason never really bothered with indexed gears, i have time trialed regularly in my younger days but never been a racer ( perhaps i would have appreciated indexed gears if was say a crit racer) . With the simplex retro levers its easy as pie, you just stop pedaling for a nano second, pull the lever until you feel resistance on the cable then stop pulling then simply continue pedaling and it slots into the next larger sprocket, like upshifting to the outer smaller sprockets just a mere flick of the lever away from yourself and it slots in. I use simplex retro levers on both my bikes and they work perfectly also with my vintage Shimano 600 equipped bike as well as my 1987 BH Campagnolo.

  • Systeme U used Campagnolo C Record in 1988. Fignon was using Simplex friction shifters in the 1989 season. Sometimes hidden under blue rubber hoods. You wouldn’t have to fiddle with with friction. As a rider you would know your gears.

  • god that old bike looks so good.

  • I still use non indexed friction shifters. And I even have a very new looking indexed set in a box. So far just like the non indexed more.

  • Long live down tube shifters. I still like the clean look of a bike with down tube shifters. I still have a bike with Shimano 7400. It is one of my all time favorite group sets. I love these types of videos.

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