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Technical FAQ: On converting and rebuilding older Campy shifters

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Sep. 9, 2009
  • Updated Nov. 12, 2009 at 10:04 AM EST

Feedback on last week’s column on switching Campagnolo 8-speed levers to 10-speed.

Dear Lennard,
I’m sorry, but your response to Larry (8/25/09 column) regarding the conversion of 1998 Campy 9-speed levers to 10-speed levers still left me wondering whether this is possible or not. Are you saying that the difference in the diameter of the index gear definitely prevents the conversion or that it shouldn’t affect it? You mention several other factors that shouldn’t hinder the conversion, but I’m unclear on whether the final answer is yes or no.

Also, it seems from your comments that whatever applies to the 1998 9-speed levers would also apply to older 8-speed levers. Is this true? I’m interested, in that I have some older 8-speed levers that would be much more useful to me as 10-speed levers.
-Doug

Dear Doug,
The answer is no. See Peter Chisholm’s letter below.
-Lennard

Lennard,
1998 levers are unique in that they are 9-speed but the innards are pre-ERGO brain and cannot be converted to 10s. The end bolt and inner flattened bolt is different on 1998 than 1999 and also 1997 9s (and 1996 8s) innards. BUT the gent’s levers can still be rebuilt, just not converted to 8s or 10s. Same spring carrier (EC-RE-111 or the fiber one from ‘Ultra), same shift springs.
-Peter Chisholm
Vecchio’s Bicicletteria
Boulder

Dear Lennard,
One reason I’ve always liked Campy is that everything can be rebuilt — if parts are available. I am now a 10-speed user (in an 11-speed world), but I still have that 1998 9-speed drive train in the cabinet in the garage and it may make its way onto a beater. I understand the right lever issues, but is there a later years’ index gear that will work in the left lever?

Before I retired the shifters, I overhauled the left lever but the only replacement parts I could get were the G-springs. Shifting was improved but it still would kick down a notch and rub whenever I jumped hard or hit a big Arizona bump (common). I’d like to replace the index gear because I think that’s where the problem lies ? 10 years of rounding the teeth probably make it sketchy.
-Larry

Dear Larry,
Too bad you couldn’t find an index gear for that. I just looked in the QBP catalog, and it only lists Campy Ergopower parts back to 2001.

As for the possibility (not!) of 10-speed conversion, I think Peter’s answer addresses your question, too. Peter likely has that index gear and would sell you one, too.
-Lennard

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Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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