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I know that for indexed systems, mixing campy and shimano parts is a no-no. Does the same hold for friction drive trains?

The reason I ask is that I've never worked on campy parts before and I'm thinking of picking of an old Italian frame with a mix of campy and ofmega components with no wheels and I need to know what kind of wheels I will need.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

In general, no.

Campy, Shimano, and Suntour (and other) friction shift systems are compatible because where the chain lands is up to you.

There are some caveats that you'll have to resolve with trial and error. In particular some rear derailleurs have "longer reach" than others. You may not be able to shift to the largest cog on some freewheels if the derailleur is short (intended for racing). But that is not specific to friction systems.

You'll get the best results from friction mode systems if you stick with down-tube levers. Of course, these are compatible across vendors and some indexed levers even have a selectable "friction mode".

Finally, it is posssible to mix campy and shimano indexed shifter/cogs if you use an adaptor. I use a j-tek and it works fine.

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SunTour's silver shifters have the selectable "friction mode" that Angelo mentions.

Of direct relevance to the OP, that page also notes there are some compatibility issues

"FLASH! SRAM's 9sp mountain rear derailers don't seem to work with this shifter. The movement of the derailer changes dramatically from the 8th to the 9th position. Why'd they do that? Anyway -- just don't use these with that derailer.

but notes that friction shifters in general are highly compatible

They work with any derailer, and freewheel, cassette, chain, etc., so you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you'll never be midway between gears and powerless to do anything about it.

I've had good experiences with these shifters. I can swap rear wheels from bike to bike without worrying about the details of the rear cassette. This lets me wake up in the morning and decide whether I want the wheel with the granny or one with a more closely spaced cogset.

I have never used these shifters in indexed mode.

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