I haven't ridden in anger since around 2003. I have two bikes which I am trying to return to a roadworthy state. Each has a non-functioning right hand shimano shifter.

  • Racing bike: Ultegra 6500 (9-speed), double chainring
  • Training/winter/touring bike: 1055 (8-speed), triple chainring

I'm thinking that it would be cost-effective to convert both to shimano 9-speed, as parts (shifters) are likely available second hand, and I have a spare Ultegra 9-speed rear mech that I could stick on my training bike.

Is there a good history of shimano groupsets, so I can work out which 105/Ultegra/Dura-Ace groups were 9-speed?

I see that modern shimano groupsets have handlebar-routed gear cables. Are there any 9-speed compatible shifters which have this? (I remember that there used to be a method for converting campagnolo 10-speed to shimano 9-speed in order to gain this advantage, which I'd be willing to consider if I knew the relevant components.)

In summary, two questions:

  1. which shimano groupsets were 9-speed?
  2. do any shimano 9-speed groupsets have handlebar-routed gear cables?

...or please direct me to somewhere that will tell me this information.

  • Are you committed to indexed shifters or are you ok with friction shifters? Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 2:34
  • Good question. I'm interested in 'ergo lever' style, as both bikes have their bosses at the head tube, rather than on the down tube.
    – nimasmi
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 11:39
  • 1
    For the record, after getting in touch with an old friend who had first-hand experience of the Campag-on-shimano hack, I've gone with that. See: ctc.org.uk/desktopdefault.aspx?tabid=3946
    – nimasmi
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 11:40

2 Answers 2


According to the Wikipedia page, the following groupset variations were specifically 9-speed:

  • Dura-Ace 7700 (1996-2002)
  • Ultegra 6500 (1997-2004)
  • 105 5500 (dates unknown)
  • Tiagra before 4600 (before 2011)
  • Sora 3400 (2012-)

As far as other components go, it seems that as long as the cassette, chain and shifters match then the groupset should work. All Shimano rear derailleurs (excluding early Dura-Ace) have the same shift ratio, so they should work so long as the derailleur has enough travel capacity - use one rated for the same or higher number of gears than in your cassette.


New Shimano 105 and up are all 10 speed. One option is the JTEK shiftmate, a little adaptor that will convert one amount of cable pull/retraction to a different amount. It mounts just before the rear derailleur and usually improves shifting performance because it eliminates some of bend in the cable housing just before the rear derailleur.

There are models that will convert new Shimano 10 speed to 9 or 8 speed. I use one that converts Campy 10 shifters to Shimano 9 rear derailleur. It works great.

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