Can I run a SRAM road (apex/rival/force/red) rear derailleur with downtube shifters?

I though you might be able to mount the bar-end shifters on downtube, but it seems like they are a ratcheting type as opposed to the usual downtube shifter design.

I've also heard that shimano shifters will probably not pull enough cable in friction mode to accommodate the entire cassette.

Is there any way to do this properly?

  • The cable pull ratio changes between certain gears (if I remember correctly, they start pulling more cable towards the low end of the cassette.) From what I've gathered it makes for a strange experience if they work at all. Good question, though.
    – WTHarper
    Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


If you set the downtube shifter to friction mode then you can run any rear derailleur you want. If you're looking for indexed downtube shifting with a SRAM rear derailleur, the answer as of the date of this posting is no. Cable pull for SRAM is different than it is for Shimano and others, which is why mixing different brands of shifters and derailleurs is not advisable.

  • Will a friction shifter pull enough cable to move the Sram derailleur through it's entire range?
    – Benzo
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 12:06
  • @Benzo - That is the main question. Of course, a downtube friction shifter is not a technological marvel, and you could make one to match the derailer, given some simple machine shop tools. Or someone may sell one. Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 0:53
  • I've read of it being done, and as SRAM components beyond 9speed don't have the 1:1 pull ratio, I think you'll find that it works fine.
    – joelmdev
    Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 13:59
  • @Benzo from what I've read this is the preferred method of accomplishing what you're looking to do until SRAM comes out with their own downtube shifters. Unfortunately you can't convert their bar-end aero shifters to downtube as you can with Shimano.
    – joelmdev
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 15:16
  • If there isn't enough cable pull for the whole range, you can rig a travel agent (JTek Shiftmate (straight) or similar) probably.
    – Batman
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 6:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.