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I just found out that indexed shifters required mated cassettes, and I am using the rear wheel and cassette from an indexed setup with a non-indexed rear derailleur. I noticed backpedalling sometimes results in the upper pulley going askew as pictured, and always happens during an upshift. I never had this problem with my indexed setup.

I have two questions:

  1. I understand simultaneously backpedalling and upshifting is bad, but does the chain falling off the pulley the expected outcome of doing that?

  2. Is it okay to use a cassette from an indexed shifter from a 1990 shimano 105 with a non-indexed shifter like a 1996 suntour cyclone.

I've read the the very similar problem and I included a shot of the teeth of the upper pulley in case that might be the problem. Also, when the chain does go askew, I don't really feel the difference (I'm not a particularly distinguishing rider).

side saddle

upper pulley teeth

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    I would never expect proper shifting behavior when back-pedaling. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 5 '16 at 1:31
  • As to the condition of your cogs and chain, it's difficult to say from the pictures -- we need a side shot of the cogs and chain. The derailer jockey wheel that can be clearly seen appears a bit worn, but not enough to be a problem. It's possible that the derailer hanger is bent, though it doesn't appear obviously so from the picture. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 5 '16 at 1:35
  • Only shift gears while pedalling forward. No idea why you think it would work pedalling backward. – Criggie Nov 5 '16 at 3:21
  • Hey, thanks for quick responses. I kind of backpedal a lot out of a weird childhood habit. I never had this problem with an indexed shimano 105 from 1990. The bike in question is a suntour cyclone from 1996 that doesn't click like the shimano. Wait... I am using the cassette from the shimano -- would that make a difference? I am re-editing the OP for this. Thanks again. – dickmao Nov 5 '16 at 4:07
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  1. Yes, chain falling off the pulley is expected. When you backpedal, the chain is moving from rear cog to pulley and you are moving the pulley away from the incoming chain. Don't do that. The pulley is by the way really worn, replacing it might improve things.

  2. It should work, but you need to be very precise with the shifter.

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  • Thanks, I'd upvote your answer but my rep score is too low. – dickmao Nov 5 '16 at 12:35

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