I would like to combine friction shifting and a 7 speed freewheel with current Campy Chorus derailleurs. It seems to me that the way that friction shifting works would allow this combination, since all that happens is that tension on the cable adjusted manually to get the derailleur to move between chainrings, right?

Is there any feature of indexed operation that makes this unlikely?

3 Answers 3


Yeah, the only real problem is maintaining fine enough control of the motion, both in actively moving the lever, and in avoiding "creep" between shifts. In part it comes down to how much fine muscle control you have, and in part it has to do with the quality of the shifter and how it's mounted.

  • That's just a fact of friction shift - has nothing to do with the rest of the components being packaged with an index shift mechanism. (it's of course a good point - but more an answer to is his friction gear appropriate for him)
    – bmike
    Jul 18, 2011 at 17:11
  • 3
    But indexed shifting was, in part, invented to allow accurate control over the wider range of gears (with smaller cable motions between steps). With five speeds it's pretty easy to "index" without the detents. With eight or nine speeds you either need a very sensitive hand or a shift lever that rotates 270 degrees. Jul 18, 2011 at 17:30
  • Do elaborate on that in the original answer! The effective radius of the friction lever might be different than the indexed one. Well done!
    – bmike
    Jul 18, 2011 at 17:56

Assuming that the friction shifters have enough cable pull range to move the derailleur across the full range of gears, there is no problem with this whatsoever.

It is occasionally a problem if you try to run older shifters with new 9 and 10 speed cogsets, but there are not usually any ssues if you are looking at a 7 speed range.

Hope that helps.


All correct. The DRs don't care if the shifters are indexed or not. As long as the travel can be accommodated, no problem.

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