I'm interested in changing my bike from downtube to flight deck shifters, however I'm struggling to find any 6 speed flight deck shifters. I have a suspicion they don't exist.

Thanks a lot.

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    I've only ever seen twist-type six speed shifters. And bear in mind that most downtube shifters are not indexed, and simply adding an indexed shifter will not produce properly indexed shifting. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 13:10

1 Answer 1


I've never found a 6 speed brifter, but that's no proof that they don't exist.

You might get away with using a 7 speed brifter like a Shimano RSX on the right hand side, if your rear 6 speed cassette is a Suntour Ultra freewheel with a 5mm spacing.

"Regular" 6 speed is a spacing of 5.5mm and that adds up quickly over 6 gears to 3mm which is halfway to the next gear and won't work Spacing crib notes from Sheldon Brown's site at https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-spacing.html

You might choose to leave the front derailleur on a downtube shifter if you can't find the correct one for the left hand.

Downside about using a 7 speed brifter is that they are indexed, so you will have a dead or ghost click past the high gear, where the inner cable goes slack and your rear mech is held on the limit screw, which might not be quite the right position. If that happens you just upshift once to get to the highest gear.

Your other option is to replace the rear hub, cassette, chain, perhaps the rear derailleur, and one or two brifters for something more recent. This probably entails stretching your frame to fit a wider hub between the dropouts.

Finally - after some searching it turns out Shimano's Flight Deck is a pair of brifters combined with a cycling computer/display, a wheel sensor, and a pedal/crank sensor. The lowest gear count I could find was a 9 speed double and a 9 speed triple, so if you want this functionality you will need a possibly expensive upgrade.

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    +1 on switching to 7 speed. It occurred to me that a Jtek Shiftmate might serve as an adapter between a 7-speed brifter and a 6-speed cluster, but the Jtek folks don't explicitly mention this combination, and in any case, you might as well just upgrade at that point.
    – Adam Rice
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 14:07
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    You get the 3mm error if you misadjust on purpose (and if you do it, why limit yourself there?). If you want to make things work, adjust the cable for center, use limit screws to fix the ends of derailleur range and you'll end up with 0.5mm * 2.5 = 1.25mm which is still pretty bad but not completely unusable.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 16:06

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