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The shifters on a vintage racing bike have features and standards that reflect the technologies and design preferences of the time. Here is a description of their function, characteristics and standards:

Function :

The shifters on a vintage racing bike are designed to allow the rider to change gear ratios to suit riding conditions and pedaling cadence. They allow the rider to shift from one gear ratio to another by operating the control levers, which adjusts the chain tension and allows for more efficient pedaling in different situations.

Features :

1. Friction or indexed:

Shifters on vintage racing bikes can be friction type or indexed. Friction shifters require manual tension adjustment to shift between gears, providing greater flexibility but also requiring some experience for precise shifting. Indexed shifters, introduced later, use internal mechanisms to lock the derailleur in specific positions corresponding to each gear.

2. Placement on frame or tube:

In vintage racing bikes, shifters may be mounted on the bike frame or on the top tube. This positioning is different from modern bicycles where the controls are often integrated into the brake levers or mounted on the handlebars.

3. Metal construction:

Vintage shifters are typically made of metal, providing long-term durability and strength. They can have elaborate designs and chrome or polished finishes to match the classic aesthetic of the vintage racing bike.


Shifters on vintage racing bikes vary depending on the period of manufacture and manufacturer. Some of the most common shifter manufacturers for vintage racing bikes include Campagnolo, Simplex, Huret, and Suntour. Each manufacturer may have their own standards and specifications for shifters, including compatibility with specific rear derailleurs.

In summary, shifters on a vintage racing bike provide an essential function for adjusting gear ratios, with features such as friction or indexed options, placement on the frame or tube, and metal construction sustainable. Standards vary depending on the manufacturer and the period the bike was manufactured.