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Shifters on an older bicycle, especially models from previous decades, have specific features that set them apart from modern shifters. Here is a description of their function, characteristics and standards:

Function :

The shifters on an older bicycle are designed to allow the rider to change gear ratios to suit different riding conditions and pedaling cadence. They allow you to move the chain between different sprockets or chainrings to adjust the pedaling resistance depending on the terrain and the desired speed.

Features :

1. Simplicity of design:

Shifters on older bicycles are often simple in design, with control levers usually mounted on the frame's horizontal tube or top tube. Unlike modern shifters integrated into the brake levers or mounted on the handlebars, those on older bicycles can be separate levers, sometimes mounted near the seat tube.

2. Shift systems:

Older bikes may use different shifting systems, including friction or index derailleurs. Friction derailleurs require manual tension adjustment to shift between gears, while indexing derailleurs use internal mechanisms to lock the derailleur in specific positions corresponding to each gear.

3. Materials and construction:

Shifters on old bikes are often made from materials such as steel or aluminum, and may feature chrome or polished finishes to match the classic aesthetic of the old bike. They are generally sturdy and durable, designed to withstand prolonged use.


Standards for shifters on older bicycles vary depending on the era of manufacture, manufacturer and specific model of the bicycle. Some iconic manufacturers of shifters for vintage bicycles include Campagnolo, Simplex, Huret, and Suntour, among others. Each manufacturer may have their own standards and specifications for shifters, including compatibility with specific rear derailleurs.