Can 10 Speed Friction Shifting Work?

Some people have commented on the video that they have succeeded in making 10 speed friction shifting work. I accept that some set ups could function, but the precision involved would surely cause two issues:

  • All parts would need to be correct and working perfectly
  • The precision in shifter adjustment would be very challenging


Why Even Try?

Chains lengthen in time, cables slip by micro amounts and as there are so many moving parts, I don’t believe it is a viable gear system in the real world. Am I wrong?  If you had a triple crank, would you seriously want to try and shift though 30 gears? It seems crazy, but it’s interesting to experiment with the idea. Here is a post of on adapting a vintage 10 speed into an 18 speed.


Canelli 12 Speed Road Bike

12 Speed Worked Better


As a Simpler 6 x2 Speed


I gave up on my 10 x 2 experiment, as I found that some gears would just not work properly. If you got gears 4,5,6,7 and 8 in tune, then 2 and 3 didn’t move without jumping or clicking. The extremes, gear 1 and 10, were like no-go areas in a sketchy neighbourhood; why would you even try to enter into those extremes when you know the dangers ahead? I believe an 8 speed cassette or freewheel is the most you should have on  a friction shifting bike, otherwise the act of tuning will become a daily chore.


Canelli Road Bike Front View


The Canelli


I bought this Canelli in France and was impressed with its quality. It came with Campagnolo Mirage components and though the brand doesn’t have the prestige of other Italian bike firms, I would definitely buy another. It has Columbus tubing and a nice rounded chrome fork, simple lugs and clean lines, with no decoration or stamps around the seat lug or head tube. It seemed to me a more utilitarian Italian bike, nicely presented with good components but made for the practical rider who didn’t want to part with his month’s wages. Heres a Pista version of the same era.


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