Shimergo?


Mixing components between different companies used to be a common occurrence, particularly before the modern days of indexed shifting.  A person could relatively easily choose between different derailleurs, cassettes, shifters, etc. that they wanted to put on their bike.

Choose a cog, any cog - Mixing and matching gear used to be a lot easier before modern designs

Choose a cog, any cog – Mixing and matching components was easier before modern designs

Things have changed quite a bit, however, and it is more challenging to get drivetrain components made by different manufacturers to cooperate with each other.  This is mainly due to the amount of cable each manufacturer’s shifters pull per shift, making it difficult to mix and match shifters and cassettes while retaining decent operation.

This became a problem for me as I became more serious about my riding.  My road bike originally came with Shimano Sora shifters, which I found to be impossible to fully operate from the drops and they were never completely comfortable to me.  At that point I knew I wanted to change my shifters, and Shimano shifters were a bit pricey.  Then I noticed some Campagnolo Veloce shifters online for about half the price of Shimano shifters.  They would allow me to shift from the drops more easily, and after checking some out I realized I found them extremely comfortable.

Hmmm...Those should do the trick!

Hmmm…Those should do the trick!

I had a dilemma on my hands.  I wanted to use the Campagnolo shifters, but didn’t want to buy a whole Campy groupset just to make them work right.  I started doing some research and realized I wasn’t the only one.  Other people were doing the same thing, while retaining their cheaper and easier to maintain nine speed Shimano derailleurs, cassettes, and cranks.  They affectionately called this mix-and-match setup Shimergo, which is a combination of Shimano and Ergopower (which is a name Campagnolo uses to classify their shifters).

One does not simply...combine Shimano and Campagnolo parts

One does not simply…combine Shimano and Campagnolo parts

The Shimergo setup basically utilized a different way of connecting the shift cable to the rear derailleur, called Hubbub, in order to make each shift better synchronize with a Shimano nine speed cassette.  After getting some Campagnolo shifters I tried it out, and it worked pretty well.  Since I was still using a nine speed drivetrain one of the shifts on the shifters was useless, but could be setup to not be a problem.

The Hubbub cable routing technique - It works, but I found it to be a bit annoying and a bit less reliable than a standard setup.

The Hubbub cable routing technique – It works, but I found it to be a bit annoying and a bit less reliable than a standard setup.

But I still wasn’t quite happy with it.  I found the method of routing the cable to be a little annoying to setup, and it seemed to be a little harder on the cable itself.  That is when, after further online research, I found a company called Jtek.  They made a little device, called the ShiftMate that essentially changes the pull of the Campy shifters.  Personally I noticed an improvement in shift quality over the Hubbub technique, and I think working with the setup is a bit easier and more secure, as well.

A Jtek Shiftmate.  I will have a picture of one on SpYder X in a future post!

A Jtek Shiftmate. I will have a picture of one on SpYder X in a future post!

I used this setup on my road bike for about 1 1/2 years, and it worked great for me, but I am now upgrading my road bike to a 10 speed, full Shimano drivetrain.  There will be more posts on that in the future, but the Shimergo is not dead to me.  Nope, my road bike’s loss is my ‘cross bike’s gain.

Some of you may know that my ‘cross bike’s name is SpYder X (the X is silent), and he is currently in a torn down state, ready to be reborn as a relatively unique Shimergo equipped bike.  That is the main change that he will be getting, but there are some other parts that I had a chance to put through their paces in a racing situation that I will be posting reviews for soon.

Anyway, I hope this post will inspire those of you out there looking for solutions to your non-conventional bike problems to keep trying, and I will be touching on more of the advantages of a Shimergo bike, as well as the Shiftmate setup, as I begin to present the new SpYder X.  Sorry to keep the suspense going!

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18 responses to “Shimergo?

    • Patience seems to come naturally to me when working on mechanical type things, but not so much for everything else, haha. Glad you are enjoying the journey, it has been really fun so far. Thanks for checking out the post!

  1. To do it properly you need to take apart the levers and change the ratchet and pawl that gives you each ‘click’ of the index. The difference between the two is how far the chain will be moved per click as this different between the two brands. I bought a road bike that had an old 8 speed campy veloce group but a shimano cassette. I could index the gears to be able to use about 3 cogs of the whole cassette so would just have to index them according to the gears I thought I would need before going for a ride!

    I looked into taking the levers apart, gave up, sold all the parts via a forum and made a third of the price of a new group. I now run Shimram! 105 group with rival cranks. Cost me about 300 quid. The new shimano shifters are more comfy that the campy now they have been properly overhauled and you can use them on the drops (silly thumb paddles are now obsolete).

    • I have certainly heard of people gutting out levers and changing out the mechanisms to accomplish the same task. I was thinking about doing the same thing, but it seemed like too much of a hassle, especially when there are relatively elegant solutions to the problem like the Shiftmate.

      Thanks for reading!

      • I hadn’t heard of the shiftmate but my setup was a little different. I looked at some exploded diagrams of what I had to do and just thought it wasn’t worth potentially loosing my sanity over.

        All those tiny little springs and screws?!.!?

      • The thought of gutting a shifter just for this purpose was something I didn’t really want to deal with. I had a feeling I would lose some small part that would make it impossible to put it all back together.

  2. Back in the early 90’s, I was running a set of Sachs New Success 8-speed shifters (made by Campy; they were Ergopower design) with an 8-speed Ultegra cassette and derailleur. I felt like I was committing a crime against Campy — but I was so happy to have those shifters. :) I still have ‘em, and would like to eventually build them back into a retro bike.

    I’m super-impressed with your gritty determination!

    • I felt a bit funny mixing the Campy levers with the rest of a Shimano drivetrain, but in the end it is all about what you like. Being able to mix and match more easily like that would be great, and I would love to do a retro build myself!

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Great post – and the naming of your bike is telling… Elisariva and I were discussing this very topic just yesterday – men refer to their bikes as ‘she’s’ as a term of endearment, the question was do women refer to their rides as ‘he’s’ in the same manner, and their you have it. Excellent.

    • I am very interested in how people name their bikes. I have found it interesting that men name their bikes women’s name more so than men’s names. Seems to go either way for women though.

      So I guess Jason, you are, an oddball for choosing to name your bikes male names then :)

      • I guess I am odd. But, SpYder X is actually genderless. I just call it he for no apparent reason. SpYder X is like a mysterious superhero that no one knows the real identity of. But Boris (my road bike) is a he, so yes, I am odd.

  4. Pingback: Thank You Jtek ShiftMate! | women.cyclists·

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