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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!