Friday, May 11, 2007

The last gasps of Syncro

When people think of Syncro shifters, they tend to think of 2 versions. The original version, with the little lever on the side, and then Syncro 2, which I detailed in an earlier blog post. That really doesn't show the big picture -- the introduction of 8 speed cassettes and Ergopower didn't herald the end of the downtube shifter.

1991 saw the introduction of 8 speeds for us mortals. But in order to take up 8 speeds worth of shifting, without having to bend the lever past the downtube, some changes had to be made

A larger takeup barrel was added. But that was basically the only change made to the 1991 version. Flat shifter lever, and the identical innards to the Syncro 2.

1992 saw some more obvious changes to the shifter. The ability to switch between friction and indexed was done away with -- no longer could you pull out a collar and rotate it to disengage the indexing cog. The lever itself was curved, for your comfort.

The innards were also mildly changed, but the 2-spring arrangement of Syncro 2 remained. A small adjuster was added to the rear shifter to allow the "possibility of adjustment while racing" -- which is probably Campy speak for "compensate for our mediocre design while riding."

The left/front lever was also redesigned...but its still a friction shifter. Nothing too exciting there. If you're reading this with the hope of seeing it, just place a comment indicating you'd like to see it, and I'll add some pictures.

1995 saw the final redesign of the lever. Outside it looks fairly similar, but inside it saw a pretty significant change.

A insert contains all the shifting bits. A new 3-spring design was employed. The upside to this was better support around the collar, which gave improved precision to the whole mechanism.

This design still lives. Campagnolo discontinued downtube shifters altogether in 2001, but the same design is used for the 10 speed bar end shifters today. If you wanted 10 speed indexed shifters, you'd just need a set of stops, and a set of the bar end shifters, or a set of the 95+ shifters, and a 10 speed indexing collar.


MarkJ said...


Injoyed your post. May need some of your tricks to upgrade from 6 to 8 speeds. You collection of syncro campy levers was impressive. Are any for sale??? I would like the latest version of the levers (Record 1995-2001), those with the RH adjuster and 3 springs. I already have an 8 speed instert so the speed does not matter.

If you do not have any for sale, can you elaborate on changing bar end shifters to downtube; these are available. I looks to me like there is a black plastice washer as the closest piece between the the lever assembly and the attachment point on the bar end holder (RH lever only ?). In contrast, looks like a metal piece on the downtube levers that I have seen and on my syncro II levers.

Lastly, if you wish to sell. How do we get in touch. Do not know how as this is my first blog post. Probably not good to give contact info over this site.

all the best,


Jeremy said...

Please email me at Jeremy at tearsforgears . com, and we can discuss what I have available.

The 95-01 version of the downtube shifter also has the plastic piece. Prior to 95, this was an aluminum piece -- a separate piece in the 92-95 and 91 versions, while one piece in the Syncro versions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeremy,

I am so surprised that you collect so much Syncro II lever. It almost can not find the trace in Taiwan so far.

I do not know if you are willing to have a trade with me. I have a 1988 Gianni Motta and am still using the 7-speed sproket.

Best regards,

Clark Tu

braino said...

So, my question is - is there a specific derailleur that these levers are compatible with? I have a '92 or thereabouts c-record which seems to be working fine. The adjustment is a bit thorny, but I have no reference point...


Jeremy said...

The answer is...sorta. They were certainly designed and tested most thoroughly with the derailleurs of the same time frame as the shifters. That being said, the geometry of the derailleurs didn't change in the time frame covered, so any 8 speed derailleur should mate to any of the 8 speed shifters. The first 8 speed shifters will work OK, and be thorny. The second will be better, but not perfect, and the third, 3 spring version should work reliably.

swc said...

you say that you can remove the springs from the early syncros top mke them friction can you do the same with the later 3 spring versions

Jeremy said...

Unfortunately, you cannot. There's no way to adjust the tension on the 3-spring versions to get suitable friction. You might be able to make it work by adding some thin brass washers, but I've never tried. Sorry!

swc said...

Hi it's me again. I have just bought what is supposed to be an eight speed 3 spring syncro with curved levers,an adjuster and a part plastic barrel. The problem is that inside the barrel there is only the insert and springs. Also the end fitting is the older style knurled fitting. The first question is am I missing the piece on the older 2 spring version which slots into the insert or is this redundant in the 3 spring version? The second point is have i got the wrong end plate? I notice from your site that the later syncros do not allow switching between friction and consequently have a more stream line smooth finsh without the machined edge
Any comments would be appreciated


karmaclad said...

Do you know of any way to convert new 10 or 11 speed bar end shifters into 8 speed, OR how to convert an 8 speed hub to 10 or 11 speed?

Thank you. Thank you.

A. Clark

Anonymous said...

I have a 7 speed set of what I presume are syncro II. However, on the rear lever the collar with a thin knurled edge (clearly visible under the head of the tightening screw) is made of black plastic on mine and not metal as in all the photographs I have seen.

I just wondered which version I have got on my bike? It's on a Raleigh 531c frame, Raleigh Special Products Division.

elladaddy said...

Are these the 1991s you outline?


Unknown said...

Hi Jeremy, such a useful site - thanks. I'm trying to renovate a c1994 Campagnolo bar end rear gear lever. The 'g' springs broke so I got replacements, couldn't fgure out how to fit them and found your site when looking for help! The problem I can see now is that I need springs that are the other way around, i.e. where the shaped ends are swapped around. Presumably Campag changed the design somewhere between syncro and ergo? Do you know where I can get this older type of spring please? Thanks, Peter

Unknown said...

Hi Jeremy, further to my last post on 26th April 2014 I've managed to sort out the problem. Thought it would be good to leave a post here for others. My old Campagnolo bar end rear gear lever (about 1994) takes two 'g' springs that normally go in a left hand bar end gear lever i.e. front grear not rear. These springs are the mirror image of the type used on later right hand levers and current Ergo levers. All the best, Peter

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeremy, Thanks for the detailed info. Based on your article, I've managed to get 10 speed bar-end shifters to work for a 10 speed retro-modern bike with downtube bosses. I'm having trouble locating the aluminum stop washers. I got an older set of syncro ii washers to try but only the left stops work. The right ones are too small. The indexing seems to work without the stop washer but I can still over travel and let the cables go slack. Any suggestions on sourcing the correct stops short of buying a complete set of downtube shifters? They seem way overpriced on ebay.
Thanks for your help.

Unknown said...

Hi Jeremy,

I have been reading your blog posts from years ago about Campi syncro shifters, and I hope that you might be able to help me out.

I have a Bianchi Campione D'Italia that I bought in 1988 with my life savings when I was 14 years old. It has been with me since, and I have recently decided to give it a bit of attention and try to get it back into it's heyday working order.

I have taken it apart, touched up the frame and in dismantling the shifters noted that the right index shifter is sadly quite bent and the notched washer that prevents it from over-rotating ( i think ) is broken in two. (probably the result of an accident a few years ago).

I have taken the bike to a local shop (Montreal) to see what my options are, and the owner basically stated that I would be best to find another set of campognolo syncro shifters, otherwise all he would have is a pair of Suntours that might do the job.

The rear derailleur is a 6 speed (I think a Victory).

Would you have any of these downtube shifters for sale? or any idea where I may be able to get them? I have not managed to find the exact model I am looking for (1st generation syncro 6 speed) on Ebay, but I have seen a number of friction shifters and the syncro 2, which appears to be made for a 7 or 8 speed set up. If I can not get my hands on a set of indexed syncro's do you have a suggestion of what I should be looking for in friction shifters?

Thanks a ton for you help,

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