Monday, November 28, 2005

Initial review Jtek Engineering Shiftmate

For one reason or another people want to mix shifters/wheelsets between Campagnolo and Shimano. Yet they are incompatible systems. You can get away with it for the most part but it doesn't make for the well engineered shifting that you want.

For example, years ago we got a team deal on Cane Creek wheels and at the time they were Shimano freehubs only. But I liked the shape of the Campy shifter hoods. So I went with Campy erog shifters/deraileurs and Shimano Cassette/wheel. I used home made shims and some spacers from Cane Creek to try and get it close. But I've never had perfect shifting on the bike, and never had confidence in sprinting or ever had total reliance on the shifting.

There are other ways around it like special cable routings, special third party cassettes or spacers, etc. Here is a list of some of the kludged methods :
Methods for Campy/Shimano compatability

But this product really seems to be the ticket.

It is the Shiftmate made by Jay Guthrie at Jtek Engineering.


It looks just like a simple pulley like those old Roll-a-ma-jigs. But this is much much more. There are actually two pulley grooves in it. And the cable enters onto the inner groove and then loops around to exit on the outer groove. The pulley grooves are different sizes so the cable pull ratio gets changed.
This is what allows you to use differnent shifters with different cassettes.

It is 11 grams for you weight weenies
Though add another 1/2 gram for the plastic nipple that I forgot to weigh!

In fact his site shows a whole host of combinations from which you choose one of 4 shiftmate pullies. I got combo one for 9 speed Campy shifters/deraileur to go to 9 Speed Shimano Wheelset.

Installing it is fairly straighforward though requires a few times to get the cable looped properly. There is a flat spot on the pulley where the cable routes from the inner groove to the outer groove.

If your existing cable is frayed or already cut to length it maybe hard to route it around the pulley so a new cable is probably in order.

Honestly, I can't say right now how well it works. Because I think it works so well that it totally highlights how messed up my shifter is at the moment. I have to overshift when going from the smallest to the second cog, and from the second to the third, but after that it works flawlessly. This is a sure sign that the shifter needs a rebuild. In addition there is a fair amount of play in the shifter and it doesn't lock into place with each click like it used to.

On my previous set up, things weren't so precise so it 'seemed' to work ok. But with the Shiftmate, it creates a precise environment that makes it pretty obvious that the shifter needs rebuilding.

See Campy Only Ergo rebuild for more indications on if your Campy shifter needs a rebuild and for information on how to do it. It looks fairly straightforward but this is one of those things that I could see exploding on the bench with springs flying everywhere so I might send it to someone to do.

So I will have to update this review after fixing the shifter, but I highly suggest you take a look at this product if you have or plan on mixing and combination of Shimano and Campagnolo drivetrain components.


At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After months of messing around adjusting a JTek ShiftMate #2, with on-going email assistance from JTek's Jay Guthrie (a man who really stands behind his product), my dealer discovered that the Campy lever had gone south after only 200 miles. Warranty replacement of the lever seems to have resolved things, but I need more miles to be sure. Campy Ergo 10 levers, Shimano 9 cassette, Shimano XTR rear derail, Calfee road tandem.

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calfee tandem, Centaur 9s levers, Shiftmate #3, Shimano (rapid-rise) XT derailleur and 12-34 cassette.

Shifting equals the best I've experienced with all-Campy systems. Shifts to larger cogs work particularly well.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Hokie Dave said...

there's appropriate helpful stuff at:

Dave @ HokieSpokes


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