Friction shifters with 3×7 hub
Can I install friction shifters on my Pocket Llama with the SRAM Spectro 3×7 hub? Can I order a Bike Friday with both? Does installing a friction shifter void my hub warranty?
We do not recommend using a friction shifter (usually a non-indexed bar-end controller) with the SRAM hub. The hub does not like to be operated while it is between gears, as this puts undue stress on the pawls. Like any derailleur, proper friction shifting means adjusting the lever minutely until you’ve found the “most peaceful” position. Finding this position on the hub may be difficult, even for experienced friction-shifting riders.
We used to offer friction shifters in combination with the 3×7 hub, but do not at this time due to the quantity of hubs that were returned to us for repair.
This is not to say it can’t be done. Operating a friction shifter requires just as much attention as using an indexed shifter and adjusting the cable to insure the indexed positions are “dialed-in” as precisely as possible. Operating a 3×7 hub with the indexing off-center can be damaging to the pawls inside, and it is recommended you occasionally double-check the shift positions.
As for SRAM’s warranty, using anything other than SRAM shifters, cassettes and derailleurs with the 3×7 is not supported by SRAM and they would be unlikely to replace your 3×7 hub if you broke it via friction shifter misuse.
For that matter, many of the upgrades Bike Friday provides for Spectro 3×7 hub-equipped bikes (including use on tandems) are not supported by SRAM. In case of a mechanical failure with your hub, it is best to contact Bike Friday service rather than SRAM.
SRAM will be discontinuing the Spectro 3×7 in 2001 and replacing it with the DualDrive system, which will be available in 3×8 and 3×9 versions. See the Bike Friday Document Library (links below) for excerpts from SRAM’s 1999 and 2000 dealer technical manuals regarding the 3×7 hub.