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I am building (mostly theoretically at this point) a bike for this coming season. I am pretty set on going with a 42t single ring up front with a Paul chain keeper. I was curious if I can just use the same lever without running a shift cable? It is just a Tiagra, but it works and I would rather not have to buy anything extraneous nor do I care about "bling". I just want something solid, simple and reliable. I know Chris Mayhew runs a single ring set-up so chime in. Thanx, bruthas.

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Most people that I have ridden with have gone the route of using the normal shifter without running any cable.  Those that are weight conscious gut the shifter of the internals.
I did the whole gutting internals thing once, and when all was said and done, I didn't see the point.  It didn't buy you anything worth the effort.
Yeah, you can totally do that. For years I ran that setup with a locked out front der. That worked but is really unforgiving of bad technique. And there are a plethora of chain keeper options out there now.
I ran a single ring up front last season and just didn't hook up the cable to my 105 shifter. No problems at all.
Just buy or find a leftover brake lever for SS or time trial, they're dirt cheap. I picked one up for under $10. I think that's what the majority of people running single rings do. A big advantage of running a single ring is getting rid of the heavy left shifter. Gutting a shifter seems like a lot of trouble, and then it's not as easy to just lob it back on and turn your rig back into a double.

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