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DH's broken Bike shifter
Old 10-06-2011, 08:27 AM   #1
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DH's broken Bike shifter

Anyone know anything about shifters on a bike? DH's won't go on the largest sprocket and the bike shop wants to replace it instead of repairing it. Below is what he asked me to post on a bike forum which promptly told us to go buy new components. We figure the answers were by the same kind of kids who worked in the bike shop and who always just want the latest and greatest.

Thanks!

"I have a Shimano XTR component set on my mountain bike and I've been having some trouble getting the chain up on to the largest ring on the front sprocket of my bike (the crankset?). The crank sprocket contains three rings (I hope that's the correct terminology) and the derailleur can shift between the lower two rings just fine, but it just won't go out to the largest ring. I thought perhaps that the stops (terminology?) needed adjusting or the cable needed tightening, so I fiddled around with those and it never got any better. I gave up and took it into a local bike shop and they told me that may cable and stops were adjusted just finfe, but the shifter on my left handlebar (which controls the front derailleur) was shot. It just doesn't want to push the derailleur out to that final ring.

They then informed me that there is no hope in fixing it and that I needed to replace it because the shifer contains too many delicate parts (like a watch) and I couldn't get parts for it anyway because my components are so old (we purchased the bike, brand new in the late 90s). They then went on to explain that I would not be able to just purchase and replace that one shifter. They claimed that I need to replace the entire component set because I have a 9 ring rear cassette which is no longer supported in the XTR line, so I need to get new shifters, derailleurs, crank, cassette and brakes (the brake levers are built into the same module as the shifter).

When I balked at the four digit price tag they were dangling in front of me, they recommended I could replace the lever with an XT version and not have to replace any of the other gear. Does any of this make sense?"
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:39 AM   #2
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A photo illustration might be helpful...

My experience on cheap-a$$ bikes is that the shifter is just a lever moving a cable. Maybe a spring thingy is bad, or maybe the screws on the sprocket end of the cable, rather than the shifter end, need adjustment.

I have a garage sale Fuji with 2 front and 6 rear sprockets, thus a "12-speed". For my jaunts around a relatively non-challenging local bike course, I used three gears max - 7, 8, and 9. Don't use the front shifter at all, though if it was stuck on the smaller front sprocket I'd have to revisit...
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:43 AM   #3
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As a practical matter most, if not all, 27 speed (3 X 9) bikes are really only 9 speed bikes. Decent chain alignment dictates that each crankset ring be only used in conjunction with 3 of the cassette rings.

To get an idea about component costs you might want to peruse sights like-http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/SubCate..._202327_202352
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:08 AM   #4
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In addition to tightening the shifter cable (it stretches a bit over time), shifters have little screws that control how far the shifter can go in each direction, to avoid the chain popping off the sprocket. Try allowing a little more play with this screw (labelled "high gear limit stop" in the photo).
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:59 PM   #5
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What the bike shop said is reasonable as to the cause, but you might get a second opinion. You can prove it to yourself if pulling on the cable will move the front derailleur far enough. I'm not a mountain bike guy, but I bet you can find a used handgrip shifter that you can use.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:08 AM   #6
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I've posted this in the bikeforums.net forum, and it is getting some good responses.

Posting for a Friend: Broken Shifter Problem
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:16 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies and for forwarding DH's issue to the bike forum! (that was such a nice thing to do... I had been looking for another bike forum to post to.) I will forward the replies to DH.
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:30 PM   #8
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I don't think these trigger type shifters are repairable. I suggest you have your DH look at SRAM components. They are significantly cheaper than Shimano and I've been very happy with my 20 year old Grip Shift and my 2 year old trigger shift system from them.

I think you may be able to find shifters and brakes that are compatible with your Shimano XTR system.

I think you're still going to spend $100-150 just for the parts though. The 9 speed system parts cost about 3X a 7 speed. You should be able to install them yourself if you know which end of a screwdriver to hold on to. Bikes are easy to work on.

Lorne
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