Simple Green - Fixer of Shimano BriftersHere, I related my first ever mechanical work that I got done at a bike shop. On my road bike. Things worked great. Or so I thought. A week ago, I went for a proper road bike shakedown cruise and it rode well – until the first time I shifted the front derailleur from the small to the large chainring. Hmm, nothing happened. Actually, what happened was that the thing shifted smoothly and then shifted back down as I released the brifter lever. The shifter was not ratcheting. It was as if I wasn’t pushing the lever far enough to “catch.” I fiddled with the limit setting and the cable tension. No joy. Someone at work suggested I take it back to the shop. Well, looking at the receipt, it appeared that they didn’t even LOOK at the front shifting system. They did adjust the rear derailleur which was working dandy. I felt I wasn’t going to take it back because, for all I know, the car ride bunged things up, or maybe it was the long winter’s sleep.
So, what to do? Checking the internet, I quickly confirmed my previous impression (from an aborted dismantling attempt) that Shimano did NOT design the shift system for any kind of meaningful user, or even shop, intervention.
Next, I reviewed the selection of used items available on eBay. I thought it fortunate that my rear shifter works great, meaning I wouldn’t have to find an eight speed shifter. ON THE OTHER HAND, Buddy has shown me a better way – SRAM. What better time to upgrade than when I have to make a purchase anyway? It’d mean moving to a ten speed cassette, and either new derailleurs or a “problem solver.”
In the meantime, I was resigned to only using the small front chainwheel.
Fortunately, I read about the notion that something had gotten stuck, and that using WD40, applied liberally, would free things up. This vaguely intrigued me, but I also was uncomfortable with WD40 as an actual solvent. It seemed to me that things might work for a while, but then be gummed up worse than ever. Suddenly, inspiration arrived. There WAS a great solvent, and it was even one I have experimented before and received data from the manufacturer. Yes, our old friend, Simple Green.
AND IT WORKED!
#1 – Protect bar tape and brifter cover from getting soaked in Simple Green (not really mandatory, but it seemed like a good idea).
#2 – Apply Simple Green to the mechanism. Easiest is to just squirt it in after you remove the allen screw.
#3 – Work lever back and forth until you can verify proper operation. Adjust the limit screws so everything works properly.
#4 – Blow the Simple Green out with compressed air.
#5 – Verify proper operation.
#6 – Add a touch of light oil.
#7 – Reinstall and ride test. I suggest a coffee run.
I guess I’ll have to wait for something else to happen before I step up to SRAM...
Steve's Bike With No Name. Both Shifters Now Work Thanks to Simple Green!