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  1. #1
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    Opinions please - shot shifter or cable going?

    Today on my ride, I could not shift into my largest cog. The Rival 10 spd shifter would throw completely wide to the left and release and go down to the next lower cog - almost as if I was already in the last cog but it throws very wide. Wider than the usual stop and release at the top of the range. It's as if a stop has broken in the shifter and when the tension is high, it's releasing and going down a cog. I believe it happened once on a lower cog too but I could not replicate it on the workstand. The rest of the range seems to shift ok however there is some hesitation on the next to last cog now.

    With the bike in the stand, I can press on the rear derailleur with my thumb and shift with no pressure on the cable and it will stay in the largest cog - it won't shift to it however. Also I can pull on the cable and shift without much trouble or undue friction (just a guess by feel).

    I'm not that familiar the internals of the SRAM shifters so I'd like some feedback before I start pulling things apart and replace cables and housings or if I need to order a new shifter to get installed before the Tuesday night rides.

  2. #2
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Adjust the high limit screw yet?
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  3. #3
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    I doubt it's the high limit screw. If it were, you wouldn't be able to get into the largest cog by pressing on the derailleur.

    One question: Does the bike just not shift into that largest cog, or is the shifting off by one gear along the whole range?
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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  4. #4
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Whenever something like this happens the FIRST step you take is:

    Undo the cable from the derailleur. Make sure the hanger is aligned. Make sure the derailleur can be manually moved to all cogs w/ no overshifting on the large or small cogs.

    Reminder...limit screws never go out of adjustment on their own.

    With the cable undone put tension on it w/ your fingers and make sure the shifter works properly. Shift to high gear position and re-attach cable. Adjust as necessary.
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  5. #5
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    Lombard - Shifting is good through the whole range and indexes correctly except the next to last/largest cog where it hesitates a good bit. It kind of starts to shift with noise before finally settling in. Then the last/largest cog where the shifter seems to just release instead of putting enough tension on the cable to move the derailleur enough to put the chain on top of the cog. The throw on the lever goes further than I remember and almost has a "oh crap the cable broke" feeling when it does it and then drops to next smaller cog (like a normal upshift).

    No Time Toulouse - the limit screw is not preventing the shift. I can apply gentle pressure to the derailleur or manually pull the cable and move the chain onto the largest cog. I also cannot push the chain past the cog inwards to the spokes.

    cxwrench - I'll check the hanger alignment in the morning before work. I had thought of that but since I just recently checked last month I didn't linger on it - will check again since you never know. (I have a Park Tools DAG-2 and check a couple of times a year or whenever I do a bigger check/service of the bike). I will also check the range/actuation of the derailleur without the cable too.

    Thanks everyone.

  6. #6
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    I've had a similar experience. How old is your shifter & when was the last time it was serviced? If it hasn't been serviced in a while...then it sounds like the shifter internals are gummed up. Try using wd-40 & liberally spray the mech while shifting through the gears repeatedly up & down 4 to 5x. Wipe off excess & let it dry & then see if it will downshift into smallest gear. If it does then all you need to do next is lube all visible moving parts & grease the cam area.

  7. #7
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    My guess is hanger misalignment is the most likely cause here. Many things can cause this to happen. If the bike fell on that side or if someone bumped the RD, that can bend it in. Sometimes it is visually obvious, sometimes not. You will need this tool to find out for sure:

    Park DAG-2.2 Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge

    Cheaper to just visit your LBS and have them look at it.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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  8. #8
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    Lombard - I have the DAG-2 and use it periodically to check and adjust if necessary. I checked this morning and everything looks ok and is within 1-2mm. Well within Park Tools recommended range.

    stan01 - I cleaned the shifter this morning. It was pretty gummed up. The last time I "serviced" it was about this time last year and cleaned and re-lubed the gearing. I used GT85 and WD-40.

    The cleaning has helped and I am able to persuade it into the largest cog now but it is still throwing and dropping to the next cog or 2 down if I press too far or hard.

    Also I noticed when I attempt to upshift (down to the next smaller cog),from the largest cog, it will drop 2 cogs. It flies past the 2nd cog to the 3rd. If you very carefully shift you can make it go down 1 cog most of the time.

    Of note, I also went back to my trainer bike which also has Rival 10spd and compared shifting at the end of the gear range. It would not release suddenly like the shifter in question does. If you attempt to shift past the largest cog, it stops about halfway through the range. On the shifter in question, it continues and throws all the way to the left, releases suddenly and drops the chain down 1 or 2 cogs.

  9. #9
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    Use a good aerosol degreaser & give it a real good cleaning. Let it evaporate & then spray it good with wd-40 to flush. Let dry & then lube well. The cam that catches the next gear when you shift is not engaging properly. If the shifter is gummed up this prevents the cam from properly engaging the gear wanted & results in gear slippage ....which is what you are seeing. If this doesn't solve your problem then your shifter is worn out which also exhibits the same symptoms....likely a worn spring.

  10. #10
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    stan01 - Thanks. That's exactly what I did. Gave it a really good cleaning with GT85 (I think I probably used half the can spraying it out) until no more grit or dirt was appearing on the ratchet or catch (or anywhere else for that matter) when cycling through the gears. And then followed by WD-40. Still show the same behavior at the end of the gear range.

    Have ordered a new shifter (this one is over 3 years old at this point) The new one will be my 3rd shifter on this bike (approx 5 years old now). Still cheaper to replace it than the whole groupset.

    Thanks everyone for the help.

  11. #11
    Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinball View Post
    stan01 - Thanks. That's exactly what I did. Gave it a really good cleaning with GT85 (I think I probably used half the can spraying it out) until no more grit or dirt was appearing on the ratchet or catch (or anywhere else for that matter) when cycling through the gears. And then followed by WD-40. Still show the same behavior at the end of the gear range.

    Have ordered a new shifter (this one is over 3 years old at this point) The new one will be my 3rd shifter on this bike (approx 5 years old now). Still cheaper to replace it than the whole groupset.

    Thanks everyone for the help.
    you're using WD40? It's not a lube. Just for fun squirt some real lubricant in your shifter to see if that may help.
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  12. #12
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    DaveT - sorry I wasn't clear. The WD-40 was to dry out the shifter before lube. Not to act as lubricant. I didn't say that earlier. Although the GT85 says it contains PTFE, I wouldn't rely on it and followed by the WD-40, I'm sure any PTFE was cleared out. I put Slick Honey on it as recommended by others here previously.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinball View Post
    Have ordered a new shifter (this one is over 3 years old at this point) The new one will be my 3rd shifter on this bike (approx 5 years old now). Still cheaper to replace it than the whole groupset.
    How many miles is 3 years? Unless you ride 10K miles a year, I would be pissed as hell!
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    How many miles is 3 years? Unless you ride 10K miles a year, I would be pissed as hell!
    A bit over 11k miles for those years (according to my Garmin). With Rival 10sp from my current bike, I seemed to average about 3700 miles per year - not a lot. I guess I'm hard on the shifter, but no wrecks however. Seems like I get about 1.5 to 2 years per shifter before it wears out this one definitely longer - probably because I learned how to clean it last year. The previous bike I went through 2 Rival shifters on it as well same kind of mileage/time frame.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinball View Post
    A bit over 11k miles for those years (according to my Garmin). With Rival 10sp from my current bike, I seemed to average about 3700 miles per year - not a lot. I guess I'm hard on the shifter, but no wrecks however. Seems like I get about 1.5 to 2 years per shifter before it wears out this one definitely longer - probably because I learned how to clean it last year. The previous bike I went through 2 Rival shifters on it as well same kind of mileage/time frame.
    Still sounds very premature. Do you ride a lot of hills where you shift a lot? How often do you change cables?
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
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    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Still sounds very premature. Do you ride a lot of hills where you shift a lot? How often do you change cables?
    I generally try to change the cables and housing every year or sooner if a cable starts to bind. The last time was a few months ago when I installed a new riken crank and did a general service of the bike.

    Do I ride alot of hills? Depends on what you call hills. Nothing really mountainous. Just some shorter rolling hills with some reaching around a mile in length. Most are generally 6-8% with some of the others with pitches as steep as 15% for the regular or semi-regular routes.

    I do prefer riding at higher cadence and spinning rather than lower and what I feel is grinding. I prefer to stay above 80 rpm if possible most of the time except when climbing on steeper sections. So I guess I probably do shift alot but I haven't put much thought into it.

  17. #17
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    Do you generally ride in a dusty or otherwise challenging environment?

    I do shift a lot and the only issue I've had is a cut in the right hood (well, the barrel adjuster on the RD also seized that one time I could not dry the bike thoroughly after riding in the rain).

    I never flush the internals, simply apply PFTE grease from time to time, then remove the excess, as my recollection is the shifters having grease on them when new.

    Other than trying to keep the bike from getting too dirty, my drivetrain maintenance includes spraying with silicone oil the joints on the derailers, whenever I happen to give it a more thorough cleaning, and then pass a cloth sprayed with degreaser on the exposed parts, rather than spray directly, to keep it from displacing the lube.

    As mentioned elsewhere, this groupset has over 30,000 km, last time I did the cables was about 12,000 km ago.

    Still shifts fine. I imagine by many Internet people's standards that's unacceptable and my drivetrain should stop working right now; but the thing just keeps going, so a trip to the landfill just seems a complete waste.

  18. #18
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oct3 View Post
    Do you generally ride in a dusty or otherwise challenging environment?

    I do shift a lot and the only issue I've had is a cut in the right hood (well, the barrel adjuster on the RD also seized that one time I could not dry the bike thoroughly after riding in the rain).

    I never flush the internals, simply apply PFTE grease from time to time, then remove the excess, as my recollection is the shifters having grease on them when new.

    Other than trying to keep the bike from getting too dirty, my drivetrain maintenance includes spraying with silicone oil the joints on the derailers, whenever I happen to give it a more thorough cleaning, and then pass a cloth sprayed with degreaser on the exposed parts, rather than spray directly, to keep it from displacing the lube.

    As mentioned elsewhere, this groupset has over 30,000 km, last time I did the cables was about 12,000 km ago.

    Still shifts fine. I imagine by many Internet people's standards that's unacceptable and my drivetrain should stop working right now; but the thing just keeps going, so a trip to the landfill just seems a complete waste.
    It's called 'preventative maintenance'...similar to changing your oil every XXXX miles and not waiting till the engine blows up and replacing your oil AND your engine. Most engines run great right up to the instant they spin a bearing or break a rod.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    It's called 'preventative maintenance'...similar to changing your oil every XXXX miles and not waiting till the engine blows up and replacing your oil AND your engine. Most engines run great right up to the instant they spin a bearing or break a rod.


    If everything is working as expected, the housings are not damaged, and there is no rust ...don't fix what's not broken?

    OTOH if there is a problem with shifter cables, upshifts will feel stiffer and indexing will be less accurate, so there is early indication that replacements may be in order, it hardly goes boom from one day to the next

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by oct3 View Post
    Do you generally ride in a dusty or otherwise challenging environment?

    I do shift a lot and the only issue I've had is a cut in the right hood (well, the barrel adjuster on the RD also seized that one time I could not dry the bike thoroughly after riding in the rain).

    I never flush the internals, simply apply PFTE grease from time to time, then remove the excess, as my recollection is the shifters having grease on them when new.
    No, I do not ride in particularly dirty or dusty or wet or grimy conditions. I have wussed up since I dropped out of riding/racing many years ago and have since gotten back into it 6 or 7 years ago. I used to ride anywhere anytime because I felt like I had to, now I just do it for fun, fitness, and to challenge myself. So if it's raining or really wet, I'll hit the trainer or do something else entirely (I've got particularly low milage this last month or so because of all the fricken rain here in the southeast lately - seems to start raining nearly everyday about 4:30pm ).

    I have learned to live with the cut on the right hood after replacing it a couple of times only to have it quickly appear on the new hood. Just not worth the money. However I though maybe on the new one, gluing in a slice of innertube to reinforce the area might work.

    The only reason I serviced/cleaned the shifter last year (the 1st and only time I have done that on SRAM shifters) was because I was having an issue with the shfit leaver returning fully to the right after a shift. I would stall about 1-2 cm from full return. Once I cleaned and re-lubed all was good.

    Quote Originally Posted by oct3 View Post
    Still shifts fine. I imagine by many Internet people's standards that's unacceptable and my drivetrain should stop working right now; but the thing just keeps going, so a trip to the landfill just seems a complete waste.
    I'm with you on the throwing away perfectly good or servicable parts. Also why I attempt to learn as much as I can about my bikes and perform the service that I can myself. I take what I can't do or figure out to the LBS. Places like RBR are a great resource for me and I have learned a huge amount from the people who post here.

    OTOH if there is a problem with shifter cables, upshifts will feel stiffer and indexing will be less accurate, so there is early indication that replacements may be in order, it hardly goes boom from one day to the next


    Even now, the shifts feel normal all the way through the range to the 3rd to last/largest cog, the cable pull/actuation feels normal and not sticking or hard to pull, indexing is good except for the last 2 cogs (as stated before), and hanger is aligned. Not sure what else to check. I've been told and googled for breakdowns of the shifter, and there doesn't appear any way to really break it down, buy spare parts, and repair it like you can with Shimano or Campagnolo. I would definitely do that before replacing if it were an option. All I have found are shifter paddle replacment kits not anything for the other internals.

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by oct3 View Post
    Still shifts fine. I imagine by many Internet people's standards that's unacceptable and my drivetrain should stop working right now; but the thing just keeps going, so a trip to the landfill just seems a complete waste.
    Is this Shimano, SRAM or Campy?
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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  22. #22
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    Just to report to you all, I replaced the shifter and of course cables and housing to just to be safe and everything is working as it should.

    I'm 99.99% sure it wasn't related to the cable and housing so that just leaves the shifter.

    Thanks again everyone for the input.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinball View Post
    Just to report to you all, I replaced the shifter and of course cables and housing to just to be safe and everything is working as it should.

    I'm 99.99% sure it wasn't related to the cable and housing so that just leaves the shifter.

    Thanks again everyone for the input.
    Doing a quick 'net search on your problem, it appears to be fairly common for some SRAM RH shifters to fail with fairly low mileage. here's an example
    SRAM Rival Shifter fail

    I would attempt to send the failed units back to SRAM for replacement. There were some reports by people that SRAM replaced their bad shifters, even out of warranty.

    It's easy to test a shifter with no outer cable and just the inner cable. Pull on the inner cable with one hand, and exercise the shifter with the other. If it doesn't work, there's nothing left to blame but the shifter.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z'mer View Post
    Doing a quick 'net search on your problem, it appears to be fairly common for some SRAM RH shifters to fail with fairly low mileage. here's an example
    SRAM Rival Shifter fail

    I would attempt to send the failed units back to SRAM for replacement. There were some reports by people that SRAM replaced their bad shifters, even out of warranty.

    It's easy to test a shifter with no outer cable and just the inner cable. Pull on the inner cable with one hand, and exercise the shifter with the other. If it doesn't work, there's nothing left to blame but the shifter.
    Yeah, I've read a bunch of other posts about shifter failures - just not many fixes for issues. I also haven't had much luck with SRAM in regards to warranties (some back history on that one). Plus it's outside of the warranty period anyway. I'm not going to stress over it at this point.

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