SRAM Red right shifter - paddle unresponsive/stiff.
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  1. #1
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    SRAM Red right shifter - paddle unresponsive/stiff.

    My SRAM Red right shifter is very unresponsive and difficult to shift. It seems to not engage unless you push the paddle to what should be the third or fourth position, but I'm just trying to get it to shift out of the smallest rear cog. I don't know if there is a really stiff spring. Or, something like the pawls are not properly lined up.

    This is a warrantied shifter that is around two months old. It was extremely smooth and responsive for awhile when I first installed it. Then I broke my RD and had to replace that. Then the problems started. First, it stopped shifting at all. I replaced the cables and housing and tuned the shifting in, got it back to going through all the gears.

    Now it shifts, but the paddle is very, very stiff and not easy to move. And like I said, it seems to engage the pawls only when you push deeply into the paddle motion.

    It worked well for awhile when I first got the shifter and installed it with new cables and housing. And, I know how smooth Red shifters should be.

    I talked to SRAM reps yesterday at the NA Bike Show. They suggested I had the clamp bolt too tight. Nope, I've never changed the torque since I first installed it, and it had worked well. I backed the bolt off anyway when I got home. Still shifting poorly. Then they suggested the cables were old. Nope, cables and housing are a week old.

    I was careful to not bend or kink the new cable when installing.

    This is on a cx bike, but the shifter is relatively new and really hasn't seen many KMs, not much mud or grime either. It is a 2012 Red shifter, not brand new, but was NOS they sent me.

    I have no idea what is going on. I originally had a Force shifter on this bike, which was also always stiff. I just thought SRAM wasn't that smooth. Then that broke. Bought a new Force shifter, worked for awhile, then that broke. SRAM warrantied that one a couple months back, upgraded me to Red.

    Now the Red is stiff and hard as heck to shift.

    I'm out of ideas. I just wish it had the smooth, responsive shifting these are supposed to have.
    Last edited by nayr497; 03-16-2014 at 05:06 AM. Reason: +

  2. #2
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    To isolate the shifter from everything else, remove the cable and check how the shifter works without the cable. As you remove the cable, you can feel if the cable is moving freely. With the cabled removed and the chain removed, you can move the RD by hand through it's full range of motion and confirm it's moving freely. With no cable, the shifter itself should be very free and easy to operate through all the gears. If it's not and loosening the mount doesn't help, consider getting it replaced under warranty.

    You can peel the hood forward and see the mechanism and check its function. There's a cover that can be removed by removing three small screws that fasten it and which allows seeing the entire mechanism. After that, it's possible to remove the main shaft and remove the mechanism from the base/housing. Here's a mediocre pix that shows the shifter with cover removed.

    SRAM shifter 2.jpg
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, looigi.

    Okay, the good news is that with the cable unbolted from the RD, the paddle moves smoothly.

    I think I've found the first culprit to try and fix - when I removed the cable I realized it really doesn't move through the piece of housing from the SS to the RD. I'll try replacing that and see if it helps. First fix try.

    Thanks for the thorough reply!

  4. #4
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    I didn't have any new shifter housing on hand and the shop is gonna close before I get there today.

    I lightly lubed the cable and the housing, reattached it, and the paddle moves much, much better. Not perfect, but far better.

    Going out for a test ride in a bit. I think I still am going to run a new cable and set of housing sometime soon though.

    Question - I Jagwire housing okay with SRAM stuff? I think most folks say it works fine with just about any cables/housing...nothing exotic.

    Thanks again, looigi. VERY happy I don't have to warranty this shifter. Next I'll try to conquer the 28 tooth chain hop I am getting, which you suggested some fixes for.

    Thanks!

    ron

  5. #5
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    Test Drive - 1 hour in steady rain on paved road, then gravel track.

    Started out sending chain in pretty smoothly. Got progressively harder to push the paddle. Again, it didn't want to turn the pawl until I pushed the paddle significantly inboard of the brake lever.

    Then this started happening, which has happened before. I'd go to upshift (send chain out) and it wouldn't respond, then would take 3-4 clicks to get one-cog upshift. Then it would be smooth to push the paddle inboard.

    This has happened before and the cable head was hanging up inside the body and not turn/being pulled as the cam turned.

    I replaced the cable and housing, making sure not to kink anything. It's all new. The wide variation - works well in stand, works okay on trail, works worse and worse, then unresponsive.

    I'm confused. Could it be my routing - front of bars instead of back? Could it be too tight of a cable bend from bars to HT cablestop?

    I just don't understand the works, then doesn't work, then kinda works...

  6. #6
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    An odd suggestion perhaps, but is it possible that at the R/D the cable has come off of that little "tower with a groove on top" that it needs to route through between the housing stop and the R/D bolt? I've seen these pop off during wheel changes and the shifting goes completely wonky similar to what you are describing.

    I failed to get a friend's bike "fixed" in time for her race one time because she'd changed her wheel and at the time I wasn't familiar with sram enough to check that. It wasn't until the race had started that someone walked up and pointed the issue out to me. Needless to say I felt silly, but was happy to be familiarized with that difference.

    -Jeremy

  7. #7
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    Hi Jeremy,

    Not an odd suggestion at all and I appreciate it. I'm pretty much out of ideas, so any are welcome.

    I've checked that though, it's routed and clamped properly at the RD tower.

    My best guess is that it's something in the shifter where the cable head meets the cam. I pulled the hood so I could see inside and I just degreased it, hoping that might help.

    I'm also going to call SRAM tech support today. I'd rather get this one working...but I did see that Campagnolo 10-s shifters will work with this drivetrain...

  8. #8
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    Well if it was a recently warrantied shifter, I'd take it back to the shop that handled your warranty and have them look at it. If they can't find a solution, they'll warranty a second one for you. The more you mess with things (degreasing/ wrestling/ forcing etc...) the more you'll compromise your ability to send it in as a manufacturing defect.

    I would never degrease a 2 mo./old shifter because doing so flushes any factory lubrication out, and represents enough customer intervention that the Sram rep. at your LBS may be less inclined to replace it.

    My advice: Stop messing with it and take it in.

    -Jeremy

  9. #9
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    Hey, where were you before I flushed the shifter? (I'm kidding).

    This is good advice though. It seems to be working and shifting in the stand though. I have no idea what I did/didn't do. Working on SRAM stuff seems a big mystery to me, as opposed to Campa and Shimano.

    I'm going to run it by the shop tomorrow. And, I'm going to ride a pal's bike that has Red on it as well. Maybe mine is shifting just fine and the paddle spring is just a bit stiffer than I'm used to on some of my other bikes. Then again, I have the 5700 105 shifters on a bike and that lever movement is pretty stiff.

    Thanks for the advice, Jeremy.

  10. #10
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    The little experience with Sram Red that I have was with a rental bike. I rode it for a week and i was surprised at how heavy the lever pull was compared to my older shimano 6600. It functioned well for that week, aside from feeling really heavy, but since it wasn't my own bike I didn't worry about trying to find ways of freeing up the cable drag or investigating further. I just rode it, as the function was otherwise perfect.

    That said, I've now moved to DA 7900 on my own bike, and it also requires significantly heavier input than my 6600, and my wife's 5600 stuff (both with exposed shift cables, before they hid them under the hoods). My current DA group, although requiring more force, does NOT feel forced. I don't feel like something's going to break...it's just a heavier spring pull. Actual cable friction difference is minimal, so I know everything is working as intended.

    Your problem, however, sounds like it could be something else. Just have the shop look and hope for the best. Let us know what you find out. Good luck.

    -Jeremy

  11. #11
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    That is kind of the feeling, like I'm going to break something on the Red. The 5700 shift movement feels heavy, but not like something is going to break.

    When I get past the middle of the cassette and keeping heading in on the Red, that is not only very heavy paddle movement, but yes, almost like something might break.

    I'm going to take it to the shop but first, I'm going to test ride a pal's down the block with Red. I've done this before, but I want to do it again to compare the paddle feel of his against mine. I think in the past his felt the same, which was heavy and the same as mine.

    If this is how it feels to shift on SRAM, I'm further confused why they're so popular. My Campagnolo Centaur from a few years ago is very smooth and extremely easy in the paddle movement department.

  12. #12
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    Sram rears tend to be pretty picky about the rear cable, it needs to be running very smoothly and if it's not it won't shift well. The fact that it's not shifting outwards well, letting cable out, suggests that you have issues with the cable movement. Also, sram likes a longer cable housing in the rear than other rears, a tight arc for the housing that enters the rear der will cause issues. Sounds like you've covered this so it may be something with the shifters.

    Also, in my experience srams shifts pretty rough sometimes for downshifts at the lever. It wears in but it can take a decent slap to get into faster gears when it's new. I've had more issues with rival shifter with that than red but I've only owned one set of red equipment. The sram red levers always shifted pretty smooth at the lever but I ended up running campy 10-spd with sram derailleurs and have been happier with this setup, though I miss sprint shifting from sram some days.

    About the "heavy" comment, I think sram pulls more cable than shimano or campy as it's a 1:1 lever pull instead of 2:1. I think this leads to a lot more cable tension feel, some like it and some don't. I'm not positive on this though. I do know that other shifters feel smoother but for me that equates to less positive feel, especially shimano being buttery smooth. Campy still has a fair amount of lever feel.

  13. #13
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    Hey bikerector - I actually am going to replace the rear section of housing - final cable stop to RD. The cable doesn't move too smoothly through this section, which I could feel when I unclamped it. Also, interesting that it might need a longer piece of housing than other manufacturers. I'll try making the loop even smoother when I replace it.

    Mine shifts up/out very smooth. The problem is sending it in, easy in the first 3-4 cogs, then gets harder as you move in. I wish I could combine the SRAM upshifts with the Campa downshifts.

    Yes, I do know about the pull ratios and such.

    Question - what are your Campa 10-s shifters mated with? I'm on Red shifters, Red FD, Force RD, but TRP CX8.4 v-brakes. These work with SRAM shifters, I'm not sure if they'd work with Campa. As it is now, the pads are pretty darn close to the rims and the lever gets rather close to the bars when I fully pull them, just how it is with v-brakes and road shifters.

    I have Campa on a few road bikes and dig it. But, I also like Shimano too, and SRAM when I can get it to function properly.

    It's been raining for a few days, going to take my pals cx bike with Red for a spin asap to see how his shifts. Maybe mine is functioning just fine and I'm expecting it to work differently than it actually does/should.

  14. #14
    CX'er
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    Quote Originally Posted by nayr497 View Post
    Question - what are your Campa 10-s shifters mated with? I'm on Red shifters, Red FD, Force RD, but TRP CX8.4 v-brakes. These work with SRAM shifters, I'm not sure if they'd work with Campa. As it is now, the pads are pretty darn close to the rims and the lever gets rather close to the bars when I fully pull them, just how it is with v-brakes and road shifters.

    I have Campa on a few road bikes and dig it. But, I also like Shimano too, and SRAM when I can get it to function properly.

    It's been raining for a few days, going to take my pals cx bike with Red for a spin asap to see how his shifts. Maybe mine is functioning just fine and I'm expecting it to work differently than it actually does/should.
    My race bike is chorus 10-spd shifters with sram red brakes, rear der, force front (didn't get along with ti red front, pre-yaw fronts), and ultegra cassette. I have a very solid brake feel with plenty of pull left before it hits the bars. I can almost leave the rear lever open without having it hit the bars (happens every now and then).

    My all-city space horse is running avid shorty canti's brakes with full 10-spd veloce group and I don't remember having lever issues.

    With srams and canti's, in the past I've angled them in so that the shifter paddle will graze the outside of the bars when the brake is pulled. The shifter paddles are big enough that you gain a cm or more by being able to have the paddle move next to the bar instead of into the tape where it was always getting hung up.

    As far as brake pull differences between sram and campy, I think they're pretty darn close and the amount of lever pull seems comparable between the two; I still have rival on my CX race bike.

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