41. How to Recondition RapidFire Plus Shifters
Shows how to troubleshoot, clean and lubricate RapidFire-style index shift levers.
In today’s tutorial, we’ll learn how to troubleshoot and repair a RapidFire Plus style index shifter. For this job you’ll need a phillips(+) screwdriver, a 4 or 5mm allen key, some light oil, spray grease, and some penetrating fluid like liquid wrench or WD-40.
Sometimes nothing happens if you try to shift up to an easier gear, or down to a harder gear. If your cables are functioning smoothly, this likely means that there is either a build up of gunk on the inside of your shifter, or that some of the internal parts are worn or broken.
If it’s just gummed up, sometimes you can get it working again by squirting some light oil inside, and then running through the gears several times to make sure the oil fully penetrates the internal parts.
If not, you’ll have to remove the outer casing and take a look inside. Keep in mind that there are many different styles of these shifters but the concept is generally the same. You don’t want to remove all of the screws on the shifter as there are many small springs and moving parts that are difficult to put back together. Try and see which screw looks like it removes only the dust cover.
With the cover removed, you should see a ratcheting mechanism that includes a gear and a spring loaded pawl. If you run through the gears while looking inside, you’ll see that every time you shift up to an easier gear the pawl pushes against the gear until it clicks it into the next position. This builds tension on the spring and pulls the cable a set amount, which moves your derailleur up one sprocket.
When you use the index lever to shift the derailleur down into a harder gear, the spring releases and causes the gear to slip back one position. This releases the cable a set amount, which pulls your derailleur down one sprocket.
If either of these functions is not happening, inspect the gears and pawls to make sure nothing is broken or looks worn. If they are, you’ll usually just have to replace the shifter. If everything looks fine but the shifter still doesn’t work, you can give it a bit of an overhaul to clean and re-lubricate the inner mechanism.
You’ll have to remove the shift cable first. It’ll usually slide out the of the shifter when it’s in the highest gear (7,8,9). Then remove the shifter body from your handlebar using the top allen bolt. Unscrew and remove the barrel adjuster and then remove any remaining screws until you can pull apart the dust covers and slide the inner mechanism out. Make sure you pay attention to how everything came apart so you can get it back together again.
Soak the unit with some penetrating fluid and then wipe it down and let it air dry. Once dry, spray some grease in between all of the moving parts and then re-assemble the shifter parts the same way they came apart. Mount it back on the handlebar and click through all of the gears so the spray grease penetrates. Then replace the shift cable and adjust your derailleur as needed.
If you’ve tried all of these steps and the shifter still doesn’t work, unfortunately it’ll likely need replacing.
I've read quite a few posts in other forums about these derailleurs breaking apart while riding. I have one on my 83' le tour luxe in great condition and was interested in finding out more about it. I haven't seen any reference in posts to exactly where the derailleur was breaking apart at. Has anyone had any experience with these and what is breaking apart on them?
Thanks!... Read more >>
New to the forum and it looks like a lot of helpful info here.
Now that that's out of the way,
I have a problem locating a part for my down tube shifter. It's a flat washer that has a small hook or tab on it that sits inside the shifter. The hook part has a crack and is starting to break off. Does anyone know where I can get a replacement part for it?
Thanks... Read more >>
I have just done a complete overhaul on my wife's mountain bike, here is a list of what I have replaced;
Shimano MF-TZ 31, 7 speed 14-34 mega range cog set.
Shimano FC-M 171, 48\38\28T Chain set.
Shimano RD-TX35 6\7 speed rear derailleur.
Shimano FD-TX51 front derailleur.
Shimano CN-HG40 Chain.
I have adjusted and indexed the rear mech. The problem I have is with the front mech, I can change from smallest to largest cogs OK but when I change from the largest it changes to the middle cog fine but will not go to the smallest cog no matter what... Read more >>
I want to convert my Raleigh Rapide from downtube shifters to STI shifters.
So I have Campagnolo 980 derailers, 6 at the back and 2 at the front.
Sanwa Road Bike. 10 Speed. Had for about 10 years. I only have one speed 5th gear. I know videos all over. I watch them and just can't get this thing correct. Thought I'd head here for help and I have a new Schwinn coming. That's pretty inexpensive also. Looks like a nice web site also.
Problem: Start with something simple. Getting from 5th to 10th. When I push the Front Derailleur by hand it snaps back. I can pull the lever on top of bike down to shift to 10th and the lever snaps back. If I put the bike in 10th the derailleur snaps back toward the bike causing the chain to go to ... Read more >>
I've recently bought a women's Schwinn Continental at a garage sale. We think it's a 1975, but we aren't sure. Anyway, I'd like to get a totally different rear (and possibly front) derailleur for it because no matter what we do, it doesn't like to switch into all of the gears. We read that the original derailleurs on the bike don't really work well with it, so we were looking at maybe a Suntour or Shimano, but we have no idea were to start or anything. Could some one give us some information that could help? Thanks in advance.... Read more >>
Hi all, I'm a bit new to the maintenance of a bike so would really appreciate any help. I have a road bike that needs a new rear derailleur fitted.
My current rear derailleur just says shimano on it but my gears are shimano sora triple deck. I've looked online for a replacement shimano sora derailleur which are all 9 speed but mine is an 8 speed. Will this cause a problem?
Also, I've seen that you need to know the total tooth capacity. Can you just confirm how you work this out?
Thanks for any help!... Read more >>
So today I ordered some new wheels for my 700c conversion. The wheels come with a 7 speed freewheel which is just what I need. However, my current cassette is 13/23 and the new one is 14/28. What adjustments will I need to make to the rear derailleur so that it will shift smoothly and accurately on the new cassette.
Jamin... Read more >>
I've encountered a very strange problem I've never had before. I have a Fischer mountain bike with shimano acera 8 gear derailer. About a week ago it suddenly developed a very strange problem, the derailer only travels part of the distance it should to give me the full gear range. Now I only get it to go to gear sprocket 2 at the low end through to sprocket 5 or 6 towards the high end.
I've tried making various forms of adjustment to the derailer, but this has only very limited effect. Has anyone here had this problem, and any ideas about how to fix it and how it... Read more >>
I'm a bike tech at dicks sporting goods in Bloomfield, MI and I'm having trouble with replacing the cables on an old 10 speed freestyle. I've only been working at this job for about 3 months now, so I don't have a ton of experience working on bikes yet, and I can't tell how to get the cable out of the shifter.
It looks like the cable should just be able to pop out of the end of the shifter (I have already removed the housing), but I can't get it to budge. Is there something else I need to do first before I can take the cable out, or is it just that this particular one is likely j... Read more >>
We just bought a hyper havoc within the last 2 months and have only ridden it a handful of times. My issue is the other night as we were riding along the chain snapped off. Looked like it broke? We just started riding again recently so we're not familiar with these new bikes at all. Do I need to buy a new chain or can this one be fixed? I snapped it back together but I just don't know if it'll last or what. Lol I apologize for my ignorance about anything mechanical lol.... Read more >>
On the weekend I crashed and managed to destroy one of my shifters. I've got an old Cannondale 105 with 105 components - double and 9 speed. I'm wondering if any other Shimano double/9 speed shifters would be compatable or do I need to try and find an old set of the 105 ST-5510?
Thanks!... Read more >>
So I took my bike out for a ride and neither of the gears seem to shift, pressing the shift bottom (sorry dont know the name for it) next to the brakes doesnt do anything, no clicks or sounds, nothing happens.
I have no clue whats wrong with it so please help me, I'll upload more pictures if needed and do any tests
here are some pictures
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At age 43 I recently have taken up cycling, it's been about 20 years. I had found a 1982 Free Spirit 10 speed, Sears brand by Murray I think, at a junk store. $15 and everything seemed to work, couldn't pass it up. I put new tires on it and was riding, wheels fairly true, all 10 gears, no squaking or squealing, decent stopping. Then the other day, the left lever snapped off. No surprise being 32 year old plastic, I remember new bikes doing that in my younger days. So my question is, what's a good source to order this part from? I'd want to go metal and replace the whole assembly, I'm gues... Read more >>
I have a Trek 7000 (93/94) still with tons of original parts on her.
A few weeks ago, the rear shifter broke, not shifting to the lighter gears, but was still shifting to the heavier ones.
When I opened it, I saw that a little spring inside it was broke.
Just like the one seen here:
I can't find this spring anywh... Read more >>