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.
So I picked up a newer Schwinn Jaguar off of craigslist for my son.
This is the first bike I've had around in probably 30 years.
The guy I bought it from pointed out that he had replaced the broken stock 7-speed shifter handle with a 5-speed shifter handle. It rides fine and everything else seems to work. The kid wanted it so we brought it home.
I notice that first gear on the shifter is on the third largest sprocket.
Effectively the bike is set up for gears 3-7 at the moment. If I wanted to gear it down is there a way to set it to go from 2-... Read more >>
I am very new to bicycle mechanics, trying to get an old mountain bike running better. As I was scrubbing off years of gunk from the chain and derailleur, a piece popped off. I have included pics.
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I got a Shimano tourney front derailleur on my bike. Need to replace it. How to get the chain out?. I hope, I do not have to break a link on the chain. I see a rivet in one end of the metal. I do not see screw or bolt tightening the two ends.... Read more >>
I followed the instructions in this video
but I still have the same problem on a Shimano Sora race bike.
With the front derailleur, when I want to switch down from a larger clog to a smaller one, I always have to press the shifter twice: the first time moves the derailleur just a little bit and the second time does the job.
Any hint?... Read more >>
I have an old 1984 Miyata Model 100
and I plan on replacing the drop handlebar with straight bar.
I'd also like to replace the old lever shifters with thumb shifters on the handlebar. I'm sure this has been done a thousand times but I couldn't find any instructions in this forum.
Any help is appreciated.
... Read more >>
I have one of these old STI shifters from the early 90's
I can shift between the center and small chainwheels, but not from the center up to the big one.
The button goes all the way without resistance.
Any way to fix this or is is screwed for good?
Thanks in advance!... Read more >>
new to the site; I'm sure this is something that has come up before, but I'm currently trying to do a single-speed to 8x geared conversion, with a downtube shifter.
I've got the dropdown hanger for the rear derailleur bolted into the drop-out (after reading advice from this site...thanks!), and the rear derailleur mounted.
The chain runs through the derailleur and smallest gear (and the front cassette) fine, and I've attached the cable into the derailleur OK. The derailleur adjusts position when I use the shifter, but the chain doesn't move with it. I can manual... Read more >>
Morning! The shift paddle on my Campagnolo Centaur 10-speed left-side/front lever broke yesterday on my road/commuter bike. Needless to say, I'm pretty upset with myself, and I'd like to get the bike back on the road ASAP with as little cost as possible. To that end, a few questions:
1. Can I replace it with any Campy 10-speed lever? eBay has some Centaurs, but there are a few sets of Chorus levers that are offered at lower prices.
2. Is it worth trying to get repaired?
3. Are there other options I should consider?
Thanks a ton!
... Read more >>
I have a Giant Cypress DX purchased in Sep. 2015. I am relatively new to bicycling, just started about 2 years ago. I now little, if anything, about bicycles.
I recently removed the rear wheel while cleaning the chain and rear cassette. It was in 3rd gear when I removed the wheel. When I put the wheel back on I put the chain on the 5th gear instead of the 3rd gear on the cassette(counted in the wrong direction). I rode the bike and it immediately jumped to 5th gear on the shifter, which is where the chain actually was. Since then when shifting from 4th to 5th gear it usual... Read more >>
I am having some issues with a SRAM Apex rear shifter and the rear derailleur. I have pulled the shift cable tight and through the holding bolt of the rear derailleur and the barrel adjuster is turned all the way in clockwise. Shifting to easier gears works well, but shifting to the harder gears does not. The shifter clicks but the cable does not stay seated in the spool and remains slack when shifting to harder gears from easier gears ( see picture).
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Hi I need some help my grandson has messed with the derailleur on his bike it no longer works and you can only get the pedal to turn a little bit and it jams and wont turn I don't know any think about bikes so I need help to try and fix it for him... Read more >>
Just bought a used MTB with several XT components and some lower quality ones.
I can't figure out the model of the rear derailleur
It's Shimano, but I don't know which one
Has anyone an idea?
Thanks... Read more >>
I've a 9speed DA that is fine going up & down the gearing, but put a load on 1st, 2nd & sometime, the chain skips. I cannot get my indexing right to get rid of it, any thoughts?... Read more >>
I inherited a bike with an Eddy Merckx frame about a year ago. The bike has some Campagnolo components, including rear shifters which have an issue. I'd rather repair the shifter than replace it because the bike as some sentimental value, and the longer I can go without replacing parts the better.
The thumb shifter usually locks when I try to shift, but if I hold the brake lever over to the right with my index finger the thumb shifter functions again. My mechanic told me that a spring in the shifter needs to be replaced and that it can be hard to identify a compatible sprin... Read more >>
I have a Shimano Deore SL-M570 shifter (circa '00) that has a lot of up and down play in the thumb lever for the front derailer. Unless I press the thumb lever upward toward the body of the shifter, the loose condition causes it to miss the pawl to shift from the second to the third chain ring. If I open up the bottom cover on the shifter, it would appear that it can be tightened by the hex bolt that is visible, but there is a small metal plate underneath it, with two tabs that stick up on two sides of the bolt, apparently preventing it from turning ( Read more >>