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 don't exactly know how it happened. I've been trying to fix it for days but nothing works.
So let's say you had a 1-9spd derailleur:
If we would want to shift to the biggest cog we would go to the 1st gear, and if we would want to shift to the smallest cog we would go the the 9th gear. BUT that's not the case in my rear derailleur. I could only go to the 2nd smallest cog, and if I would want to shift to the biggest could I would only have to shift 8 times, this means that I would have 1 more shif... Read more >>
i dont know whats really going on but when i was riding my $300 swiss mountain bike i took a brake then got on and tried to peddle. it spawn around w/o catching the back tire. i checked to see if the chain was on, it was. i was having very slow reaction with the front gears with alot of noise before this. i have not used this bike no more then 4-6 times.
if anyone can help thanks. if i can repair it my self i would rather do that since i dont have cash for a repair person..
(but i did notice it started to catch when i go down the drive way (going somewhat speed... Read more >>
I'm a real novice at this so please make allowances! I was having trouble (front derailleur) shifting up from first to second. When I flicked the shift lever into 2nd, the cage would move across seemingly correctly, but the chain would struggle, make a lot of noise and refuse to shift up. If I pushed the shift lever over a little more - towards 3rd - and held it for a couple of seconds, the chain would move up on to 2nd position and stay there OK. I tried to correct this by increasing the tension a little on the shift wire. The result of that was that it shifts up to 2nd correctly, but wo... Read more >>
I'm re-bearing, lubing, and overhauling my wife's 1969-70 Gitane Grand Sport Mixte, and I'm showing here the 'status' of the re-build... Expenses so far: ! $40.00 if I split the cost of tools in half!
Overall she's happy with the improvements in bearings and lube, and she's 'buying' the improvements in the braking system that hasn't arrived yet... but..
As only a wife can do... She says: "You know, I like the location: (Stem Shifters) of what you have on 'YOUR BIKE', and wish I had the same on: "My Bike"...... I have to reach too far to change gears..... Read more >>
Looking the bike over for needed parts, this one is the most obvious...right (rear) shifter pod's indicator lens is gone. It's an older 18 speed Gary Fisher Tassajara with Shimano Deore shift components...dual lever (rapid fire?).
Left pod is numbered 3 2 1 from left to right. Any suggestions on what to look for as a replacement? Plan on replacing both cables, etc. while I'm at it.
Thanks in advance!... Read more >>
Hi I have a Orbea Onix T105 Road Bike which is 10 speed but would like 11 speed, is it a nightmare to do or do i just buy 11 speed cassette and switch it over ?... Read more >>
Hi, I just buy New Shimano XTR m980 shifters, I took it off from the box and tried to shift up and down. I realized that it's so hard to downshift the right shifter. Other things work amazing.
Would anybody tell me how fix that?... Read more >>
I've just gotten my 1980s road bike running again. I'm loving it, except that after over a decade of integrated gear levers, I'm finding the old-school stem-mounted friction levers quite awkward. I've just become too used to being able to change gears while braking, which feels essential for manoeuvring in real-life city traffic.
I'm wondering how realistic a task it would be to upgrade them to use combo style levers. I know I'd probably have to replace the entire gear system, but I think it'd be worth it. But do indexed gear systems take up more space on the a... Read more >>
I bought a set of Aluminum with Ball Bearing Pulleys for my early 80's Peugeot. But before I could receive them, my Wife's 1970 Gitane pulleys broke/crumbled on a ride.. Both Gitane & Peugeot use similar Simplex systems.
They were the ONLY 10 Tooth 6MM pulleys I could find.
When I got them this past weekend, I put them on the Gitane, but found the shim type pulleys were 10.5MM thick, and the aluminum BB pulleys were 6.5MM wide. Chain rubs against side mounts. I found M6 Stainless Steel washers, and put one on each side of new pulleys.. Chain clears the s... Read more >>
Currently going through a DIY upgrade of my road bike. Already made the mistake of trying to turn a 9 speed into a 10 speed but am too stubborn to go back and it's kind of fun to learn how it all works. I now have an Ultegra 6700 10 speed cassette and need to pair it with a new 10 speed shifter. I have been reading about actuation ratios and want to make sure the shifter is compatible. Would a Shimano 105 5700 STI lever fit with this 6700 series Ultegra cassette? Also would I need to upgrade my rear derailleur which is a 105 9 speed or could it do in a pinch?
Thanks... Read more >>
I recently purchased a new 2013 BMC Race Machine with a full Red grupo. Despite everything I had read about the Red Yaw FD and its ability to handle the entire gear range without trimming, I experienced chain rub. So, I decided I would simply take the time to learn how to adjust the FD myself.
I made several mistakes, and I would love any and all assistance:
1. I neglected to tighten the inner limit screw so that the FD was over the big ring, prior to releasing the cable. My understanding is that, having done this, it will be very difficult fo... Read more >>
OK, so a while ago I noticed to get into the lowest gear (largest sprocket) on the rear I had to apply extra pressure onto the shift-lever.
Now my bike does not even get past fourth gear, this is whilst it is on supposed 1st gear (on the shifter). At the moment it only has a range of 3 available sprockets to use. Also, on the gear shifter, it only goes from 1, to 2, then only just onto 3 (it feels extremely weak, rather than 'clicking' like the front gear shifter does), the rear shifter is not able to go into 4.
I decided to open up the rear shifter and see if there was anything w... Read more >>
Hi, whenever I've got a 6 speed mountain bike, but whenever I switch into the lowest gear, the chain slips off of the freewheel into the frame and is a paint to pull out again. When I put the bike up into the stand, it switches to lowest gear fine without coming off at all. It seems the pressure of my feet on the pedals makes it slip off. Just wondered if you had any suggestions? thanks.... Read more >>
I am trying to upgrade my 50/34T 105 chainset to an Ultegra 6800 46/36T system with all the appropriate 6800 components
Unfortunately there is not enough adjustment on the braze on front derailleur to enable me to achieve the recommended 1 - 3mm gap between the top of the big ring teeth and the bottom of the derailleur. The closest I can get is 4.5mm due to the smaller diameter of the 46t chainring.
I am not sure how critical this is but if it is critical to the smooth working of the system then the only solution I can see is to buy a new 50/34T Ultegra chainset which I don't reall... Read more >>
My son Supercycle 1800 has Falcon FIS 6 speed thumb shifter, which is stuck in 2nd gear and its lever is also broken.
I would like to replace it but could not find anything which worth cost, especially which is with in my rice range ( as the bike itself is not expensive)... Most of the time cost goes up because of shipping cost to Ontario, Canada.
I was wondering if someone could tell me what is compatible with Falcon Derailleurs? As that will help me pick alternates for thumb shifter..
Thanks in advance... Read more >>