41. How to Recondition RapidFire Plus Shifters

Shows how to troubleshoot, clean and lubricate RapidFire-style index shift levers.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Recondition RapidFire Plus Shifters
DVD Vol. 2 DVD Volume 2
This video is available on DVD

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.

Try This First

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.

Look Inside

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.

Further Repair

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.

Disassemble Shifter

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.

Reassemble Shifter

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.

Tags

Related Links

Discuss this topic in the Shifter Forums

07/29 Front gear goes down but going up is problem

I just got my new Saracen Urban ESC. It has 3 gears in front and 7 at the back.
Couple of issues I have noticed when changing gears. The front derailleurs works fine when changing in to a lower ring. But when i try to shift it up I have to press the shifter twice. First time does not change the gears and make a horrible metallic sound, feels as if the bike is gonna crash.

How can I fix it?... Read more >>

07/28 Newer Mountain Bike Gear Skipping and/or not catching

I just bought a Mountain Bike that I suppose you would classify as a beginner one (Giant Revel 2) and it has been a great experience getting back into riding. Not too long ago I sort of crashed, what I mean by that is I hit the side of an object and ever since that point my front shifting is seeming to suffer. First problem was that shifting from 1st gear to 2nd gear would not always work, it just wouldn't catch and would make a clicking noise as expected. Also shifting into third would do the same. I tried adjusting the shifting knob (the one by the actual gear change on the handlebar) and no... Read more >>

07/20 Takes ages to shift up a gear

Hello.
Thanks for taking the time to read my problem. I have recently bought a new bike. It is around 3 weeks old and done 112 miles on it. Recently it has started taking ages to shift up a gear on the rear cassette and occasionally it feels like it is trying to change gear on its own. The shift down is fine at the moment. In another 3 weeks the bike will have a 6 week free service. Is it worth waiting till then to let the professionals look at it or is it a quick fix I can do myself? I want to keep it in tip top condition so dont want it getting any worse or even damage it by putting mo... Read more >>

07/18 Rear and front derailleurs won't shift

Hello,

I'm trying to do some basic bike repairs, but I've stumbled upon a problem I cannot solve.

I have a Trek Lexa women's road bike (~3 years old) with Shimano derailleurs. It was in need of a tune-up as shifting between gears was not smooth and the chain was rubbing the bracket; however it was capable of shifting. I started by unhooking the shifter cable and adjusting the high and low limits of the rear derailleur. When I hooked the cable back up (tightened the rear adjustment screw, pulled on the cables, tightened the cable as much as I could while the gears we... Read more >>

07/16 Shifter Cable in FD Won't Listen

I've watched hours of tutoring videos all over the internet in search for an answer. This forum is probably my last shot at it. The gears on the left (for the front derailleur) don't change the gears on my bike, because the shifter cable is out. I've been trying to reinsert my shifter cable for my FD, but only gear one and two work, and it's too stiff for the third gear. Ahhhh! Please help!!... Read more >>

07/16 Shifter moves all the way to high gear by itself

Rear Derailleur shifter: Falcon Index System thumb shifter.

The high and low limits are set correctly because I can shift through all the gear with no problem. I just have to hold the shifter in place. If I let go, it will move all the way to high gear (small cog). It won't stay in anything but the highest gear by itself.... Read more >>

07/16 Genesis Roadtech

I recently purchased a Genesis Roadtech bike from Wal-Mart. It's a road bike but I have no idea how to use the shifters on this bike. The image is where the shifters are located.

I'm just getting into cycling so some of this stuff is still very new to me.

Thank you in advance for help advice.... Read more >>

07/08 Frustrating issue with rear gears

Hi guys

I currently ride a Giant Revolt 2, 2014 model Cyclocross bike.

Last week during my commute to work I lost a spacer from my rear cassette so had it repaired by a local guy who is a friend of mine.

He managed to get every gear sweet bar the highest (small cog) on the rear cassette, it shifts nicely from the second smallest cog down to the smallest cog but it won't go back up - only on that one lowest gear.

He took it to his workshop over night and fit a new cassette and removed a link from the chain as the chain was still slack but that... Read more >>

07/06 What gear shifter for my bike?-Sturmey Archer photos

Hello
I have a Sturmey Archer gears on my bike with a following shifter:[attachment=5222]

However I would like to change this shifter for modern one -the one I currently have is a bit rusty and its though to change gears sometimes.I have found this model:
[attachment=5223]

SPECIFICATIONS:

HSJ823

BLACK/SILVER

3 SPEED NIMBUS SHIFTER

FITS 22.2MM BARS.

Will this shifter be suitable to replace the old one?
Thanks... Read more >>

07/05 Help a total bike dummy fix her bike!

Hello!

I have a second hand, 18-speed, index shifting bike that I use for getting back and forth to school and running some errands. I've been having trouble shifting gears on it. The right gear shifter works fine, but the left one is struggling. When I twist the shifter into a new gear, the actual gear doesn't change. It will however randomly clunk into a new gear when I'm riding and haven't recently changed gears.

I've attached a photo showing the back gears. Let me know if something different would be more helpful!

I really now nothing about bik... Read more >>

07/05 Derailleur or pulley?

Sorry if this has already been covered, I'm new to all this

I have recently had my cogs and chain replaced on my mountain bike due to wearing which caused my chain to slip in a number of gears, have spent a few days adjusting the derailleur thanks to online videos, and seem to have everything working perfectly with the exception on one gear,

when the chain is on the largest chainring and the largest on the back the chain seems to jump and make a loud noise, I have noticed the lower jockey wheel may be the cause of this, as this is where the chain seems to be jumping ... Read more >>

07/04 Mongoose Gear Shifter/V Brake not going back past 4

Hi, I'm new to the forum and this is my first post. I don't quite know how to explain it but will try to do the best I can.

I have a Mongoose mountain bike which I picked up for nothing. It had 2 broken spokes which I fixed quite easily. Bike works really well apart from the gears for the back sproket. It will change from 4 to 7 and back from 7 to 4 but then doesn't go any further. I have uploaded a Youtube video



I don't know what the parts are but there is a little cog that works like a ratchet. Once this gets to 4 it reaches the max for the lever. i.e.... Read more >>

06/28 Cant down shift

Okay, so about a month ago I bought this used bike to have a cheap way into the sport. It's been working great for the past few weeks, but then I started to notice my rear shifter getting tight. I have twist grip shifters. It's gotten to the point where it won't down shift at all. I'm certain it's the shifter though and not the derailleur as I can I push the derailleur into gear and it allows me to downshift if I'm holding it in. It seems like the cable is too tight or something. I'm not sure how to go about fixing this issue.... Read more >>

06/26 Need help fixing rear derailleur

I have trek bike and use it occasionally. My rear derailleur is broken and part of it hanging. I tried it put it in but it doesn't hold on anymore.

Please suggest if it can be easily fixed or need to take to a bike repair shop. Added some pictures... Read more >>

06/23 Where to find downtube indexed shifters?

Where can I find clamp on 12 speed downtube indexed shifters?

Right now I have friction shifters mounted on the stemof my 86 Fuji Allegra and I'm looking to upgrade to indexed shifters.

Thanks!... Read more >>

New Thread
How to Recondition RapidFire Plus Shifters
Repair Guide / Help Forums

Free Email Updates: