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 just finished a complete overhaul if the bike. Everything was cleaned, bearings washed and packed in fresh grease.
When I went to live the chain, I noticed that back pedalling causes the chain to stick:
Any ideas?... Read more >>
Hi, first post, very noobie to bike stuff sorry
(Sorry, it's a little long, tried to keep it concise, sry).
Basically, when the bike is on a stand or even just picking the bike to rear tire is hovering, when pedaling and shifting through the front gears 1,2,3 it shits perfectly. Very smooth and fluid. However, when I'm riding the bike the bike gears will not shift at all!
(Quick necessary back story). Original issue was that the chain was rubbi... Read more >>
My front derailleur is a "Falcon" ---never heard of them! My problem is that I can shift to my large chainring or sprocket but as soon as I let go of the shift lever the derailleur pops the chain right back onto the small ring. W Thanks for your assistance.hen I move the shift lever it "clicks" several times---could there be some type of ratchet that is broken?... Read more >>
I have recently been trying to teach myself more about bike maintenance by doing the work myself (I know horrible idea ). Recently I noticed that my chain was rubbing on my front derailleur so I went and altered the high/low screws on the derailleur. Initially it wasn't moving when I was fiddling with the screws, and in an instructional video they suggested loosening the nut(bolt?) that holds down the shifting cable to allow the derailleur to reset to it's natural positio... Read more >>
So I'm having a very strange problem. I have an old 10 speed Chimo with friction shifters on the stem. A few months back I noticed that when I downshift to the inner chainring, my front derailleur can't shift it back up to the outer chainring. I put it off and only used 5 gears till I tried to fix it today. I flipped the bike upside down and played around with it and it shifted perfectly back and forth. I then righted the bike and had someone hold up the back tire. It also shifted just fine. But when I rode it, once again it refused to shift back up to the outer chainring. Any ideas what this... Read more >>
Hi guys -- I'm new to the forum. Thanks for reading.
I'm fixing up a bike I've had for ~15 years that, sadly, I wasn't able to maintain. The bike is an 18-speed Royce Union mountain bike. Aside from new tubes/tires and a new chain, everything else is original (thumb shifters, both derailleurs are Shimano).
The original chain was just too rusted, so I replaced it, and it runs nicely now. Almost. It's fine on the granny chainring, and it's fine on the big ring, but when it's on the middle ring (the one that I tend to use the most), the chain drags across the inside... Read more >>
Hello I recently got my hands on a 99 trek 6000 and I have been working on it in my free time. When I try to ride it the back chain keeps going down in the gears until it pops off the gear on my wheel help!!... Read more >>
My rear derailleur is horizontal to the bike frame as opposed to vertical.
I can see no obvious reason for this and am unsure of how to fix it.
The bike was shifting just fine until I literally put it down, picked it back up and went to take off and the rear derailleur had the before mentioned issue.
Any help would be much appreciated.... Read more >>
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.
Read more >>
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 >>