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 bought my bike from Walmart (first mistake lol) during my first ride on the bike a bolt fell off and the line that leads to the shifter flayled from its holding. I have never dealt with this kind of problem before but being the macguever I am I attempted to fix it. I found a bolt to fit it and wrapped the line and bolted it in place. The bike functions now but won't shift gears. Occasionally while riding it, it will make a click and the pedal will fall quick making it hard to keep balance on the bike. I think I didn't wrap the wire tight enough but I need help, how do I fix this? What exactl... Read more >>
I have recently got an entry level bike and bought it without realising it had Shimano thumb shifters, i have got some Shimano STI levers and wanted to change this over. Is it possible for me to do this at home or do i need to pay out for a professional to do it? obviously I would prefer to do it myself. What are my chances?... Read more >>
So I have a trek 1000SL that I'm trying to get tuned up for ride the rockies this year. It has Sora triple shifters and everything else tiagra (9speed), and the rear derailleur won't shift up or down. When I use the shifter, it still gives and takes tension from the cable, which makes me think it must be a derailleur issue and not a shifter issue. Would getting new cables/housing fix this or do I need a new RD or a whole new gruppo?... Read more >>
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Hi. New member here.
Any ideas on a brand new "hybrid" bike with 18 speed Shimano Tourney gears fitted which is occasionally throwing the chain off the smallest (high gear) rear sprocket?
The stops are adjusted correctly as far as I can see, or at least so that the chain will only just go over onto the smallest sprocket from 5th. No cable tension as such in that gear, but no slack. Stops are moving the arm. Gears generally seem to change OK. There doesn't seem to be any slackness or anything in the arm, and idlers. The arm seems straight. Front gear was on the centre chain ... Read more >>
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I have a Shimano "050" front derailleur, and every few months, the cable is breaking - always at the same location at the point where it is tied to the clamp (which is held by the bolt on the derailleur).
I am using top routing, and here are the instructions as published by Shimano:
http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/techdocs/content/cycle/SI/Tourney/FrontDriveSystem/SI_6DK0B/SI_6DK0A/SI_6DK0B_En_... Read more >>
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I just replaced my rear derailleur with a new one of the same type (Shimano 105).
The only problem I ran into was trying to put the cable back through the barrel adjuster. The end of the cable started to fray, and I could not thread it through anymore. I trimmed a little off the cable, got it threaded, got it attached under the little clamp, and not I no longer have the big cog or the two smallest cogs when I shift.
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Could t... Read more >>
This afternoon I removed and cleaned my shimano 105 cassette on my road bike. When I put the cassette back together and back on the wheel, everything fit together per the documentation on the shimano web site except for the absence of one spacer that was on the instructions, but was not on my bike (the spacer to the left of the largest ring).
I put the bike on my trainer, and tried testing by hand the pedaling and gear shifting to make sure everything was working. I noticed that it would not shift into the the top ring, and it was shaking/clicking on the bottom chainring.
... Read more >>
Ive got a bike that when I try to shift to the highest gear (3) on the front Derailleur, the back Derailleur catches and ends up being pulled forward and catches completely, stopping the pedals as well.
I'm not sure how to fix this.
N... Read more >>
I'm new to this forum. I've just started working on getting an old 12 speed road bike that was given to me back into working order. I don't have much experience with bike repairs so I've been learning as I go.
The rear derailleur on this bike is an old suntour derailleur. I couldn't find any model number anywhere on it, even after spending half an hour with a rag and a can of WD40 getting all the grime off it.
I'm a bit confused by this derailleur, because unlike the shimano derailleurs on the mountain bikes that we have in our household, the uppe... Read more >>
My bike and myself are now antiques. I have a wheel (which I recently rebuilt) that has a Campy thread-on 7 speed block. It is now apparent that it is badly worn and no longer acceptable. I cannot locate a compatible replacement and I was scratching my head and thinking whether it would be any easier to find an 8 speed. I certainly no longer use the 11 tooth sprocket so I would be happy never being able to shift to it. I believe that the cog spacing on 7 and 8 are the same, so it should work.
Can anyone give me any help with this problem? Thanks.... Read more >>
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Hi, This is my first post so in open to tips to help me post the most accurate source of my problem. First off Im riding on a Dawes Lightning Sport from around 2008. Second im running with a Shimano Sora RD-3400SS Derailleur with its Max set as 31 tooth and Min at 11 tooth. My cassette is ranged from 31 to 12 tooth. My issue is when I Shift into first my deraillure is actually running right on the cassette, it doesn't affect performance but is make the worse kinda sound. i want to know if this is fixable by either changing the hanger or the cassette... Read more >>