Bicycle gear shifters have many small parts. These parts can break or come loose. Shifter levers get dirt in them and freeze up. Usually when a shifter goes bad on a bicycle it is not repaired, it is changed. Bike gear levers are affordable and easy to swap out with minimal time and tools. They are easy to find at your local bike shop or online.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Phillips screwdriver
- 5mm Allen wrench
- New shifter handle
Slide the bike's handgrips off the handlebars. Grip them firmly and twist back and forth to loosen them and then pull them off. Loosen the brake mounting screws with a Phillips screwdriver. There is one screw on top and one on the bottom of the handlebars on the brake lever housing. Slide off the brake lever. Let it hang to the side of the bike by its cable.
Remove one small black plastic screw from the back of the shifter mechanism. This is the cover where your shifter cable comes out. The screw will be facing away from the stem of the bike, directly opposite where the shift cable enters the shifter body.
Release the cable from the back derailleur on the rear axle of the back tire. Turn the 5mm set screw that holds the cable in place counterclockwise. It is located on the face of the derailleur. The cable will be right underneath the set screw and will pull free when the screw is loosened.
Grab the loose cable underneath the bike's top tube. Pull up on the cable. It will slide loose from the housings. When the black plastic cable housings come loose one at a time, lay them on the floor underneath the point where they came off. There should only be two of them about 12-inches long.
Grab the cable underneath the bike's top tube and push it forward toward the shifter. The end of the cable should come out of the hole where you removed the black plastic cover. When the end emerges pull the cable all the way out of the shifter.
Loosen the shifter cable mounting bolt underneath the shifter body. When the shifter is loose, slide it off the end of the handlebars.
Slide the new shifter into place. Tighten the mounting screw. Remove the cable cover from the shifter. Insert the cable into the hole. Push the cable through the shifter and shifter cable housing. Put the cable cover screw back on. Pull on the loose cable and pick up the cable housings and thread the cable back through them. Place them back into their receiving places on the bicycle frame where they came off.
Thread the end of the cable back through the derailleur cable housing. Tighten the set screw to secure the cable in the derailleur. Slide the brake handle back on. Put the handgrips back on.
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