How to Install Ultegra Shimano Shift Levers

Written by tammie painter Google
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How to Install Ultegra Shimano Shift Levers
Shift levers are part of the Ultegra groupset. (Chase Jarvis/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The Japanese company Shimano manufacturers many components and clothing for cycling. One of their component groups is Ultegra, which was known as the Ultegra 600 until 1998. A groupset comprises most of the hardware of a bike including the gears, derailleurs, brake levers and shifting levers. Ultegra is Shimano's highest-end groupset. While it is more expensive than other groupsets by Shimano, it also is the groupset with the lightest weight and highest quality. As with many road bike groups, the Ultegra shifters are integrated into the brake levers.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bike
  • Bike work stand
  • Handlebar holder
  • Shimano Ultegra brake/shift levers
  • Allen wrenches
  • Cable grease
  • Cable housing pieces in correct lengths (see Tips)
  • Brake cable
  • Shifter cable
  • Cable cutter
  • Cable end crimps

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  1. 1

    Mount the bike into the bike work stand. Place the handlebar holder so one end rests on the handlebar and the other end rests on your top tube (the horizontal tube of your bike frame that extends from the handlebars to your seat post). The handlebar holder prevents your front wheel from turning side to side and makes it easier to work on the front end of your bike.

  2. 2

    Slip one brake/shift lever over the end of your handlebar. Place it where you find it most comfortable to rest your hands when riding. This may take some adjusting so don't tighten the bolt all the way until you've found where you want the lever to go. Once you have the lever placed, pull back the hood cover and use an Allen wrench to tighten the bolt that clamps the lever onto the handlebar. Repeat on the other side.

  3. 3

    Apply a small amount of grease to the brake cable. Install the cable by pulling back the hood of the lever and inserting the cable into the hole you see at the front. Pull the cable all the way through until the nipple at the end of the cable seats into the hole of the lever. Route the cables through the cable housing and along the handlebar and through any cable holders on your bike frame. Attach the cable from the right lever to the back brakes and the cable from the left lever to the front brakes.

  4. 4

    Apply a light coat of cable grease to the shift cables. Install the cables by inserting them into the hole on the outer edge of the lever. Thread the cable through the cable housing until the end seats into the hole. Run the cable through any cable holders on your bike frame then attach the cable end to the derailleurs. The right-hand shift cable attaches to the rear derailleur and the left attaches to the front derailleur.

  5. 5

    Test both brake lever and shift levers to be certain the cable tension isn't too tight or too loose. Adjust as needed. Trim off the excess cable and crimp the ends to prevent fraying.

Tips and warnings

  • Cable housing placement and lengths vary depending on your bike size, the placement of your cable holders and your preference. Measure the housing you'll need before beginning.
  • Don't trim the excess cable until you've made your final adjustments. When you do trim the cable, leave an inch or two extra to make later adjustments easier.
  • Your cables will stretch after a few rides. Tighten them as needed after about ten rides.
  • Be certain all your cables are firmly secured to the brakes and/or shifters before riding. A loose cable is very dangerous.

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