How to Install a Shimano Shifter

Written by justin wash
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Shimano shifters are known for their dependability, shifting accuracy, and long life. The company is known as one of the most prominent in the bicycle component market, mainly thanks to the success of its STI shifter system for road bikes. By using a single lever for braking and shifting, Shimano shifters make riding a bicycle intuitive, so you think less and ride more. Learn how to install your own Shimano shifters at home using tools you likely already own.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Cable cutters
  • Hex wrench set
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Electrical tape

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  1. 1

    Set up your bike on its kickstand, in a stationary trainer, or in a dedicated work stand. If none of these are available, your local bike shop might allow you to use one to perform the installation.

  2. 2

    Remove the electrical tape holding the bar tape on the bars, and unravel the bar tape on both sides of the handlebar. Remove the bar end plugs that fasten the end of the tape to the end of the bar.

  3. 3

    Remove the shifters from their packaging. Insert a 5-millimeter hex wrench between the rubber grip and plastic body of the right shifter, and loosen the shifter clamp bolt. Slide the shifter onto the right side of the handlebars, line it up with the bend of the handlebar just before the flat, then tighten the shifter clamp bolt to hold the shifter in place. Install the left shifter using the same procedure.

  4. 4

    Slide the brake cable housing included with your shifter set onto the brake cable that exits the rear of the left shifter. Set the housing in place in the groove on the outside of the handlebars, and use electrical tape to hold it in place. Run the left brake housing to the front brake cable housing stop. Close the brake by hand, and tighten the cable in the cable stop using a 5-millimeter hex wrench to secure it.

  5. 5

    Slide the right brake cable into the first piece of right brake housing. Secure this housing to the bars using electrical tape. Attach the end of the housing to the rear brake housing braze-on on the bicycle's toptube. Use a short piece of housing to attach the cable to the braze-on near the rear brake and to the brake housing stop. Close the rear brake by hand, and tighten the cable in the rear brake cable stop using a 5-millimeter hex wrench.

  6. 6

    Fold back the rubber grip of both shifters, and rewrap the handlebars using the tape removed earlier. Wrap over the brake cables now attached to the handlebars to hide them beneath. Wrap clockwise on the right handlebar and counterclockwise on the left. This will help keep the tape from coming unravelled as you ride. Secure the bar tape with electrical tape and insert the bar end plugs previously removed.

  7. 7

    Slide the left shift cable housing over the shift cable that exits the front of the left shifter. Attach the end of this housing to the housing stop on the left of the downtube of the bike's frame. Run the cable through the front shifter cable guide under the bottom bracket and up to the cable stop of the front shifter. Tighten the cable in place using a 5-millimeter hex wrench.

  8. 8

    Insert the cable exiting the front of the right shifter into the right shift cable housing included with the shifters. Attach the end of this housing to the cable housing stop on the right side of the down tube of the bike. Route the cable through the cable guide underneath the bottom bracket. Attach a small piece of cable housing to the rear derailleur braze-on and the rear derailleur cable housing stop, and slide the cable through to the rear derailleur. Tighten the rear derailleur cable stop using a 5-millimeter hex wrench to secure the cable to the derailleur.

  9. 9

    Take your bike out for a test ride to be sure everything is working properly.

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