Is my front shifter fixable?

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doffcocker
Posts: 38
Joined: 31 Aug 2020, 8:49pm

Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby doffcocker » 7 Jan 2021, 11:11am

Thanks mainly to the fantastic advice on here, I recently managed to fix my rear gear shifting, and actually accomplished replacing a cable for the first time.

Now I'm keen to work on my front derailleur, which hasn't shifted for months since the shifter became sticky and the small lever stopped returning.

I recently took the bike in for the free Halfords assessment and I asked the guy in the store what he thought of the shifter, he quickly reassured me he thought it was purely the lack of tension in the system. On the assessment paper, he has answered Yes the question "Are the front and rear mechs free from any wear or damage?", but after setting out yesterday to change the cables I'm struggling to see how it's going to work properly even with a properly fitted cable with adequate tension in it because the thing inside the shifter that should rotate is so stiff, it's only slightly reacting to any movement from the big lever, and because it isn't responding at all to the small lever, I'm unable to get it round to the position it needs for me to start threading the cable.

It's obviously a pretty low end road bike, so I know it's barely worth investing in a new shifter if I wanted to, I'm just wondering if the situation is at all salvageable.

Cheers.

https://www.argos.co.uk/product/8030278 ... ke:6:191:1 (bike is 7 months old)
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Brucey
Posts: 42208
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby Brucey » 7 Jan 2021, 11:23am

try pulling the cable whilst working the small lever

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jamesh
Posts: 1670
Joined: 2 Jan 2017, 5:56pm

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby Jamesh » 7 Jan 2021, 1:13pm

Have you lubricated shifter cables and front mech with lots of wd40 GT85 or Wilko bike lube??

The shifter should move fairly easily without cables.

If it's still very stiff or the shifter doesn't click to hold a position. You may need a new shifter which are about £25 on eBay. Or £50 new.

You could get a s/h one from a bike library near to you.

There are new ones from China available on eBay for £25 has anyone tried them?

Cheers James

backnotes
Posts: 418
Joined: 16 Jan 2011, 8:36am

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby backnotes » 7 Jan 2021, 1:45pm

doffcocker wrote:which hasn't shifted for months since the shifter became sticky and the small lever stopped returning.

https://www.argos.co.uk/product/8030278 ... ke:6:191:1 (bike is 7 months old)


I feel as if I am missing something obvious here. If the bike is 7 months old, and has had this shifter problem for months (i.e. since from what must have been nearly new), and (according to the link) it has a 1 year manufacturer's guarantee, I would take it back to my local branch of Argos (I understand Challenge bikes are made by Argos) and invite them to inspect / repair / replace?

doffcocker
Posts: 38
Joined: 31 Aug 2020, 8:49pm

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby doffcocker » 7 Jan 2021, 2:01pm

Jamesh wrote:Have you lubricated shifter cables and front mech with lots of wd40 GT85 or Wilko bike lube??

The shifter should move fairly easily without cables.

If it's still very stiff or the shifter doesn't click to hold a position. You may need a new shifter which are about £25 on eBay. Or £50 new.

You could get a s/h one from a bike library near to you.

There are new ones from China available on eBay for £25 has anyone tried them?

Cheers James


I haven't tried WD40 but I have tried a lot of GT85. Is it possible WD40 would make a big difference?

Jdsk
Posts: 5230
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby Jdsk » 7 Jan 2021, 3:10pm

doffcocker wrote:I haven't tried WD40 but I have tried a lot of GT85. Is it possible WD40 would make a big difference?

Unlikely.

Jonathan

doffcocker
Posts: 38
Joined: 31 Aug 2020, 8:49pm

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby doffcocker » 7 Jan 2021, 3:48pm

Brucey wrote:try pulling the cable whilst working the small lever

cheers


I decided to try starting from scratch, i.e. fitting new cables. Again, I only replaced a cable for the first time the other day when I changed the rear gear cables. But from what I can see I have succeeded again in terms of getting front gear cables in place, and I'm pleased to say that although I haven't yet got it shifting, it has made a difference in terms of how the shifter is responding. I have hooked the cable to the derailleur and both the big and small lever are actually clicking now where before they weren't at all. The small lever is also returning, albeit not entirely into the correct position.

Is it sounding like the lack of cable tension was the reason the small lever was sticking all along? I haven't yet managed to get the cage to move but I'm hoping somebody will tell me it's notoriously difficult to generate enough tension on the front gears (especially on the lower end bikes) and that it can be achieved.

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Chris Jeggo
Posts: 196
Joined: 3 Jul 2010, 9:44am
Location: Woking

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby Chris Jeggo » 7 Jan 2021, 4:05pm

When you took the old cable out, was there any sign of damage close to the nipple, e.g. fraying?

doffcocker
Posts: 38
Joined: 31 Aug 2020, 8:49pm

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby doffcocker » 7 Jan 2021, 4:50pm

Chris Jeggo wrote:When you took the old cable out, was there any sign of damage close to the nipple, e.g. fraying?


Nothing much at all like that.

peetee
Posts: 2778
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby peetee » 7 Jan 2021, 4:54pm

I think what may have happened is that a return spring has come off. The shift paddles (levers) move much smaller sprung levers near the pivot point. If the rear section of the rubber hoods are peeled forward for any reason (possibly to access the cable to investigate a similar shift problem?) and the main shift paddles are operated the small sprung levers can foul the hood and the spring gets knocked off. The result is the small lever is pushed out on the next shift, stays there, the index ratchet fails to engage and the cable isn’t drawn round to the next position.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

Eyebrox
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Location: Ayrshire

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby Eyebrox » 7 Jan 2021, 8:12pm

I did a first service on a six-week old road bike from Argos. The owner was complaining that the front derailleur and shifter wouldn't work. Turned out the cable was routed incorrectly at the mech anchor bolt. It was a new bike (Challenge) and hadn't been altered in any way since purchase.

doffcocker
Posts: 38
Joined: 31 Aug 2020, 8:49pm

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby doffcocker » 8 Jan 2021, 11:13am

Eyebrox wrote:I did a first service on a six-week old road bike from Argos. The owner was complaining that the front derailleur and shifter wouldn't work. Turned out the cable was routed incorrectly at the mech anchor bolt. It was a new bike (Challenge) and hadn't been altered in any way since purchase.
backnotes wrote:
I feel as if I am missing something obvious here. If the bike is 7 months old, and has had this shifter problem for months (i.e. since from what must have been nearly new), and (according to the link) it has a 1 year manufacturer's guarantee, I would take it back to my local branch of Argos (I understand Challenge bikes are made by Argos) and invite them to inspect / repair / replace?


I bought a Challenge bike from Argos in March which after two months started to fail, funnily enough front derailleur shifting issues again. And I had a hell of a job returning it, partly because of the lockdown situation at the time, and also because I wanted an immediate replacement and stock was so very low for obvious reasons. I only paid £150 for that one, not believing at the time that I'd end up getting into cycling anywhere near the level that I have become, that's how I ended up changing it for my current one at £350. Ideally I'd love to get my money back for this one and upgrade to a more expensive one but I feel kind of embarrassed going back to Argos every 2-6 months with the latest bike that I've bought and trashed. There's also the issue of how hard it is to get hold of a bike with demand still so high.

I know it sounds weak, but ideally I want to try and use this thing as a tester bike if possible. I.e., just something that obviously isn't great, but that I can use as a learning tool for when I eventually invest in something a lot better.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby Brucey » 8 Jan 2021, 2:56pm

doffcocker wrote: …. ideally I want to try and use this thing as a tester bike if possible. I.e., just something that obviously isn't great, but that I can use as a learning tool for when I eventually invest in something a lot better.


actually I think that is a very pragmatic attitude. IME bikes need attention if they are to ever (leave alone carry on) working well, and are usually set up poorly from the factory. Which is why buying a bike from a 'box-shifting' operation like argos is pretty much a guarantee of a lot of (expensive) LBS repairs or a baptism of fire in learning how to maintain/repair the bike.

I think it is a very good thing if you learn to maintain cables and set gears up; all you can hope for is that the learning experience isn't too painful and you don't break too much stuff en route.

FWIW a £350 bike from argos (in contrast to a £150 one) will probably contain the elements of a decent bike, but to get the best out of it will require work, of the 'better set-up' and 'regular maintenance' varieties.

cheers
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simonineaston
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Re: Is my front shifter fixable?

Postby simonineaston » 8 Jan 2021, 3:15pm

As a general comment (which I understand will be no help whatsoever to the OP except inasmuch that it gently encourages them to give it a go...), the modern way of effecting a repair by removing the offending item and simply replacing it with a new one is both erksome and wasteful, I think. Almost anything (especially with modern glues and tools) can be repaired if enough time, effort & inginuity is spent on it. Go for it, I say!!
(Jeesus I sound like a proper old fart - I've become the sort of person I used to laugh at, complete with greying stubble, and a mug of milky cocoa, last thing at night...)
byyeee,
SiE