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Gear shift is stuck!
#1
On both my bike handles, the gear shifts are stuck and I can’t move them. They’re currently stuck on gear 5 now (the highest). How do I fix it without needing a new gear shift?
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#2
hi Evie. what type of shifters do you have? a photo would be perfect.
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#3
(04-03-2020, 06:26 AM)Evie Allen Wrote:  On both my bike handles, the gear shifts are stuck and I can’t move them. They’re currently stuck on gear 5 now (the highest). How do I fix it without needing a new gear shift?
Some twist type gear shifts do tend to be hard to turn. It could be the cable. If that's gotten muck in it over time, then it will seize up or be very hard to turn the shifter. If that's the case then you would need a new inner cable installed. It's easy to do if you know how to do it. If not, a bike shop could do it pretty quickly. It might even need the cable housing, too. That's not expensive. I've done both on one of my bikes, and I'm not a bike mechanic.

Another possibility, if the cable is broken (possibly at the derailleur end) then the derailleur will automatically go to the smallest cog (highest gear).

The way I'm reading your post, you have two bikes with the same problem. Right? If that is so, then it's a heck of coincidence it happened to both bikes. That would suggest someone cut the cables near the derailleur. Take a look to see if the cables are broken, or if they have come loose from the clamp.
If I knew how to ride a bike properly, I'd do it every time.
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#4
(04-04-2020, 01:37 PM)Papa Dom Wrote:  hi Evie. what type of shifters do you have? a photo would be perfect.

They’re twist grip shifters.
  Reply
#5
(04-03-2020, 06:26 AM)Evie Allen Wrote:  On both my bike handles, the gear shifts are stuck and I can’t move them. They’re currently stuck on gear 5 now (the highest). How do I fix it without needing a new gear shift?

Hi Evie,

If the derailleurs themselves have not been maintained properly, then this may also cause the grip shifters (or any shifters for that matter) to either be hard to adjust or stuck in the last gear they were in; be it from damage and/or debris. An easy check is to see if the shifters can be manipulated with the cables disconnected. Disconnect the cables (mark cable at the clamp bolt first to keep the cable adjustment the same as before; they may still need to be re-adjusted later) from the derailleurs and try to move the shifters; this will give you an idea of where the problem is. If shifters now move easily then the problem is more than likely in the derailleurs, which you can move by hand to check for ease of movement. If the shifters still won't move then you have a problem within the shifter itself or the cable is hung up due to debris/dirt and/or a damaged cable (kinked, bent, broken, etc.). If the bike is not that old and has not been left out to the elements and/or has not been ridden in adverse conditions (rain, mud, dirt, sand, salt, etc.) it is more than likely a mechanical problem in the shifters and/or the derailleurs; the cables and housings should be fine. Did these bikes shift easily and cleanly when you first got them? Sometimes things are not set up right from the factory and/or shop and the problem can get worse with use depending on what it is. If you bought them as used bikes, and you haven't done or had done for you any adjustments/maintenance, I would give them a "tune up" checking all the components/areas related to your problem (shifters, derailleurs, cables, housings, and cable routings), as well as the rest of the bike (brakes, hubs, chain, etc.).

As Papa Dom said, "a photo would be perfect", or if no photo(s) a description of the make and model of shifters and derailleurs would help to determine your bike's configuration and allow the BIKERIDE members to more readily visualize what you are dealing with, and perhaps provide more appropriate and specific advice relating to your problem. There is probably someone here with your exact equipment who is or was experiencing the same type of problem, and can give you the exact information required to alleviate your situation. Charley was correct about the same problem occurring on two different bikes, it's odd; this often points to either common storage conditions and/or riding conditions for both of these bikes. Keep 'em dry and clean!

Be advised, I am not a bike mechanic. I do not have experience with all things biking, but I do know that I somewhat hate grip shifters due to many problems they seem to have from my experience with them. As Charley said, "Some twist type gear shifts do tend to be hard to turn". I know there are the "good" and the "bad" (probably the type I've run into) grip shifters out there so you may find an upgrade a feasible option if you have to repair/replace them. I use downtube friction shifters for many reasons; simple, fewest parts, easy to adjust. Of course downtube friction shifters may not be the best option or even possible for your bike and/or type of riding, but it is an option on many older frames (mainly race/touring type frames). I even prefer stem mount friction shifters over the grip and thumb shifters out there for vintage road cycling. If ATB/MTB is what you are all about then the grip/thumb types of shifters are certainly the better option for that type of riding. I'm riding 40-50 year old road bikes primarily so most of my advice stems from my vast experience in that realm; hopefully it overlaps a little and you can gain something from my ramblings.

General Note: I work in a hospital and we are trying our best with less. Please stay home if at all possible; work, food, gas, medical are necessities, but too many people are out for no reason and stand the chance of becoming infected or infecting others. Always wear a mask (anything is better than nothing) and gloves when in public. Thanks!

Take care ,
Jesper
"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#6
(04-07-2020, 04:31 AM)Jesper Wrote:  
(04-03-2020, 06:26 AM)Evie Allen Wrote:  On both my bike handles, the gear shifts are stuck and I can’t move them. They’re currently stuck on gear 5 now (the highest). How do I fix it without needing a new gear shift?

Hi Evie,

If the derailleurs themselves have not been maintained properly, then this may also cause the grip shifters (or any shifters for that matter) to either be hard to adjust or stuck in the last gear they were in; be it from damage and/or debris. An easy check is to see if the shifters can be manipulated with the cables disconnected. Disconnect the cables (mark cable at the clamp bolt first to keep the cable adjustment the same as before; they may still need to be re-adjusted later) from the derailleurs and try to move the shifters; this will give you an idea of where the problem is. If shifters now move easily then the problem is more than likely in the derailleurs, which you can move by hand to check for ease of movement. If the shifters still won't move then you have a problem within the shifter itself or the cable is hung up due to debris/dirt and/or a damaged cable (kinked, bent, broken, etc.). If the bike is not that old and has not been left out to the elements and/or has not been ridden in adverse conditions (rain, mud, dirt, sand, salt, etc.) it is more than likely a mechanical problem in the shifters and/or the derailleurs; the cables and housings should be fine. Did these bikes shift easily and cleanly when you first got them? Sometimes things are not set up right from the factory and/or shop and the problem can get worse with use depending on what it is. If you bought them as used bikes, and you haven't done or had done for you any adjustments/maintenance, I would give them a "tune up" checking all the components/areas related to your problem (shifters, derailleurs, cables, housings, and cable routings), as well as the rest of the bike (brakes, hubs, chain, etc.).

As Papa Dom said, "a photo would be perfect", or if no photo(s) a description of the make and model of shifters and derailleurs would help to determine your bike's configuration and allow the BIKERIDE members to more readily visualize what you are dealing with, and perhaps provide more appropriate and specific advice relating to your problem. There is probably someone here with your exact equipment who is or was experiencing the same type of problem, and can give you the exact information required to alleviate your situation. Charley was correct about the same problem occurring on two different bikes, it's odd; this often points to either common storage conditions and/or riding conditions for both of these bikes. Keep 'em dry and clean!

Be advised, I am not a bike mechanic. I do not have experience with all things biking, but I do know that I somewhat hate grip shifters due to many problems they seem to have from my experience with them. As Charley said, "Some twist type gear shifts do tend to be hard to turn". I know there are the "good" and the "bad" (probably the type I've run into) grip shifters out there so you may find an upgrade a feasible option if you have to repair/replace them. I use downtube friction shifters for many reasons; simple, fewest parts, easy to adjust. Of course downtube friction shifters may not be the best option or even possible for your bike and/or type of riding, but it is an option on many older frames (mainly race/touring type frames). I even prefer stem mount friction shifters over the grip and thumb shifters out there for vintage road cycling. If ATB/MTB is what you are all about then the grip/thumb types of shifters are certainly the better option for that type of riding. I'm riding 40-50 year old road bikes primarily so most of my advice stems from my vast experience in that realm; hopefully it overlaps a little and you can gain something from my ramblings.

General Note: I work in a hospital and we are trying our best with less. Please stay home if at all possible; work, food, gas, medical are necessities, but too many people are out for no reason and stand the chance of becoming infected or infecting others. Always wear a mask (anything is better than nothing) and gloves when in public. Thanks!

Take care ,
Jesper

Jesper,
I have a similar problem and I detached the cables and the gears shift fine now. How do I adjust the derailleur to fix the problem?
Sophie
  Reply
#7
(04-19-2020, 03:35 PM)Sophie Wrote:  Jesper,
I have a similar problem and I detached the cables and the gears shift fine now. How do I adjust the derailleur to fix the problem?
Sophie

Hi Sophie,
So in saying that the "gears shift fine", I interpret that as being the shifters (I assume grip style) now turn easily without the cables connected to the front and/or rear derailleurs. I would first make sure that the derailleurs themselves are not binding in some way; preferably before reinstalling the cables. If you grab either derailleur and try to pull on it; it should move freely, albeit with some resistance due to the spring tension. They should not feel "rough" (dirt, grit, rust built up in the mechanism) when moving; nor should they have any side to side play if you try to twist them a little (don't force, it will be obvious), a little bit of play is okay and often normal on lower end components and/or those with a little wear. Excessive play could be due to damage and/or worn areas (pivot pins, control arms, etc.). The above issues can cause problems with the shifting due to misalignment of the overall mechanism when attempting to shift with the normal load of the springs and with cables attached. Also, once cables are reattached, there could be excessive resistance due to damaged/dirty cables and housings, or improper routing thereof. This will not be, or barely be very noticeable (unless really bad) with just the cables connected only to the shifters since there is no load on them from the derailleur springs. If the bike shifted into the proper gears before your problem occurred, there should not really be a need to actually adjust the derailleurs themselves since you would not be changing their relative position to the specific speed selected be it front or rear; especially on indexed shifting systems. If you marked the cable position relative to the clamp at the derailleur; reconnecting them to the same position should have kept the derailleur in the proper position relative to the sprocket(s). Otherwise, you may have to do the adjustment to realign the derailleur to the sprocket. Without knowing what you have I cannot say what is the best way to adjust these components. Some/most have adjustment hardware/barrel adjusters at the derailleurs themselves, at the frame where the cable stops are (cable housing seat where bare cable extends from), "inline", and/or at the shifters. Some have more than one of these adjusters, others just one adjustment area; again depends on frame style, shifter, and/or derailleur types. Your inner and outer travel of the derailleurs should not have been affected by anything previously performed, assuming the limits were properly set at the start. If you were having problems with the chain coming off the sprockets, and/or not being able to shift onto the highest and lowest gear settings, previously before the your aforementioned problem; then you may have to adjust the limiter screws on the derailleurs also. The limit adjustments will also keep chain rub at a minimum at the front derailleur, and keep the rear derailleur from potentially contacting the spokes (reason for the spoke guard (aka: "dork disc") on the rear hub. When I start from scratch; I pull all slack out of the cable before clamping it onto the derailleur, thus taking any free cable play out of the equation when you start to shift; quite important on indexed shifting systems. At that point you can set the cable adjustment for proper derailleur cage to sprocket alignment. You may have to "tweak" this setting a little bit when doing a test ride and shifting through the range to gear speeds. On an indexed system all gears should be able to be used without any problems with "one to two clicks" depending on the shifter and/or derailleur models. I am not really a user of indexed shifting systems (I use friction style) so if you anyone has further recommendations on these settings please provide your insight. Also, the indexed systems I use have top end components and are usually, though not always, much easier to set up due the reduced amount of "slop"/play of the components over lower cost systems (even manufacturers of the very best components make some lower quality components also; go figure!), or mixed systems (worst case are usually dept. store "mountain" bikes from my experience). If your cables are new, then you may have to readjust due to stretching of the cables during "break-in" (even more common with brake cables due to the extra force exerted on them); older cables while still good might also need readjust from some stretch accrued over a period of time. Always a good idea to check anyways. One extreme example of cable length change can be found if using a bike in a very hot climate, and then going to a very cold climate where expansion and contraction of the cable will occur to a certain amount. I live in Florida where my average riding temperature is about 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, but I often ride in New England where I might be in the 40 to 50 degree range. I leave a bike for each specific location (never mind the gear ratio differences) to avoid having to think about these changes. Even the frame changes dimensions slightly given the differences in temperature. Sorry for the excessive rambling, but trying to cover as much as possible since I don't know your specific situation given bike type, riding style, and/or conditions. If you provide detailed photos, I and others may be able to provide more specific advice appropriate to your needs.

Take care,
Jesper


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"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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