Shimano RSX/RX100/105 STI lever repairs

STI stands for Shimano Total Integration, which means that Shimano combined brakes and gear shifters into one lever. They are often referred to as brifters, being a mashup of brakes and shifters

Not working ?

A common problem with the 7 and 8 speed shifters is the grease goes hard, and gradually shifting becomes progressively stickier and then stops working altogether. Most bike shops will tell you to simply replace the levers, or just buy a new bike, because the levers can't be fixed (they can, but they don't want to).

At present I don't do 9 or 10 speed shifters (I'm not sure if they even suffer from this problem, but time will tell). I also don't do Campag or SRAM shifters, just Shimano. The shifter models are RSX, RX100, 105.

Servicing

If you had a crash, or felt something break when shifting, it probably is broken and nothing much can be done. If it gradually stopped working, or you hadn't ridden the bike in a long time and the levers don't work any more, then I can help you. If you have a lever that you think is broken, I am happy to look at it (no obligation), but i'd like to keep it for parts if it is broken.

The servicing process consists of disassembling the mechanism, soaking it in solvent and washing it, which removes all traces of the old and hard grease. Only the mechanism is soaked in solvent, the rubber hoods are removed, and are wiped with solvent to clean any grime off them. The levers are then greased and checked for smooth operation and reassembled, checking all washers, screws, springs etc. Loctite is applied to the screws to prevent them shaking loose. I have serviced many sets of levers now, and had good success. Reassembly is quite fiddly (not for the faint hearted), but with care I get levers that work (almost) like new.

It is sometimes possible to achieve the same repair with a good dousing of WD40 (or similar), but this process is much more thorough, and will not need to be repeated. The problem with WD40 is that it is really a solvent and not a lubricant. This means that it will evaporate, and not provide the necessary lubrication that will keep the shifter working properly. If you haven't disassembled the lever, it's pretty haard to get new grease into the mechanism.

Cost

I charge A$30 for one lever, or A$50 for a pair, plus postage, probably A$10 - A$15, or whatever it cost you to send them to me if you are further afield. If you live in Melbourne you can pick up and drop off from my office in the CBD. Alternatively bring the bike to me and I'll re-fit them once I'm done. Your brake and gear inner and outer cables may need to be replaced (generally a good idea), and I can do that for another A$20.

Removal prior to sending shifters

To remove a lever, you will have to disconnect the cables at the brakes and derailleurs, and then pull them out through the lever. The handlebar tape should be able to stay in place, as you can unscrew the lever from the clamp that goes around the bar. The bolt is accessible from a slot on the outside of the lever, you can just see the slot under the rubber, or lift it slightly to get in, and you can slide an allen key in to undo it. Unscrew it as far as it can go, and the whole lever will come off. You can leave the rubber hood in place in place on the lever, it doesn't need to come off, as during the disassembly process the lever is separated from the hood part, and the hood doesn't come near the solvent.

Replacement

We'll put the brake cable in first. Put it into the lever, and then thread the inner cable into the brake outer cable (which runs under the bar tape). Now you can slide an allen key under the hood rubber (on the outside), roll up the hood to expose the base, and put the lever onto the clamp, and do up the screw. Be careful at first not to cross thread the screw. Now you can pull the brake cable tight from the brake end, and then connect the cable to the brake. Now make sure that the shifter is unclicked all the way, and insert the gear cable and thread it through to the derailleur, pull tight, attach and adjust. Roll the rubber hood back down and you are done!

Posting the levers

Put the levers inside a padded jiffy bag to protect them. I will use the same bag to send them back to you - please provide a return address label or an Australia Post prepaid envelope (then I don't need to charge you postage).

Timing

Please allow one to two weeks for me to do this, plus postage time. It's not my full time job, although I will try to turn it around quicker than that. If you need to borrow a bike, I can loan you one.

Risk

9 times out of 10 the repair process will be successful, and your levers will work like new again. The process does not fix any wear, so they may not be 100% again. In a few cases I won't be able to fix them, because something is broken or badly worn inside - In this case I would like the option to keep them, as some of the parts will be useful to me. I will refund you 50% of the cost of the repair and all of the return postage. If, however, you want them back I will still charge the full amount, because it takes as long (or longer) to not fix a lever as it does to fix one.

Questions?

You can email me at back2bikez (at) gmail.com

Booking it in

You can just post it to

Mike King
Suite 506 / 7 Jeffcott St
West Melbourne
VIC 3003

Please provide a return address, and a brief description of the problems (and nominate if you want them back if they are RIP). You can pay me with PayPal, my account is back2bikez (at) gmail.com , or you can pay cash if you drop off.