How to Replace a Bicycle Grip Shift Cable

How to Replace a Bicycle Grip Shift Cable
Grip shifters are the shifter of choice for mountain bikes. They allow you to shift quickly while still keeping a firm grip on the bars--important when you're dodging roots, rocks and trees. As with any kind of shifter, the cables connected to your shifters will need to be replaced periodically because of normal wear and tear. Knowing how to do the job will save you a trip to the repair shop and a little cash.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • New shifter cable Hex wrench (6 or 8 mm) Lubricant
  • New shifter cable
  • Hex wrench (6 or 8 mm)
  • Lubricant
Step 1
Disconnect the old cable at the end opposite the shifter. This will be at the front derailleur for the front rings, and at the rear derailleur for the rear cassette. In each case, the cable will be held in place with a hex bolt (usually 6 to 8 mm). Loosen the bolt and slide the cable out.
Step 2
Remove the handle grip from the shifter. Pull it straight off--if it's tight, carefully lubricate inside the grip and then pull it off.
Step 3
Rotate the shifting knob until you find a spot where it will pull away from the body of the shifter. Pull the shifting knob off of the handlebar when you've found the spot.
Step 4
The end of the cable will be revealed. Pull the cable out of the shifter by grasping the end of the cable (where the ball is) and pulling the entire length through the shifter.
Step 5
Take a moment and clean out any dirt or grime that's accumulated on the shifter. Mountain bike shifters can get pretty dirty.
Step 6
Take the thin end of your new cable and push it into the shifter's hole, reversing the process you used to remove the old cable. A drop or two of light oil will make it slide more easily through the cable guide tube. Push the cable all the way through and down to the attachment point at the derailleur.
Step 7
Attach the cable to the derailleur by placing it behind the hex bolt and tightening.
Step 8
Push the shifter knob back onto the shifter and test operation of the shifter. Tighten or loosen the cable at the derailleur end until shifting is smooth, then cut off any excess cable at the derailleur.
Step 9
Push the handle grip back onto the handlebars and go for a test ride.

Article Written By Nichole Liandi

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

The Latest from the Community

Wonderful flatwater paddling! It was 50 degrees with very high winds today but this was a perfect adventure when...