How to Change the Gear Shifter on a Bicycle

How to Change the Gear Shifter on a Bicycle
Shifting between gears is paramount for a smooth bicycle ride. Maintaining the shifting system requires continued lubrication, adjustment and an occasional part replacement. One of the common components damaged in a crash is the shifter pod, due to the unit placement on top of the handlebars. This little unit can stop your bike from shifting immediately. However, you can change the shifter pod at home with relative ease saving you time and money.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Waterproof grease
  • Bicycle lubricant
  • Shifter cable
  • Assorted Allen wrenches
  • Cable end
  • Pliers
  • Cable cutters
Step 1
Place the bicycle in a stand. If you do not have a stand, lean the bike against a safe wall with the shifter facing away from the wall. Adjust the shifter to the smallest cog or chain ring to decrease cable tension.
Step 2
Cut the cable end sticking out past the derailleur using cable cutters, or dykes. Loosen the derailleur pinch bolt using an Allen wrench and thread the cable out of the derailleur. Continue to thread the shifter cable back through the cable housings and the frame until you get to the shifter. Place all cable housings aside. Using an Allen wrench, loosen the shifter pod. Adjust the pod to a position that is comfortable.
Step 3
Remove the top of the shifter pod using an Allen wrench. Place the shifter pod cover and Allen bolts in a safe place. Thread the shifter cable back through the pod, paying special attention to how it wraps inside the unit. Place the new cable in the shifter pod threading it back through the unit to match the previous placement. Work a very small amount of waterproof grease onto the cable within the pod. Place a drop of lubricant into each side of the cable housings before running the shifter cable back to the derailleur. Thread the shifter cable through the frame and necessary cable housings.
Step 4
Run the shifter cable through the derailleur and tighten the pinch bolt using an Allen wrench. Work the shifter through the gears and make any minor adjustments needed using the cable adjuster on the shifter pod. Cut the cable to leave about 2 inches past the derailleur. Pinch a cable end on the wire using pliers. Take the bike for an easy test ride. Make any final adjustments needed to increase shifting smoothness.

Tips & Warnings

Replace any damaged cable housings while changing the shifter cable
Do not place grease on the shifter cable outside the shifter pod. It attracts excessive dirt

Article Written By Jeremy Slaughter

Jeremy Slaughter is a tax, accounting and small business expert. After completing his master's degree in accounting at Keller Graduate School of Management, Slaughter co-founded an accounting and tax firm where writing plays a daily role.

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