How to Repair the Gear Changer on a Mountain Bike

How to Repair the Gear Changer on a Mountain Bike
Like any mechanism, mountain bike gear changers are prone to a gradual decrease in performance because of general use. A typical mountain bike gear changer, or shifter, contains several small inner parts that require proper lubrication and minimal friction in order to work properly. Once grit and grim work their way into a gear changer or the grease inside the body of the gear changer dries, the gear changer can grind as you're attempting to change gears, affecting the overall quality of the shift. To repair a mountain bike gear changer, prepare to disassemble it, clean it and give it a fresh bead of grease.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Disassembly and Greasing

Things You’ll Need:
  • 5 mm Allen wrench
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Plastic-friendly cleaner/degreaser
  • Fresh grease
  • Metal cable crimp
Step 1
Shift onto your smallest chain ring or cog, depending on which of your two gear changers you're repairing. Front gear changers should be on the smallest chain ring, rear changers on the smallest rear cog.
Step 2
Free the end of the gear changer cable from the anchor bolt on its respective derailleur. The bolt will require a 5 mm Allen wrench to loosen. If there is a metal crimp at the end of the cable, cut it with a pair of wire cutters or needle nose pliers.
Step 3
Pull the cable free of the gear changer. The head of the cable may be hidden beneath a small hatch on the gear changer. Pop the latch open and fully extract the cable.
Step 4
Slide the rubber grip off the end of the handlebar and loosen the clamp bolt that secures the gear changer to the handlebar. The bolt will likely require a 5 mm Allen wrench. Once the bolt is loosened, remove the gear changer from the handlebar.
Step 5
Use a pair of needle nose pliers to pinch the two retaining clips inside the sleeve of the gear changer. This will allow you to separate the gear changer from the gear changer body. If there is a spring inside, pull the spring free of the gear changer.
Step 6
Clean the exposed inner parts of the gear changer using a plastic-friendly cleaner/degreaser.
Step 7
Apply a bead of grease to all contact points within the gear changer. Critical points include where the gear changer twist-grip meets the sleeve and the notches and grooves over which the gear changer cable passes.


Step 1
Slide the gear changer twist-grip halfway back onto the gear changer body and reattach the inner spring to the gear changer.
Step 2
Bring the two ends together fully and lock them in place by snapping the retaining clip back into the end of the gear changer sleeve.
Step 3
Reattach the assembled gear changer to the handlebar and tighten its clamp bolt. Slide the rubber hand grip back on to the end of the handlebar.
Step 4
Pass the end of your shift cable back through the cable opening on the gear changer. Close the little latch once the cable is fully seated.
Step 5
Pull the end of the cable taut with a pair of needle nose pliers and once again tighten the derailleur anchor bolt over the cable. Attach a fresh end crimp to the cable.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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