If your shifting feels sticky or just stops working there's normally one prime culprit - your gear cables. Fitting new cables can give you that 'as-new' feeling and gives you one less thing to worry about on the road. It's a cheap and easy job to complete, so what's stopping you?
All you need is a decent set of cable cutters, some allen keys and, of course, a new cable and outer. It's always worth spending a few extra quid on your gear cables, buying Shimano or Campagnolo ones will often pay dividends.
The first thing to do is shift all the way down to the smallest sprocket on your cassette. Then cut off the crimp on the cable and loosen the cable clamp to free the cable. Make sure the cable is fully out then remove the cable outer.
Next move up to the front of your bike and roll back the hood. Pull the cable all the way out of the frame being careful not to unseat any cable routing parts.
To remove the cable from the shifter, give the cable a bit of a push and then pull it out through the shifter mechanism.
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To insert the new cable, you're effectively doing the same thing but in reverse. Start by threading the new cable through the shifter ensuring it runs through the correct channel. Be sure you don't just yank the cable through too hard then the nipple can sit properly in the shifter mechanism, otherwise you may end up jamming the shifter. When the cable is through the shifter, roll back your hood.
Next feed your cable towards your bottom bracket. If you have internally routed cables make sure you feed it correctly through the guides.
Before you fit the cable into the derailleur, wind in the barrel adjuster all the way, then back it off by two full turns. Take your new section of outer and thread it over the cable. You want as short a length of outer as possible while still ensuring it forms a smooth curve, otherwise it will make shifting harder.
Pass the cable through the barrel adjuster and the cable clamp. Pull the cable taut by hand and tighten up the clamp. Give the cable a snip and fit your crimp on the end to stop it fraying.
As long as your derailluer hasn't been bashed or bent, your high and low stop adjustment should be unaffected, so all you need to do is index the gears by using the barrel adjuster to change the cable tension.
Your aim is to line up the top jockey wheel with the second smallest sprocket. With that achieved the gears should be indexed and it should shift smoothly. If you want a more detailed guide to adjusting your gears, click here.
So there you have it, clean shifting once again without throwing money at a new groupset.
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