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Shimano STI lever failures?(9 posts)

Shimano STI lever failures?Marlon
Mar 18, 2001 2:00 AM
Anyone else have this problem with Shimano STI?

When pushing my right inner lever to make a downshift to a harder (smaller) cog on the rear derailleur, the outer lever moves with the inner lever instead of staying put. Shifting is still possible, but only if you hold the outer lever still while pushing the inner lever. Upshifting to an easier (larger) cog is still ok.

This happened to my Ultegra shifter (ST-6501), but I've heard rumours of it happening to 105's and Dura-Aces. No crashes, no sticky parts, but something internally wrong... Anyone have any ideas for a cure, asides from buying a new shifter?
re: Shimano STI lever failures?Ian
Mar 18, 2001 8:20 AM
How old is the lever and how many miles do you have on it? Ultegra is warrantied for two years, so you may be able to receive a warranty replacement. If it is beyond two years, well, buy a new one. While you are saving money for a new one you may be able to squirt Tri-Flow into the shifter to get it to loosen up. But, if that works for now, don't think it is fixed, it is on its last leg.
my experience with UltegraPaul N. VA
Mar 19, 2001 2:39 AM
Previuos Ultegra problems were the cap falling off, new ones have a small screw in them. A friend had an internal screw fall out and the shifter wouldn't work. Though it was 1.5 yrs old, the lbs had it replaced under warrenty. His new one sticks (small lever rigth side), I told him to lube it. Maybe it needs to break in. I have two sets with no problems so far. I also have 9 speed dura ace with no problems. From what I see, Ultegra has quality control problems.

Mar 19, 2001 6:19 AM
We had this problem on Schwinn roadbikes as they came in, and after much frustration, determined that the problem was the shift cable heads were just a fraction of a mm too big, and weren't seating properly. I can't explain why it dragged the brake lever with the shift lever- but it did. If the cables are original to the bike (I don't think you could get aftermarket cables of such poor quality), you might want to try a new one before you buy a new lever.
Mar 19, 2001 7:46 AM
Thanks for the help TJeanloz. I'm taking another look at the shifters, and I've posted up an interesting link from the Shimano website that dissects the Ultegra STI lever - check the board above.
Lever Bluesgrz mnky
Mar 19, 2001 7:59 AM
All the previous suggestions are good and could solve your problem. Friction in the cables can't be overlooked - I stick with Shimano housing and cables along with their special lube and replace them about once per year (depends on how many rides in the rain and Cytomax spilled). Blasting some aerosol Tri-Flow into the mechanism can have spectacular results. Howewver, if the small screw is missing or loose on the back side (ties the two levers together) you have a more serious problem. If you're lucky you can replace or tighten the screw - pay close attention to clearence of the screw head through the levers' range of motion. If none of this works then it is very likely that the lever will need to be rebuilt or replaced. The entire lever goes for slightly over $100 and you can actually order some of the sub-assmeblies and save some $$$. Rebuilding the lever is *very* tricky and most shops/people can't or won't do it. It is extremely time consuming and it only goes back together correctly one way. You have to like puzzles and have a very strong mechnical aptitude and not be in a hurry. It's in the "Swiss watch" level of difficulty and without the little tubing tool it is virtually impossible to reassemble.

Hope that this helps.
re: Shimano STI lever failures?Marc T
Mar 19, 2001 8:14 AM

Thanks for posting my exact question! Let me know if something works - like you, I'd rather not have to buy a new right shifter...

- Marc T.
This just happened to me tooJacko
Mar 19, 2001 9:35 AM
I couldn't believe your message when I read it because this happened very recently to me during my second ride on my new sled.

I rode it out to my LBS and had their wrench look at it. He lubed it and lubed it and lubed it and...well you get the idea. Lubing didn't make a difference and he immediately swapped it out for another lever which did the trick.

Really frustrating though. I kept feathering my brakes everytime I need to shift!

Good luck getting it replaced.
re: Shimano STI lever failures?tr
Mar 19, 2001 9:48 PM
This happened to me using 8sp Dura Ace STI. This has happened to a couple of people I know, one using 9sp Dura Ace and one using 8sp Dura Ace. I don't think there's anything you can do. I wrote in on the old roadie board at for any suggestions for a fix when it happened to me, but the only suggestion I got beside getting new levers was to flush it with WD-40, blow it dry with compressed air, and re-grease: didn't work. The solution that I've been using is downtube shifting...but it sure sucks having to reach down to shift...