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Ultegra shifter problem(15 posts)

Ultegra shifter problemSuddha
Aug 19, 2002 6:41 AM
I have a 99 LeMond with the Ultegra kit. Recently, the right shifter (i.e., rear derailleur) has started giving me problems. It will not consistently shift the chain down to he next smaller cog. I can shift up pivoting the entire brake lever/shifter assembly, but when I click the smaller release ratchet lever, it sometimes stays "clicked" and will not release unless I physically push it back.

Anyone have any experience with this problem? Any solutions?

It's worn out.Sintesi
Aug 19, 2002 6:48 AM
Hate to tell you this but this is a classic failure of the Ultegra system. It will get progressively worse and there is no parts replacement with Shimano (that's worth your while anyway). The only solution is replacement. Time to go Dura-Ace.
Aug 19, 2002 6:50 AM
Ugh... thanks for the diagnosis. I was afraid of that. Maybe it is time to upgrade.
or switch to campy which you CAN rebuild.... :-)bigdeal
Aug 19, 2002 6:53 AM
Amen to Campy... and a question...Suddha
Aug 19, 2002 7:10 AM
I have Campy shifters (8 speed) on my old Bianchi and I have never had a problem with them and loved the way they shifted. Is it possible to put my Campy rear shifter on my LeMond? Will it shift properly with the Shimano rear derailleur? I suspect not...

Anyone familiar with Modolo Morpho shifters? Performance has them on sale for $100 and they're compatible with Campy or Shimano and weigh very little. Might try those.
Avoid the Modolo shifters...Bikez
Aug 19, 2002 8:01 AM
...they are junk! I was in Europe(Belgium-Antwerp/Liege) awhile back on business/cycling, decided to check out the local LBS, to see if I can get onto some ride groups.
The Modolos are such a POS, they can't even be given away(poor quality construction/internal parts break often, the shifting goes from bad to crap etc...)One local rider/shop employee there tried them for only a week, before he brought them back for an exchange. Stick with proven quality Campy, or Shimano!
Check out the reviews...Uncle Tim
Aug 19, 2002 7:11 AM
This, after all, Road Bike Review. Check out the reviews of Ultegra STI shifters on this site. The problem you are experiencing is documented in some depth here.
yep, I went through this toolonefrontranger
Aug 19, 2002 7:22 AM
Hi there,

I liked the STI I had; I really did. I'm not one of those Campag zealots who will go all overboard and say that Shimano stuff is crap, because it isn't. But it just isn't quite as durable for those of us who really beat on our bikes, ride a lot, race a lot, etc... I switched to Campag stuff primarily due to durability issues like what you've experienced, and also because I do prefer the way Ergo fits my hands.

Let's look at some demographics, shall we? Your average Joe cyclist doesn't race or ride much more than 2000 miles per year. He doesn't ride on dirt roads, or in the rain. He also upgrades his bikes on an average of every 2-3 years; either by buying a new group or buying new components. With these numbers in mind, most folks never run into wear issues with their Shimano stuff. Thus it works great for them, it's affordable, and they'll never change - especially if it works well ergonomically. And yes, I'm sorry to say, the springs / mechanics will wear out in D/A about as fast as the Ultegra level stuff, because they're all the lighter action of STI vs. Campag. Ligher action is great right out of the box. Unfortunately it also = skinnier gauge springs = wears out quicker.

Shimano uses lighter gauge springs than Campag both in the shifters and the return springs in their rear mechs, so your problem may even be due to both ends being worn out. Over the course of several thousand miles, some rain rides, etc... this light action translates to loose, then sloppy, then vague, then non-functional.

You may be able to stave off the inevitable by thouroughly flushing out your STIs with solvent to make sure it's not grit that's hampering their action, and by replacing the return spring in the rear mech (or getting a new rear mech).

If the problem is definitely in the shifters (and this is my one criticism of Shimano), then it's just not serviceable. The STI levers are pressfit; if you open them up (which I seriously don't recommend), a whole Pandora's box of miniscule parts flies out in all directions, and you'll never get them back together properly. Even professional shop wrenches don't bother trying to fix them.
Since you mentioned the springs....5ive
Aug 19, 2002 5:08 PM
I have a question for you. You stated that Shimano uses lighter guage springs than Campy and perhaps more suceptible to damage because of it. Do you know if ALL Shimano lines are using lighter guage springs? Or is it just D/A? Reason for my asking... I have two bikes. My training bike with Ultegra has somewhere around 20,000 miles on it, multiple crashes, rain, etc. Not a single problem since day one. My 6 month old race bike with Campy Record has about 5-6000 miles and I just had the right shifter rebuilt. The mechanic told me that both the indexing and return springs were badly worn. This is the first time I equipped my bike with Campy and I am less than thrilled (about the shifter and the 10 sp shifting performance in general). I am glad that Campy stuff are serviceable, but my experience indicates that Campy stuff are more fragile than Shimano. What do you think? Just bad luck?
hmm, that's very oddlonefrontranger
Aug 19, 2002 6:48 PM
I've had a lot of wear issues on all levels of Shimano that I've used (even my XT rear mechs on my MTB needed return springs regularly) but never with the Ergo stuff. I've used Ultegra and D/A and they both seemed to get vague and sloppy after about 18 months' hard use.

I've never had problems with Campag, and I'm wondering if you just got a bad apple. Our entire stable has worn it exclusively for the past couple of years and we haven't had a hitch with it. Even my 'cross bike, which I gleefully beat the crap out of has Campag 10.

Campagnolo is pretty good about standing behind their stuff; I hope it was fixed under warranty?
hmm, that's very odd5ive
Aug 20, 2002 6:04 AM
Thanx for your input. I paid 40 bones for getting the shifter rebuilt. Very reasonable price considering I did not purchase the groupo from the LBS. I'm so confused about my experience with campy 10sp. Virtually everyone reports how happy they are with the setup. Buy my rear shifting needs to be tuned after 2-3 rides. The wheels are true, the hanger is straight, but it comes out of adjustment so often. It's a mystery. I probably won't consider campy again for my next purchase. It's a shame. Campy Record is more beautiful, they fit my hands better, but it's a constant struggle on my bike and also so much noisier than Shimano.

PS: Hope your shoulder is doing better. I'm at about 90% with my similar right shoulder injury. Hurts to put on your shirt, doesn't it? Get well soon.
are you using Campag cables & cassette?lonefrontranger
Aug 20, 2002 6:41 AM
I've seen people have this kind of trouble because they tried using lighter gauge cables from other mfgrs to "save weight". This is why Campagnolo recommends using only Campy cables (regardless of the style of housing used).

Also check to see that the cable is routed properly through the rear mech tensioning bolt. Hard to describe, but a simple case of misrouting the cable under the rear mech bolt can cause the woes you've described via cable slip; if you still have the packaging, check the directions / illustration. I've seen experienced shop wrenches get this one wrong.

The shifting problems you report sound like the ones I had with the Mavic M-10 cassette we bought. I wouldn't recommend anyone to use the Mavic 10 cassettes at all; they shift like a nightmare.

If everything else I've mentioned is up to snuff and you still have problems with the remanufactured shifter using a Campy cassette, then it sounds like your right hand lever was a lemon. If this is the case, you can return the right hand lever to the mfgr with a complaint; $20 says they'll send you a new one no strings attached.
Aug 20, 2002 8:21 AM
I'm using authentic campy cable, housing, and cassettes (chorus on otherwise record drivetrain). I will take a look at the cable routing into the rear mech bolt. Thank you very much for your suggestions.
Don't give up just yetKerry
Aug 19, 2002 5:45 PM
While they likely are worn out, before you replace them try to flush them with something like TriFlow aerosol. Do it until the lube is dripping out of the lever. Your levers may just be gunked up, and this lube approach is virtually free, so it's worth a try.
Ditto on cleaning them...DINOSAUR
Aug 20, 2002 6:18 AM
I've got close to 20K on my Ultegra group on my '99 Klein QR. I've cleaned them a couple of times by turning the bike upside down and flushing them out with Triflow. They are kind of loose, but they still function. I'm amazed that they lasted this long with all the stuff I've read about Shimano STI's. Now is a good time to do this as the weather is still warm. Pick a hot day and let the bike sit in the sun for a couple of hours to alow them to completely dry out. Now that I've read this it reminds me that I need to do this to my bike also as I seldom ride it anymore because of my new ride.....