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  1. #1
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    Care and feeding of brifters

    Title says it all. What do I need to do to keep my Ultegra brifters in good working order?

  2. #2
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    1. Don't drop the bike on them. (Sometimes harder than one might think.)
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  3. #3
    cab horn
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    Remove them and never use it
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  4. #4
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    Wow...those answers suck!

    (sorry I don't really have anything to contribute either, I have never heard anything about preventive maintenance on STI shifters)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    Remove them and never use it
    No worries, will be Campy somewhere down the line. I just want to know if they should be lubed and what other care (other than the drop factor) is needed.

  6. #6
    crusty jbrians's Avatar
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    My 105 9 speed levers have been going strong for years without anything other than being wiped off when they get rained on.
    The factory lube is pretty good.
    Around and around we go!

  7. #7
    ot.net slave
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    if/when they get gunked up the action of the pawl springs will slow, and they may not reel cable in as effectively, and sometimes miss shifts. When this happens (to customers' bikes, I don't use the things) I put a rag underneath the lever and spray the relevant mechanism with a teflon spray lubricant. It serves to flush out the gunk gumming them up and lubricate the mechanism noninvasely. NOT WD40 PLEASE!

    Also, don't pull them apart. A customer decided to "overhaul" his < 12 month old, perfectly operating brifters for some reason, started taking them apart without noting the order and arrangement of things, became completely confused and brough them in to be reassembled. We quickly came to the agreement that a bike mechanic was no more likely to make sense of the parts than anyone else, and that he take his take-away container of parts to a watchmaker.

    - Joel

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomacropod
    NOT WD40 PLEASE! - Joel
    Why is that?
    really curious

  9. #9
    ot.net slave
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    because it's horrible stuff which can damage some plastics and rubbers and generally makes a mess. There is a preponderance of discussions of the chemical nature of lubricants around the place which I don't understand, but I do know that WD40 is good for not much. Although I do like the smell, very much.

    If you want a penetrative lubricant to loosen seized parts, a good cheap one I've found is the Australian-made Inox. Get it from a hardware store or similar as you're in the right country. I also use this as a frame protector by spraying it into the tubes of steel frames. None of them have broken yet, but then neither have any of the ones I haven't treated.

    - Joel

  10. #10
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    As long as they are working, there is pretty much nothing to be done but to wipe off the surface dirt occasionally. Once in a while I'll drip some Tri-Flow into every possible opening but I'm not sure if that helps or not.

    When they eventually get sticky or strart to miss shifts, removing the entire mechanism from the bar clamp (DON'T try to disassemble it) and soaking it in mineral spirits with a lot of agitation for a few hours followed by lots of Tri-Flow will often restore the performance.

    It's not as if they break a lot. I put 30,000 miles each on two sets of 8-speed 105 brifters and they are still in occasional service on other bikes.

    WD-40 is not the universal lube it's advertised to be but it isn't the damaging junk some of the posters here make it out to be either. It's a low concentration of light lube in a mineral spirits carrier so it isn't a long-term or heavy duty lube but it does have its place. It is a "water displacing" lube so it's good at protecting components that get wet.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    As long as they are working, there is pretty much nothing to be done but to wipe off the surface dirt occasionally. Once in a while I'll drip some Tri-Flow into every possible opening but I'm not sure if that helps or not.

    When they eventually get sticky or strart to miss shifts, removing the entire mechanism from the bar clamp (DON'T try to disassemble it) and soaking it in mineral spirits with a lot of agitation for a few hours followed by lots of Tri-Flow will often restore the performance.

    It's not as if they break a lot. I put 30,000 miles each on two sets of 8-speed 105 brifters and they are still in occasional service on other bikes.

    WD-40 is not the universal lube it's advertised to be but it isn't the damaging junk some of the posters here make it out to be either. It's a low concentration of light lube in a mineral spirits carrier so it isn't a long-term or heavy duty lube but it does have its place. It is a "water displacing" lube so it's good at protecting components that get wet.
    I agree. There is this perception on the booard that WD40 will ruin everything it comes in contact with. WD40 is what it is, a light lubricant carried in a mild solvent. Its not a great solvent and its not a great lubricant. But there are applications where exactly what you need is a mild lube in a mild solvent, and flushing out brifters is one of them.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  12. #12
    ot.net slave
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho
    Its not a great solvent and its not a great lubricant.
    exactly right, I'm not trying to demonise a mostly benign chemical but it simply isn't very useful on bicycles. And lord how I hate collecting an old rustbucket which the well-meaning owner has "cleaned up" with wd40. More work!

    - Joel

  13. #13
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    That mild solvent is a lot of things but mild isn't one of them. 35 years ago I cleaned the chambers of *****s with the stuff. The WD in WD40 stands for "water displacement". The 40 is the 40th formulation that was tried in the process of developing the stuff. I wouldn't spray WD40 into a brifter. It's hard to get it all out and what is left behind will negatively affect the materials from which the brifter is made.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobo1949
    I wouldn't spray WD40 into a brifter. It's hard to get it all out and what is left behind will negatively affect the materials from which the brifter is made.
    In many years of using it as a cleaning flush for both brifters and ******* actions, it has harmed neither.

    What you can't do ir rely on it as an effective long term lubricant.

  15. #15
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    The ONLY thing I use WD-40 for is to remove water. I would never use it on my bicycle or my firearms other than to chase away some water. I would never use it anywhere I considered "delicate".

    I just wanted to hear from those in the know if there was some kind of care (other than the obvious) I should give them. I am a mechanic in another field and have a thing about maintenance.

  16. #16
    MADE IN HONG KONG
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    I worry that WD-40 will flush out the lubricants. Used wisely, it is great stuff.

    Back to OP question, isn't there anything you need to do to keep things moving smoothly and repeatedly
    If you are not having any fun, it's all your fault

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomacropod
    Also, don't pull them apart. A customer decided to "overhaul" his < 12 month old, perfectly operating brifters for some reason, started taking them apart without noting the order and arrangement of things, became completely confused and brough them in to be reassembled. We quickly came to the agreement that a bike mechanic was no more likely to make sense of the parts than anyone else, and that he take his take-away container of parts to a watchmaker.

    Hahaha. I took some old 105 8-speed brifters apart when the pawl wouldn't release reliably anymore. Of course, springs flew everywhere, and I spent some time on my hands and news finding them. I spent longer figuring out how to put it back together, tho after I lubed it with some normal chain lube, and finally got all the parts in the right places, it worked great.

  18. #18
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    When my 1998 Dura-Ace shifters were two years old I started having some serious shifting issues with them. I hosed them out with WD40 and they've worked great ever since. Based on years of reading bike forum postings I know that a lot of folks have corrected STI shifter problems with WD40.

    Al

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