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Old 01-17-07, 08:28 PM   #1
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My shimano 600 brifters don't shift down in 10 degree weather

The downshifting (smaller) levers on each of the brifters doesn't 'catch' when the temperature outside is frigid.. I bring my bike inside and let it warm up a bit and it catches and shifts down just fine . . -but when I take it outside in the cold it doesn't. What gives? -?
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Old 01-17-07, 08:58 PM   #2
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You're trying to ride in weather in which most lubricants turn into a solid. Take yourself (and the bike)inside, and wait for warmer temps. Or ride a single speed.,,,,BD
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Old 01-17-07, 10:11 PM   #3
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Seriously, there is something you can try. I've had great success with this method, at least down to about 20 degrees (doesn't get much colder than that where I am).

The cold temperatures cause the grease in the shifter, which is a fairly heavy grease, to become more viscous than it is at higher temps. The added resistance of the grease in that state is often too much for the very small springs that engage the pawls to make the shift and they can no longer move the pawls the necessary distance to engage them.

I have flushed several sets of road shifters and two sets of MTB shifters with this method, and all of them now work just fine in any temperature I've had the pleasure of riding them in.

Get an aerosol can of solvent of some sort. I use a can of citrus degreaser. Spray it liberally into the internal spaces of the shifter assembly (you may want to remove the cables and open up any easily-accessed holes in order to make this easier). When I say liberally, I mean you want to flush out anything and everything that isn't part of the shifter assembly itself. Don't be afraid to use a bunch of it.

Once that's done, flush out the degreaser and then relube the assembly with a good light lubricant. Think Finish Line's spray lubes, something along those lines. Apply that also very liberally so it gets all over the internals of the shifter assembly.

Put everything back together and ride!

Hopefully I haven't omitted any steps- I'm typing this half asleep

Good luck...
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Old 01-17-07, 11:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red house
The downshifting (smaller) levers on each of the brifters doesn't 'catch' when the temperature outside is frigid.. I bring my bike inside and let it warm up a bit and it catches and shifts down just fine . . -but when I take it outside in the cold it doesn't. What gives? -?
I'd hose them out with WD40.
BTW that would actually be an upshift on the cassette (right shifter).
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Old 01-18-07, 12:34 AM   #5
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Have a similar problem with my MTB, however, I don't think it was the shifter body itself. The cable was oiled with too thick of a lubricant. It's usable for me, anyhow, but I know that is what it is because the cable I replaced and oiled myself (using a light spray oil) works fairly well, the other one sticks in cold weather. You can try cleaning off your cables and lubing them with something light, as well. Or maybe you have some higher end teflon coated or something, this advice might not be so good.
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Old 01-18-07, 06:38 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bikedued
You're trying to ride in weather in which most lubricants turn into a solid. Take yourself (and the bike)inside, and wait for warmer temps. Or ride a single speed.,,,,BD
Werd! If it's too cold for the grease to move, it's too cold to ride.
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Old 01-18-07, 06:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red house
The downshifting (smaller) levers on each of the brifters doesn't 'catch' when the temperature outside is frigid.. I bring my bike inside and let it warm up a bit and it catches and shifts down just fine . . -but when I take it outside in the cold it doesn't. What gives? -?
Ditto! I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem.

I thought this was just because my Shimano 105 brifters are old and slightly cranky to begin with. Seems to happen below about 25 F. Quite strange, really. The things have been flushed with WD-40 quite a few times... I wonder what its low-temperature properties are?

I guess it's just another reason to use my touring bike with friction bar-end shifters for winter commuting
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Old 01-18-07, 10:30 AM   #8
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I was having the same problem with my old Trek MTB. I carefully opened up the shifter and sprayed a **** load of WD40 in there. I put it back together and acuated the both up shift and down shift levers for a minute or so. Then I opened it back up and put a few drops of 3 in one oil inside and it seems to be better now.
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Old 01-18-07, 10:40 AM   #9
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When you flush the shifters out, be sure to operate the mechanism a number of times as you do it, helps get the degreaser where it needs to go and helps getting the old gunky lube out.
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Old 01-18-07, 02:52 PM   #10
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I'd be worried about leaving WD40 in there instead of something with staying power, but then we'd get into the WD40 debate again....
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Old 01-18-07, 02:55 PM   #11
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I'd be worried about leaving WD40 in there instead of something with staying power, but then we'd get into the WD40 debate again....
Yeah, but if you add some oil after the WD40 flushing you should be golden.
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Old 01-25-07, 08:14 PM   #12
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Uncle Sam has the solution.
Go to your local military surplus store and get some "LAW Weapons Oil, Arctic"
Does not gum up of get sluggish in the cold, ever.
Also works great as a camera shutter lube.
Top
(who uses it on his bikes, and Leicas and Contax as well).
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Old 12-21-07, 10:46 PM   #13
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I've the same problem on my Shimano 600 as well as the XT on my old-ish Trek MTB. It gets that cold all the time in Michigan.
What about some carb/choke cleaner to get the old gummy out?
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Old 12-21-07, 11:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by truckin View Post
Seriously, there is something you can try. I've had great success with this method, at least down to about 20 degrees (doesn't get much colder than that where I am).

The cold temperatures cause the grease in the shifter, which is a fairly heavy grease, to become more viscous than it is at higher temps.
ER shoulnd't that be less viscous?
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Old 12-21-07, 11:15 PM   #15
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I've the same problem on my Shimano 600 as well as the XT on my old-ish Trek MTB. It gets that cold all the time in Michigan.
What about some carb/choke cleaner to get the old gummy out?
Carb cleaner works as long as its safe for plastics. Read the labels.
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Old 12-21-07, 11:17 PM   #16
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Werd! If it's too cold for the grease to move, it's too cold to ride.
No way, bikes are great for cold weather.

Unlike cars, bicycles will never fail to start when they're cold.
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Old 12-23-07, 08:50 AM   #17
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ER shoulnd't that be less viscous?
Nope he's right, cold makes lube more viscous.

vis·cous (vĭs'kəs)
adj.

1. Having relatively high resistance to flow.
2. Viscid; sticky.
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Old 12-23-07, 10:09 AM   #18
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No way, bikes are great for cold weather.

Unlike cars, bicycles will never fail to start when they're cold.

Yes but most cars will still shift,,,,BD
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Old 12-23-07, 10:28 AM   #19
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Check that the cables move freely in the housings (you may want to try new ones if the current ones are older) and that the grease in the housings does not get too stiff when cold. I doubt it is the lubrication on the actual derailleur that is the issue.
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