My own worst nightmare
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
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You only need a centimeter or so of housing with foreign cr@p in it, or a kink, or even a pinched ferrule, to create the kind of friction that results in the symptoms you describe.
But cable adjustment may be in order as well. When it's "settled" in a given gear on the shifter, and the corresponding cog on the cassette, does it grind/click at all when you pedal?
Before I converted it to grip-shifters and V-brakes, my old Univega hybrid had RapidFarts that said "STI" on them. Before I saw my first road brifter, I thought mine were the only kind of controls called "STI".