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Old 03-16-14, 07:09 PM   #1
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Shimano STI M020 mtb Rapid Fire - How is it *supposed* to work?

These Shimano STI M020 Rapid Fire 7 sp, ST200 group, came on the 1990 Giant mtb I picked up last fall. The question is - what is the shifting sequence? Seems a little erratic (assume I'll change the cables/housings. I did a semi - dissassembly and clean/lube of the cables, derailleurs and shifters last fall but I think I need to lube and clean better.)

On the rear cogs I can shift to larger cogs one at a time if I'm careful, other wise I can pull it up about 4 cogs in one stroke, then the next full stroke I can shift to the very largest cog.

On the front Biopace triple, I can drop to the smallest gear in a single hard release of the trigger, or if careful, just release the trigger less aggressively and just drop from the largest to middle chainring.

For reference here is what they look like. Seems to be a hundred different styles of the same name.

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File Type: jpg Shimano ST M020 Rapid Fire 7 sp.jpg (81.3 KB, 31 views)
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Old 03-16-14, 07:55 PM   #2
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Old problem- the mechanism's grease has gotten gummed up due to hardened grease. It's the same fix as any other gummed-up STI shifter: hose out the insides with spray oil. Work the shift levers around a bunch. Hose it out some more. Shift some more. Clean the puddle of oil off the floor, then go ride.

What oil to use is up to you. WD-40 isn't a great lube, but it works. I'd use something petroleum based myself.
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Old 03-16-14, 09:18 PM   #3
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Hey Jeff - thanks for the reply but I'm ... confused. How does being able to shift to larger gears 4 at a time with one thumb stroke relate to that gummed up grease? That's where I am pulling the cable not letting the spring snap the cable back.

I'm thinking there might be something to the drop from the largest chain ring to the smallest so we'll see if spraying some 3m superlube in there cleans and releases the dogs. (agreed, no WD40 for this particular application) I really washed the bejeebers out of it last fall cause ya, never seen grease gum up the works like that. Ugh.

Do I really have to clean the puddle off the floor?

Hey - anyone have a manual or something for these things?
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Old 03-16-14, 10:08 PM   #4
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These Shimano STI M020 Rapid Fire 7 sp, ST200 group, came on the 1990 Giant mtb I picked up last fall. The question is - what is the shifting sequence? Seems a little erratic (assume I'll change the cables/housings. I did a semi - dissassembly and clean/lube of the cables, derailleurs and shifters last fall but I think I need to lube and clean better.)

On the rear cogs I can shift to larger cogs one at a time if I'm careful, other wise I can pull it up about 4 cogs in one stroke, then the next full stroke I can shift to the very largest cog.

On the front Biopace triple, I can drop to the smallest gear in a single hard release of the trigger, or if careful, just release the trigger less aggressively and just drop from the largest to middle chainring.

For reference here is what they look like. Seems to be a hundred different styles of the same name.

Oh, that! That's how they're supposed to work. That's first-generation "Rapid-Fire". The idea was that you could downshift (go to a larger cog) one cog at a time if you were just slowing down a bit, or downshift several cogs at once if you found yourself confronted with a real steep climb. This was for mountain bikes, remember, and downshifts were always trickier than upshifts.

The small button activates the upshift on the rear (as you found). If the front is doing two shifts (all the way from big to small) then it's gummed up. The small button on the left side should only drop one chainring at a time. I bet it works better once it's cleaned out.

FWIW: Many people found the "push-push" design confusing, so the next generation introduced the "trigger" upshift lever aka "Rapid-Fire Plus". These went on to be the dominant design.

I think it'll work better once you've put new cables and housing on it. STI shifters don't like extra friction in the system.
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Old 03-17-14, 01:15 AM   #5
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Yup. My Shimano works the same way, but it's really easy to change gears, and always to which I want. They downshift quickly and few at the time if needed, to prevent you from staling when going uphils, especially in MTB environment.
Try to downshift with less movement. Don't push it too hard.

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Old 03-17-14, 05:17 AM   #6
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Groovy. Nice to know how they are supposed to work. I'll clean them out again for good measure, buff the little plastic thingie under the bottom bracket, and replace the cable housings. (prob orig - still have "Shimano STI" printed on them.) I think I just took steel wool to the cables so maybe should replace them too.
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Old 03-17-14, 08:44 PM   #7
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I washed out the shifters again and cable housings today with TriFlo (it's what the hardware store had) and much easier, smoother snappier shifting on the stand. The rear-most RD housing surly does need changed out because I could feel a little friction and roughness when I had the cables loose. I didn't bother disconnecting the cables because I'll do a full replacement soon anyway.

What surprises me is how fast they slugged up because I put a little light PT grease on the cables (maybe that was part of the problem?) last fall, and put less than 100 miles since, all in snow and now 18 miles on wet dirty road and paved trail.
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Old 03-17-14, 09:44 PM   #8
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I washed out the shifters again and cable housings today with TriFlo (it's what the hardware store had) and much easier, smoother snappier shifting on the stand. The rear-most RD housing surly does need changed out because I could feel a little friction and roughness when I had the cables loose. I didn't bother disconnecting the cables because I'll do a full replacement soon anyway.

What surprises me is how fast they slugged up because I put a little light PT grease on the cables (maybe that was part of the problem?) last fall, and put less than 100 miles since, all in snow and now 18 miles on wet dirty road and paved trail.
In cold/wet/snowy conditions, use the lightest lube you can find. Here's a trick: when you replace the cable housing pieces, squirt a little Tri-flow down them before running the cable through.
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Old 03-17-14, 09:52 PM   #9
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In cold/wet/snowy conditions, use the lightest lube you can find. Here's a trick: when you replace the cable housing pieces, squirt a little Tri-flow down them before running the cable through.
I'll keep that in mind. Thanks Jeff.
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Old 04-06-14, 04:17 AM   #10
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Sheesh - I finally went to ride the the other day and the shifters where hard and acting like no lube at all in them. So I ran a bunch of ProLink (because it's what I have) which smoothed them out, then decided to change the cables. Big difference there - much less pressure needed to shift into the larger cogs. And that's with cheapo $2 Nashbar cable/housings.
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Old 04-06-14, 09:06 AM   #11
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Sheesh - I finally went to ride the the other day and the shifters where hard and acting like no lube at all in them. So I ran a bunch of ProLink (because it's what I have) which smoothed them out, then decided to change the cables. Big difference there - much less pressure needed to shift into the larger cogs. And that's with cheapo $2 Nashbar cable/housings.
In your weather, you'll tend to get condensation in the cable housing. This will either freeze or corrode the cable, and neither does good things. Squirting oil in the housing before installing the cable will help keep condensation out. Decent housing and stainless cables are good, too.
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Old 04-06-14, 09:19 AM   #12
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In your weather, you'll tend to get condensation in the cable housing. This will either freeze or corrode the cable, and neither does good things. Squirting oil in the housing before installing the cable will help keep condensation out. Decent housing and stainless cables are good, too.
Ya, you mentioned that, and I'm not sure I remembered to put a little oil in there. I might have a little needle oiler someplace or maybe I can get a syringe at the drug store. That will help getting oil into the right spots of the shifters too.
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