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  1. #1
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Pls help Dx my rear brifter problem?

    Hey guys

    ca. 2001 road bike, Dura Ace 7700 9 spd.

    bought bike used in 2005, used very sparingly since (i.e., it has sat dormant a LOT).

    Last summer I used it a good amount - 2-3 long weekend rides per month between June and October.

    Just pulled it out last month to use for fast paceline laps with a local club. We do 1 hour, with rolling hills, so constant fiddling with both derailleurs...a lot more shifting than I normally do, and I was wearing thick fumbling winter gloves, if that matters...

    Anyhoo. I used it once for these laps at the beginning of March, worked fine, as always.

    Used it again last week, and it was fine during the laps but while riding gently on the way home I noticed the rear derailleur won't shift outward, to smaller cogs. It still shifts perfectly inward, to larger cogs.


    I tried flushing a whole can of WD40 through it (that's freed up wonky MTB trigger shifters for me in the past, a trick I learned here a few years ago)...no change, and the solvent appeared to be flowing quite clean and clear, fwtw.

    I then tried putting a good ounce or so of chain lube in, and that did seem to make a difference, just spinning the cranks by hand at the house (holding the rear end of the bike up).

    But when I test rode it to work today, it's back to the same problem.


    It seems to shift only when I press the little lever in and HOLD it, hard, then release...at which point I then get the audible "clunk" from the brifter, and it shifts to a smaller cog. And that does not always work consistently, it just seems to be the only way to get it to work.


    So - should I keep flushing with solvent? Or try degreaser instead?



    Or use more lube?


    Or is my brifter toast?



    Other than trying degreaser or lube, I reckon taking it in to a shop is my only recourse, I am not interested in taking a brifter apart, with my (lack of) mechanical skills...

    Thanks for any help...
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  2. #2
    Squeaky Bottom Bracket uluchay's Avatar
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    I would say try replacing the shift cable, it's very cheap.

    On the other hand the rear derraileur sits at the smallest cog when no tension is applied at the wire. So for some reason your shifter (not a fan of the word brifter) winds but doesn't release.

    Another approach is to WD-40 the heck out of the shifter mechanism instead of the chain and derraileur, maybe there's something sticking inside.

  3. #3
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Just to be clear, I used the WD 40 with the spray nozzle directly into the top of where the opening is on the STI unit when the brake lever is depressed.

    I did clean up the chain and RD also, but I concentrated all my solvent and lube into the shifting mechanism itself.

    I did not pour anything into the cable entry point, as the cable is still attached.

    I did try adjusting the RD cable barrel screw at the frame mounted stop along the downtube, but that had no effect.
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  4. #4
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    I guess I'm worried the brifter may need servicing or replacement, since it suddenly failed after working perfectly....as opposed to finding it gummed up after a long winter's sitting...

    But I have read many online accounts of people's shifters freezing up like that, suddenly, after working just fine. And usually, being resurrected rather easily with WD40 or Tri Flow...
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    Check for a fraying cable end in the brifter and all along the length of cable especially where it enters and exits the pieces of housing.

  6. #6
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
    Check for a fraying cable end in the brifter and all along the length of cable especially where it enters and exits the pieces of housing.
    Thanks - if I am reading you correctly, that would hang the cable up and keep it from being able to slacken, yes?


    Tonight after I rode home with two gears (FD only) I played with it at home - it appears it will shift to smaller cogs if I press the small lever inward while pressing the large (brake) lever outward - in other words, bracing the large lever in the opposite direction...not sure if that means anything.


    While poking around on Google I saw some people had luck by tightening some screw on the unit?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    Thanks - if I am reading you correctly, that would hang the cable up and keep it from being able to slacken, yes?
    Yes. If you can't spot any fraying with the cable attached, remove it for a more thorough inspection.

  8. #8
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    update, i stopped by my preferred shop and the mech said he felt the shifter was toast, or at least on its way. He basically played around with it and tried some lube. I asked if it could be the cable - he streched it out some along the down tube when in the small cog, but didn't remove it from the shifter.

    I asked if he thought the pawls were worn - but he said it was the springs worn out, and rebuilding wasn't really an option...he recommended either buying a new 9 spd, which he said would be a Sora/Tiagra level unit, or gamble on a used higher end unit (Ultegra, DA) on ebay.

    I'm actually getting it to shift now on the bike - it's a wee bit complicated: two fingers, you push the large brake lever away from the bike a bit and then push the small lever in with the middle finger and it engages. works well enough to ride, but it wouldn't be much fun on a long ride or a fast competitive pace line scenario...which what I need from that bike.

    Ugh
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    update, i stopped by my preferred shop and the mech said he felt the shifter was toast, or at least on its way. He basically played around with it and tried some lube. I asked if it could be the cable - he streched it out some along the down tube when in the small cog, but didn't remove it from the shifter.
    Your mechanic may know exactly what's wrong with the brifter but I find the fact that he didn't remove the cable to check for some kind of hang-up as a little odd. Like I say he may be right about needing a new assembly but I'd recommend taking out the cable yourself and check for fraying and free movement and also make sure the derailleur moves freely.

  10. #10
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    I'm actually getting it to shift now on the bike - it's a wee bit complicated: two fingers, you push the large brake lever away from the bike a bit and then push the small lever in with the middle finger and it engages.
    I was going to ask if this was the case... unfortunately it's toast.

    I had a set of ST-6500s with this issue and was able to mostly fix it by tweaking some springs (the problem is that actuating the small lever also causes the big lever to move, locking the mechanism), but only a couple of days ago I did an overhaul on some tired ST-7700s with the same problem and couldn't figure out how to do it.

    The Dura-Ace gear is often radically different from everything below it, particularly these 9s shifters. For instance, I was impressed by a neat little BB in the 6500s that worked like an axial cartridge bearing but was constructed halfway like a cup-and-cone, but that was nothing next to what DA has... super-sweet little proper adjustable twin cup/cone bearings. I had to carve myself a 10mm cone wrench

    ...And geez, you should see all the machining in the back of the big lever. The mechanism is more integrated into it, eschewing much of the stamped steel plate employed in lower stuff.

    But all that's a bloody waste if I can't fix it

  11. #11
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    two fingers, you push the large brake lever away from the bike a bit and then push the small lever in with the middle finger and it engages. works well enough to ride, but it wouldn't be much fun on a long ride or a fast competitive pace line scenario...which what I need from that bike.
    My 6500 ultegra shifters did that exact same thing and no - it's NO fun to use them. I have a spare pare of 9 spd tiagra shifters on hot standby to replace them (it's a backup bike that I haven't ridden in a while because of the shifter issue)

    Pretty annoying!

  12. #12
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys. Oh well..

    I guess now my options are:

    scout for a DA right side unit on ebay (and deal with whatever issues crop up - even a functioning unit from an honest seller could conceivably fail as mine did, right after installation, no?). I have another 9 speed bike I was looking for a DA shifter for and saw a ton of 7700 units on the bay - about a year or so ago.

    Look for and buy the highest level of new 9 spd shifter I can find - my guess is that'd be NOS 105 or Tiagra, at best, and failing that new Sora...?
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  13. #13
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Hmmm...just did an ebay search. Lots and lots of sets (I don't need the front one, at least, not yet) - and lots of left front units...I guess a whole generation of 15 year old rear shifters has been dying!

    What's amazing to me is these expensive units are so delicate, short lived and unserviceable....my commuter bike (MTB) has a 21-yr-old XT 7 speed trigger shifter that still works as well as it did the day I bought the bike new.
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  14. #14
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    What's amazing to me is these expensive units are so delicate, short lived and unserviceable...
    Actually, they're beautifully engineered for the most part, generally more robust than all the lower stuff.

    It's just that the 9s generation suffered a design flaw leading to this locking failure mode when the springs get tired... it's not a thing on the 8s generation, not sure if it affects either 10s generation (it could be too soon to tell).

    And due to the difficulty of fully comprehending STI and the differences from DA to the rest of the stable, I couldn't isolate the issue and craft a fix.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Look carefully at the bottom of both of your shifters. Can you see a dinky little screw that's missing from the bad one? If so, find a replacement. That just might fix it.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  16. #16
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    I think I might have a 9 speed Dura Ace right side shifter that I would let go for cheap. It might be the 7700, I will have to look at it.

    It does work. I flushed it out a couple of years ago and it works fine now. I never used it though since it doesn't have the hood or the left side matching shifter.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  17. #17
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
    I think I might have a 9 speed Dura Ace right side shifter that I would let go for cheap. It might be the 7700, I will have to look at it.

    It does work. I flushed it out a couple of years ago and it works fine now. I never used it though since it doesn't have the hood or the left side matching shifter.
    Thanks - I'm going to check for that screw on the bottom, just in case that's the culprit. If not, I may take you up on that!


    I am also toying with the idea of going up to 10 speed on this bike - a friend has a right brifter he can give me. Of course, then I'd need to buy a new cassette and chain, but I am assuming the 7700 DA rear derailleur would function okay with a 10 speed shifter and cassette, no?
    Last edited by pgoat; 04-13-14 at 04:25 PM.
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  18. #18
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    I am also toying with the idea of going up to 10 speed on this bike - a friend has a right brifter he can give me. Of course, then I'd need to buy a new cassette and chain, but I am assuming the 7700 DA rear derailleur would function okay with a 10 speed shifter and cassette, no?
    If so, whatever you do, don't get the later 10s with the hidden shift cables - finnicky PITA. Also requires a different RD to earlier 10s; the geometry differs slightly from (1st 10s)/9s/8s/7s/6s.

    Better yet, get Ergos and a Shiftmate. The Shiftmate is a slight hassle but the Ergos pull more cable and thus index far more reliably... then there's the looks. A lot of folks are iffy about the newest shape, but the older one was available in 10s IIRC and can probably be found new here and there.

    Shimergo is a sweet way to roll.

  19. #19
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    I had same issue on my 7800 DA 10's (rear). Flushed with WD40 and TriFlow and it works again. But previous similar experience suggests it will fail again soon so I replaced with new Ultegra-10s (with internal routing) and have not noticed any shifting issues.

    I'm not a fan of shifters from ebay. Too likely to get some already worn toward this same problem.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  20. #20
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    If so, whatever you do, don't get the later 10s with the hidden shift cables - finnicky PITA. Also requires a different RD to earlier 10s; the geometry differs slightly from (1st 10s)/9s/8s/7s/6s.

    Better yet, get Ergos and a Shiftmate. The Shiftmate is a slight hassle but the Ergos pull more cable and thus index far more reliably... then there's the looks. A lot of folks are iffy about the newest shape, but the older one was available in 10s IIRC and can probably be found new here and there.

    Shimergo is a sweet way to roll.
    Not 100% sure which 10-spd brifter my friend has - I believe it's Ultegra and iirc, the cables do stick out, so probably 6600?

    Is 6700 the one with the hidden cables? 6770 is the electronic only version, yes?
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  21. #21
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Look carefully at the bottom of both of your shifters. Can you see a dinky little screw that's missing from the bad one? If so, find a replacement. That just might fix it.
    I didn't see a screw on either shifter - both the wonky rear and the front (which works fine) have a small hole - it looks like it might even be an allen screw - but no screw with flat head or phillips head...
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.

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