Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Reading, PA
Bikes: Schwinn Mesa GSX, Schwinn Varsity Singlespeed, Trek 1000
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Old thread, I know... but I just had a very similar issue. Shifter didn't want to work, thought it was dead.
It was the old grease hardening.
My LBS fixed it, replaced a cable, trued my rear wheel and a few other nice maintenancy type things for about $25.
I honestly suggest that if anyone has a shifter they think has died, first try cleaning and relubing. My old shifters feel as new again.