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  1. #1
    Member coldcanuck's Avatar
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    Rear Derailleur Freeze?

    On my commute in yesterday (-35 C, -30 F), had a problem with my rear derailleur. I'm using Shimano Altus rapid fire. When I tried to go to a lower gear, it felt like there was no resistance whatsoever on the shifter. Early on in the ride, I found that if I kept pumping the shifter, eventually, it'd click and shift gears. By the end of the ride (about 40 min in), the shifter wouldn't catch.

    Is this likely a frozen cable, or is it likely to be something internal within the shifter itself? Is it just a case of putting some lube on the cables?

  2. #2
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    Happens all the time with rapid fire shifters of all the groups I've tried. What is happening is the factory grease is getting too thick to allow the rachet mechanism in the shifter to engage. I have found that squirting a solvent/lube like WD-40 in the shifter pod will help. The problem with this approach is that you are essentially breaking down and thinning out the lubricant, and that could cause problems down the road. This is where a set of thumb shifters really kick butt.

  3. #3
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Try darkmother's solution, but if you notice that shifting is getting difficult during a ride, put it in the gear of your choice and leave it there. If you're going to get stuck with a single speed, you don't want it to be in the granny gear.

  4. #4
    Member coldcanuck's Avatar
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    Right on... Thanks guys.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldcanuck
    On my commute in yesterday (-35 C, -30 F), had a problem with my rear derailleur. I'm using Shimano Altus rapid fire. When I tried to go to a lower gear, it felt like there was no resistance whatsoever on the shifter. Early on in the ride, I found that if I kept pumping the shifter, eventually, it'd click and shift gears. By the end of the ride (about 40 min in), the shifter wouldn't catch.

    Is this likely a frozen cable, or is it likely to be something internal within the shifter itself? Is it just a case of putting some lube on the cables?
    I'm riding in -35C/ -30F to -40C/F lately here in Montreal, & I've been having the same problem with my Shimano Altus. For winter I'm swapping out my back rapid fire for a gripshift-type shifter. I'll put the rapid-fire back on in the spring. I wouldn't use WD40: if you break down all the lube in your shifters and have metal grinding metal, you'll destroy your component and will have to replace it. By swapping it out, without destroying it I get to save it and use it in fairer weather when it performs really well.

    -dx

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Nashbar is selling Ritchey gripshifts for 2x9 at $15 USD now. I'd buy a pair of them, wipe out the grease and replace with WD 40. Won't do you any good for a front 3 ring set up, but in my experience you only need one ring up front in winter if you're on snow. At anything below about -15 F (I forget the C conversion... -25?) grease tends to set up. I know some people in Fairbanks AK that degrease their hubs even.

  7. #7
    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    You can just alterante your lubing. WD 40 is a good degreaser, however if you compliment it with something of a higher viscosity periodically you should be fine. WD 40 will also protect your gear, just not for a long period of time.

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