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Help!: Rear Dura Ace 9000 derailleur won't shift

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Help!: Rear Dura Ace 9000 derailleur won't shift

Old 02-18-17, 02:19 PM
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WizardOfBoz
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Help!: Rear Dura Ace 9000 derailleur won't shift

I was out riding a week or so ago, and the shifter started acting hinky. Shifting not certain, derailleur would change gears spontaneously. My last ride, the shifter wouldn't shift at all. Chain stuck in the small sprocket, brifter does not appear to engage. The brifter will "saturate", that is, if I move the large (brake) lever a certain number of times, it hits the limit. But it doesn't move the cable. And I feel no resistance when I try to move the chain to larger gears in back.

The cable does not appear to be broken, though I have to check if its frayed.

IS this common with DA 9000 brifters? Did I fail to maintain the bike (its a 2014) in some way?

I suspect that there's a gummed up or broken pawl somewhere in the brifter. Reasonable, or is there an obvious (or more frequently occuring) solution.
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Old 02-18-17, 02:26 PM
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Brifter cables have been known to fray and break inside the shifter, about 1/4" from the end. Your initial shifting issues followed by complete loss of communication between the shifter and the der match the pattern of a fraying cable that then fully broke later.


If this is the case the head of the cable is still inside the shifter, good luck fishing it out. There's many threads about this BTW. Andy
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Old 02-18-17, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Brifter cables have been known to fray and break inside the shifter, about 1/4" from the end.
This was an issue with the previous gen (i.e.6700), but haven't heard it as still being an issue with the current generation (i.e what the OP has).

Edit, before playing with the parts, would check the warranty status, Dura-Ace has 3 years, so if it was bought in 2014 it may still be in warranty

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Old 02-18-17, 03:43 PM
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Current gen. STI shifters suffer from cable stress fraying too. Not at the same rate as previous, exposed cable, versions. But we have seen more then a few with broken cables in the shifter. What we haven't yet seen are the shifter internal issues the first gens suffered from yet. That's why I say to first check what's been seen before and easy to eliminate as the cause or fix. Andy
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Old 02-18-17, 04:13 PM
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I'll check on the cable. I had heard that the ratchet pawls on earlier models got morked up with dried grease/dirt/smegma. Probably not the case with the DA 9000?
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Old 02-18-17, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
I'll check on the cable. I had heard that the ratchet pawls on earlier models got morked up with dried grease/dirt/smegma. Probably not the case with the DA 9000?
Why wouldn't they get gummed up with old grease; Shimano does lubricate them, just as all of their other shifters.

All STI shifters are recommended to be flushed yearly, by Shimano. If you do so, gumming will never be a problem. That said, Andy is right, what you are describing is classic for a cable fraying near the head, and then snapping off. I would be surprised if it was something else.
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Old 02-18-17, 06:39 PM
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Ya, your brifter got saturated
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Old 02-19-17, 04:20 PM
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Well the experts were right. Pics below show what I found upon "opening up the hood". Sorry the pics are so big - you'd think forums would offer an easy way to resize pics.
Anyway, I was able to pull the dead end out of the brifter (pretty easy). I used a new Shimano Dura Ace 9000 cable (Genuine! The real deal! Expensive!). Threading that through the internal CF frame was more frustrating. Got the thing threaded through to the bottom bracket (took a lot of tries, but I did it). Then I realized that the cable was for the front derailleur. Drat! That's just what I said: Drat! Also, I borrowed a curse from my granny. Sugar tit! That's what granny said, and I was just repeating it. I also noted, from my first try at snaking the cable through the bike, that the fancy coating on the cable got really screwed up. Frayed. I think it's tetrafluoroethylene, which is very soft, so this is not surprising. But why would you make and sell something that can't be installed? I understand that the pros put a tube around the thing while installing. If you need a tube, why doesn't Shimano include it? Anyway, got the new rear cable out from the package, and attempted to put it in. Less luck. Some folks (GCN) suggest removing the crank. Did that, but noted that I'd have to pull the BB bearings and the spacer for this method to work. So I made a little tool from ss MIG welding wire: a teeny bent hook. Got the thing threaded through and installed.

Some questions/beefs/whines
1) I understand that the 9000 brifter has been recalled because of this issue, and a 9001 has been issued. I'm going to see if Shimano will replace my brifters with ones that don't fray the cables. Will then have to reinstall NEW cables. Sigh.
2) Again, why would shimano not throw in a cable protector (a 25 cent plastic sleeve) with their new cables, given that it is needed to install these cables without fraying them - which destroys the low friction that you pay $ for?
3) Trek has a frame bushing that accepts both f and r derailleur cables. A better design would have these separate, so that you could pull one out to fish the cable through, without having to loosen the other derailleur clamp.
4) I'm kind of shocked that a simple think like replacing a cable requires (sometimes) that you remove the crank. This is crazy! Or are there experienced bike hands that can replace the cable rapidly? I would think that during a race this would just be a killer.

This was kind of humbling, as I worked in a bike shop for 7 years (many moons ago), and am pretty good technically and with my hands. But I got it done (if not very efficiently!) If I can get the new brifters, I'm redoing all my cables and re-taping.




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Old 02-19-17, 10:00 PM
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@WizardOfBoz my experience is that the fluffing of the cable is not a huge issue (Shimano even says as much) once you get the hang of installing them. That said, ignoring the warning to use nosed ferrules where appropriate will lead to the cable dragging across the opening of the ferrule, fraying, and packing up the hole (which will definitely screw up the cable movement). If memory serves, Shimano even includes a couple nosed ferrules in each [individual] cable pack.

A strong neodymium magnet can be used to help guide the cable through the frame, with a bit of patience.
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Old 02-19-17, 11:01 PM
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And I'll add that much of this it avoided with maintenance. As in tending to cable condition. Many riders feel that increasing the price (and the cog count) of systems means that stuff works better or lasts longer when much the opposite is true. Tolerances are reduced, tensions are increased (as with current ft shift cables), cog and chain wear is at a greater rate and with internal routing the ability to deal with the increased needs for maintenance is much more hassled.


But those who rail against my view need to understand that this is the cost of increasing "performance" (whatever that means). Andy.
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Old 02-20-17, 02:01 AM
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Maybe you shift too much
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Old 02-20-17, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Maybe you shift too much

Well, I'm heavy and old and ride a moderately hilly course when I ride. So I think I shift just enough, but yeah, probably a lot.
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Old 02-20-17, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
...Many riders feel that increasing the price (and the cog count) of systems means that stuff works better or lasts longer when much the opposite is true. Tolerances are reduced, tensions are increased (as with current ft shift cables), cog and chain wear is at a greater rate and with internal routing the ability to deal with the increased needs for maintenance is much more hassled.

But those who rail against my view need to understand that this is the cost of increasing "performance" (whatever that means). Andy.
I guess you don't get something for nothing. I have some shop experience, but from years ago. My old bike (all Campy Nuovo Record) stuff has lasted 30 years without any failures and with nominal maintenance.

There's an interesting author who writes about engineering subjects. NOT an oxymoron! Henry Petroski. His book "To Engineer is Human" talks about how design evolves. So, the fact that my old bike was so durable is testament to the fact that it was not engineered for optimal performance. If it was really fine-tuned, it would have failed earlier! I guess this underscores what you say, Andrew.

To wschruba's point, yes, the nosed ferrules (with angled ferrules, and a key on the side to keep the nose oriented correctly) did come with the cable.

So, am I right about the cable: one MUST use a protective sleeve when snaking the cables through the frame to avoid damage to the sensitive coating? Seriously, it's like trying to snake a greased cable through the frame without disturbing the grease. Flippin' impossible.

I think I got the cable fragments out of the works. Basically, some of the frayed ends were sticking out on the outboard side of the brifter. Strong enough so a needlenose plier could grab them. Then I just clicked the "down" (smaller) brifter lever. The drum rotated, exposing the end of the Bowden cable and allowing it to be removed. You can see what it looked like in the pic.

Last edited by WizardOfBoz; 02-20-17 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 02-20-17, 08:19 AM
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Unless they've changed something, I never noticed the polymer wrap as being particularly fragile during installing, unless there are exposed ridges inside your frame (which I suppose could be possible). I know some manufacturers run a liner from the entry point to the exit point, which I suppose could be retrofitted into your bike, but your margin of error for getting the length right would be quite small...5-6 millimeters?

If it really bothers you, Shimano's MTB product line uses a similar cable called "optislick", which resembles a hard, thick layer of green Teflon. It is much harder to damage, but provides similar benefits.
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Old 02-20-17, 10:09 AM
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I just say "maybe you shift too much" because with all these close gears, seems as though you would need to shift a lot to get a comfortable gear.
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Old 02-23-17, 09:45 AM
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Word from Shimano Tech Service

I spoke with Shimano Customer Service. They said that the cables should be changed about every 1000 miles. Also: the ST-9001 brifter workings are about the same as the ST-9000 - the only difference being that the 9001 brifters have the mechanism covered better. There is no difference in terms of cables fraying.

So there's no replacement policy. I think that (per the Dealer's manual) I'll use the Shimano Special Grease SP41, and make sure that the cable guide/friction point in the brifter is well-lubed.

But the bottom line: in this high performance system, the cables are consumables.
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Old 02-23-17, 11:20 AM
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Maybe you can purchase in bulk?
Shimano PTFE Shift Cable & Housing | Competitive Cyclist
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Old 02-23-17, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Maybe you can purchase in bulk?
I probably only ride 1000-2000 miles a year, and I think that, with the Shimano Special Grease, I should be good nfor at least that much.

Anyone know if one can one purchase the Dura-Ace inner cables for the ST-9000 brifters by themselves, or are they only available with the housing?

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Old 02-23-17, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
I probably only ride 1000-2000 miles a year, and I think that, with the Shimano Special Grease, I should be good nfor at least that much.

Anyone know if one can one purchase the Dura-Ace inner cables for the ST-9000 brifters by themselves, or are they only available with the housing?
The cable packs are available from Shimano. Any bike shop that deals with higher-end bikes would keep them in stock.

That said, you want to search for "Shimano polymer cable", if you're looking for the individual pack.
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Old 02-23-17, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
I spoke with Shimano Customer Service. They said that the cables should be changed about every 1000 miles. Also: the ST-9001 brifter workings are about the same as the ST-9000 - the only difference being that the 9001 brifters have the mechanism covered better. There is no difference in terms of cables fraying.

So there's no replacement policy. I think that (per the Dealer's manual) I'll use the Shimano Special Grease SP41, and make sure that the cable guide/friction point in the brifter is well-lubed.

But the bottom line: in this high performance system, the cables are consumables.

1000 miles, wow! I admit that I never sought out this information. For some riders I know this means new cables every month during the season, or more often. I know no one (including some pretty high level racers of past regional note) who do this frequent replacement. Andy (who suggests replacing shift cables every year or two depending)
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Old 02-24-17, 08:28 AM
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Thanks, wschruba. I will order some spares. Yoiks! Looking at prices ($13 for the cable, online), I guess I will order a spare, maybe two.

Yes, Andrew, I was kind of amazed, too. But he said 1000 miles, depending on how you shift. My normal ride is 16 miles, with about 1200 feet of elevation change. I'm a former football player, and not in super shape anymore, so I shift a lot to get my fat 240lb tail up and over hills. So I think I have to check my cables every 6 months or so.

This really does cast into sharp relief the difference between a superb quality bike that is optimized for performance with durability and low maintenance, and a superb quality bike that is optimized for performance only, with the expectation that your team mechanic will overhaul, replace parts, clean, lube, and adjust your bike after every ride. Errrr, make that after every stage or 90 mile practice day.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
1000 miles, wow! I admit that I never sought out this information. For some riders I know this means new cables every month during the season, or more often. I know no one (including some pretty high level racers of past regional note) who do this frequent replacement. Andy (who suggests replacing shift cables every year or two depending)
i have co worker who until recently raced cat1. His rule was new cables every year. fwiw
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Old 02-24-17, 08:53 PM
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Obviously, it's just the rear cable that needs replacing often. Die-drawn (slick) cables are more prone to fatigue.
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Old 09-23-17, 08:15 AM
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9000 Shifter gone bad

I have a 2015 5.9 Trek Domane, all DURA ACE. Absolutely love this bike. But not a cheap bike, Iíve already had two separate issues with the shifter, seems to be a common problem with the cable breaking. I admit I shift a ton; but considering the price Iíve paid for the bike, I should not have these kinds of problems. I had a TREK 1.2 years ago with Sora components and it never gave me problems. Iím a bit disappointed with the issues Iíve been having. Anyone else having the same?
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Old 09-25-17, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bozin1 View Post
I have a 2015 5.9 Trek Domane, all DURA ACE. Absolutely love this bike. But not a cheap bike, Iíve already had two separate issues with the shifter, seems to be a common problem with the cable breaking. I admit I shift a ton; but considering the price Iíve paid for the bike, I should not have these kinds of problems. I had a TREK 1.2 years ago with Sora components and it never gave me problems. Iím a bit disappointed with the issues Iíve been having. Anyone else having the same?

One might reply to the bold above: for how much was spent on the bike it's sad that the rider won't take care of the bike the way it needs to be. Wear rate is not a problem to those who buy into the rest of the package with open eyes. Only those who regard wear as wrong and as a warranty item will make the above claims. But that's what the marketing department is all about. Sell the sizzle, not the steak. Andy.
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