Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

How long do shifters last?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

How long do shifters last?

Old 11-28-20, 08:33 PM
  #1  
Ev0lutionz
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 49
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 2 Posts
How long do shifters last?

Just wondering, been using my Shimano 105 flat bar 10 speed shifters for 5 + years. I generally spray in GT85 after every rain ride to keep it smooth.
Ev0lutionz is offline  
Old 11-28-20, 08:43 PM
  #2  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3,065
Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2191 Post(s)
Liked 2,796 Times in 1,267 Posts
Originally Posted by Ev0lutionz View Post
Just wondering, been using my Shimano 105 flat bar 10 speed shifters for 5 + years. I generally spray in GT85 after every rain ride to keep it smooth.
Generally, about 6 years.

Just kidding.

Depends on how often you shift (flat vs hilly terrain), your luck, and other factors. I have about 20k+ miles on my 10sp Ultegra shifters and they are still fine; my 9sp 105 shifters are also still fine after about 35k+ miles. And I never spray anything into them.
Koyote is online now  
Old 11-28-20, 09:06 PM
  #3  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 1,140

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 469 Post(s)
Liked 499 Times in 291 Posts
That question can't be answered.
cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 11-29-20, 01:04 AM
  #4  
cubewheels
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 1,536

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Phantom 20 kid's MTB, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 677 Post(s)
Liked 288 Times in 231 Posts
Mine had the internal mechanism greased from the factory so I doubt it needs periodic re-lube even after rain (rain doesn't wash away grease but oil does!)
cubewheels is offline  
Old 11-29-20, 01:18 AM
  #5  
Ev0lutionz
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 49
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 2 Posts
Just a question, are the triggers fairly reliable ?
Ev0lutionz is offline  
Old 11-29-20, 10:25 AM
  #6  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 1,140

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 469 Post(s)
Liked 499 Times in 291 Posts
Yes.
cxwrench is offline  
Old 11-29-20, 11:42 AM
  #7  
Pop N Wood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 899

Bikes: 1982 Bianchi Sport SX, Rayleigh Tamland 1, Rans V-Rex recumbent, Fuji MTB, 80's Cannondale MTB with BBSHD ebike motor

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 411 Post(s)
Liked 320 Times in 216 Posts
I have indexed downtube shifters that are just now starting to act vague after 40 years of heavy use.

I've had multiple trigger shifters that I had to replace. Mostly lower end stuff. They are reliable but not to the same degree as a downtube shifter. In every case the trigger shifter gave me plenty of notice it was wearing out. I did rebuild one and got another year of use out of it before needing to replace it. Now I just replace them when they get old enough start to acting up.

Never understood people wanting bar end shifters because they are reliable. Yes, they are reliable, but so are trigger shifters. Pay attention to your gear and you should never get stuck in outer Mongolia with a failed shift lever. I swear there are people on Crazy Guy On a Bike who have nightmares about a failed shifter.
Pop N Wood is offline  
Old 11-29-20, 12:20 PM
  #8  
mpetry912 
aged to perfection
 
mpetry912's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: PacNW
Posts: 459

Bikes: Dinucci Allez 2.0, Richard Sachs, Alex Singer, Serotta, Masi GC, Raleigh Pro Mk.1, Hetchins, etc

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 198 Post(s)
Liked 123 Times in 91 Posts
the ratchet piece inside Campagnolo index shifters (brifters but I hate the word) is a wear item.

A replacement wheel is included in the rebuild kit. I think I've done the rebuild once each on the two bikes I have so equipped.

I would think conventional "shifters" (downtube levers) would last essentially forever.

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA
mpetry912 is offline  
Old 11-29-20, 01:15 PM
  #9  
HerrKaLeun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 1,883

Bikes: Giant Toughroad SLR1 and Motobecane Sturgis NX

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 883 Post(s)
Liked 205 Times in 154 Posts
Originally Posted by Ev0lutionz View Post
Just wondering, been using my Shimano 105 flat bar 10 speed shifters for 5 + years. I generally spray in GT85 after every rain ride to keep it smooth.
Squirting in random stuff probably will only make them last half as long. Just leave them alone and service if needed. All that stuff you squirt in will just gum it up and attract dirt. If you are lucky, it does nothing.
HerrKaLeun is offline  
Old 11-30-20, 07:51 AM
  #10  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 6,502

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1436 Post(s)
Liked 556 Times in 372 Posts
I've got a set of 14 year old Tiagra brifters that work. The original lube gummed up a while back, but a heavy spray flush of WD-40 cleaned it out, and with some new lithium grease sprayed in, they're still going.

Campy brifters seem to require re-building every couple years.

(I'm with Sheldon -- "brifter" is a brilliant one-word generic name for the part!)
pdlamb is offline  
Old 12-02-20, 08:05 AM
  #11  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,318

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 537 Post(s)
Liked 294 Times in 208 Posts
Originally Posted by Ev0lutionz View Post
Just wondering, been using my Shimano 105 flat bar 10 speed shifters for 5 + years. I generally spray in GT85 after every rain ride to keep it smooth.
I broke my first Campagnolo Ultrashift rear lever front paddle return spring due to fatigue in 5 years over 24,000 miles which for me is about 12 shift cables. With Campagnolo abandoning Ultrashift small parts sales, I put a spare lever on although I could have bought a new shift mechanism for $80.

Conversely, I replaced G-springs every couple of years in my 1997 8 speed ergo levers upgraded to 9 in 2000 with a new index cam. I rode those 15 years until I wore out the rear lever ratchet pawl spring after the lever assembly had been discontinued. Just before that I wore out my first front paddle return spring and replaced it with one of the last two I could find in the US. Unfortunately, I have no idea how many miles I had on my shifters because I eschewed bike computers for over a decade after my purple Avocet 45 wore out.

Your mileage will vary.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 12-02-20 at 10:19 AM.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Likes For Drew Eckhardt:
Old 12-02-20, 08:38 AM
  #12  
Amt0571
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Catalonia
Posts: 861

Bikes: Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 8.0, Btwin Ultra 520 AF GF, Dahon Mu P27, Triban Road 7, Benotto 850

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 369 Post(s)
Liked 153 Times in 106 Posts
Once a cheap grip-shift failed on me. It started slipping and no longer clicked in place.

Never had any decent shifter fail. On 2 occasions I've had 15 and 20 y/o Deore triggers where the downshift paddle stopped catching when it was pressed because grease had gummed up inside. I sprayed them with degreaser and they still work fine.
Amt0571 is online now  
Old 12-02-20, 08:50 AM
  #13  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 14,363

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2705 Post(s)
Liked 884 Times in 642 Posts
Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Mine had the internal mechanism greased from the factory so I doubt it needs periodic re-lube even after rain (rain doesn't wash away grease but oil does!)
Here in the USA we had a TV commercial years ago whose tag line was "pay me now of pay me later". The reference was about maintaining your car's oil (and need to replace the oil filter periodically). Shimano suggests periodic relubing of their indexing shifters. I suggest you do the same. This year we have solvent flushed and relubed a few dozen Shimano shifters that had their factory grease turn to gummy crud that kept the little ratchet pawls from moving freely. Andy (who likes doing this service)
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Likes For Andrew R Stewart:
Old 12-02-20, 08:59 AM
  #14  
HerrKaLeun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 1,883

Bikes: Giant Toughroad SLR1 and Motobecane Sturgis NX

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 883 Post(s)
Liked 205 Times in 154 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Here in the USA we had a TV commercial years ago whose tag line was "pay me now of pay me later". The reference was about maintaining your car's oil (and need to replace the oil filter periodically). Shimano suggests periodic relubing of their indexing shifters. I suggest you do the same. This year we have solvent flushed and relubed a few dozen Shimano shifters that had their factory grease turn to gummy crud that kept the little ratchet pawls from moving freely. Andy (who likes doing this service)
Good point, but does that apply to higher end shifters, like XT, that have sealed bearings (and possibly sealed mechanism)? I'm afraid to open them up to see what is actually exposed.

Maybe I'm wrong, but i was under the impression the higher end shifters being sealed don't need the flushing (since they wouldn't be possible to re-lube through the seals)

Andi if you flush and re-lube from the outside (without opening up), what lube do you squirt in? i assume not a grease like it is from factory.
HerrKaLeun is offline  
Old 12-02-20, 09:25 AM
  #15  
zacster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 7,128

Bikes: Kuota Kredo/Chorus, Trek 7000 commuter, Trek 8000 MTB and a few others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Liked 239 Times in 191 Posts
Time to use the secret Campy handshake!

I also have Campy 10 shifters and they are completely user rebuildable. I did the g-spring a few years ago and it shifted like new afterwards. This was after about 10 years of use. I'll be 75 before I need to do that again and my guess is that if I am still riding I won't be riding it very hard.
zacster is offline  
Old 12-02-20, 04:28 PM
  #16  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 2,870

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 744 Post(s)
Liked 507 Times in 343 Posts
Originally Posted by Ev0lutionz View Post
Just wondering, been using my Shimano 105 flat bar 10 speed shifters for 5 + years. I generally spray in GT85 after every rain ride to keep it smooth.
My only question is how long term is this bike. Chances are you’ll have many more years of shifting, but 10 speed road flat bar shifters are not that common. And Tiagra 4700 10 speed shifters are not compatible.

If you are going to keep this bike and really like your 105’s, you might want to keep an eye out, at least for a rear (right) shifter if one pops up.

Not trying to raise an alarm, and it could be a waste of money, of course there will probably be someone who’ll want them; just a thought.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Old 12-02-20, 04:40 PM
  #17  
Troul 
:D
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 3,005
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 473 Times in 335 Posts
depends how hard the impact is from the first accident.
__________________
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 12-02-20, 07:13 PM
  #18  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 7,705

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2024 Post(s)
Liked 934 Times in 653 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
That question can't be answered.
Ummmm...actually you are very wrong! It is 42 which also happens to be the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything!
veganbikes is offline  
Likes For veganbikes:
Old 12-02-20, 07:43 PM
  #19  
cubewheels
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 1,536

Bikes: A really old BMX bike, Phantom 20 kid's MTB, Jackal Mio Gravel Bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 677 Post(s)
Liked 288 Times in 231 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Here in the USA we had a TV commercial years ago whose tag line was "pay me now of pay me later". The reference was about maintaining your car's oil (and need to replace the oil filter periodically). Shimano suggests periodic relubing of their indexing shifters. I suggest you do the same. This year we have solvent flushed and relubed a few dozen Shimano shifters that had their factory grease turn to gummy crud that kept the little ratchet pawls from moving freely. Andy (who likes doing this service)
Wow, at least, now I have to check the pawls periodically! See if the grease has gummed up.
cubewheels is offline  
Old 12-02-20, 09:17 PM
  #20  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 14,363

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2705 Post(s)
Liked 884 Times in 642 Posts
Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Good point, but does that apply to higher end shifters, like XT, that have sealed bearings (and possibly sealed mechanism)? I'm afraid to open them up to see what is actually exposed.

Maybe I'm wrong, but i was under the impression the higher end shifters being sealed don't need the flushing (since they wouldn't be possible to re-lube through the seals)

Andi if you flush and re-lube from the outside (without opening up), what lube do you squirt in? i assume not a grease like it is from factory.
A few points- Sealed anything, WRT the bike business, is more a marketing tool then an actual ability to have nothing enter (or leave) the internals the seals "isolate". Sure there are close fitting plastic shields and covers. Yes, there are contact o rings, sometimes and labyrinth dust caps. But any moving part will allow some water to enter, and with it the slurry of crap. In the last couple of days I've replaced 3 bike parts that are "sealed" because of exposure/rust internally. So in the shop service world many of us feel that "sealed" only reduces the size of grime/grit that gets into that part, not prevents it. But this is a different issue then mere age.

High end shifter pods are not excused from the aging of lubricants. Yes, the Shimano factory uses a grease in many shifter pod aspects but over the years the oils dry out and the "soap" (the thickening part of greases) is left behind. Yes, after solvent cleaning reinjecting grease into the tiny gaps and layers of the pods is a challenge. One that most don't try. Instead we use a thin oil to initially get to those tiny spaces, add a medium weight oil second (BTW compressed air helps drive in the lube) and maybe smear a thicker grease over the assessable surfaces. An annual replenishment of a light/medium oil will maintain the workings very well.

This is a service that doesn't usually have to be done for a few years but sooner or later it will be needed. When one decides to service the pods is their choice. Many will just react to a problem and not act preventatively. Much like those who in their later years find the motivation to change their lifestyle of their diet after a life challenging "event". Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart

Last edited by Andrew R Stewart; 12-02-20 at 09:21 PM.
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 12-03-20, 03:09 AM
  #21  
JaccoW
Overdoing projects
 
JaccoW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Posts: 1,949

Bikes: Batavus Randonneur GL, Gazelle Orange Excellent, Gazelle Super Licht, Gazelle Grand Tourist, Gazelle Lausanne, Gazelle Tandem, Koga-Miyata SilverAce, Koga-Miyata WorldTraveller

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 644 Post(s)
Liked 622 Times in 397 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Ummmm...actually you are very wrong! It is 42 which also happens to be the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything!
Exactly! But there is a range with varying levels of certainty and exactness.

So anywhere between 2 miles dragging on pavement and 100,000+ miles if ridden like a normal person for a bike with a limited number of gears and high repairability.
Some Sturmey Archer shifters from the 30's are still around.


Source: u/Blakeyardigan93/
JaccoW is offline  
Old 12-03-20, 03:15 AM
  #22  
Amt0571
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Catalonia
Posts: 861

Bikes: Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 8.0, Btwin Ultra 520 AF GF, Dahon Mu P27, Triban Road 7, Benotto 850

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 369 Post(s)
Liked 153 Times in 106 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Ummmm...actually you are very wrong! It is 42 which also happens to be the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything!
Be more specific. 42 what? miles? years? beers?
Amt0571 is online now  
Old 12-03-20, 05:21 AM
  #23  
Pop N Wood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 899

Bikes: 1982 Bianchi Sport SX, Rayleigh Tamland 1, Rans V-Rex recumbent, Fuji MTB, 80's Cannondale MTB with BBSHD ebike motor

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 411 Post(s)
Liked 320 Times in 216 Posts
Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
Be more specific. 42 what? miles? years? beers?
If you don't understand the question how can you possibly understand the answer?
Pop N Wood is offline  
Likes For Pop N Wood:
Old 12-03-20, 02:52 PM
  #24  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 7,705

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2024 Post(s)
Liked 934 Times in 653 Posts
Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
Be more specific. 42 what? miles? years? beers?
Hopefully this will help
veganbikes is offline  
Likes For veganbikes:
Old 12-03-20, 03:06 PM
  #25  
ClydeClydeson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 422
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Liked 149 Times in 109 Posts
Shimano's first ratchet-mechanism shifters, called Rapid Fire were notorious for only lasting a few seasons, especially the cheaper ones like 100GS. THey made LX and XT versions which were better but still didn't last forever. THe next generation of shifters were called Rapid Fire + (basically very similar to the current MTB shifters with a thumb lever and trigger both under the bar) and these lasted much longer. Around the same time the introduced the first STI levers ('brifters') which are almost identical to modern STI levers, except for 7 or 8 speed instead of 11 or 12. The first few generations of these weren't perfect either, but over time the reliability has increased greatly. There is no reason why a modern set of STI levers won't last for decades or regular use. THe two problems that still pop up on the modern versions are failure due to the grease in the ratchet mechanism hardening over time, especially if the bike is stored in a cold place in the winter, and cables breaking in a way that jams up the mechanism inside the shifter.

Aside from those two known issues, whenever I hear someone say their bike isn't shifting well because they "need new shifters", my immediate response is 'no you don't'. As long as the mechanism isn't gummed up and the cable is intact, Shimano shifters are extremely reliable, and shifting problems are almost always caused by something else (cable friction, der. hanger alignment, etc).

I have much less experience with SRAM and Campy shifters, but they are also, as far as I know, very very reliable for years.
ClydeClydeson is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.