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Ultegra 9 speed shifters junk?

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Ultegra 9 speed shifters junk?

Old 06-09-23, 06:46 AM
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beicster 
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Ultegra 9 speed shifters junk?

I have had three Ultegra 9 speed rear brifters crap out on me. Fortunately, I have not paid too much for any of them. The issue with all three has been something breaking. It is not just about them being gunked up and reluctant to move. Have I had an unusual run of bad luck or is this common with Ultegra 9 speed brifters? Do the 9 speed 105 or Dura Ace brifters have the same problem? Would I be better off with a new MicroShift lever? I am currently back to bar end shifters which I like, but I would prefer brifters.

Thanks,
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Old 06-09-23, 10:09 AM
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I have used 7700 Dura Ace and 4400 Tiagra over the last 20 years on 3 different bicycles. I have not had a problem with any of them & I am horrible about keeping up with maintenance.
Actually the front DA shifter did crap out 15 years ago. Found another used one on eBay.
So not perfect luck.
When I hear of failures I always suspect the shifter to be abused in some way. Forced shifting without the chain moving and the a like.
I see many people new to cycling attempting to to do that type thing.
Another observation comparing DA to Tiagra is that DA is extremely crisp in shifting but that same crispness tends to go out of alignment much easier. Tiagra has more of a sloppy feel but it is not so finicky to falling out of adjustment.
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Old 06-09-23, 10:13 AM
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teejaywhy
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Originally Posted by beicster
...Fortunately, I have not paid too much for any of them...
Assumedly, you bought these used? Well used it seems.
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Old 06-09-23, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by teejaywhy
Assumedly, you bought these used? Well used it seems.
That is correct. Do you have experience with Ultegra 9 speed brifters lasting a long time?
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Old 06-09-23, 11:38 AM
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Generic (Microshift, L-TWOO, Sensah) 9 speed brifters are pretty cheap (under $50) & easy to source these days, some even have hidden cable routing under the bar tape.

Quality may not be Shimano, but operation & durability likely better than 20+ y-o brifters.

I've used MicroShift on my spare road bikes for more than 12 years (replaced Ultegra ST-6500), crisp shifting, bulky looks, but never had a problem; I'd say they are better than 20+ y-o Ultegra for sure.
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Old 06-09-23, 12:03 PM
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There have been some failures experienced with these shifters. The earlier versions (6500, 6501) were more prone to some issues. The later 6510 version did improve the design that reduces the issues. Still not fool-proof but improved.

The well-known issue of contaminated/hardened grease affecting pawls. Additionally, the early version had problems with the screw/nut in a couple of places loosening and allowing things to get out of alignment. As users continue to try to' force the shifts', excessive force is applied or applied in poor direction because of misalignment, and further damages parts.

Like all products, defects happen, I've seen a few 65xx shifters with parts that were defective, (broken B arm, bent or broken spring, cracked shift plate). Also, have seen a few that were not assembled well, (spring not properly seated, locknut/screw not torqued properly).

Have you tried investigating further? There are some guides on doing a partial disassembly that will allow you to get a better view of what is going on. If a part is not broken, it may be repairable.
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Old 06-09-23, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by KCT1986
There have been some failures experienced with these shifters. The earlier versions (6500, 6501) were more prone to some issues. The later 6510 version did improve the design that reduces the issues. Still not fool-proof but improved.

The well-known issue of contaminated/hardened grease affecting pawls. Additionally, the early version had problems with the screw/nut in a couple of places loosening and allowing things to get out of alignment. As users continue to try to' force the shifts', excessive force is applied or applied in poor direction because of misalignment, and further damages parts.

Like all products, defects happen, I've seen a few 65xx shifters with parts that were defective, (broken B arm, bent or broken spring, cracked shift plate). Also, have seen a few that were not assembled well, (spring not properly seated, locknut/screw not torqued properly).

Have you tried investigating further? There are some guides on doing a partial disassembly that will allow you to get a better view of what is going on. If a part is not broken, it may be repairable.
Thanks for the info. I found broken springs in all three when I took them apart. I am comfortable with most bike maintenance tasks but I donít have the fine motor skills to manipulate all those tiny parts.
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Old 06-09-23, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cat0020
Generic (Microshift, L-TWOO, Sensah) 9 speed brifters are pretty cheap (under $50) & easy to source these days, some even have hidden cable routing under the bar tape.

Quality may not be Shimano, but operation & durability likely better than 20+ y-o brifters.

I've used MicroShift on my spare road bikes for more than 12 years (replaced Ultegra ST-6500), crisp shifting, bulky looks, but never had a problem; I'd say they are better than 20+ y-o Ultegra for sure.
Thanks the info. I may check out the Microshift.
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Old 06-09-23, 07:24 PM
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Under $30 for right 9 spd brifter or $50 for the set is not bad: https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256803138921526.html
or
Shimano brifters look-a-like under $50 a set: https://www.aliexpress.us/item/2255800913897161.html
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Old 06-09-23, 07:30 PM
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I remember back in the day-they would double shift when you clicked the front derailleur. Probably related to what KCT1986 said.
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Old 06-09-23, 08:01 PM
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A new or used DA 9sp shifter can cost a mint!
I planned to list a very nice right 7700-C on eBay soon.
My research shows these going for $150 in this kind of condition.
I'm sitting on a gold mine!
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Old 06-09-23, 09:46 PM
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KCT1986
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Originally Posted by beicster
Thanks for the info. I found broken springs in all three when I took them apart. I am comfortable with most bike maintenance tasks but I donít have the fine motor skills to manipulate all those tiny parts.
Unfortunate to hear that you have broken springs. Seen that before. You must just put too many miles on your bike.

With the millions of these made during the many years these series were put into service, some are still going about 20 years after production. Guess that there were some design weaknesses in these. These were still reasonably early in the brifter era.
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Old 06-11-23, 03:38 AM
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Anything mint regarding dura ace 7700 or ultegra 6500 can be expensive but well maintained those will last decades. I have seen people still using DA 7700 and Ultegra 6500 on their race bikes
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Old 09-07-23, 11:34 AM
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20-26 yrs ago I had 3 successive sets of Shimano Ultegra or 105 8spd brifters fail in the range of 1500 to 4000 miles.
All failed in the ratchet, ie at some point you lose indexing from 5-6-7 or 6-7-8 smaller cogs. Elaborate clean outs
and lubes did not revive. On transition to 9 spd had one such failure over several generations of same and the
10 spds have been very reliable. DA 10 spd on the tandem is still going strong at 25k+ miles. My 11spd 105 and
Ultegra are holding up fine at 15k+ on each bike.
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Old 09-14-23, 08:33 AM
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I have DA 7700 brifters on both of my "good" road bikes (89 Eddy Merckx, and 92 Paramount). Both bikes shift perfectly after 1000's of miles ridden. My wife's Cannondale R500 had 9-speed 6700 Ultegra brifters for many years without any issues before she sold it, and my son has had my old Cannondale R900 with 9-speed Ultegra 6700 brifters as his college bike since 2017 which has had thousands of brutal inner-city Baltimore miles over the past 6+ years. Before he used it as his college bike, I raced crits and did team training rides with this bike for 7 or 8 years before that. Never had any failures of any of these brifters over many thousands of miles, and nearly 20 years of regular use.

So not junk in my humble opinion.

Last edited by Keefusb; 09-14-23 at 08:42 AM.
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