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Poor shifting after being caught in downpour

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Poor shifting after being caught in downpour

Old 10-01-15, 10:33 AM
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Gnosis
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Poor shifting after being caught in downpour

On 09-29-2015, I got caught in a downpour on the way back from my 71.177 mile ride. The last 16 miles were in the downpour. Long before I arrived home, my bike and I were horribly filthy! For instance, the exposed portions of my white cotton socks were completely blacked by the road crud and muddy puddles on portions of the Schuylkill River Trail that I was riding. But it was only 4 or 5 miles into the downpour that my trigger shifters were no longer shifting properly and they became progressively more difficult (requiring excessive force) to shift to the larger rear cogs and shifts to smaller rear cogs had become horribly delayed and finally not shifting at all by one position (requiring multiple shifts to even smaller cogs then a forceful return to the larger desired cog).

For the prior 3,500 miles, the bike had shifted flawlessly and was doing so until those first 4 to 5 miles in the downpour, so I knew it had to be crud in the cables and possibly the swivel points of the rear derailleur. So after I arrived home that day, I doused the bike with a few buckets of water to remove the unsightly crud from the bike, then dried it off. I started by re-oiling the swivels of the rear derailleur (an Acera RD-M360) and its jockey and idler wheels and though this helped somewhat, shifting issues still werenít resolved (though there was a slight improvement). I knew the cable would be the sore spot, so thatís why I did it last (I wanted to see how much improvement could be achieved by re-oiling the derailleur). Almost as soon as I sprayed some WD-40 down the last portion of the cable housing, shifting reverted back to the precision I was accustomed to.

Iíve repetitively told people that THIS is precisely why I hate riding in the rain. Actually, the rain cooled me off and it felt good (though I hated all the mud and road grit that my entire body had accumulated (and I was from head to toe disgusting). But itís having to deal with poor shifting due to the rain and having to clean up the entire bike (and myself) afterward that I really detest especially since I had just cleaned the entire bike several days prior, so here I was doing it again. I was ďhopingĒ that Iíd arrive home before the downpour. Apparently, ďhopeĒ has little sway in my life. 

On a good note, I had no problem actuating the disc brakes because I had upgraded to hydraulic disc brakes back in 2013. But I will say this; I much prefer V-Brakes in the rain, as the discs arenít as immediately effective as are my V-Brake equipped bikes. However, on long steep mountain descents in dry weather, I much prefer the hydraulic disc brakes.
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Old 10-01-15, 10:52 AM
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Do you use something a little thicker than WD40 for lubrication? It does wash away easily.
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Old 10-01-15, 10:53 AM
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indyfabz
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I have my cables changed every 12 to 18 months. And don't do any touring outside of a consistently dry climate if you hate a dirty bike.
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Old 10-01-15, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by SpikedLemon View Post
Do you use something a little thicker than WD40 for lubrication? It does wash away easily.
I think he was just using the WD-40 to displace the water in the line. (Which is what it's made for.)

With that said, I'd recommend some heavier lube for the lines to try to stave off water incursion in the future. (I know they say you're not supposed to lube new cable housings, but I still will on bikes that have slightly older (but still new style) housing.)
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Old 10-01-15, 01:19 PM
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Gnosis
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
I think he was just using the WD-40 to displace the water in the line. (Which is what it's made for.)...
Precisely. I don’t like to lube cables until it’s required. They’ve been completely dry cables for the past 3,500 miles and worked smoothly until that exceptionally dirty and lengthy downpour. The WD-40 washed a lot of dirt out of the housing and it’s shifting normally again.
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Old 10-01-15, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Gnosis View Post
I don’t like to lube cables until it’s required. They’ve been completely dry cables for the past 3,500 miles
I'm not sure I understand.
Do you not lube your cables?
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Old 10-01-15, 03:08 PM
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Good to know.
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Old 10-06-15, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SpikedLemon View Post
I'm not sure I understand.
Do you not lube your cables?
No, I don’t typically lube my cables. I tend to (somewhat amazingly in most cases though not so amazingly this last time - LOL) avoid being caught in the rain, so dry cables have always worked fine so long as the cable isn’t frayed or kink-damaged. I’ve only had to lube them when I’ve been caught in the worst downpours and dirty conditions. But I first try to clean them out using WD-40 and if they work fine after that, no lube is necessary. The WD-40 was sufficient to restore its precise, easy shifting this time. I’ve found that lubricants tend to attract dirt and require more frequent cleaning of the cables.
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Old 10-06-15, 03:47 PM
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Well there is the reason to NOT use deraillers on a TOUR bike.
Rohloff 14 or nothing for me. Not using a chain case thru muck isn't too bright either.
I never really thought about those partially open cables needing lube either.
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