Biking : Fixing a click shifter

The scout troop that I help lead is going on a 3 day 150 mile bike ride in July. Since our first warm-up ride was going to be today, I decided I should get a bike.

I found a used Diamondback Sorento on Craigslist for $65 on Craigslist, knowing that it would probably need a little bit of TLC to be fully functioning.

Diamondback Sorento
Diamondback Sorento

The main problem was that the front shifter didn’t work. It has the two lever thumb-click style shifter. Something about the ratchet mechanism wasn’t working. Both levers moved, and moving them would move the derailleur, but without the ratcheting, they wouldn’t stay put. So I did what any logical person would do the night before a big ride. I tore it apart.

Disassembled shifter
Disassembled shifter

It turned out that the grease inside had hardened so that the springs pushing against the ratchet pieces weren’t strong enough to push them into place. I cleaned out the grease and applied a liberal dose of WD-40. With the WD-40 the pieces all moved smoothly, the only problem was getting it all back together.

I assembled it 6 or 8 times before I had the layers all in the right order and all the springs catching in the correct holes. It’s amazing to me that someone could just imagine such a system and design it from scratch. Even knowing that it worked and knowing that I had all the pieces, it was still like assembling a 3d jigsaw puzzle where the pieces don’t want to stay where they should (because of the springs).

Still, it all came back together in the end.

Shifter assembled back together
Shifter assembled back together
Another view of the shifter assembled back together
Another view of the shifter assembled back together

I’m not going to say that it worked flawlessly, but it did work. I still need to do a bit of tuning so that the ratchet positions correspond correctly to the positions of the gears. It worked well enough though on the 12 mile ride we took today on the Mississippi River trail, and I sure appreciated having my lower gears on a couple of the hills.

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One Response to Biking : Fixing a click shifter

  1. Dad says:

    Wow. You’re amazing, but you know that already.
    You sure got a lot of talent from your mom!!!

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