View Full Version : Shifting after handlebar changes

12-04-2012, 02:09 PM
Newbie bike-fiddler-around-with question. I lowered my handlebars one spacer over the weekend. Rear shifting has gone to crap. What did I do? Does this have to do with cable length? With the new bar position, the cable length needs to be changed? Or did I mess up something else? Iíve actually fiddled around quite a bit with handlebars and STI placement since I got this bike, and this is the first time Iíve noticed any kind of problem after making a change. Front shifting and both brakes are still working fine. If I get my LBS to fix things (Iíll stop by later this week), and then in a few weeks decide to try out a longer stem, or drop the bars another spacer width, am I going to screw things right back up again?

12-04-2012, 02:14 PM
As long as you don't change the housing or cable length there should be no issue. Lowering the handlebars could lead to bending the cable and housing so that the cable does not move freely in the housing. In this case, you may need to shorten both the housing and cable.

12-04-2012, 02:43 PM
Lowering by one spacer really shouldn't change anything all that much. Perhaps the cable housing was already a tight fit.

12-04-2012, 03:04 PM
Similar to what DS said, if your housing is old you *can* move it from a low internal friction point to a high friction point (gunk in the housing) by messing with routing. How long since the last cable/housing change?

12-04-2012, 04:10 PM
How long since the last cable/housing change?

Probably never. I bought it used off craigslist over the summer. The lady who sold it to me said she bought it in 2008, though I think it’s actually a 2007 or maybe 2006 (fairly minor lie for craigslist probably). I’ve had the LBS give it a tuneup, but iirc, the front shifter cable was the only thing they replaced.

I can’t think of anything else I might have done. No other tinkering, crashes, etc. I did fix a rear flat a couple weeks ago, maybe I could have bumped something back there taking the wheel off or on, but I had ridden it since then without a problem (though admittedly not much due to some minor surgery last week).

12-04-2012, 09:53 PM
First thing I might check is that the rear wheel is snug in the dropouts and centered in the frame. if the wheel is cocked the shifting can be off.

If it is and the problem started with fiddling with the stem. Did the cable sleeve get pulled out of a socket? Do you have microadjusters on the cables that might have been turned while you were fiddling with the stem? Is something like a light or computer mount clamped over a cable?
Look at the chain with it going over one of the middle sprocket. Does it look like it is right in the middle of the gear? if not you might try turning the cable ajuster so it is then testing the shifting again. Be sure to check the stops to keep the chain from dropping inside the cassette and munching the spokes. (that is if you dork disk is somehow missing)

12-05-2012, 08:24 PM

Lemme know if you need help with your steed. I will be on duty at the Pro Shop in Gtown tomorrow pretty much all day.

12-06-2012, 01:32 PM
Thanks for the offer, I'm not in the georgetown vicinity though. Wheel looks pretty stable and secure. I'm not working tomorrow, so I'll stop by the shop and have the guys fix it for me.

12-15-2012, 10:00 AM
Just to follow-up-- I did take it to the shop. He spent about 5 minutes with it total. The cable was a bit loose, he said. Also, my *front* tire (not the one I’d taken off, or anything to do with the rear shifting) was not quite snug. In retrospect, I had thought I felt a bit wobbly here and there, but attributed it to the rider, not the bike. He didn’t charge me anything, fixed the bike up, asked me to be sure I know how my quick-release skewers work.

But OH MY does the bike ride smooth now, just glides. I guess it had gotten slightly off gradually enough that I hadn’t noticed. I now think I need to take the bikes in to the shop every month or two just on GP, whether I think there’s anything wrong with them or not.

thanks for all the suggestions. i guess the answer is-- when in doubt, have a bike mechanic look at your bike.

12-15-2012, 12:55 PM
Good to know your ride is good to go. Bicycles are very simple machines to maintain but taking it to your LBS for a safety inspection makes a big difference in the ride and feel of it.