My gear shifters (c. 2000 Shimano XT) will not shift to the bigger cogs (higher cable tension). Pushing the shift lever doesn't move the indicator past about half way so I can't reach the big cog on the front, or the lower gears at the back, it just doesn't click up into the next gear.

The bike is about 16 years old, so I'm guessing something in the shifters has worn out, but I thought I'd ask here in case there's something I missed and they're repairable!

  • Have you tried adjusting the limit screws? Is the cable frozen (from corrosion, etc)? Have you adjusted the barrel adjusters? Oct 15, 2016 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


I went to my local bike shop and they advised me to open up the shifters and give them a good spray inside with wd40, since it could be caused by the internals getting clogged up with dirt and grease.

This worked great and I can reach all the gears now, just need a little adjustment and then I'm good to go!

The bike shop was Ralph Colemans Cycles in Taunton, very helpful staff!

  • I've had that happen on my Winter beater bike before too. Amazing how much that mud and salt build-up in the grease can restrict movement! Oct 15, 2016 at 18:13
  • Although WD-40 is an adequate choice for dissolving congealed oils inside the shifter (many better options are available), it's best to use a lubricant after its application. Something like tri-flow works quite well. Oct 15, 2016 at 20:32
  • That is indeed a great shop, their servicing is very good value too.
    – John M
    Oct 21, 2016 at 12:53

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