I have the old style gear lever - simple metal stick thing? Use a screwdriver to tighten up the screw on the outside to change the 'tightness' of the lever.

Trouble is it always comes loose again.

Can this be fixed or I need another type of lever?

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  • First, take it apart and clean it, but resist the temptation to lubricate the parts before reassembling. Then, if the screw still has a tendency to work loose, take the screw out and put a very small drop of "Loctite" on the threads. Be sure to use the "removable" (blue) variety. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


Those are "stem shifters"

Problem is its not just a simple bolt. There are washers in there that do the actual gripping and it sounds like they may be dirty or worn to not be holding so well.

If you're handy, take it apart completely, clean with solvent or citrus cleaner, and then reassemble in the reverse order. Take lots of photos to assist with rebuilding.

If you're after a quick fix, take out the screw/bolt, squirt some "locktite" on the threads and reinstall. Leave it a day to harden and then ride like normal. Superglue (cyanoacrilate) can be used instead in a pinch.

  • 1
    Usually the reason they are slipping is that someone (maybe before the OP owned the bike) took apart the stem shifter and in putting it back together, either lost or put the friction washers in the wrong way.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 6:18
  • I refurbed one that had been oiled, so of course it slipped back :-\
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 8:51
  • 1
    I had crappy stem shifters on my Peugeot. I asked my LBS if they had any better ones and they gave me a set of gorgeous vintage campy balanced stem shifters from their junk box for free. Then again, I was a long-term patron. Balanced ones are the best as they have an internal spring that counteracts the spring tension from the derailleur.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 17:34

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