I have SRAM X5 Shifters like this one:

SRAM X5 Shifter

The indicator is now showing the gear above the one I'm actually in, so if like the picture it shows a 2 I would actually be in 1 (the smallest chainring), a 3 showing means I'm on the middle chainring and no indicator means I'm on the biggest chainring.

I've tried searching for tutorials on overhauling the shifter in the hopes that these would include the gear indicator but all of the ones I've found seem to deal only with the actual shifter part of the array and not the indicator.

Does anyone know if it is possible to fix the gear indicator? Can you point me towards (or give me a run through) of how to go about fixing it if it's possible to do so?

Other than showing the wrong gear everything else about the shifter works fine.

  • I've had a similar problem, I'd like to know the answer as well. Sep 1, 2010 at 14:18

5 Answers 5


I don't know if you're still having this problem, but this could be useful for others, so I'll go ahead and answer it.

To be honest I wouldn't bother trying to fix a gear indicator, especially a front one. It's not difficult to remember which chainring you're in and opening up the shifter is definitely going to invite problems for inexperienced mechanics.

What Chris said is probably wrong: the gear indicator will not be affected by cable stretch.

The above notwithstanding, this is a very easy problem to remedy.

1) Shift the chain to the lowest chainring (least cable tension).

1.5) Slide the shifter off of the bar if possible. (This step is not strictly neccesary, but I find it makes things easier.)

2) There should be a number of small allen key heads around the top of the shifter. Undo these and carefully remove the top cover of the shifter. Take a picture of the internals in case anything falls out.

3) The top cover is composed of the cover and the bar clamp (which contains the gear indicator). All of the working parts are contained in the lower part of the shifter. In the middle of all of these you will see a cog which is raised up and doesn't appear to mesh with anything. This is what drives the indicator. On the underside of the top cover you will see a toothed strip of plastic: this is the indicator. Slide it with your finger to '1' (which is where you should have shifted to at the start).

4) Put the top cover back on and put the shifter back on the bar.

  • I haven't sorted out the problem. Instead I bought a 2nd hand road bike on eBay and will eventually get round to selling this one on there. Good answer, it's the sort of info I was looking for originally.
    – Amos
    Jul 6, 2011 at 16:00
  • Late answers are still useful, even if just to mother people. Better to have the answer up here so future searches have useful info. Thanks Tadhg Sheehan!
    – Мסž
    Jul 7, 2011 at 3:10

Your derailleur cable is probably stretched. It happens normally on newer bikes. Take it to your local bike shop and it'll just take them a minute to fix it. They'll probably even do it for free to get your future business.

  • Is it something I can fix myself easily then? Or does it require some esoteric knowledge which Local Bike shop owners gain through years of study?
    – Amos
    Sep 2, 2010 at 20:32
  • Haha. You can do it if you want. Trace the cable from your shifter to your derailleur where it's held in place by an anchor bolt. Loosen the bolt, pull the cable tighter, and tighten it back. If it doesn't work right yet then you need to pull it tighter. Sounds easier than it is. Go ahead and try it though. As long as you're just doing that you can't mess up anything a bike shop can't fix easily if you give up.
    – Chris Leon
    Sep 2, 2010 at 20:44
  • Considering I've had the gear cable off the derailleur at least 4 times since the indicator slipped, and that my derailleur is meant for a 47.5mm chainline, and I'm running it temporarily on a crankset with a 50.0 chainline by pulling the cable tight (forcing the bottom position to the right) I don't think that'll work.
    – Amos
    Sep 5, 2010 at 15:35

This seems like an example of 'if it's broke, don't fix it'... I understand how it might be bothersome or annoying, but modern shifters such as these are relatively complex and can be easily 'messed-up'.

That said, the best solution I could find is the manufacturer's maintenance manuals, which is somewhat lacking. Unfortunately I don't think there are many people who've worked on this specific shifter that can answer your question.

  • I was worried that might be the case, but I'm hoping someone might have a solution. Unfortunately the link you gave, goes to a page which doesn't have my shifter on it. The docs for the X5 can be found here: sram.com/en/service/sram/view.php?catID=1&subcatID=6 but they don't have anything about the indicator.
    – Amos
    Sep 2, 2010 at 16:01

Crack open the shifter. There are four screws holding it together.

Be careful to not displace the springs. If you do move the main one, it is meant to be attached over the cable router and within a small hole in the white plastic near the centre.

As for correcting your perceived problem. In general there is a white strip with sprockets. Move the white strip as you see fit. You can test the location as you go along to see where it is at.

All that being said, I agree with previous posters, if it ain't really broke don't fix it. I wouldn't open the shifter if I didn't really have to.


I agree with Chris Leon, if the shifting mechanism is functioning properly, this is just a cable tension issue. You can adjust the derailleur cable yourself or if it's a new bike the shop will generally do free adjustment at 30 days. I have often overtightened my front derailleur cable and had to back it off. It's actually a pretty good project to work on if you're interested in servicing the bike yourself. You can do it!

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