enter image description hereI'm a beginner and I'm working on a bike. I'm trying to fix the shifting gears. I'm holding the shifter cable where it comes out of the housing by the front derailleur and I feel no change in tension from gears 3-5. At 1 and 2 I do feel a change and it is difficult to shift to those positions. It's a shimano grip shifter. I'm following Park Tools "How to adjust a derailleur" but am hitting a problem shifting from 5 to 4. It doesn't shift and no amount of rotations of the barrel adjuster seems to resolve. I just noticed that if I hold the brake cable where it comes out of the shift I do feel the tension change.

Is this a problem in the grip shifter? It seems backwards, shouldn't 4-5 be difficult to shift, as that should tighten the shift cable? I did take the shifter off to inspect so maybe I didn't put it back on right. It seems kind of dummy proof as I only saw one way to put it back together.

I've added a pic of the inside of the grip shifter. Here is another noob question. There are only 3 teeth, how do three teeth make for five gears?

Thanks for any help!

  • One speed is all the way clockwise, and one all the way CCW. As to "difficult to shift", twist shifters are always difficult to shift. But it sounds like your main problem is that the cable needs adjusting. Screw the barrel adjuster most of the way in, then unclamp the cable at the derailer and pull it as tight as you can. Apr 21, 2018 at 12:12
  • Derailleurs have two types of behavior -- slack cable being the smallest cog and slack cable being the largest cog. The former is more common [ the latter derailleurs usually are marked rapid rise]. As for dealing with a grip shift, my advice is to spend the 5 bucks and get a thumb friction shifter or something. But you likely have to do some cable tension adjustment.
    – Batman
    Apr 21, 2018 at 15:17
  • There is a raised rib on the inside of the housing where you can see notches for gears 2, 3 and 4. The ends of that rib are where gears 1 and 5 are. Apr 21, 2018 at 16:24
  • @Tim Could you tell us which model of grip shifter that is? Model number might be printed/molded in raised small letters on the underside of the shifter body. Mine for example are SL-RS25.
    – compton
    Apr 21, 2018 at 21:18
  • 1
    @compton I see the following on the shifter: SRAM Max Comp, it says Bandix on the rubber part. There are also printed letters: L08OCT10 and under that 24-55-1. Does that make sense?
    – Tim
    Apr 22, 2018 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


You probably need to check that the shifter is working properly, then set up the derailleur. The problem might be that the cable head is not quite seated in the shifter.

Disconnect the cable from the derailleur. Find a place to grab the cable where it is exposed - the downtube is usually a good spot. Tension the cable manually and work the shifter, you should feel it moving the cable for all gear shifts. If it's hard to feel the cable moving, stick a 'flag' of tape on it and a marker of tape on the frame so you can see the relative movement.

Once you are convinced the cable is being moved by the shifter properly, check the cable/housing run. Everything needs to be firmly seated in place.

Something else to check at this point is that the derailleur limit screws are adjusted properly and that the derailleur can make it onto all sprockets. Manually push the derailleur while pedaling the crank by hand (be careful not to catch your fingers though). If the derailleur will not go onto all sprockets adjust the limit screws - the Park Tool process should tell you how to do that.

When you re-attach the cable to the derailleur:

  • Make sure the shifter is in the highest gear (assuming 'high normal' derailleur) or has let out the maximum amount of cable
  • Barrel adjusters are screwed all the way (or at least 90%) in
  • Pull the cable tight to get rid of any slack

You should find the shifter moves the cable nearly immediately as you select the second higher gear. You can then go through the Park Tool derailleur setup process.

  • Okay, so I unscrewed the bolt for the cable to the derailleur. I left it in the 5th gear, screwed in the barrel adjuster, and pulled the cable tight. We have progress. Now I can change from 5 to 4 and 4 to 3. I cannot reach 2 or 1. I can't even push the derailleur with my hand to get it to reach 2 or 1. I am also unable to get to 4th from 3rd gear but it will slip from 3rd to 5th gear.
    – Tim
    Apr 22, 2018 at 15:25
  • Check the low limit screw, and for something blocking the derailleur movement. Apr 22, 2018 at 16:46
  • It was the low limit screw, I can make it 2nd now. I think I can live without hitting 1st gear. There are no hills in Antwerp :) Thanks for your help!
    – Tim
    Apr 22, 2018 at 18:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.