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Shimano twist grip shifter on Apollo Neo 6 girls bike. I bought this bike 6 months ago for my 7 year old.

shifter

After getting it serviced at 99 Bikes the shifter was so stiff my daughter couldn’t change from the 2nd gear into the first. Took it back & the mechanic checked it & said it was normal. I insisted on him replacing the gear cable but… no change. I flooded the handlebar twist grip with lube but no change. Went back to the shop and the same guy said nothing wrong and that’s how those shifters work. I demonstrated that my daughter couldn’t access the first gear. Seriously, it requires a very firm grip and a firm twist even for an adult. Now I’m quoted $100 to replace the shifter with a thumb shifter. My daughter is normal strong for a kid. Is this a design fault or a mechanic needing replacement?

shifter again

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    I spent a bit of time digging, and there are several topics here about very stiff RevoShift grips, which indicates that they either are designed to be like that, or it is a very common fault, and quite possibly not of the mechanics making. – Andy P Jan 31 at 10:20
  • These are all over the place, in terms of ease of operation, from quite easy to impossibly stiff. But if it worked before the service they screwed something up. My first suspicion is usually a rusty cable, but if that's been eliminated you'll just have to go through the entire list of possibilities. (If their "service" involved replacing the cable then I'd suspect it was not installed back in the shifter correctly. The routing is not always obvious.) – Daniel R Hicks Jan 31 at 12:55
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    BTW, if this shop can't fix it you should find another shop, and never visit this one again. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 31 at 12:56
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    Geoff, would you please clarify: Your daughter was able to shift before the service? We inferred that from what you wrote, but I've not read it directly in your question. – gschenk Jan 31 at 15:52
  • Does it work well if you disconnect the cable from the derailer by loosening the clamp screw? – Tooniis Aug 15 at 12:06
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As per AndyP’s comment, I have also heard anecdotally that these styles of shifters can be stiff for children’s hands, but then again some thumb push trigger shifters can feel quite stiff to my adult thumbs.

As you mention it is most difficult for your daughter to access first gear, I would investigate or have the shop check the Lower Limit screw on the derailleur. If this is set a fraction too tight then the shifter is trying to pull tension against this limit. If this screw is set too tight then the shop should adjust it to the correct position as part of the labour you’ve already paid for. It’s probably only a fraction of a turn.

Otherwise, changing to a trigger shifter unit needn’t be very expensive, but I would try models out and find which suits your daughter’s hand strength the best. if you’re quoting AUD price then maybe it includes the part cost and a minimum labour charge and that’s how much it costs to have work done on bikes where you are.

It has been suggested by an anonymous edit, from a person who had a similar problem, to double check the cable placement at the derailleur fixing bolt. For example this extract from the Shimano Tourney Dealer's manual enter image description here

  • Indeed, it seems likely that lower limit screw or cable tension adjustment could make a difference here. Even if it is currently set correctly "by the book", it might make sense to make it a bit looser to reduce the force needed. – jpa Jan 31 at 12:40
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I assume your daughter was able to operate the gears fine before the bike was serviced. In that case, the shop broke your bike and it's absolutely their responsibility to fix it. Since you've had no joy from the mechanic, I suggest you speak to the manager about it: your key contention is that your daughter could operate the bike before they worked on it, and now she can't.

Unfortunately, if they still refuse to do anything about it, you probably can't do much more than leave bad reviews, and go to another bike shop: it's unlikely to be financially viable to sue, for example. I'd also note that $100 sounds like a lot of money to replace a low-end Shimano shifter, assuming you mean US dollars. The shifter itself costs $15-20, and fitting it shouldn't be anything close to $80 worth of labour.

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The fact that the shifter was operable before the service implies something was changed in the set up of the shifter or derailleur that has made it stiff.

You can do some quick checks to see if the shifter itself is stiff, or the cable or derailleur are preventing it from moving somehow.

With the shifter in the top gear, hold the rear wheel off the ground, pedal, and manually push the derailleur cage towards 1st gear (you'll probably need someone to help you do this, and be careful not to catch you fingers in the chain). The derailleur should go all the way to first gear easily.

With the derailleur pushed all the way to first gear - which takes all the tension out of the cable - does the shifter turn more easily?

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My suggestion:

See if the cable routing at the derailleur has been changed - sharp turns / kinks could affect the shifting.

I'd also take a look at page 9 of this dealer document:

https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/dm/DM-SL0002-03-ENG.pdf

While this may not be the identical shifter, and the adjustment procedure describe pertains to the front, cable tension might be a factor for the rear, as well. Keep in mind that adjusting cable tension may change the indexing (where it cleanly shifts into gear), so you may need to adjust this as well.

You may want to pick this up, too: https://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Complete-Bicycle-Maintenance-Repair/dp/160529487X

Very useful book, has saved me hundreds of dollars doing my own routine maintenance, and not having to run to the shop for every minor thing.

Best of luck - let us know how it goes!

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