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The gear cable was badly frayed in the handle system, where it bends through 90 deg. I had to cut it to remove the cable...but in doing so, the tip with the cable end (about 10mm long), has moved on round the corner and on into the lower part of the handle where it is very inaccessible. I am able to get hold of the cable end with pliers but unable to pull it back, even with the gear changer set in it's highest gear because the nipple is stopping it. Any ideas? Do bike engineers in UK shops take these brifter gear levers apart or do they just advise replacement?

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If I understand correctly, you have access to the end of the cable coming out of the shifter, but not the end inside the shifter, with the metal cylinder. To get access to the cylinder end, you need to pull on the cable end with pliers and then click through the gears until it is in what would be the smallest cog. At this point, you should be able to peel back the hood to grab the cylinder (maybe with needle nose pliers or a sharp spoke) to pull it through.

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I've done this with a RSX shifter. It was a full on dismantle and rebuild to get the mushroom out, because it had wedged and the wire stubs splayed out stopping it from shaking loose.

The real solution is to periodically change your gear inner cables when using brifters. If shifting starts getting really tenuous, that's your warning to change the inner.

Do check out Disassembling Shimano integrated gear shifters (brifters) and STI shifter sometimes doesn't catch in cooler weather

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    If shifting starts getting really tenuous Unfortunately, the first-generation "hidden shiter cable" Shimano STI shifters (Ultegra's 6700, 105's 5700) have the shift cable make a rather sharp bend from where the cable housing ends on the top of the unit down into the shifter mechanism inside. The cable frays there, but sometimes the fraying doesn't impact shifting, which means you have no warning. Later versions of the shifters have the shift cable enter from the inner side of the shifter body. I don't have enough time on the later versions to comment on the effectiveness of that change. – Andrew Henle Feb 25 at 10:29
  • (cont) but since this appears to be one of the later 11-speed shifters, it likely has a similar problem. – Andrew Henle Feb 25 at 10:30
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    IME it can go from "that's odd, it needs adjusting and I only did it a week ago" to snapped in the course of a single ride (of <100km). I've snapped 2 rear cables on my Sora setup this way. This is likely to be the same failure point that @AndrewHenle points out. – Chris H Feb 25 at 15:47

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