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I was riding and noticed that I wasn't getting to the two or three smallest gears. Shifting along the eight or nine largest gears were fine though.

I checked the limiters and the cable tension and that was fine. After a lot of adjustment, I still couldn't get the full range. I then realized that I was only getting 9 clicks out of the shifter when instead I was expecting 10 clicks. Additionally, the first click (from no tension) didn't add any tension to the cable at all. I tried this with the cable off the derailleur and using a pair of pliers to manually pull on the cable.

Is my shifter fried?

  • Have you pulled the cable out of the shifter to check it isn’t frayed at that end? Do it carefully to avoid the tip coming out the housing – Swifty May 30 at 18:47
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    I've seen this a lot from the 9000/6800/5800 generation of shifters. It's almost always a frayed cable inside the shifter. If ignored for much longer, then the cable is likely to snap inside the shifter leaving you stuck in the 11 tooth cog. – Carbon side up Jun 2 at 11:38
  • @Carbonsideup It happens on 5700/6700 10-speed shifters, too. I'll assume it also happens on DuraAce 10-speed shifter-cable-under-bar-tape shifters, but I don't have personal experience with those. – Andrew Henle Jul 1 at 10:03
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You’ve taken the derailleur out of the system and still see the problem, next thing I would do is replace the cable. They have a bad habit of getting chewed up by the shifter and misbehaving, but you can’t see the damage. Very rusty cables give issues too but you’re unlikely to have a low quality cable, and would be able to see the poor condition.

Give it a try and update the question if there’s no improvement... which would only leave the shifter as a culprit.

  • I'll give that a go and report back! Not looking forward to re-doing the internal routing... – Adrian D May 30 at 23:26
  • @adrian Easiest method for me is using a little tube over the cable inside the frame before you remove it. 3mm od 2mm id ptfe tube are magic google words – Swifty May 31 at 5:24
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    Fantastic. I took a look at the shifter & cable and indeed, the cable was fraying within the shifter itself. Going to get the extra cable this weekend. Still couldn't tell it was the shifter without a fresh cable, so I'll check that out next. – Adrian D May 31 at 19:04
  • Cool, fingers crossed things will be back to normal with a replacement inner cable – Swifty May 31 at 19:27
  • @AdrianD Could you update us, did this resolve your problem? If so, you could pick an answer to mark as correct. – Andy P Jul 1 at 12:30
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My interpretation of "wasn't getting to the two or three smallest gears" is that the shifter is not paying out cable so the derailleur does not index onto the two smallest (11 and 12 tooth) sprockets.

The shifter relies on cable tension provided by the derailleur to pull cable out, so it could be that the cable is hanging up somewhere. Try pulling hard on the cable end while running the shifter and see if the shifter will function through all 10 up and downshifts. If it functions properly you know that the shifter is working at least.

Next step is to pull the cable and see if you can find where the hangup is. As Swifty mentioned that is likely in the shifter itself.

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