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Yesterday I went for a ride and unfortunately, as it was kind of wet, my wheel slipped while braking into one corner and I crashed. Speed of the crash was around 20 kmph (12 mph) (nothing crazy, most of the braking was done already) so I slid maybe 2 meters on the asphalt. When I stood my bike up I noticed the right shifter is broken.

Luckily (as it was exactly in the midpoint of my ride) it was broken quite clean and under the rubber sleeve so when I put it back together shifting worked perfectly and braking was ok.

So my questions are:

  • Could this be a quality control issue, as the crash really wasn't heavy in any way, bike slipped, I fell stood up and went again?
  • Does anyone have any experience with (repairing) broken brake lever/shifters? As the shifting mechanism isn't damaged, only the plastic housing, does anyone have tips - what glue and so, on how to repair it?

Thanks a lot.

enter image description here

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    In my experience the brifters are usually not clamped strongly enough to break. Instead they turn sideways and you merely have to push them back and maybe tighten the clamping screw. Maybe in the future you shouldn’t clamp them as strongly. – Michael Nov 5 '20 at 19:14
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Sadly, all I have is bad news.

  • It's not a quality control issue. It may not have felt like much of a crash but that lever was hit hard.
  • There is no way to fix it. The plastic shell is part of the structure of the lever, not just a cover. It also provides a human / machine interface with a particular shape and feel. If you glue it back together it won't be strong enough to handle normal use. If you glue it and try to add structural support it will be uncomfortable to use.

EDIT:
Here is an exploded diagram and a parts list
It's for an ST-1055 but it's similar
Part 16 is called "R.H. Lever Bracket" or "L.H. Lever Bracket"
Searching for the part number in the diagram revealed nothing.
Searching for part number "Y8ZG98050" returned some results that might be helpful

enter image description here

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    +1 on this. I would not trust an attempt to bond the plastic housing together. Force on the brake lever would stress the joint. If the joint breaks the brake effectively fails. – Argenti Apparatus Nov 5 '20 at 14:55
  • If it was just a cover I'd try to solvent weld it, but with it being both part of the brake and the hand support, the consequences of failure would be too high – Chris H Nov 5 '20 at 16:00
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    @jednorukypilot if nothing comes up on the used market, some online retailers (like Universal) sell single shifters (and crank arms, should that need arise) – Paul H Nov 5 '20 at 16:16
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    @JoeK: I’m not sure it’s (easily) possible to disassemble these levers, I think some parts are riveted. – Michael Nov 5 '20 at 19:10
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    Dismantling and re-assembling a brifter is something for a person with half a dozen of watchmaker's hands. The exploded view shows an early type. Newer ones have more parts in a smaller space. Stay sane! ;-) – Carel Nov 6 '20 at 8:00
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That's your brake lever - a critical part of the braking system. If you glued the parts together, there's every chance they may separate under heavy braking.

Do not bodge it - a complete replacement is the only decent solution.

You may want to keep the shattered parts as spares - items like plastic covers may prove useful someday.

As to why it broke like that - I suspect your slide was the cause. If the bike slid with the handlebars backward, the lever may have caught a stone or similar and been wrenched "forward" because the usual effect is for the brake to rotate around the bars.

For finding a replacement, you should check out local auction sites, and search out if there are any specialist bike wreckers in your city/country.

Your tolerance for variations will affect your perception of the bike. I rode for a while with one black and one silver brifter, and while they worked perfectly, it was visually jarring. You might be best-off to buy a pair of brifters (new or used), and sell your old one and the parts.

Mind the slippery slope of upgrades though - you might choose to move to 12 speed but that means a new derailleur, chain and cassette, which may mean a new wheel, etc etc etc.

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And yes now I also think it's best to buy new one. On the other hand during braking the two parts are only squished together by the brake cable in quite a straight way, so I don't think there's a big chance or brake fail for this reason. But again, that's something you don't want to risk. I actually thought of downgrading for 10s, as my gf has 10 speed GRX, so we'd have same cassettes and stuff. And as I'm a poor student even the cost of a 11s chain hurts me. I don't probably even need 105 bike, just this bike was for such a great price I couldn't say no. – jednorukypilot Nov 6 '20 at 9:54
  • @jednorukypilot what did you end up doing, and how did it work for you? – Criggie Jul 21 at 2:27
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Back in fall I discussed it with my friend who is a material engineer and he thought we should try to repair it at least for the exercise. So we glued it back together with some kind of epoxy.

Before the winter I couldn't get a replacement part and actually put it back on the bike and rode about 150 km with the repaired part. However, this it not something I recommend. I rode it with great caution, and before this season I bought a new brifter. The repaired one felt solid, I couldn't tell it from the other one but I wouldn't be comfortable riding it on big descents or anywhere other than low traffic, flat backroads for that matter. I'm keeping it for some emergency situation should it come in the future.

I also feel that it was possible to repair it, just because it was broken in such a way that the brake cable pulls exactly perpendicular to the crack. I presume that if there would be any sort of transverse force it would not hold up.

enter image description here

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