I've got a 3-year-old bike with Shimano Claris (looks like ST-R2000-R) shifters. The other day, the temperature outside dropped to 40F. I took my bike out and found that I couldn't upshift the rear derailleur. I was upshifting and downshifting at random and eventually wound up with the chain on the smallest sprocket. I chalked this up to the shifter grease gumming up as mentioned here.

I'm planning on degreasing the shifter and applying some calcium grease in a few days. But in the short term, the weather's warmed up a bit and I expect the existing grease should be ok. But I'm finding that I'm still stuck on the smallest sprocket as the cable is totally slack. I can get one click of downshifting, then the lever hits some obstruction on subsequent attempts. The cable doesn't get noticeably tighter. Upshifting seems to do nothing except give me back the one click of downshifting.

Is there a stop inside the shifter that's preventing me from downshifting any more (i.e. the shifter won't let you click outside of gears 1-8)? How can I correct the cable tension, with strong preference for not removing the grip tape?

  • 1
    Sounds like the cable has broken. Usually the head comes off inside the shifter body.
    – Noise
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 22:05
  • @noise You're right, I pulled the cable out on the shifter with very little effort. I still only get one click of downshifting with no cable in the shifter; what causes that?
    – ttshaw1
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 22:43
  • 1
    head of cable and scraggy end still in there
    – Noise
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 7:00
  • there are two plastic covers at the bottom of the shifter to give you access. it's quite an easy job on these but still takes a litte time
    – Noise
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 7:02

1 Answer 1


If the exposed inner cable is completely slack and one end is free, then its broken. You'll need to replace the inner cable with a new one, there is no good way to repair them. Fortunately they're cheap and the only tool needed is a hex driver for the pinch bolt.

The head is probably jamming up your brifter, so do not force the lever or you may damage the internals.

The hard parts are finding and extracting the torn-off head inside the brifter, and then getting the tension exactly correct to actuate the rear derailleur.
You may need forceps, luck, curse words, and bright lights for that extraction. Gravity and WD40 can help too, but magnets aren't useful.

Good luck!

  • 1
    I managed to extract the broken cable head with tweezers, pliers, and some brute force. You're right, that wasn't fun. The old gummy grease has been replaced with a nice calcium grease, and hopefully I'll have a good few years before I have to go fishing for a broken cable head again.
    – ttshaw1
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 6:16
  • @ttshaw1 I have the same problem - I should proactively replace the right-hand shifter cable every 5000 km or 6 months, but I never remember in time. A significant drop in shifting performance would remind me, but its such a gradual degradation that I don't twig in time.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 7:40

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