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Frayed cable caused entire shifter failure?

Old 01-21-20, 04:01 PM
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BenBoozer
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Frayed cable caused entire shifter failure?

Hello,
I purchased a Domane ALR5 new from the dealer last April, it has 105 components and I use it for commuting only. Last week, I felt a bit of an issue shifting the rear derailleur into a larger sprocket but since it was random I associated it with poor technique. On the next ride home, the shifter froze up, only able to shift up and not down. Took it to the LBS I purchased it from who called and said that the cable was not broken but frayed and in the process of removing the bits of cable, the shifter no longer works. Then he goes to say that he cannot buy a single shifter (only comes in left/right) but he had an Ultegra shifter on clearance he could install for $190 or the set for $300.

I'm wondering how in the heck the shifter could fail in less than a year with fewer than 2000 miles on it. I contacted Trek support and they suggested I have the dealer make a warranty claim to Shimano. Is this the best course of action? I have a backup Crossrip Comp I am now riding. Thanks for any input.

Ben
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Old 01-21-20, 05:07 PM
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I had a cable fray but was able to remove all the detritus and got it to work again. If I were you, I'd look on ebay to see how folks cleaned their brifters in similar situations and check to ensure that you don't have wire strand fragments in the works. If you can't get it cleaned up and working, well, you had a year-old (that is, used) shifter. I'd try ebay for a working used version of the same.

Good luck! I have a Domane, too. Love it.
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Old 01-21-20, 06:15 PM
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Used to have this problem with 9sp 105 shifters as well, probably did about 20 which any always seemed like too many. A really careful inspection might find a strand still stuck in there gumming up the works. Either way it seems messed up that a defective part, the cable, has messed up a shifter and somehow despite it being less then a year old its your problem; the shop should be passing this up the line to trek and getting it replaced.
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Old 01-21-20, 07:45 PM
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On a shimano shifter like that, in my experience of numerous situations like this - it has been fixable. Sure you have to be diligent and fath around making sure all the old wire is out. And it can take time and some pokey tools.

I would take your bike to another bike shop, unless you really really trust what they are saying to you.

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Old 01-21-20, 07:58 PM
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Exact same thing happened to my 105 rear shifter (11 spd) when it was about 11 months old. Took it to my closest shop, and they were able to get all the frayed bits out of the mechanism, but they did tell me that this sometimes destroys the shifter.

Since your bike is <1 year old, you should take it to the original dealer (from which you bought it) and ask them to warranty it. If they won't work with you on it, take it (and all of your future business) somewhere else.
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Old 01-21-20, 08:05 PM
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And that's it, I'm not sure I trust them. Never offered to file a warranty claim even though Trek support suggested that first. Besides, its a little thing but I want my shifters to match. I looked online and I can get a pair of 105s for the cost of them putting one Ultegra shifter on.
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Old 01-21-20, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BenBoozer View Post
And that's it, I'm not sure I trust them. Never offered to file a warranty claim even though Trek support suggested that first. Besides, its a little thing but I want my shifters to match. I looked online and I can get a pair of 105s for the cost of them putting one Ultegra shifter on.
Push 'em on the warranty claim. If they won't do it, go to Trek corporate and raise a stink. No way should you have to pay for it, when it's under a year old. Hell, I was pissed that I had to pay for a new cable in under a year - I'd never had a cable fail in the previous 60k miles of riding, and I don't exactly replace them regularly.
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Old 01-21-20, 09:54 PM
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IIRC Shimano has stated a cable replacement schedule that is vastly sooner then most would ever expect. Like in months or hundreds of miles. We shop wrenches see a lot of this frayed cable issue each year. Some riders are more likely to suffer, I suspect shifting technique and frequency rank up there as causes. Shops have a cost per time unit and customers often don't understand this. So when a shop says it's not worth it or can't be done it's often based on cost to pay for the work VS the replacement cost. Sometimes a warranty will be extended to covering wear and tear, like cables and secondary stuff. Often this depends on the shop's repour with the supplier they try to hit up. How's your repour with the shop? Andy
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Old 01-21-20, 10:20 PM
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I think thats a really good point that Andrew R Stewart makes.
I know that if were the place I worked and you had bought the bike there, we would have taken care of you no questions asked. whether that be a fix, warranty or our shops good will to retain a consumer.

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Old 01-22-20, 07:42 AM
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What bothers me is that I have had three decent bikes over my adult life, two in the past 5 years. The crossrip comp bought in 2015 with cheaper Claris components has twice the mileage on same road conditions and never needed anything but minor adjustments. The one side pull disc brakes kinda stink but otherwise fine. I spend a bit more on a “good” bike and face a couple hundred dollar repair in less than a year and I treat that bike like a child.

How come bikes don’t come with a replacement schedule like cars? Especially if shifter cables are supposed to be replaced every couple hundred miles. Mind you, i did not get any indication of a problem until 20 miles before failure, one ride. Derailleurs never needed adjusting after the 30 day checkup.

Going to talk to the LBS today regarding the warranty.
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Old 01-22-20, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
IIRC Shimano has stated a cable replacement schedule that is vastly sooner then most would ever expect. Like in months or hundreds of miles. We shop wrenches see a lot of this frayed cable issue each year. Some riders are more likely to suffer, I suspect shifting technique and frequency rank up there as causes. Shops have a cost per time unit and customers often don't understand this. So when a shop says it's not worth it or can't be done it's often based on cost to pay for the work VS the replacement cost. Sometimes a warranty will be extended to covering wear and tear, like cables and secondary stuff. Often this depends on the shop's repour with the supplier they try to hit up. How's your repour with the shop? Andy
That indicates a faulty design, wouldn’t you say? Pushing back with warranty claims is one way to get Shimano to improve their products.
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Old 01-22-20, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BenBoozer View Post

How come bikes don’t come with a replacement schedule like cars? Especially if shifter cables are supposed to be replaced every couple hundred miles. Mind you, i did not get any indication of a problem until 20 miles before failure, one ride. Derailleurs never needed adjusting after the 30 day checkup.
Rear shift cable life varies too much with the rider from 1,000 to over 20,000 miles depending on how much you shift.

They fail due to fatigue, with one cycle winding on and off the drum plus another going around the tight 90 degree guide to allow under tape routing having hoods level with bar tops. Hoods must be small enough to grip, which forces shift drums smaller than they need to be for acceptable wire rope fatigue life. The added 90 degree guide bends cables more and cuts life 50% from the Shimano flying housing configuration / original Campagnolo ergo setup with cables entering shifters almost vertically further down the bar hook.

You need to inspect your rear cable regularly and replace it on a schedule before it fails. Shift into the small cog, lift the back of the hood, remove any cover, and examine where the cable goes around the guide. Track how many miles you get on a new cable before strands break and don't wait that long.

Shimano recommends 2500 miles if you ask which works for most people but not everyone.

I'm on a 2000 mile schedule to prevent failure at 2200-2600 miles, although out of shape I shift more and can wear one out in 1300 miles. This is a radical decrease from the 4500 I got with 1997 brake/shift levers that lack the tight 90 degree turn in their body.

Riding a lot that's a new cable every 10 weeks.

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Old 01-22-20, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
That indicates a faulty design, wouldn’t you say? Pushing back with warranty claims is one way to get Shimano to improve their products.
Mechanical shifting using hoods level with bar tops and under tape routing yields poor cable life for riders who shift a lot.

Shimano is more than willing to sell you electronic shifting to avoid that.
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Old 01-22-20, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Mechanical shifting using hoods level with bar tops and under tape routing yields poor cable life for riders who shift a lot.

Shimano is more than willing to sell you electronic shifting to avoid that.
Oh, yeah, I suspect that electronic shifting is the wave of the future - I've already got it on one bike. But no company should put the cables under the tape if it results in such short cable life and (potentially) such serious consequences when it fails.

PS: Just read your other post about replacing the cable every 2,000 miles. I might use that interval, esp since it is hilly around here and so I shift a lot. I'm okay with doing that since it's a secondary bike for me, and so 2,000 miles will take a while. But if it were my primary ride, that would mean replacing the cable every three months from spring through fall, which is a bit of a pain.

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Old 01-22-20, 09:41 AM
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One can return the question as to what's faulty here. Why the surprise when a system isn't maintained properly? Sounds like faulty consumer expectations and/or a lack of knowing the full cost of their choices.

The bike industry has had very little reason to become more like the auto world, not sure I would want it even if it was pushed on us. Back when the CPSC introduced their standards and rules (late 1970s IIRC) you should have heard the complaints from both the industry as well as the customers. Why am I forced to only be able to buy a QR mechanism that requires secondary steps to release the wheel? I never ride at night so why do I have to also buy reflectors? Of course in hind sight we see that the rules were mostly about minimum safety and strength standards but they did raise the cost of the bike and increased the effort that the industry needed to do to make/sell your bike. Well it took only a short acclimation to having to unscrew a QR nut enough to have it clear the drop out lips. So too, brifters bring different service needs along with the convenience of shifter location.

BTW cables have suffered from fraying since they were first used on a bike, about a hundred years ago. The difference is that now we demand that the cable is hidden from view so the "out of sight is out of mind" takes over. A cable will do it's job even as it's fraying until some point of rapid increase of breaking cable strands and the cable "suddenly" breaks completely. Nothing sudden about this progression but the rider's awareness is what got the sudden bump.

Of course if this cable fraying preventative maintenance is unacceptable the industry has got your answer, e shifting Andy
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Old 01-22-20, 09:43 AM
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This should 100% be a warranty issue. If the shop didn't tell you outright "the cables need to be replaced every two months' then this is on them.

Also, Shimano parts on new bikes have a 2 year warranty (except Dura Ace, which is 3 year), and this was a new bike. Any LBS can make a warranty claim. If the one that sold you the bike is giving you the runaround, go to a different shop. You should expect to pay for shop time to remove and reinstall he replacement at a second shop, and maybe a few bucks for shipping back to Shimano, but not for the new shifter.
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Old 01-22-20, 10:18 AM
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A couple years ago I bought a new bike - not terribly expensive, only about $1800 - and 13 months later the rear rim started cracking at the eyelets. We were past any reasonable warranty period, but the shop contacted QBP, and they agreed to provide a new (and better) rear wheel and to sell me the matching front wheel at a reasonable price. The shop took care of the labor at no charge, including swapping over the cassette, rotors, and even the tubeless tires and valves.

In the short-run, that may not have made sense for the shop - but in the long-run, they helped ensure that I will keep spending money there.
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Old 01-22-20, 10:36 AM
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I have seen a lot of these cable frays on 10spd 105 (and I think shimano might have admitted and engineering problem and done a fix) but I have not seen it occur as much on 105 11. Do you guys see that also?

Its also worth noting I have seen some mechanically bad choices and quality in cable routing that can amplify the wear on the cable. Housing and ferrules not being set up they way they should have etc...

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Old 01-22-20, 11:03 AM
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It's possible that a small piece of the old cable is somewhere inside where it can't be seen or touched. If the bike shop did not tip the bike upside down, do it yourself.
Wiggle the levers and try to shift while the bike is upside down. Wiggle every thing as much as you can, and see what happens.
Do this gently don't try and force anything.
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Old 01-22-20, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
One can return the question as to what's faulty here. Why the surprise when a system isn't maintained properly? Sounds like faulty consumer expectations and/or a lack of knowing the full cost of their choices.

The bike industry has had very little reason to become more like the auto world, not sure I would want it even if it was pushed on us. Back when the CPSC introduced their standards and rules (late 1970s IIRC) you should have heard the complaints from both the industry as well as the customers. Why am I forced to only be able to buy a QR mechanism that requires secondary steps to release the wheel? I never ride at night so why do I have to also buy reflectors? Of course in hind sight we see that the rules were mostly about minimum safety and strength standards but they did raise the cost of the bike and increased the effort that the industry needed to do to make/sell your bike. Well it took only a short acclimation to having to unscrew a QR nut enough to have it clear the drop out lips. So too, brifters bring different service needs along with the convenience of shifter location.

BTW cables have suffered from fraying since they were first used on a bike, about a hundred years ago. The difference is that now we demand that the cable is hidden from view so the "out of sight is out of mind" takes over. A cable will do it's job even as it's fraying until some point of rapid increase of breaking cable strands and the cable "suddenly" breaks completely. Nothing sudden about this progression but the rider's awareness is what got the sudden bump.

Of course if this cable fraying preventative maintenance is unacceptable the industry has got your answer, e shifting Andy
Those lawyer lips on front forks pretty much negated the reason to have a quick release skewer rather than say wingnuts or carrying a small 15mm wrench. If lawyer lips were so great then so m any people wouldn't file/grind theirs off.

Cheers
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Old 01-22-20, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Those lawyer lips on front forks pretty much negated the reason to have a quick release skewer rather than say wingnuts or carrying a small 15mm wrench. If lawyer lips were so great then so m any people wouldn't file/grind theirs off.

Cheers
The '80s are over, my friend. People figured out long ago that the lawyer lips were not a huge problem, and with disc brakes they are more necessary. I can't recall hearing about a person filing them off since ~1995 or so. The proliferation of thru axles makes us look like doddering fools for even having this discussion.

Also, a wingnut does not give nearly the clamping force that a properly used QR cam does, and a QR means you don't have to carry a tool to remove the wheel. A few spins of the lever to get over the lawyer lips is not ain inconvenience on the same level as finding a way to keep a 15mm wrench strapped to your bike - trust me - I have been using IGH bikes on and off for the past few decades and the need to carry a full size wrench everywhere is a significant PITA.
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Old 01-22-20, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
The '80s are over, my friend. People figured out long ago that the lawyer lips were not a huge problem, and with disc brakes they are more necessary. I can't recall hearing about a person filing them off since ~1995 or so. The proliferation of thru axles makes us look like doddering fools for even having this discussion.

Also, a wingnut does not give nearly the clamping force that a properly used QR cam does, and a QR means you don't have to carry a tool to remove the wheel. A few spins of the lever to get over the lawyer lips is not ain inconvenience on the same level as finding a way to keep a 15mm wrench strapped to your bike - trust me - I have been using IGH bikes on and off for the past few decades and the need to carry a full size wrench everywhere is a significant PITA.
Doddering fool because I don't like lawyer lips on my bikes? LOL

See, I don't have to spin my quick release in order to remove the wheel from any of my vintage MTBs. I don't have disc brakes because V-brakes or even cantilever brakes work fine for my needs amnd wants. Nor do I have through axles as the regular axles work fine. As far as carrying a 15mm wrench goes; I've often slipped a smal one or small adjustable wrench inside my seat bag when I know I'll be riding rail-trails around here and I carry that wrench because of the number of times I've stopped to help someone with nutted axle wheels. YMMV

However, I don't intend to get rid of my vintage MTBs until they die.

Cheers
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Old 01-22-20, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
One can return the question as to what's faulty here. Why the surprise when a system isn't maintained properly? Sounds like faulty consumer expectations and/or a lack of knowing the full cost of their choices.

Of course if this cable fraying preventative maintenance is unacceptable the industry has got your answer, e shifting Andy
Seriously, faulty maintenance? He's saying the bike is 9 months old, don't know how many cables you've had to replace in only 9 months but my tally only includes ones that ended up kinked from crashes or people mistreating it at the bike rack. There really isn't an excuse for a cable fraying so badly in such a short time span that it ruins a practically new shifter. Nor should it be expected that, barring more extreme weather/conditions riding, that a cable should need to be check more frequently then annually.
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Old 01-22-20, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Doddering fool because I don't like lawyer lips on my bikes? LOL

See, I don't have to spin my quick release in order to remove the wheel from any of my vintage MTBs. I don't have disc brakes because V-brakes or even cantilever brakes work fine for my needs amnd wants. Nor do I have through axles as the regular axles work fine. As far as carrying a 15mm wrench goes; I've often slipped a smal one or small adjustable wrench inside my seat bag when I know I'll be riding rail-trails around here and I carry that wrench because of the number of times I've stopped to help someone with nutted axle wheels. YMMV

However, I don't intend to get rid of my vintage MTBs until they die.

Cheers
I said we are doddering fools, not you. We are discussing strategies to live with technology that was made obsolete a decade ago.
Unfortunately, traditional QRs were not designed for the forces applied by disc brakes, and can loosen under hard use without periodic adjustment. Rim brake equipped bikes do not have this problem.
FYI, I also keep my bikes until they can no longer be kept. But disc brakes, good ones being superior to all forms of rim brakes for multiple reasons, are a legitimate upgrade to a mountain bike. I have two (almost) working MTBs right now - one was originally built with V brakes but I converted to discs years ago, and the other has cantis, but it isn't really sufficient for real off-road use... I built it as a city/grocery/winter bike because I killed asset of Hayes hydraulic brakes by riding in salty slush and not doing anything to clean the calipers before I put it away until spring.

Also, my experience on IGH bikes is that a mini-wrench is not going to get the nuts tight enough to keep the wheel from slipping, so a decent ~6 or 8" long 15mm wrench is required. My youth spent on a Sekine with a nutted rear axle also agrees with this. Anything less than a regular size 15mm wrench is not going to allow enough torque to get the wheel tight enough, unless you also ride with a 'cheater bar' to use on the end of the mini-wrench.
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Old 01-22-20, 03:15 PM
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Miele Man Also, while touring in QC a few years ago we stopped to help a mother with her young child's bike, but were unable to because we didn't have a 15mm wrench.
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