How to Save Money: Do It Yourself! A Broken Shifter, Repaired.

“You know your rear shifter is broken right?” The City Bicycles NYC mechanic fumbled to shift my gears properly after replacing my chain (lost to a Times Square strom drain thanks to a snapped link).

“Yeah, I know, you’ve gotta move the paddle back before shifting to the next gear. I’m saving up some money to replace them.” I told him.

In actuality, the rear shifter worked, but the thumb paddles weren’t springing back to place like they should have been, so shifting gears meant cranking the paddles back to resting position before each shift. The mechanic chuckled as he finished checking the chain, and lifted my bike off the stand back over to me.

Browsing online, a replacement for the exact shifter (9-speed flat-bar mounted shifter for Tiagra derailleur) goes for $70 up, and eBay wasn’t much help finding used ones. Yikes.

So I did what any hack-happy, mechanically inclined tinkerer would do: took it apart to find out what what was wrong and fix it, harking back on my computer repair technician days of yore.

Taking it apart was simple enough, it looked like one of the spiral springs had come loose somehow, because fidgeting with everything else didn’t help, and the spring went limp when hooking it back in place. Removing all the paddles revealed the culprit:

The spring had two hooks to keep it in place, and three years of daily use seemed to have taken its toll on the inner hook that kept it in place, causing it to snap off. I didn’t have any spare springs around, so I fired up my stove to heat up this one, and used some pliers to bend a new hook on the spring, before spending another 40 minutes reassembling the entire mechanism back together (with springs, everything becomes much trickier).


But when all was said and done, I had a working shifter again, one that not only shifted properly, but with paddles that sprung back into place like they should.

Money spent: $0, knowledge gained: priceless. Mission accomplished.

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