How to Fix a Broken Gear Shifter

A gear shifter is a device on the handlebars of a bicycle that allows the rider to change gears. The gear shifts can be done with just one hand, and in most cases, riders will shift gears while pedaling either down or up hills.  For example, you might need to switch from an easier gear to a harder one not to slow down too much when riding uphill.

How to Fix a Broken Gear Shifter

Likewise, if you are riding downhill, such as on a steep mountain bike trail, you might want to switch your gears for more speed and better control going downhill.  The gear shifting technique varies depending on where and how fast the cyclist is traveling at any given time. Sometimes regular usage of bikes can result in the breaking of the gear shifter. For this reason, today, I will discuss an easy technique on how to fix a broken gear shifter.

Why Gear Shifters Break?

One of the main reasons that gear shifters on bikes break is because they are not maintained properly. Gear shifters need to be lubricated and cleaned regularly. When this does not happen, the friction caused by metal rubbing against metal causes them to break. Another reason why they break is that they are made out of cheap materials. If the part were made of a more durable material, it would last longer.

Required Materials

A pair of needle-nose pliers A screwdriver A small piece of rag or cloth WD40 A wrench Allen key (key size – 10mm) and T25 Torx bit. Chain breaking tool (optional but recommended). – An alternative for this tool is using a piece of Table knife, thin wire, or similarly shaped object to push the pinout from the inside tube. This might be easier if you have no chain-breaking tools at hand. Loctite Thread lock sealant Cable ties Zip ties dental floss cables & wires Selleys

Procedure on How to Fix a Broken Gear Shifter

Step 1:

Notify the mechanic that you need a new shifter assembly*. Get it replaced immediately. You may find the replacement part at your local bike shop. If not, get one shipped online and install it yourself!

Step 2:

Push out the broken pin (which attaches the gear cable to the shifter assembly) using a protective rag or cloth. Make sure that you hold onto the end of the cable with pliers while pushing out the pin, so it doesn’t fly off in any direction or hits someone in the head!

Step 3:

Unscrew the housing cap using a screwdriver. The housing cap will have 4 holes, two for screws and 2 for Allen key attachment (hexagonal shape). Remove screws first, then attach Allen’s key. Loosen it, but don’t remove it yet!

Step 4:

Spray some WD40 into the tube at the bottom of the shifter assembly. If you do not have any WD40 on hand, use something similar like Selleys No More Nails or white spirit/white gas so that you can slide in new cable & wires easily into the tube.

Step 5:

If your bike has a front derailleur, shift gears to a low gear before pulling out wires through the cable exit hole with pliers and cable cutters (shifter side near crank arm)

Step 6:

Feed new wires through the tube to the inside of the shifter assembly housing.

Step 7:

Slide a piece of cable tie into the hole for cable tie anchor (where cables come out). Make sure it’s not too loose or too tight and that you leave enough space for zip ties later in step 9.

Step 8:

Cut off any excess cable, leaving just enough length to attach a new retaining pin to the shifter assembly. Add some Loctite thread lock sealant onto the end of the cable so that when you push a new retaining pin into place, your gears don’t get stuck again!

Step 9:

Attach Selleys No More Nails / other similar glue-like substances at the broken gear shift pin tip while connecting them back together. Alternatively, you can use a piece of wire or thin metal to push the pin back in from the outside tube (if you have no chain-breaking tool at hand).

Step 10:

Attach zip tie over cable tie. Make sure it’s tightly secured and not too loose or tight. Slide-out excess length of cable for easy removal later on.

Step 11:

Shift gears to high gear and ensure that the broken shifting pin has locked into place inside the housing cap then remove Allen key attachment, screw-in housing cap securely onto shifter assembly using a screwdriver. If doing so causes any problem with the functioning of your gears, Remove them again & check that no other cables are stuck inside! Repeat step 10 if necessary until you fix everything perfectly!

Step 12:

Stretch out the new gear cable and wire either side of the bike’s frame using a flexible material like dental floss or similar. Secure them with zip ties by wrapping around cables at least once then attaching more zip ties to themselves.

Step 13:

To avoid any future damage to housing or shifter assembly, use masking tape to cover sharp edges on the inside area of the housing cap & tube as much as possible!

Step 14:

Break-in your newly installed gear shifter by riding for a while and shifting gears randomly through your entire range, taking care not to smash into other vehicles or obstacles along the way. But watch out when you shift from low to high gears because this may cause the chain to break, so be careful!


The first precaution is to make sure that you wear the right type of gloves. There are different types of gloves, and you need to make sure you have one that will not harm the car and won’t get in your way. The second precaution is to use a mat on the ground where you will be working. This mat is for both the protection of the bike and your own safety while working. The third precaution is using a level head to fix this issue. You might think it’s simple, but if there was something wrong with how it was put together, it might be more difficult than anticipated, so take your time.

You may read also: How to Put a Chainsaw Motor on a Bicycle

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