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August 11, 2013 / WPAdmin

Repairable-ness is Godliness

First, a rant:

I grew up in a time when my shovel, as an adult, belonged to my father, was 50 years old, was from Sears, with an oaken handle and good American, long-lasting, sturdy steel.

My first 10-speed had a steel freewheel that would be oiled occasionally, headsets and bottom brackets that were rebuilt periodically and hub bearings re-greased regularly.

The times we live in now? Well… they confuse me.

Chains, cassettes, even bicycles are consumables – used to worn-out and discarded – used for 100 or 1000 miles or half a year. Even entire bicycles are considered ultimately disposable.

So when I, a recently devoted fixed rider, returned to multi-gears, I was pleased to discover the 7-speed bicycle and the Shimano RSX “brifter”.


Now, I will say, I did discover this the hard way and unwillingly: I bought a cheap used bike that was un-rideable and un-shiftable!

Shimano manufactured these shifters with old-style grease – and by old-style, I mean grease that dried out and turned into rubber, freezing small parts.

But the great thing about these RSX and STI shifters was: they were made with good quality high-quality steel parts throughout! They are re-buildable! (Unlike new components with plastic parts that do fully and irreparably fail.


Shimano will tell you these are not re-buildable – “no user-serviceable parts inside”. They prefer that you buy new! But this is BULLSHIT.

Disassembling these shifters is no trivial matter.. but some intrepid folks in the world have courageously dived in and graciously published what they found – with photographs!!

In 80-90% of the cases, the only problem with this equipment is that the grease had dried out and immobilized the moving parts inside.

Simple WD-40 sometimes will loosen this grease to a point – sometimes not… and disassembly can me modest or total. But once cleaned and re-greased, with good modern synthetic grease (like Phil’s Waterproof) these are often as good a new.

(Of course sometimes not! Sometime springs are broken or frozen parts forced to failure)

But to the frugal cyclist, it is so rewarding and satisfying to rebuild a “broken” part and return it to service. Long live steel!

Learn more:

to see images of the rebuilding procedure, so HERE:

Read more:


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