December 17, 2012 / Posted in Repair tips / By bikesonrobson / Leave comment

Shifter cable installation

Useful Tools and Supplies

This article will discuss the shift wire (cable) installation.

SRAM® Shift Levers

SRAM® shift levers are commonly called Grip-Shift. The levers mount to the handlebar between the brake levers and the grips. The lever may be rotated on the bar so the cable housing exits without interference.

There have been different generations of the Grip-Shift levers, and wire installation of the shift wire can vary. Inspect the lever an access hole or cover. Shift the lever to the most relaxed wire position. Remove the cover. Disconnect the wire from the derailleur. Pull housing away from lever and push bare wire to remove wire from lever.

SRAM cable end cover
Remove cover to expose wire end.


Some models may have a small set screw over the wire end. Use a hex wrench to remove this screw.

Remove set screw.

On some SRAM® models the wire end may be held in the lever by a small clip. Usea small screwdriver to pry back this clip, and then push the wire end out.

SRAM lever
Pry clip back to access wire end.

SRAM lever cable feed
Feed the wire in and out through access hole.

Shimano® STI Shift Levers

Shimano® levers have had different generations that vary in wire attachment. There may be a cover on the lever body that must be removed. There are both pry-out type covers and threaded type covers. Remove cover, if any. Shift the lever to the most relaxed cable position. Detach wire from derailleur. Pull housing away from lever and push the wire outward from the lever.
Feed cable from outide lever


XTR® and XT® levers may also have a cover plate. Use a #1 or #0 cross tipped (Phillps) screwdriver to remove two screws. The screws are quite small, so use care when removing. It is helpful to rotate the bike upside down until the screw heads are pointing upward.
Remove cover screws

The wire end is held in a fitting that allows easy removal. There is a slot in the adjusting barrel and the body. Rotate the adjusting barrel so the slots align, and lift the wire outward. Install new wire into fiting, and into adjusting barrel. Install cover plate and screws. Tighten screws until snug, but do not over tighten.

Align slots and remove cable


Shimano® XTR Rapid Rise Integrated Shifter

The integrated rapid rise shifter uses a cover that must be removed. Use a small cross tip (Phillips) screwdriver to remove the small screw holding the cable cover.

Remove cable cover screw.

It is not necesary to remove any other screw, remove only on the cover screw.

Push gently but firmly outward on cable cover.

The cover plate may be a snug fit. Push outward only, do not ply forward to remove.






The shift wire head sits inside a carrier. Articluate the shift lever to gain access to the wire end, and pry up and out. Install a new wire.


Replace cable cover by sliding it into place. Replace cable cover screw.


Shimano® Revo Shifter

The Revo Shifter is a twist type shifter. The lever must be partly dismantled to remove the shift wire. The lever is secured to the handlebar with a clamping screw under the lever.

The Revo Shifter

Shift the lever so the cable is in the most relaxed position. Rotate the lever toward the front, as seen from the rider’s point of view. Detatch the cable from the derailleur and pull the housing from the lever body.

There is small screw holding the cable cover to the lever body. The screw is located on top of the shifter body toward the front of the bike. It will be inboard of the twisting part of the lever. Use a small Phillips screwdriver such as the SD-0 to remove.

Remove cover screw.

The cover is plastic, use care, and do nothing drastic. The front of the cover will be free to lift, but do not pull up of the front at this time, it may break the cover. The rear of the cover is held by an internal boss fitted to the lever body. Pry with a blade or narrow tool at the back of the lever at the split. Lift the back of the cover upward.

Pry at back of cover to remove.

Lever is removed to expose cable end.


Use a small pointed tool to bend cable head out of socket in lever. Pull old wire and remove it from lever. Install new wire into lever fitting and through wire routing in lever body. Inspect that wire follows routing before installing cover and securing cover screw.


Drop Bar Integrated Brake-Shift Lever Derailleur Wire Installation

The derailleur wire end attaches to the shift lever by fitting through a small socket called the derailleur wire anchor pivot. The wire anchor pivot is sometimes difficult to see. Begin by shifting to the most lever relaxed wire position. Feed the cut end of the wire through the anchor pivot, and pull it fully through unit the head engages the pivot.

Pull brake lever back to expose derailleur attachment
Derailleur wire attachment is on the outside of each Shimano® STI road lever.

Install wire from under body
Campangolo® derailleur wires access from the underside of the lever body.


Shimano 7900 Levers

Shift cable feeds from underneath the lever.  Pull rubber cover forward to expose cable access hole on the outer edge of each lever. Shift small lever several times to move the cable anchor socket to the correct position.

Shift cable installation
Shift cable installs from under the lever body


Feed cable end through cable anchor and out the top of the lever.  Shift cable exit has two options. One option routes housing to the front side of the handlebar . The other option is the outer groove which routes housing to the backside of the handlebars. The brake cable exits from the inner hole.

cable routing
The thinner shift wire is routed from the inner groove option. The thicker brake wire is routed from the brake hole.



credit for this blog is to Parktool