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This is one of my absolute favorite things to do at work. It takes a
while, and the chance to lose some small piece is high, but it's a neat
job that has a high "Wow! I fixed that!" factor.
of the ways in which Campagnolo has Shimano beat is that their ergo
shifters are rebuildable. The other, and here's the big dark secret
folks, is that it's really easy to do so. Campagnolo shifters are much
simpler mechanically speaking than any Shimano shifter. Even your
hideously expensive Campy Super Record 11 shifters are pretty basic in
terms of construction and assembly. Since I just dealt with a Shimano
Ultegra 6700 shifter that had some badly corroded internals, I'll tell
you right now that there are a lot of tiny moving parts inside those
things. A lot of them are also press fit, which means that you may be
able to take it apart at home, but you probably aren't getting it back
together. The most current model year of Campagnolo ergo shifters have
approximately 20 parts inside. Compare that to 40-ish for a Shimano.
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The item I rebuilt was an older Record 8-speed ergo shifter. There was nothing mechanically wrong with
this shifter. The bike had been loaned to a friend and they had taken a
tumble, which resulted in a big chunk of the shifter body breaking off.
The second photo to the right is the new shifter body and you can see
the part that's missing from the original shifter. It still shifted, but
the brake lever could not be re-mounted. The solution was just to
rebuild the shifter internals onto a new shifter body. There's a caveat
here: make sure the parts are available before you rip apart your
shifter. The decision to rebuild the shifter, instead of simply
replacing it, was based on the fact that 8-speed Campy parts mostly
don't exist any more. A quick eBay search found a host of replacement
shifters in varying states of disrepair, but the cost for the complete
shifter was quite high. We were lucky and found a replacement shifter
body at another nearby bike shop. Favors were called in, goods and
services were exchanged, and we went home with an NOS Campagnolo Record
carbon shifter body.
The rebuild procedure is super simple. Once
you release the springs simply take the shifter internals apart from
front to back. I have two helpful hints. The first
is that, in this age of technological wonderment in which we live, we
all have some kind of fancy phone with a camera. I use mine to take a
lot of pictures of repairs that are small, delicate, or very specific.
At least then you can have a record of how the part looked before you
ripped it to pieces, and how it should look when you're done. The second
hint, and something you will likely see in every What's in the Stand
post from here until I stop doing them, is that I appreciate an orderly
parts layout. I lay out a clean rag and all the small parts get
organized, in order, on top of it. I do this for hubs, internal hubs,
headsets, and so on. It really helps prevent having to look at a pile of
dirty parts and wonder which part goes in first. In this picture the
parts to the left are from the back of the shifter, the gap is where the
shifter body sits, and then the parts to the right are from the front
of the shifter. Simple as pie.
Other people have provided better
blow-by-blow-write ups of how to service a Campagnolo shifter body than I
can do, so I'll leave it to them. All I would say is that if you are
careful, lay the parts out in order, and pay attention to what you're
doing then this is a simple job. This 8-speed shifter had exactly nine
parts inside it. The only fiddly part was getting the springs re-attached.
I used a small dental pick to get them back into place but I would
consider that part of the job more annoying than difficult.
final part of this repair was that the shifter was on a gorgeous
1981 Pinarello. Our customer was the original owner and she had updated
the drivetrain in the '90s to a newer 8-speed ergo shifter setup. Prior
to this is had Campagnolo downtube shifters. It was also my size which
meant that I may have taken a slightly extended test ride around the
neighborhood. I have a lust in my heart for a classic Italian road bike,
and this was a bike worth coveting. And now the shifter works so it's