I was given a new bike recently—a story for another day—that came equipped with Shimano 105 components, which are generally regarded to be a good performing value component group.
After tightening the various bolts and adjusting various angles I noticed that the downshift paddle on the rear shifter was broken:
These shifters are Shimano Total Integration models that incorporate the shifting and breaking into a single lever. Everything is close at hand and once can shift or break from a multitude of hand placements on the drop bars.
In this case a little plastic piece covering the metal of the downshift paddle broke away completely. I am talking about a few grams of plastic. Maybe a nickel’s worth of material.
The “good” news came when I asked about a replacement piece of plastic at the local bike shop. I was given one of those looks that says, “Silly cyclist, that was not in Shimano’s plan.”
What was in Shimano’s plan? A complete replacement lever to fix a tiny piece of broken plastic. Planned obsolescence and lack of user serviceable parts has bedeviled cyclists for decades, but this seemed extreme. I had to disassemble the right side of my handlebars and remove the cabling all to repair a simple piece of plastic. One option would have been to continue shifting with the broken paddle but that was like getting a slice of wood jammed into my finger every time I wanted to drop a cog.
So, it’s really Shimano Total Replacement. What a joke. I suppose that this will just force me to switch out the shifters sooner rather than later. The object of my desire? Some Retroshifts. Any company that uses a goat as a logo is cool.