Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gear changer repair

The gear changer suddenly started sticking and I wasn't able to change the gear ratio on the Nuvici hub. This is somewhat ironic given my recent post about how cool the Nuvinci hub is with its continuously variable transmission. 

Anyway, the problem was that I couldn't twist the handle. Luckily Organic Transit included the users manual for the Nuvinci Hub which has a good description and pictures showing how to replace the gear cable. 

The first challenge was finding a replacement cable since the ELF has a very long cable. My local bike shop said its called a tandem shift cable but didn't have one in stock so I ordered one from Amazon.   

The next challenge was figuring out how to install it. There are actually two shift cables on the Nuvinci Hub and you have to thread the cable through a hole in the handle and wind it around a guide ridge and pull it all the way through until the grommet is seated in the housing.  I added some oil to the cable housing before threading the cable through to the end of the housing. There is a special clip that needs to be attached to the end of the cable which clips into the hub. The trick is to wait before trimming the cable until after all adjustments have been made. 

It actually took me two tries and a second replacement cable to get it right. The first one ended up getting frayed inside the handle just like the original cable. It appears that if the cables are too loose, they come off the runners inside the handle, and get caught up in the handle mechanism. So the key is to keep both cables relatively tight. The manual says to check the cable tension by pulling on the cable housing near the handle to see how much leeway there is. Then adjust the thumb screws on the handle to keep the cable snug.  I'll be sure to do that often now to avoid more broken shift cables. 

Here's the pagoda I pass on my ride home. It's near the old naval hospital in Silver Spring. 


  1. I'm in the process of selling my Motorcycle and saving up for the ELF. I live in the greater Baltimore Area....I think you work/commute right down the road from where my wife used to live(I'm familiar with the Qdoba you frequent on Tech Road).

    Once I get a little closer to actually having the funds(sell the bike) Would you be up for a quick meet up so I can check your ELF out? Perhaps I'll treat you some Qdoba to say thanks? This may not be for another month or so...I don't want to waist your time till I'm sure I can financially make the commitment(I just finished Nursing school). My commute is 10 miles one way via 40 MPH back roads, so I think the ELF fits the bill perfectly for me!

  2. Nice Picture in an interesting location. I also started a website for ELFers like us can post notes and pictures.

    Jim , Chandler AZ , the ELF is great even in the Sun and heat.

  3. Nice picture and in an interesting location. I also stared a website so we ELFers can post information and pictures of our ELF. It even works great here in the heat of Sunny Arizona since we ride in the shade in the ELF.
    Jim Chandler AZ , logged about 200 miles in 1 week.

  4. Hey Java Dude, check out my elf on a website I made to share info.

    Jim, ELF owner in Chandler AZ

  5. I just have the standard 3 speed hub and no problems. Oh I hope that doesn't may it act up now. LOL

  6. If that doesn't work you might consider the Nokon cables ( I would have recommended the GoreTex cables but they aren't on the market any more.
    Thanks for the test drive today -- Mark

    1. Thanks Mark. The cables have been fine since I wrote this post but I'll keep that in mind if I need to replace them again. Also, I was able to replace the broken spoke on the rear wheel without removing the wheel. I just deflated the tire and pushed it to the side to replace the spoke nipple. Thanks for that advice. It saved me a bunch of time!

  7. I'm now the newest member of the ELF Owner's Group on Facebook and my Mango is waiting its turn on the factory floor.