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I raced last year once on an old bike with original rival and hit a sand trap, went down on the drive side, and dug the shifter into the sand. Couldn't get it to shift, eventually blew it out with some compressed air and sprayed some amsoil in it to get it going again, but it was never perfect.

built up a new rig, with better rival, hit some local single track to do some training, and dumped the bike the other day, in a mix of sand and dirt. again, shifter started to jam, not rebounding when I got to the top of the cassette, and just generally not performing well. brought it to the shop, got it back about 92%, but there's gotta be a better way.

I guess my question is, since i'm likely to do this again, is there any way to gunk proof a sram shifter? can I wrap some duct tape on the underside to try and block anything from getting in there?

Sincerely,
Hopeless in the Sand

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Get some large diameter electrical heat shrink wrap (I've seen up to 3in) peel back the tops of your hoods, add wrap and heat until snug - voila!  You could also pre cut a hole for the shifter paddle and cover both the front and back openings (not sure if that would affect the shifting, but it's worth a try). 

Good luck!!

I guess you cut off and replace whenever you replace the cables? 

David, where would I typically find this? Electrical dept at home depot?

Yep

I dumped my shifter in the sand at a USGP last year and was able to flush it out with White Lightning Clean Streak degreaser. It's worked 100% since. 

by "flush it out," how much are we talking?  while on the bike, soaked it, sprayed it in forcefully?

 

(forgive the newbedness)

Took the hood and access panel off and sprayed it in there good. During the race I had to use my pit bike because the one I dumped in the sand wouldn't shift at all. This was done after the race.

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