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@lazyjacques @cyclocross Hi lazyjacques, please see my comment just above. It's not necessary to remove the brake lever. With the brake lever in place, it's a little trickier to push out the shift mechanism axle, but the axle does come out easily once you get something in there to push it toward the back. All of the other steps are just as in the walk-through above.
2 years ago on Single Ring: Removing the Double and Tap from SRAM Double Tap
I just removed the guts from a 2012 Apex shifter. It took about 15 minutes, and I did it without removing the brake cable (so the shifter was still hanging off the bike).
The pin holding the brake lever might be different on my shifter, it seemed like it either had a cap over it or a mushroom head that I didn't feel comfortable beating on with a drift. So I performed the shifterectomy without removing the brake lever. I pushed the take-up reel axle out with a piece of bent wire. It came out easily.