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  1. #1
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    Ultegra 6800 front derailleur super stiff - would another converter position help?

    My FD has been super stiff since I had my bike recabled this spring. I'm starting to think my mechanic did a poor job with the front derailleur cable attachement.

    The symptoms : I can't really upshift to the low trim position. I need to apply a lot of force to the lever, hear the click but the derailleur arm doesn't really move (but there is a lot of tension on the FD, so I'm pretty positive the cable isn't stuck in the guide). Shifting to the big ring also requires more force and the FD just moves all at once when reaching a certain point. If I then downshift from the big ring to the small one, the FD is in the correct low trim position and re-upshifting to the big ring is much easier.

    The derailleur converter is currently in the off position, which attaches the cable more to the right side of the bolt. From what I describe and what my pictures shows, would changing the converter position to On, and thus moving the cable attachment point more to the left, make my shifting smoother? As you can see from the picture, the cable is already frayed at the end so I don't have many shots at a correct adjustment before I need to recable again. I know this assessment is usually done with the plastic tool but I don't have it. Also, could running the cable on the top of the fixing bolt make things even better, even if it's not what Shimano recommends?

    Limits screws are okay, the derailleur moves in the whole range when I move it with my fingers.

    Picture 1 is with the FD at its lowest position. Picture 2 shows it in the correct low trim position, which is attained either by moving it by hand while clicking the lever, or by downshifting from the big ring.

    I went back to the shop who did the recabling describing what I described here (but I wasn't aware of the converter thing at the time). What they did to try to fix my issue is hack the BB cable guide so that the cables would slide more easily. I think they do, but it also moved the cable exit point more to the right, which I think might exacerbate the problem. I can put it back where it was to move the exit point more to the left, but that itself won't fix the problem, since I had it in this position.
    Last edited by ToiletSiphon; 07-02-2017 at 05:43 AM. Reason: Edited because I mixed left and right

  2. #2
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    This is the design challenge/opportunity that the new FD design has fixed.
    Look at the new DA and soon to be released Ultegra FD's
    They do not have the geometry that tries to pull straight through the pivots when in the low position as yours does.

    Pulling straight through the pivots, or almost is really a challenged design.

    Once past the lowest position the pivots are geometrically happy and all is well. But the low position is challenging. That is why they use mode positions to try and move cable over to help geometry. It helps a tiny bit.

    Some frames have cable exit points that really make this a challenge. You are experiencing this.

    Glad Shimano changed the design.

    Problem is that it will cost you $98 for the new DA FD. Don't know what the Ultegra FD will cost when released.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Take better photos...closer. It looks like the cable isn't routed correctly no matter which position the converter is in. There is an arrow and laser etched 'cable in' on the back of the derailleur, it looks like you might have missed that spot for the cable to enter the clamp.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Take better photos...closer. It looks like the cable isn't routed correctly no matter which position the converter is in. There is an arrow and laser etched 'cable in' on the back of the derailleur, it looks like you might have missed that spot for the cable to enter the clamp.
    Indeed, it's not aligned at all with the arrow. Can't believe my mechanic hacked my cable guide to try to fix the poor shifting but missed something so obvious (that and the converter)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevoo View Post
    This is the design challenge/opportunity that the new FD design has fixed.
    Look at the new DA and soon to be released Ultegra FD's
    They do not have the geometry that tries to pull straight through the pivots when in the low position as yours does.

    Pulling straight through the pivots, or almost is really a challenged design.

    Once past the lowest position the pivots are geometrically happy and all is well. But the low position is challenging. That is why they use mode positions to try and move cable over to help geometry. It helps a tiny bit.

    Some frames have cable exit points that really make this a challenge. You are experiencing this.

    Glad Shimano changed the design.

    Problem is that it will cost you $98 for the new DA FD. Don't know what the Ultegra FD will cost when released.

    Good luck
    Add some more $$$ because of the poor CAD exchange rate. That being said, I'm tempted to throw some money at the problem to get rid of it once and for all and not be subject to botched jobs. Is the 9100 really THAT better? And it's compatible with 6800 levers right?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevoo View Post
    This is the design challenge/opportunity that the new FD design has fixed.
    Look at the new DA and soon to be released Ultegra FD's
    They do not have the geometry that tries to pull straight through the pivots when in the low position as yours does.

    Pulling straight through the pivots, or almost is really a challenged design.

    Once past the lowest position the pivots are geometrically happy and all is well. But the low position is challenging. That is why they use mode positions to try and move cable over to help geometry. It helps a tiny bit.

    Some frames have cable exit points that really make this a challenge. You are experiencing this.

    Glad Shimano changed the design.

    Problem is that it will cost you $98 for the new DA FD. Don't know what the Ultegra FD will cost when released.

    Good luck
    I don't really understand what you are saying but the only problem with that design, and the reason it was changed, is that that long arm can hit big tires on some frame. There are no design problems as far as what the OPs problem is goes. Do think a design problem happened to kick in right after he had work done but the design was fine before?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    ...the only problem with that design, and the reason it was changed, is that that long arm can hit big tires on some frame. There are no design problems as far as what the OPs problem is goes.
    Not entirely true, there are a number of frames that have a poor cable entry angle thanks to aero designs and the 9100 and 8000 derailleurs solve this issue completely. I'm not saying this is the case here, but it does eliminate issues with frames that don't strictly adhere to Shimano's design specifications.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcb78 View Post
    Not entirely true, there are a number of frames that have a poor cable entry angle thanks to aero designs and the 9100 and 8000 derailleurs solve this issue completely. I'm not saying this is the case here, but it does eliminate issues with frames that don't strictly adhere to Shimano's design specifications.
    okay, never heard of that but I'll take your word for that.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    I don't really understand what you are saying but the only problem with that design, and the reason it was changed, is that that long arm can hit big tires on some frame. There are no design problems as far as what the OPs problem is goes. Do think a design problem happened to kick in right after he had work done but the design was fine before?
    Well actually low trim shifting has always been very harsh with this bike / derailleur. It became awfull after having it recabled.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    okay, never heard of that but I'll take your word for that.
    What happens is when the cable exits the BB area to far to the drive side the cable itself starts getting close to the pivot point of the derailleur and in some cases passes through it. When the cable is pulling 'thru' the pivot, the lever doesn't work very well and the first shift up to the larger ring is very difficult. After that first shift the angle of shift arm has changed because the lever arm has swung inboard, so the cable no longer passes through the pivot point and from then on the shifting is smooth.
    Fuji for example saw the problem right away with the Transonic and had a new cable converter made for them that replaces the pin in the front derailleur. It holds the cable entry point a off to the side to mitigate the problem. I'll see if there are any in the shop when I go in this week and snap a pic, it'll make much more sense then.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcb78 View Post
    What happens is when the cable exits the BB area to far to the drive side the cable itself starts getting close to the pivot point of the derailleur and in some cases passes through it. When the cable is pulling 'thru' the pivot, the lever doesn't work very well and the first shift up to the larger ring is very difficult. After that first shift the angle of shift arm has changed because the lever arm has swung inboard, so the cable no longer passes through the pivot point and from then on the shifting is smooth.
    Fuji for example saw the problem right away with the Transonic and had a new cable converter made for them that replaces the pin in the front derailleur. It holds the cable entry point a off to the side to mitigate the problem. I'll see if there are any in the shop when I go in this week and snap a pic, it'll make much more sense then.
    Thanks for the details.
    6800 works fantastic on the bike I have it on. But it's a regular external routing round tube steel frame so that probably goes to figures.

  12. #12
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    I had a similar sympton when I changed my crank and re-adjust 5800 FD which had worked fine before.

    The root cause was a missing a O-ring like parts existing at the root of crank axle. Missing it made the entire right crank set inserted deeper than usual to the BB and so called chain line was shorter than it should be. i was adjusting FD based on the wrong chain line and FD became so heavy at the operation.

    I fond the ring parts a few days larer in my room and set it back, re-adjust FD again, everything works fine then.
    .
    I checked the SHIMANO small parts list and identified all the last thee generations of ultegra/duraace has same parts, such as 66/67/68/78/79/90.

    Including mycase, any other facor which shorten the chain line could be the reason for the sympton. please check.

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  13. #13
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    Yes, anything that can move the FD position more outwards when resting on the low limit helps.
    Moving chainline out and adjusting low limit as far out as you can get away with also helps.
    These things get FD more away from pulling straight through the pivots at the start of it's stroke. More away from that super heavy initial feeling.

    I am glad to see that this challenged design has now been addressed and re-engeneered by Shimano in the newer releases.

    Good luck.

  14. #14
    fdfd
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    If the low trim is unresposive and feels stiff it could be a cable tension issue. The cable has probably slipped and lost tension.

    Try starting over

    Unhook the cable
    Stick a 5mm hex key into the FD cage so to align the outer cage edge just further than the outer chainring edge.
    Pull the cable and clamp. Then remove the hex key.
    Then the FD will return to the inner side and the FD spring will pull the cable tighter.
    Now check the trim, and shifting, it should be more responsive.

    If you think it could be better, do the same procedure again but when clamping the cable pull it alittle more tighter.


    It's OK to clamp the cable over the bolt. It will give the cable more leverage. I use this method on my Cannondale Supersix and it works much better than the converter method. So it's worth a shot.

  15. #15
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailflow View Post
    If the low trim is unresposive and feels stiff it could be a cable tension issue. The cable has probably slipped and lost tension.

    Try starting over

    Unhook the cable
    Stick a 5mm hex key into the FD cage so to align the outer cage edge just further than the outer chainring edge.
    Pull the cable and clamp. Then remove the hex key.
    Then the FD will return to the inner side and the FD spring will pull the cable tighter.
    Now check the trim, and shifting, it should be more responsive.

    If you think it could be better, do the same procedure again but when clamping the cable pull it alittle more tighter.


    It's OK to clamp the cable over the bolt. It will give the cable more leverage. I use this method on my Cannondale Supersix and it works much better than the converter method. So it's worth a shot.
    Not great advice. Use the converter properly. It's not just leverage, but the cable pull ratio. If you can't get proper cable tension and you need more...evidenced by the derailleur moving back after you release the shifter after shifting to the big ring...you can 'cheat' the low limit screw a half to 3/4 turn, attach the cable, then undo the limit screw that same amount. The X800 series derailleurs are very sensitive to cable tension. You have to have the limits set properly, the cable routed properly, and exactly the right cable tension or it won't work well at all. You want just enough tension that the cage stops and doesn't move back at all when you release the lever. If you have too much tension you won't get enough movement of the cage in the low trim position.
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  16. #16
    fdfd
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    Nothing wrong with my advice. I have tried every set up method possible with these FD's, the official Shimano way and every experimental option too. Passing the cable over the bolt is not about cable tension. It's about the leverage of the arm. The better the leverage is, the easier it is to move. The less effort it requires. That puts less strain on the shifter.

    I have experimented extensively and my finding are different to yours. I get a much more reliable,responsive and tactile feel of the low trim and the shifter requires far less effort to shift up when i pass the cable over the bolt. This is just my frame, others may require a different approach that's fine. But i get the same results every time so it's no fluke. By passing the cable over the bolt, i have never found it to change the cable pull in any negative way or cause any issue. Nothing has made itself obviously clear that's its incorrect, as you claim. So i dont believe the cable pull ratio is that sensitive to the slight degree change of the cable angle. My FD works fine and needs less effort so that's a win.

    But i will agree with you the cable tension is very sensitive and it need to be just right. But its better to have too much tension than too little. Secondly whats also important is a free cable run. If there are any tight radiuses/bends/angles in the outer from the STI that will add extra friction which will negativly effect the shift and trim feel.

    You can still do the low limit screw trick which you describe if you so wish. It wont matter. That's another way to do it ,like my way is another way. I will say i think the converter tab is definitely flawed (at least on my frame) and is by no means perfect. How can it be ?

    There is nothing wrong with trying it. Sure it's not the official 'way'. But even Shimano can overlook these things. If it doesnt work then so be it. If you dont try you'll never know if it does indeed work better. No harm in trying it. It works on my Cannondale, it may work on the OP's Cannondale.
    Last edited by trailflow; 07-05-2017 at 11:22 AM.

  17. #17
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    Can you PM a picture of your setup? I also have a Supersix Evo and can't get my FD to perfectly shift (either I sacrifice low trim or high trim). I've tried a few different methods too and trying both converter settings. Even swapped out my 6800 for a 9000 (it got a little better but still not right).

    My inline barrel adjuster on my shift cables is worthless so I have to get it just right when I clamp it down. I will keep in mind the limit screw trick too.

    I might just find a R8000 front derailleur and be done with it though since that has a built in adjuster and sell my 9000FD when those are available.

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