front derailleur
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  1. #1
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    front derailleur

    i'm trying to adjust my front derailleur. i got new cables and threaded it through. i can't get the front derailleur to shift properly.

    i don't have a bike stand so i'm doing this all with the bike upside down. i detached the cable, loosened both the L and H screws.

    then i tightened the L screw until there was about 1mm clearance (chain on small ring big sprocket).

    then i attached the cable back on, i made sure it was fairly tight(taut) when i attached it. and then i shifted up to the big crank and small sprocket. i tightened the H screw until there was about 1mm clearance.

    now the bike won't shift like it's suppose to, it hesistates, it wants to shift but it's not pushing the chain back enough, so i get the noise of the chain running along the cage.

    Can anybody help me with this? are there websites that explain this? my book isn't all that great.

    how do you guys do it? what's your protocol?

  2. #2
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    Is it hanging on the upshift (to the big ring) or the downshift (to the small ring)?

  3. #3
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    Components forum?

    Post this in the components forum.

    You only adjust the H/L screws to set up, not to improve shifting. You need to work with the barrel adjuster that is up where the cable casing ends (head tube or down tube). Turn it counter clockwise if the up-shift (to the large ring) is slow.

  4. #4
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    i wasn't sure which forum

    it's having problems going from the big ring to the small ring. it's not how slow it shifts, it just doesn't shift. it'll move the derailleur but the derailleur doesn't move far enough.

    thanks.

    what steps do you guys go through when installing a new cable for the front derailleur?

  5. #5
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    Before attaching the cable to the derailleur you need to pull the free end of the cable while working the small shift lever to get all of the cable out of the shifter. While the cable is loose check the derailleur clearance at the small chainring, the inside rail should be a couple of mm from the frame side of the inside ring. Just pull the slack out of the cable and re-attach to the derailleur making sure that it is attached correctly. Check the cable routing under the bottom bracket and find a way to hand the bike rubber-side-down.
    Read the instructions at http://www.Parktool.com and/or Shimano or Campy sites.

    ~Al

  6. #6
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    Another possibility

    I just noticed that you say you can't shift down to the small ring from the big one. The most likely cause of this is that your cable has slipped. If you didn't get it clamped down tightly enough, that can happen, or it could be that you didn't get all the slack out somewhere before you locked it down. Sometimes when I'm pulling on the cable to make it taut, it'll seem tight, then I'll bump something and it'll suddenly give up a bunch of slack.

    Either situation will cause you to have trouble downshifting.

    Your theory is right--at least you do it the way I do it (though I generally do the clearances by eyeball and feel), but your execution may be lacking.

  7. #7
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    i'm pissed off

    i've been at this for two whole nights now including this afternoon. i haven't got it to work. while the bike is upside down there's a point where all the gears work but then i flip the bike over and take it for a spin and the gears won't shift up to the bigger ring.

    WHAT am i doing wrong?

    i've bolted the cables down so tight and now it's FRAYED!!!! that's the second one too. i hate spending more money at the shop to get this adjusted, but i'm bringing it to the shop tomorrow and having the guy tell me how to adjust it. hopefully he won't charge me the 15$ he charged me last time.

    i'm so frustrated.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by maclover
    i've been at this for two whole nights now including this afternoon. i haven't got it to work. while the bike is upside down there's a point where all the gears work but then i flip the bike over and take it for a spin and the gears won't shift up to the bigger ring.

    WHAT am i doing wrong?

    i've bolted the cables down so tight and now it's FRAYED!!!! that's the second one too. i hate spending more money at the shop to get this adjusted, but i'm bringing it to the shop tomorrow and having the guy tell me how to adjust it. hopefully he won't charge me the 15$ he charged me last time.

    i'm so frustrated.

    First, the thing nobody wants to be told... but maybe you should just take it to the LBS and pay them the $5 to $8 they are going to charge you to do this and get it right. Is the frustration you are feeling right now really worth saving $5? Sometimes you just need to walk away from a project if it is getting the better of you.

    Next, if you really want to do it yourself, follow the advice and go to Park Tool's site and read their instructions. They are very good and easy to follow.

    Good luck,

    Russ

  9. #9
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    my lbs charges 15$

    my bike shop charges a whopping 15$ for the derailleur ADJUSTMENT (front only). i did read the Park Tool instructions i also downloaded and printed the instructions from shimano. i'm going to ask the LBS guy to watch me adjust my derailleur and tell me what i'm doing wrong. i hope they'll let me do this.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclover
    i've been at this for two whole nights now including this afternoon. i haven't got it to work. while the bike is upside down there's a point where all the gears work but then i flip the bike over and take it for a spin and the gears won't shift up to the bigger ring.

    WHAT am i doing wrong?

    i've bolted the cables down so tight and now it's FRAYED!!!! that's the second one too. i hate spending more money at the shop to get this adjusted, but i'm bringing it to the shop tomorrow and having the guy tell me how to adjust it. hopefully he won't charge me the 15$ he charged me last time.

    i'm so frustrated.
    You're doing this with the bike upside down on the ground, right? Perhaps your levers are touching the ground and that's causing a condition that changes when you turn it upright. Working with a stand is the most reliable way to eliminate this possibility.

    When there's no stand available, I like to use a milk crate or sturdy box to rest the bars on--put it open side up, and you can usually find a way to rest the bike on it that doesn't press on any of the controls or cables. This is not the most stable of resting places, so be gentle, but it works.

    Sorry this has been such a pain for you. I'd rule out this possibility, then go to the shop--if you go to the shop first, and there's some problem caused by the way it sits when it's upside down that you don't know about, you're gonna be REALLY mad when the shop guy does it just like you do (but in a stand) and it works.

  11. #11
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    i dislike the LBS

    i just took the bike to the shop today and man what an experience. i felt like the guy was degrading me. total bill today was 33$.

    i asked him to teach me how to adjust the front derailleur... he said no, and if i wanted him to, he was going to charge by the hour and it'll cost a whole lot, or he could just fix it for me.

    he adjusted the Low and High limits. the system does not work, even in a stand -> basically the same way i adjusted it. the guy told me my cable feels like ARSE, he asked did you splay/fray the cable inside the housing somewhere? i said no. he didn't believe me, pulled out the cable and put in a new one that I provided. the cable was okay. he then resumed adjusting the tension of the cable until it was just right and it took quite a while.

    he then went ahead and told me, that the L and H settings should never be changed unless I changed chainrings. he went on further to tell me that I had very cheap cables (2.50$ at performance). and then he told me that the tension of the cable might change and the shifting will be off and that i'll have to adjust it.

    he went on to tell me that my rear wheel was out of true, and that the headset needed a spacer. I knew it needed a spacer, but he went ahead and charged me 10$(labor) + 3$(spacer) to screw it in for me and I got the headstem from this bike shop.

    so i had to pay 20$ for front derailleur adjustment (which i will need to adjust later anyways) and 13$ for him to screw on a spacer above the headstem. oh and he said other bike shops would have charged MORE for people who try to work on their own bikes.

    pissed off.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like an all-too-typical LBS "service" experience, unfortunately.

    If you can, shop around other local shops (or even not-so-local) to find a better one, and keep learning how to fix this stuff yourself.

    I'm stumped as to:

    a: Why you were unable to get it fixed on your own. I'm sure you're doing it right, so I'm mystified as to why it didn't work out;

    b: Why it took an "experienced" mechanic a long time to sort it out. This is not a complicated thing to fix--and it's probably one of the most common requests for service. Weird.

    I guess a and b are related--hopefully there's not a hardware problem somewhere else in the chain that will come back to haunt you.

  13. #13
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    he just sucked

    it took him about 10-15 mintues or so to adjust the front derailleur. the H and L settings weren't all that difficult to set. i could even set those by myself. the H screw is currently screwed all the way in tight and the L a little looser.

    the thing that took a while was the tension of the cable and the adjustment of the barrell adjuster. he said my cables were cheap and felt like ARSE. he took it out and threaded a new one in. he reattached the cables with finger tight pressure and then strecthed it. he said the H and L screws now should never be touched, they're set.

    then he tested the gear changes, it doesn't work. it won't climb to the bigger rings, so he turns the adjuster around and around until it does (i'm assuming he's increasing the tension ever so slightly with the barrell adjuster). and then shifting from the big ring to the small ring won't work so he turns the barrell adjuster around and around the other way (i'm assuming he's lessening the tension). and the process repeats and then repeats again and then repeats again.

    then he told me that the cables will stretch and that i will need to adjust the tension myself later. he told me to go read "Zinn and the art of road bike maintence."

    i felt like the bike shop wanted to charge me for everything. screwing the spacer onto the headstem, i could have done, but they charged me 10$. and they charged me 3$ for the spacer.

    i'm guessing that i couldn't do the job because i'm inexperienced and i didn't understand the barrell adjuster thing too well, i kept trying to force the bike to shift not via the tension of the string, but i tried to force it with the H and L screws.

    i totally thought that Bike Shop people were suppose to be cool. i forgot to add, my chain i think is okay, it measured about 12" from center of rivet to the center of the rivet 12 links later. it's off by about 1/16" at most.
    Last edited by maclover; 09-17-2004 at 12:36 PM. Reason: addition

  14. #14

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    Great article

    Go to http://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html for an excellent article about derailleur adjustment. I have used it time and again. It is simple to follow and is step-by-step.

    LBS guys have a REAL problem with people who want to work on their own bikes. It makes me REALLY dislike them.

    They can nickle and dime you to death. I recently spent nearly $3,000 on a bike. She rung it up on my credit card. Then I said I needed a spare inner tube. She actually UNRUNG my $3,000 purchase and added the $5.30 to the cost!

    I told her she was cheap as hell and that this was my third, and final, bike purchase there. She offered to refund my $5.30, but I said she obviously needed it more than I did. Oh yes, I forgot. She also charged me $1.50 for Presta-Shraeder screw on converters for my new bike at the time of the purchase. That's like buying a Rolls Royce and having them charge your for rubber floor mats.

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