Ultegra Front Derailleur Not Working
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  1. #1
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    Ultegra Front Derailleur Not Working

    I've only had the bike for 8 months and it has about 1600 miles on it. The front derailleur works fine if the temperature is above 35. If it's close to freezing, it stops working about 30 miles into a ride. Today it was only 22 degrees when I started and it stopped working about 7 miles into the ride. It has always been a case of the chain being in the big ring and I'm trying to shift to the small ring. I never have a problem with the rear one.

    What would be causing this? I can't see it being a frayed cable because I rarely shift the front derailleur and there aren't that many miles on it anyway. This is my only complaint with the bike but it's pretty annoying because there are a couple hills where I prefer to use it. Any tips that I could do myself to fix it or is this an LBS repair?

    Thanks for any advice.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB176 View Post
    I've only had the bike for 8 months and it has about 1600 miles on it. The front derailleur works fine if the temperature is above 35. If it's close to freezing, it stops working about 30 miles into a ride. Today it was only 22 degrees when I started and it stopped working about 7 miles into the ride. It has always been a case of the chain being in the big ring and I'm trying to shift to the small ring. I never have a problem with the rear one.

    What would be causing this? I can't see it being a frayed cable because I rarely shift the front derailleur and there aren't that many miles on it anyway. This is my only complaint with the bike but it's pretty annoying because there are a couple hills where I prefer to use it. Any tips that I could do myself to fix it or is this an LBS repair?
    Could be grease somewhere in the system getting stiff in the cold, or it could (though not likely) be something binding due to shrinking in the cold.

  3. #3
    .je
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    That's exactly how my 5700 was from brand new. I made this thread and just penetrating oil helped a lot, not completely, for a few weeks.
    https://forums.roadbikereview.com/co...ft-314443.html

    Your updated design might still have that middle lever that jams to the ones next to it but I think light lube will help.



    Hope you figure it out.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by .je View Post
    That's exactly how my 5700 was from brand new. I made this thread and just penetrating oil helped a lot, not completely, for a few weeks.
    https://forums.roadbikereview.com/co...ft-314443.html

    Your updated design might still have that middle lever that jams to the ones next to it but I think light lube will help.



    Hope you figure it out.
    Was yours only not working in cold temperatures?
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  5. #5
    .je
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB176 View Post
    Was yours only not working in cold temperatures?
    It works normally above 15C.

    Here's your design, it's been changed to a forked lever that should be moved by the shift paddle in both directions, but have a look how it works when you do it. I didn't check but it looks like there isn't a spring on this lever that brings it back, so you would have to do it.


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    When you press the inner release lever, is there the audible click & do you feel the release of cable tension? If there is a click but the front derailleur still doesn't move, then the cable somewhere is either catching on something or is frozen somewhere. So its a cable issue.

    If there is no click at all & there is no release in cable tension, then it is in your shifter. Its probably gunked up with dirt mixed in with the grease. Then a flush & relube /grease should help.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by stan01 View Post
    When you press the inner release lever, is there the audible click & do you feel the release of cable tension? If there is a click but the front derailleur still doesn't move, then the cable somewhere is either catching on something or is frozen somewhere. So its a cable issue.

    If there is no click at all & there is no release in cable tension, then it is in your shifter. Its probably gunked up with dirt mixed in with the grease. Then a flush & relube /grease should help.
    There's no click at all. It seems from the posts above that it's a defect with the mechanism itself. I'll be riding today in 40 degrees so it shouldn't be a problem but I will have to address it for colder rides. I'll try adding lube. Thanks.
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    I didn't look back through the thread to check but did anyone mention water in the housing? If the freezing point is the work/no work point I would check for that.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB176 View Post
    There's no click at all. It seems from the posts above that it's a defect with the mechanism itself.
    Maybe, but it might just be that the lube is all gunked up. Shoot some WD-40 in there while repeatedly working the shifters up and down. Do this at least until you see stuff dripping ouf of the shifter (good idea to remove the hoods). If the shifting improves, then you have identified the problem. Follow up with some lightweight lube like TriFlow.

  10. #10
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    It was 22 degrees outside and you said to yourself " Boy, a great day for a ride"
    The front derailleur is the least of your problems.

  11. #11
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    my Ultegra 6600 and DA 7800 shifters both do this in cold weather...

    some flushing with WD40 and a spritz of Tri-Flow usually helps.
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  12. #12
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    This is my fourth road bike and I've never had this happen when riding in the cold with the other ones. It ended up being 36 degrees today and I had no problems. The poster above "je" said he had problems at 15 degrees Celsius which I think is around 60 Fahrenheit. That almost makes me think his problem is different because as long as it's just above freezing, I have no issues.

    I find it surprising that the front derailleur wasn't tested more by Shimano in cold temperatures. Surely they realize that road bikes are ridden in temperatures well below freezing! I still enjoy riding when it's cold.
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  13. #13
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    No click at all means that your lever is gunked up & its not a factory defect. Road grit & grime work their way into the levers from riding & the more the bike is ridden & the roads/trails that you ride on dictate how gunked up they will get with time. Just follow Kerry's suggestion.

  14. #14
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    I've seen this more and more since Shimano went 11sp. The grease they're using get's a little gummy in the cold. A little squirt of Finishline dry lube on the pawls will clear it up, usually for a year at t time. This is the lube Shimano used to use in the training videos (S-tec) for servicing old shifters.

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