SRAM rear derailleur adjustment for CX
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  1. #1
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    SRAM rear derailleur adjustment for CX

    Here is my problem- the lack of a final stop for low gear shifts on SRAM. My cx wheels are Shimano splined so I made the leap and used Force for cross last year. I love the feel of the levers in my hands, their relative weight to DA and hidden cable design.

    My problem arose in a few cross races last year. I am in the largest cog and try to go to an easier gear with a double click and only get a single click downshift harder!

    Here's an example... I am using an 11-23 cassette and riding in the 23. In a race, I may lose track of what gear I am in, thinking that I'm only in the 21. There is a steep hill to climb, and I think that being in a lower gear would be better, so I try and shift to the 23. (I am already in my 23) The shifter will not push the double clicks required for one upshift, but has to move the one click for a higher gear shift. So now instead of going to a lower gear, I ended up in an even harder gear (21) than I was previously in. Then I am stuck with a shift back to the 23 or a dismount and walk.There was no real way to know I couldn't go two clicks without looking (not happening in a race) or trying and only getting the one click down shift. I don't think a gear indicator is very practical in CX racing either.

    Is this a common occurrence for other SRAM CX users or was my cable adjustment off?

  2. #2
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    I have Force on my road bike and Shimano on my cross bike. I think that what you are describing with the Force shifters is close to what mine do. But when I'm in my final big cog in the back, if I go hunting for that next gear on a climb, the shifter does more a partial one click and does not drop a gear on the return. So ya, maybe an adjustment is off. My Force set up as been problem free for 1500 or so miles, so I've not played with any adjustments.

    This is also why I stayed with Shimano for my CX bike. I wanted going up and down gears to be very different movements for my hands so I don't screw it up.

  3. #3
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    I changed my CX bike to Shimano DA this year and put the Force on one of my road bikes for the same reason. Perhaps it was the cable adjustment - but it is also a problem inherent in the double tap design.

  4. #4
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    Get off before to need too

    Pay attention to where you are in your cogset - don't blame the machine for user error

    If it's that steep, you should be running anyway.

    If you feel you need a lower gear, get a smaller front chainring
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo Tommassi
    Pay attention to where you are in your cogset - don't blame the machine for user error

    If it's that steep, you should be running anyway.

    If you feel you need a lower gear, get a smaller front chainring
    That's harsh. What if OP was using a 11-23? At one point is a person tough enough to deserve well designed shifters?

  6. #6
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    I'm running SRAM rival on my cx bike - if I'm in the 25 (my largest cog), and try to downshift, it stops the lever short. If you keep pushing (it gets pretty hard to push, but keep going), it goes beyond a little 'overtravel' thing and doesn't do the upshift when you let go of the lever. Give it a try - it's kept me from upshifting on many a bumpy climb...

  7. #7
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    Its partially true that tis important to pay attention where you are in the cassette but I was running a different single ring due to faster conditions and didn't "know" my cassette well enough. Still in the heat of a race its not easy to recall where you are in the cassette. You just shift as needed and go as fast as you can.
    jmkimmel- I will play with it some more- thanks for the explanation.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmkimmel
    I'm running SRAM rival on my cx bike - if I'm in the 25 (my largest cog), and try to downshift, it stops the lever short. If you keep pushing (it gets pretty hard to push, but keep going), it goes beyond a little 'overtravel' thing and doesn't do the upshift when you let go of the lever. Give it a try - it's kept me from upshifting on many a bumpy climb...
    Ya, that is what I was trying to say. My Force set up works like this.

  9. #9
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    not a design issue

    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutButterBreath
    That's harsh. What if OP was using a 11-23? At one point is a person tough enough to deserve well designed shifters?
    he's not describing a design issue, he's describing what happens when he tries to shift into a lower gear that doesn't exist. if it was shimano, he'd run the pulley cage into the spokes and wrap the chain around the backside of the cog and what would that be? obviously a design flaw?
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  10. #10
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    It's the setup

    On a SRAM road setup you need to have the low limit screw on the der set a little looser (1/8 to 1/4 turn) than on a Shimano, just enough so the shifter cycles a shift but doesn't toss the chain into the wheel. This way you can cycle the shifter and not drop down a cog. The high limit should be set so the pulley is on the dropout side of the small cog, do both and shifts like butter. If you run more than one wheelset be sure to check the setup on all your wheels, you might need to do some fine tuning to make sure none toss it into the wheel (same holds true for Shimano).

  11. #11
    CDB
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    I've been having this issue too, as I'm new to the SRAM Rival this fall. I have attempted to find an easier cog while mashing up a steepish climb and accidentaly click down into a the next smaller cog. Ouch! Another issue I've encountered is trying to shift up to a larger cog while powering through really bumpy terrain. I get through the first click zone (which is used for going to smaller cog) and my hand gets bumped around on the lever before I get to the deeper click zone (up a larger cog). I think this is partly because my wrist twists around more in that position and doesn't give as much stability/support on the hoods that way. (FYI, I do have long fingers too, XL gloves are a kinda small).

    I disagree about needing to be "running" if you need a bigger cog than a 23. It would depend on the size of the chainring used up front. With a single 42t, sometimes even a 27 is appropriate and is faster than running, even for someone like myself who is a good runner. Sometimes you throw down so hard w/ a hard effort before the hill and what was easily rideable one lap becomes quite a burden next time. Being able to spin a little on a hill might enable you to then accellerate at the top w/ a huge mashing effort. Tough to do that after a low RPM mashing climb for 30-45 seconds.

    I'd like to see a bullet point top 5 list of how to set up Sram deraillers and how (if) that differs from anything typically done w/ Shimano. You know, a comparison from a mechanic's angle, for those idiots out there like myself who are still on the low end of the learning curve. I'm sure that it works well when set up properly.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like you need a 25 or 27.

    If you're in the 23 and hunting for easier gears...

  13. #13
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    I'm not alone in this problem

    It doesn't seem acceptable to me to set up the low limit screw on the rear derailleur a little loose (or closer to the spokes) to prevent this problem when the issue is in the shifter itself. Especially in light of the real possibility of changing wheels or cassettes at races.

    I looked at the videos on the SRAM site and it doesn't appear to have any abnormal adjustment necessary for the RD.

    magic and jmkimmel- where in the throw does the lever "stop?" -after the first click but before the second or after the second? From reading your posts It sounds like the lever goes past the first click but stops short of the second and when you release it doesn't drop a gear harder.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by nrspeed
    I'm not alone in this problem

    It doesn't seem acceptable to me to set up the low limit screw on the rear derailleur a little loose (or closer to the spokes) to prevent this problem when the issue is in the shifter itself. .....
    I totally agree. I've certainly heard a lot of complaints from roadies running Rival/Force. It seems a very poor design for this workaround to be the only way of avoiding the entirely unintuitive response from the system (i.e. for it to grab a harder gear instead of an easier one). That kind of input>response would never pass any reasonable design review - at least not where I work.

    Regarding the comment that the OP should keep track of where he is in the cassette - this is all very well, and may even be possible during a nice solo training ride. But in the heat of a race where attacks are going, the road suddenly pitches up to 15%, you're already above LT and you need to jump multiple gears in one hit (you can do that, right?) then you may have to be a counter in the vein of "Bringing Down the House" to keep track of up2-down3-up1-up1-down1-down1-up3...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo Tommassi
    he's not describing a design issue, he's describing what happens when he tries to shift into a lower gear that doesn't exist. if it was shimano, he'd run the pulley cage into the spokes and wrap the chain around the backside of the cog and what would that be? obviously a design flaw?
    Huh!? On a properly set-up Shimano drive train this would never happen. That's what limit screws are there to prevent. If it were Shimano, it wouldn't shift to a higher gear either -- under any circumstances. Obviously a superior design.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by yessl
    I totally agree. I've certainly heard a lot of complaints from roadies running Rival/Force. It seems a very poor design for this workaround to be the only way of avoiding the entirely unintuitive response from the system (i.e. for it to grab a harder gear instead of an easier one). That kind of input>response would never pass any reasonable design review - at least not where I work.
    Is there any doubt that the primary inspiration for the SRAM road shifter design was the fact that all the decent designs were already patented by Campy or Shimano?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo Tommassi
    if it was shimano, he'd run the pulley cage into the spokes and wrap the chain around the backside of the cog and what would that be? obviously a design flaw?

    I dunno man... i would be out about $11,000 in wheelsets and $500 in deraileurs if the der shifted into the spokes when I was in my big cog and thought I had lower gears left...

    last time I checked, it was called a limit screw.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo Tommassi
    he's not describing a design issue, he's describing what happens when he tries to shift into a lower gear that doesn't exist. if it was shimano, he'd run the pulley cage into the spokes and wrap the chain around the backside of the cog and what would that be? obviously a design flaw?
    souds like you really don't know either system well. SRAM will let you stay in the lowest gear if you mistakenly shift up provided its setup right. Shimano won't drive your derailleur cage into the spokes if set up right.
    Last edited by 32and3cross; 10-05-2007 at 03:48 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo Tommassi
    if it was shimano, he'd run the pulley cage into the spokes and wrap the chain around the backside of the cog and what would that be?
    That would be a misadjusted low limit screw.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nrspeed
    I'm not alone in this problem

    It doesn't seem acceptable to me to set up the low limit screw on the rear derailleur a little loose (or closer to the spokes) to prevent this problem when the issue is in the shifter itself. Especially in light of the real possibility of changing wheels or cassettes at races.

    I looked at the videos on the SRAM site and it doesn't appear to have any abnormal adjustment necessary for the RD.

    magic and jmkimmel- where in the throw does the lever "stop?" -after the first click but before the second or after the second? From reading your posts It sounds like the lever goes past the first click but stops short of the second and when you release it doesn't drop a gear harder.
    My bike with the Force group on it is getting it's steering tube cut and some other things done too it. So I don't have it on hand to just simply try to see where the lever stops, sorry.

  21. #21
    CDB
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    My derailleur limit screws are set up per the instruction manual, give or take a couple screws of the barrel adjuster at the back where the cable enters the der. This setup, I believe, is for the upper pulley to be aligned vertical center w/ the largest cog, and slightly outboard of the smallest cog. It seemed to be the best location and worked better than when I first set it up (shimano-style), centering the pulley under the small cog. It never was happy there.

    As far as the upper cog issue of accidentally shifting to the second largest (harder gear)when you're already in the big one, I have an idea. The way my shifter is setup, when I'm in the biggest cog and attempt to shift one higher (impossible), I have to make sure I move the lever all the way into the "second click" zone to make sure it stays in that big cog. If I don't reach that second "click", it will drop down into the next smaller cog. I am learning to practice good shift habits in that gear. My method is to make sure to hit that second click, even though the chain doesn't go up a cog. If there were indeed a bigger one, I would feel the chain lift up before I press the lever all the way. You have to force yourself to learn that the "click is the trick", not the feeling at your feet. (With shimano, the way I gauge it when I shift, I push on the lever body until I feel it at my feet, not basing it on a perceptible click at the lever.)

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