Derailleur Drama

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 05, 2013 10:28 PM GMT
    I've just spent about 10 hours adjusting my MTB derailleurs. I recently had the full chain set replaced, but the rear derailleurs were still not comfortably engaging the gears when the chain was under extra pressure (i.e. riding uphill) and the front derailleur was clattering a bit in certain gears.

    Anyway, I have come to the conclusion derailleur adjustment is more art than science. And speaking of science, why hasn't anyone come up with a more refined means of shifting gear on a bike?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 05, 2013 11:08 PM GMT
    To answer my own question, it seems someone has:

    2837827510_b2f06835c4_b.jpg

    http://www.bicyclepaper.com/articles/373-Look-Ma-No-Derailleurs

    http://forums.mtbr.com/internal-gear-hubs/internal-hub-mtbs-post-yours-here-449329.html

    Not a cheap alternative though. Best I start saving for one.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 05, 2013 11:19 PM GMT
    Here ya go:
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=adjusting+derailleurs

    After watching a few how-to videos, I can now adjust my own front and rear derailleurs to perfection in less than 5 minutes...on both bikes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 05, 2013 11:25 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidHere ya go:
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=adjusting+derailleurs

    After watching a few how-to videos, I can now adjust my own front and rear derailleurs to perfection in less than 5 minutes...on both bikes.


    Thanks Paul. Yeah, I did the 'how to' thing before I started. It is a bit more subtle than some of those techies make out. Surprisingly, I did the rear in no time. The front one was a bitch though. I think you just have to accept a degree of chain fouling on the front derailleur when in certain gears.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 05, 2013 11:35 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 said
    paulflexes saidHere ya go:
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=adjusting+derailleurs

    After watching a few how-to videos, I can now adjust my own front and rear derailleurs to perfection in less than 5 minutes...on both bikes.


    Thanks Paul. Yeah, I did the 'how to' thing before I started. It is a bit more subtle than some of those techies make out. Surprisingly, I did the rear in no time. The front one was a bitch though. I think you just have to accept a degree of chain fouling on the front derailleur when in certain gears.
    Nope, you just have to be OCD about it and twist the little twisty thingy till the chain is perfectly centered over each cog (best done with rear derailleur in the middle gear). Then set the upper and lower stops, run it through all the gears, and voila...perfect shifting. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 12:07 AM GMT
    Oh, and I just Googled the Shimano Alfine shifter hub. Looks amazing! Now I can hardly wait to damage my current derailleur beyond repair, cause that's what I'll replace it with. icon_lol.gif
  • FredMG

    Posts: 988

    Jan 06, 2013 12:20 AM GMT
    how's the wear? on the free wheel and the deraileur cogs? if they aren't looking clean and sharp you might need new ones.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 12:28 AM GMT
    FredPDX saidhow's the wear? on the free wheel and the deraileur cogs? if they aren't looking clean and sharp you might need new ones.


    Pretty good, though the rear cassette is the only thing I haven't had replaced, so I do have my suspicions. The guy who fitted the new chain set said it was okay though and it looks serviceable.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 1:03 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidOh, and I just Googled the Shimano Alfine shifter hub. Looks amazing! Now I can hardly wait to damage my current derailleur beyond repair, cause that's what I'll replace it with. icon_lol.gif


    Same here.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 1:10 AM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 saidI recently had the full chain set replaced, but the rear derailleurs were still not comfortably engaging the gears when the chain was under extra pressure (i.e. riding uphill) and the front derailleur was clattering a bit in certain gears.


    How is your chain tension? When I've had shifting problems when under additional load, it's usually been due to some chain slack.

    Otherwise, I agree with Paul above...just be OCD about your adjustments and keep fiddling with it until it's perfect.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 1:37 AM GMT
    erik911sd said
    Ex_Mil8 saidI recently had the full chain set replaced, but the rear derailleurs were still not comfortably engaging the gears when the chain was under extra pressure (i.e. riding uphill) and the front derailleur was clattering a bit in certain gears.


    How is your chain tension? When I've had shifting problems when under additional load, it's usually been due to some chain slack.

    Otherwise, I agree with Paul above...just be OCD about your adjustments and keep fiddling with it until it's perfect.


    I am and I did, hence the 10 hours it took me.

    I had wondered about the chain tension though, as it does seem a bit on the slack side and the guy who did the chain set replacement said he'd kept it pretty loose. Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 3:16 AM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 said
    erik911sd said
    Ex_Mil8 saidI recently had the full chain set replaced, but the rear derailleurs were still not comfortably engaging the gears when the chain was under extra pressure (i.e. riding uphill) and the front derailleur was clattering a bit in certain gears.


    How is your chain tension? When I've had shifting problems when under additional load, it's usually been due to some chain slack.

    Otherwise, I agree with Paul above...just be OCD about your adjustments and keep fiddling with it until it's perfect.


    I am and I did, hence the 10 hours it took me.

    I had wondered about the chain tension though, as it does seem a bit on the slack side and the guy who did the chain set replacement said he'd kept it pretty loose. Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.
    Google/Youtube for ways to accurately check your chain tension.

    it's not an issue for me yet (both bikes only a few months old), but I already read up on how to measure it. The day I can't get it to shift right is the day I'll replace the entire derailleur system, front and back, and the chain. Bad shifting on these hills can get you hurt.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 3:48 AM GMT
    I like that new Shimano. And I totally feel for you. I hate when mine slips while climbing a hill. It's not like the hill isn't already a bitch to ascend.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 3:49 AM GMT
    Shimano has several different hubs with internal gears. They're typically found on bikes meant for mild urban commuting. Their gear range is not great.

    What caught my attention was the statement that the full chain set was replaced. Did this include the chain itself?

    Chains are designed for a particular gear range. Those intended for a 10-speed cassette will have a greater amount of lateral flex and be more slender than those for a 7-speed. If you get the wrong chain you'll have trouble with the shifter adjustment, which you seem to be describing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 4:10 AM GMT
    ART_DECO saidShimano has several different hubs with internal gears. They're typically found on bikes meant for mild urban commuting. Their gear range is not great.

    What caught my attention was the statement that the full chain set was replaced. Did this include the chain itself?

    Chains are designed for a particular gear range. Those intended for a 10-speed cassette will have a greater amount of lateral flex and be more slender than those for a 7-speed. If you get the wrong chain you'll have trouble with the shifter adjustment, which you seem to be describing.
    From what I've read so far, these "seem" perfect for serious mountain biking. A faster shifting gear would greatly increase my climbs when downshifting is needed (some are really technical and steep and curvy).

    As for the chain, yeah, that will always be replaced with the derailleur since they all wear out evenly.

    This is the hub I'm looking at for a replacement, eventually. I don't think "gear range" is an issue on an 11 speed. icon_wink.gif
    [url]http://www.jensonusa.com/!47eNjMsTm7Fe1vdW--46fQ!/Shimano-Alfine-SGS-700-11-Speed-Hub?utm_source=FRGL&utm_medium=organic&gclid=CLL30Pfs0rQCFQUFnQodz3AA_g[/url]
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 4:29 AM GMT
    i have a set of older Shimano XTR gear on my salsa bandito and its never been a perfect fit. There's always one gear combo that fouls a bit in the front. just learned to live with it and adjust for the task at hand. If i needed the lowest gear more often I'd adjust accordingly and for high vice versa.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 4:35 AM GMT
    RoadsterRacer87 saidi have a set of older Shimano XTR gear on my salsa bandito and its never been a perfect fit. There's always one gear combo that fouls a bit in the front. just learned to live with it and adjust for the task at hand. If i needed the lowest gear more often I'd adjust accordingly and for high vice versa.
    Did you replace the chain along with the gears?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 4:40 AM GMT
    Then there's the Gates belt-drive system They had one at the shop where I bought my last bike, but I didn't ride it.



    btw: extreme cassette/chainring combinations often are "for show only." The chain angle being so steep that you can't really use that setting. But I'm sure you know that. My old touring bike has so much flex in the frame, that if I suddenly stand on the pedals in a climb, it always downshifts. Automatic transmission!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 4:44 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    RoadsterRacer87 saidi have a set of older Shimano XTR gear on my salsa bandito and its never been a perfect fit. There's always one gear combo that fouls a bit in the front. just learned to live with it and adjust for the task at hand. If i needed the lowest gear more often I'd adjust accordingly and for high vice versa.
    Did you replace the chain along with the gears?


    Since the day that i built the bike it gave me trouble. My mechanic even looked at it and said it was probably due to the frame's geometry being slightly incompatible with the XTR geartrain. I don't ride it much anymore so i've focused more on maintaining my StingRay and my 3-speed.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 4:48 AM GMT
    RoadsterRacer87 said
    paulflexes said
    RoadsterRacer87 saidi have a set of older Shimano XTR gear on my salsa bandito and its never been a perfect fit. There's always one gear combo that fouls a bit in the front. just learned to live with it and adjust for the task at hand. If i needed the lowest gear more often I'd adjust accordingly and for high vice versa.
    Did you replace the chain along with the gears?


    Since the day that i built the bike it gave me trouble. My mechanic even looked at it and said it was probably due to the frame's geometry being slightly incompatible with the XTR geartrain. I don't ride it much anymore so i've focused more on maintaining my StingRay and my 3-speed.
    I would say send it to me, but I've been looking at an Evil f/s frame. Not sure which components I'll put on it yet, though. That'll be decided as I gain more experience in the sport.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 4:55 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidThen there's the Gates belt-drive system They had one at the shop where I bought my last bike, but I didn't ride it.


    Some motorcycles use Gates aramid toothed belts, including Harleys, so the technology is proven. But they can't be used in a derailleur system, so the only gearing option is with an internal hub.

    Except there are frictional losses with hub gearing, the gearing range available is less than with most derailleurs, they're heavier than derailleurs, and they may not tolerate high pedaling forces well, due to the tiny gears required to fit inside the hub.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2013 5:19 AM GMT
    Dunno. Their web page has the usual brags about sponsored race winners. Of course, if you have enough money, I guess a race bike only has to hold together for a few hours.

    Anyway, I don't know what I'd do without the permanent chainring-shaped grease stain on my right calf. People probably think it's a tattoo.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2013 1:48 PM GMT
    UPDATE: I studied the links above, and it appears the German Rohloff 14-speed internal hub addresses the issue of gearing range. However, the "ladder" (ie the steps between gears) may still be broader than in some derailleur combinations. The Shimano Alfine and Nexus internal hubs do not fare as well in the gear ratio department, having fewer gears. Nor do they accept a belt drive as well as the Rohloff, or quick release axles.

    The articles confirm that these large hubs are very heavy, not surprising since they are totally packed with gearing, almost no empty space inside them, their weight close to a solid hunk of metal of the same outside dimensions. The frame makers who use these heavy hubs put them mainly on touring and urban commuter bikes, not in competition and other lightweight applications.

    I could find no information on durability. It was my understanding that they do not have a long service life under heavy use, but that was before the newer Rohloff was developed. So for the moment the issue is unresolved for me.

    But at the same time it should be noted that derailleur service life is not very great, either. The gear teeth wear quickly, especially on the rear cassette, along with the chain due to the shifting action, and due to offset forces when the chainring and cassette gear selection does not provide optimal chain alignment.

    I did look at some Shimano Alfine-equipped commuter bikes a few years ago, but the bikes themselves did not meet my urban needs. Following a link above to Rodriquez custom bikes in Seattle looks promising, their commuter frames especially designed to exploit the Rohloff hub features. And they'll fit a Gates Centertrack carbon belt drive as an option, a low-maintenance, low-mess solution that appeals to me for a bike that gets parked in a condo. I'm going to research them some more.

    http://www.rodcycle.com
    2977?width=600&height=600
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 08, 2013 12:01 AM GMT
    A new chain on a worn cassette/chain ring can cause shift issues under load. If you had never replaced the chain before, or it's been over a year since you've replaced the chain, this is most likely the case. The old chain and cassette have "worn out together". If you put a new chain on a worn out cassette, it will not be optimally aligned when the chain first engages the sprocket. This can certainly cause shifting issues. To prevent this, it's a good idea to replace the chain once or twice a year....depending on how often you ride.

    Also, check to see if your derailleur hanger is bent.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 08, 2013 6:20 AM GMT
    SoloXCRacer saidA new chain on a worn cassette/chain ring can cause shift issues under load. If you had never replaced the chain before, or it's been over a year since you've replaced the chain, this is most likely the case. The old chain and cassette have "worn out together". If you put a new chain on a worn out cassette, it will not be optimally aligned when the chain first engages the sprocket. This can certainly cause shifting issues. To prevent this, it's a good idea to replace the chain once or twice a year....depending on how often you ride.

    Also, check to see if your derailleur hanger is bent.
    It's amazing that my front derailleur hangar isn't bent after the few spills It's taken recently, being slammed against my shoe during impact. icon_lol.gif Kudos to Shimano Acera for a sturdy derailleur, even though it's on their low end.

    This is also why I'm using my Specialized hybrid to train for a race in a couple weeks...don't wanna fuck up the Trek cause it's much lighter and fast as fuck (well, the way I have it modified it is).