For starters, with most Shimano STI shifters, if you punch in an upshift on the front derailleur, it's helpful to push the shift lever and hold it in, to help the chain engage the next ring, then release once the chain's got a grip on the ring. When you hold the lever, the derailleur cage is held a bit further out than its final resting position will be. When you release the lever, it settles back a touch. The LBS people may be so used to this aspect of shifting STI levers that it comes naturally, resulting in the "nothing's wrong" verdict.
There have been some Shimano STI levers where swinging the shifter did park the derailleur's cage precisely on its final position. No overshoot. If the final position wasn't enough to get engagement, there really was no option but to feint a shift from there to the big ring in order to get engagement, then cancel. I'm specifically thinking of old Shimano RSX 7sp here. I hope your levers aren't following in that tradition.
edit: I went to see what the R700 Triple comes with. Nice to see it has 105 levers, which have two trim positions for the middle chainring and aren't cursed with the no-play problem
Try the force-feeding technique I mentioned, and punch in a trim on the downshift lever after shift completion... this is SOP for STI.
Last edited by mechBgon; 09-13-02 at 02:54 PM.