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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 04-02-06, 06:27 AM   #1
EliB
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Derailleur Adjustment for Monkeys?

I've searched the threads and have gone to the Park website but still don't get it. You have the cable and the option of tightening or loosening it - I turn the barrel adjuster located on my down tube this way and that to no clear effect, I don't know when I'm loosening or tightening the cable, doesn't seem to do either - but I am irrationally fearful of turning it too much. Then you have the H and L limit screws setting the left and right movement range, which is H which is L, I don't know how it applies to my problem which is that the chain no longer makes it on to the larger chainring on my triple - I gather I'd be turning the H screw.

I know for sure I'd be able to figure it all out if I had a stand to work on but I don't so it all involves a lot of getting on the bike and getting off the bike and having no confidence in what I'm doing 'cause I don't know what I'm doing, and frustration and confirmation that I must have a learning disability as I do have a PhD. in a field that would enable me to make such a diagnoses.

I refuse to go to the bike shop with this! I've suffered enough humiliation, going in there crying over such a problem to have the guy walk over turn the barrel adjuster or take out the screw driver and turn a screw a quarter of a rotation and it's all better, the bike is, but I've further built my reputation as a complete moron with less mechanical ability than a monkey.

So I appeal to anyone, I challenge you, I dare you to make it easy enough for me to understand what the heck I'm supposed to be doing.
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Old 04-02-06, 08:26 AM   #2
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Front derailleur, right?

First of all, don't get too discouraged. Lots of folks have had trouble getting STI triples to shift to their satisfaction. If you attack the problem in an orderly fashion it'll come. The key is to start at the very beginning of the installation and adjustment process just as if you were installing the derailleur for the first time. Do all of the steps in order (important) and don't go on until you are sure all of the previous steps are right.

Go back to the Park Tool website, disconnect your shift cable and start with the position of the derailleur on the seatpost. If you still have trouble, PM me and I'll keep posting back until you get it.
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Old 04-02-06, 08:50 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Front derailleur, right?

First of all, don't get too discouraged. Lots of folks have had trouble getting STI triples to shift to their satisfaction. If you attack the problem in an orderly fashion it'll come. The key is to start at the very beginning of the installation and adjustment process just as if you were installing the derailleur for the first time. Do all of the steps in order (important) and don't go on until you are sure all of the previous steps are right.

Go back to the Park Tool website, disconnect your shift cable and start with the position of the derailleur on the seatpost. If you still have trouble, PM me and I'll keep posting back until you get it.
Will do (or try). Thank you for your support!

Eventually I'm going to need a work stand so I can actually see the drive train in action. Once, I crashed head first into a utility pole trying to evaluate what was happening down there.
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Old 04-02-06, 10:21 AM   #4
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Well, I fixed it but accomplished little in the way of learning for future reference. I was about to call it quits after the stage in which one is to determine what limit screw is what. I loosened the cable, while not really getting a feel for which direction loosens/tightens the tension, but I got it pretty limp with a lefty loosey, righty tighty combination. Thing is, the derailleur did not budge when I turned any of the two limit screws. That's it! Lost cause! I tightened everything up in the same convoluted manner and was about to head off to the LBS for a long wait and another dose of condescension and contempt, but lo and behold found the chain was traversing all the chainrings to near perfection.

Yippee! I'm one lucky idiot!

All this self deprecation aside, I'm certain that one day I'll do it like a pro. Iíll develop a feel. I know this because I've accomplished many things gropingly, never fully knowing what the heck Iím doing.
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Old 04-02-06, 12:38 PM   #5
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I can't imagine doing half the work that I do on my bike without a workstand. For those who like to make adjustments, etc., it sure makes life lots easier. And if you aren't familiar with maintenance, a good book such as this one, will help:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193...lance&n=283155
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Old 04-02-06, 12:43 PM   #6
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I recently fiddled with the RD barrel adjuster for over an hour, with the bike in the repair stand and on the road. Couldn't get it adjusted properly. Finally hopped on, went to our group ride, and rolled up to my mechanic and said "I can't get this barrel adjuster set properly." Without even swinging his leg off his bike, he just reached down, gave it a couple twists, and got it almost dead perfect. There's a reason why people pay him to fix bikes.
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Old 04-02-06, 10:51 PM   #7
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Very frustrating adjustment in any case but without a stand quite nutty. Instead of a stand, get a hanger for now. A couple of ropes attached to the basement or garage rafters and slung around the saddle and the handlebars will do for now. Or you could use the bike rack on your car? No bike rack or rafters? Can you put a couple of sturdy hooks into the ceiling? You could patch in the holes later with spackling. Still no go? Got a friend with really strong arms? Or turn the bike upside down on the saddle and bars?
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Old 04-03-06, 12:13 AM   #8
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I have also found Zinn's book very helpful.
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Old 04-03-06, 12:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EliB
You have the cable and the option of tightening or loosening it - I turn the barrel adjuster located on my down tube this way and that to no clear effect, I don't know when I'm loosening or tightening the cable, doesn't seem to do either - but I am irrationally fearful of turning it too much.
OK, to tighten the cable you need to "back out" the barrel adjuster, that is, turn it counter clockwise when looking at it from the end that the housing goes in. Loosening the cable is obviously just the opposite. Did that make sense?
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Old 04-03-06, 04:46 AM   #10
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And don't forget to lube the bottom bracket cable guide.

Friend of mine was having trouble shifting the front derailleur, and after quite a bit of diagnosing I discovered that there was nothing wrong with his shifter or barrel adjuster. Rather his metal bb cable guide was dry as a bone and the metal cable, rubbing on the metal guide, simply seized up. A little dab of grease was all it took for him to be shifting like a dream.

Bob
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