RD indexing adjustment - can't get it right.
First, let me explain that I've adjusted two other bikes from a "new install" position successfully in the past, without more than a few minutes of work on each. I've also adjusted several dozen RDs on other bikes, but in those cases only from a "pre-adjusted" state - essentially fine-tuning. I know the theory, and I've also spent the past hour reading and re-reading Sheldon Brown's guide on the subject, just to be sure I haven't missed anything obvious.
Still, after more than an hour of trying, I simply can't get it right.
Here's my setup:
Ultegra RD (6600, 9-speed)
Ultegra brifters (R600, 9-speed)
Tiagra 12-23 cassette (CS-HG50, 9-speed)
I can get it so that it shifts fine going up (towards larger sprocket), but then it will double-shift in several places going down (towards smaller sprocket). Setting it to shift down fine will cause it shift up very poorly, with lots of noise. It will then also be unable to shift to the largest sprocket, unless I keep holding the shifter lever pressed to the side.
Given that state, I make tiny (quarter turn) adjustments using the barrel adjuster, and it will flip from one of the above scenarios to the other between two such turns! Drives me nuts!
The best I can manage is a condition where it shifts up fine (but is very noisy in most sprockets), and down fine except for a range of 2-4 sprockets, where it skips or rattles violently. Or the reverse, fine down, and most of the way up, but massive rattling over a small range.
Even worse is that it works better or worse in one direction depending on which chainring it runs on, so adjusting it fairly well for one chainring makes it very noisy and erratic for another (52-39 crankset).
Am I forgetting or missing something very obvious here? Any tips and suggestions would be very helpful!
Is your derailleur hanger straight?
Did you replace housings as well? That double shift when going down is frequently the cable binding in the housings.
I had a similar situation with 9 speed when I mistakenly routed the cable wrong at the derailleur.
I think there are two ways to run the cable - one for 8 speed and one for 9 - I got the wrong one and had the problems you mention.
Uhm, I feel stupid now. I realised I didn't know how to properly shift using the brifters.
I'm used to a very distinct 9-speed Dura-Ace bar-end shifter, where moving the lever to the next "click" shifts exactly one step. The brifter levers are much more sensitive, and require a much more controlled and refined movement to shift fully to the next position. I tried to just push the levers much in the same way as my bar-ends, but that apparently isn't enough to properly shift. Once I figured that out, I was able to adjust it nicely.
Next time, I'll remember to try before I buy. I'd not once even tried brifters until today. I suppose it's always good to know what a properly set up system is supposed to feel like and operate, and only then try to do it yourself.