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  1. #1
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    Need help figuring out barrel adjuster for Sora Shifters

    Hi All,

    I have a 2005 Giant OCR3 road bike that has Shimano Sora index shifters. These Sora shifters have the shift lever integrated with the brake lever.

    My chain is rubbing against the front derailleur cage and I'd like to adjust the derailleurs to fix this problem. My bike's rear derailleur has a barrel adjuster on the back of the derailler and I've been using this barrel adjuster to adjust the wire tension for the rear derailleur However, I'm not sure if I've been adjusting the cable tension for the front derailleur properly.

    Here's a picture of the shift cable and housing for my front derailleur,



    A higher res version of the same image can be found here,

    http://home.comcast.net/~cynergyou/shiftcable.jpg

    How do I adjust the cable tension for my front derailleur with this type of cable housing and adjuster? Do I turn the knurled/splined silver cylinder to adjust tension? If so, which direction to increase the tension. I've been trying to use the silver cylinder to increase/decrease cable tension, but I'm not sure if it is making a difference. There's also a little knurled black cylinder that's next to the silver cylinder and between the silver cylinder and the break lever - do I need to turn this thing to adjust the cable tension?

    Also, even though my rear derailleur has a barrel adjuster on the actual derailleur, can I also adjust the cable tension for the rear derailleur using the silver cylinder that is also present on my rear derailleur cable housing (just like the front derailleur)? If so, which way do I turn the adjuster to increase tension?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Counter clockwise will always INCREASE tension. You can use any of the knobs as far as I know. http://www.parktool.com/repair/byregion.asp?catid=53

  3. #3
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    Portis - Do you know if I am supposed to turn the silver barrel or the little black barrel?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynergy
    Hi All,

    I have a 2005 Giant OCR3 road bike that has Shimano Sora index shifters. These Sora shifters have the shift lever integrated with the brake lever.

    My chain is rubbing against the front derailleur cage and I'd like to adjust the derailleurs to fix this problem. My bike's rear derailleur has a barrel adjuster on the back of the derailler and I've been using this barrel adjuster to adjust the wire tension for the rear derailleur However, I'm not sure if I've been adjusting the cable tension for the front derailleur properly.

    Here's a picture of the shift cable and housing for my front derailleur,



    A higher res version of the same image can be found here,

    http://home.comcast.net/~cynergyou/shiftcable.jpg

    How do I adjust the cable tension for my front derailleur with this type of cable housing and adjuster? Do I turn the knurled/splined silver cylinder to adjust tension? If so, which direction to increase the tension. I've been trying to use the silver cylinder to increase/decrease cable tension, but I'm not sure if it is making a difference. There's also a little knurled black cylinder that's next to the silver cylinder and between the silver cylinder and the break lever - do I need to turn this thing to adjust the cable tension?

    Also, even though my rear derailleur has a barrel adjuster on the actual derailleur, can I also adjust the cable tension for the rear derailleur using the silver cylinder that is also present on my rear derailleur cable housing (just like the front derailleur)? If so, which way do I turn the adjuster to increase tension?

    Thanks in advance
    This, to me, sounds like a derailleur "stop" issue, not a cable issue. I think you should be adjusting the stop screw on the derailleur itself so the cage doesn't move quite as far in that direction. The cable tension is generally used for adjusting the indexing, not the stops. Also, you should make sure your rear derailleur and shifting is adjusted properly before you do your front.

    Look at this website for excellent derailleur and shifter adjustments:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html

    Although I don't think the barrel adjusters are the key in this particular problem, if/when you do need to adjust them, it doesn't matter which end you adjust - the adjuster near the shifter the adjuster near the derailleur. Either one will accomplish what you need. I tend to use the one near the derailleur and leave the one near the shifter for on the go adjustments. Same goes for brake cables.

  5. #5
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Hey cynergy, I have the exact same bike as you (I even have the same color and brand of bar tape - scary )

    Anyway, those inline barrel adjusters don't work too well for me. I use them only for the smallest of adjustments while riding. As Portis indicated, counter clockwise will increase the tension. You turn the silver part.

    As for the problem of the chain rubbing on the derailleur, the barrel adjuster may be the solution but it could also be the limit screw settings as Camilo stated if you are in the biggest or smallest chainring. The best advice I can give is to get your shifters adjusted properly before you start messing with the adjuster. Instructions for this can be downloaded from the Shimano website.

    The bad news is that it may be unavoidable in some gear settings since the sora shifters don't trim that well (if at all).

  6. #6
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    Hey folks - thanks for all of the very helpful replies. I agree -I think I need to adjust my limit screws (chain rub) plus the cable tension (chain kinda rattles on gears and doesn't seem to shift smoothly). I've downloaded instructions from the Park Tool website and will also checkout the Sheldon Brown site as well. also, I've located the original Shimano installation and adjustment instructions for my derailleurs which were included with the bike. I think I'm ready to go!

    Thanks again for the tips.

  7. #7
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    Let us know how it turns out.

  8. #8
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    Only one of the little black barrels on the end of the inline shifter screws in and out. I that picture I think it is the one nearest the brifter. Those adjusters only work when there is no, or little, tension on them, so do the adjustment when in the small cog or ring. You may have to hold the little black barrel while you turn the sillver fluted barrel. For the front shifter I use cable tension to get the cage position right for the middle ring and use the limit screws to take care of the big and small ring cage positions.

  9. #9
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Those in-line tension adjusters work poorly, at best, IMHO. Personally, I would not buy a bike that uses them and I really dislike building bikes that have them.

    Personal judgements aside ...

    Here are a couple of tips that will make using them a little easier:

    1. Always shift to the small cog (for RD tension adjustment) or small chainring (for FD tension adjustment) before trying to use the in-line adjuster. This takes "most" of the tension out of the cable and gives you the best chance to turn the adjuster easily. Don't even bother trying to do adjustments while you are riding (Fuggedaboudit).

    2. Hold the small length of cable (between the brifter and the adjuster) tightly with one hand and turn the adjuster with the other. I have found that pushing the adjuster and the the small length towards each other while turning helps. Look into the end of the adjuster facing the brifter while you turn the barrel and observe the aluminum sleeve inside the adjuster barrel. If it's moving deeper inside the barrel, you are decreasing the cable tension. If it's coming out towards you, then you are increasing the tension (that's usually what you want and the hardest to achieve with these little buggers).

    3. If you have the occasion to replace your shift cables you can do yourself a huge favor. Take those adjusters completely apart. There will be the outside barrel (with the ribs), a spring, and the threaded internal aluminum barrel. Grease the threads and re-assemble. I would just about guarantee that you'll never find any grease on those threads, BUT your barrel adjusters will work easier after you grease them.

    4. For your next bike, get one with proper barrel adjusters on the down tube bosses ;-)

    Best luck!
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

  10. #10
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    Hey All - thanks for the great advice and helpful info.

    I put the bike on the stand last night and fiddled with the derailleurs. This was the second time I've adjusted the derailleurs for this bike, but I felt a lot more comfortable doing it thanks to your help.

    The derailleurs and cable tension didn't need too much adjustment - I checked everything using the Park Tool pages and the Shimano installation/adjustment instructions and everything works fine now. The drivetrain is running smoothly and quietly now.

    One thing that I did discover was that the drivetrain was pretty dirty. I ride on some dirt covered roads and the chain, chainrings, and cogs had a lot of sand encrusted in them, even though I occasionally hose down my bike after my rides. I carefully cleaned everything with a toothbrush and paper towels, relubed the chain, and everything runs a lot smoother. The difference after the cleaning was like night and day!

    thanks again for the additional tips regarding tensioners and their operation. I ended up turning the silver barrel while holding the knurled black barrel when I had the bike shifted to the gears that you all had suggested and was able to notice some change in cable tension when I did this. I wanted to lower the tension in the cable prior to adjusting the limit screws (as was suggested in the Park Tool web pages).

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