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Old 05-25-08, 08:52 PM   #1
brians647
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proper cable finishing

I came across this quote in an article by Bikesport Michigan where they compared Shimano's Dura Ace to Ultegra.

"Greater factors in shifting performance will be how precisely the derailleur cable housings were cut to length and had their ends finished, what type of cable housings and ferrules was used and the cable routing on the bike frame. The cleaner the cable routing and the more precise the assembly job, the better the shifting. These factors make more difference in shift quality than does the difference between Ultegra and Dura-Ace."

My question is, what is the best way to finish off a Dura Ace cable set?

My issues are inconsistent rear cog shifting. Sometimes I get clean upshifts, sometimes I need to upshift two clicks before it will jump up one gear, and suddenly it jumps up two.

My potential issues:
1) the cable end that goes into the derailleur has a metal end on it, but it's somewhat loose fitting and not crimped on - could that be it? (I have that tighter fitting plastic cap at all other cable-end junctions)

2) The plastic housing shrinks (or the inner wires are pulled clear) on the compressionless cabling - on both front and back sections.

3) Just thought of it, but could there be too much friction at the bottom bracket guide (no "ghost shifting" when under power, however).

The inconsistent shifting problem is driving me nuts. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!
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Old 05-25-08, 09:56 PM   #2
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Problem solving is great but you need to solve the right problem.

I would not start with cable. From your post I don't see anything that would necessarily cause problems.

Start by cleaning and lubing your chain. Some lube on the cables is never a bad idea either, especially if shifting feels a bit hard/cheesy/sticky/crunchy.

How many miles does this chain have on it, and how many miles does the cassette have?

Then look at your rear derailleur. Make sure all screws on the hanger are tight, make sure the parallelogram is tight. Essentially I want you to grab the bottom jockey wheel and make sure it doesn't have excessive play.

Now you may need to align the hanger, but if you don't have the tool a visually inspection is called for. The derailleur cage needs to be parallel to the wheel when viewed from the rear.

Again, I don't see any real housing problems from here, but it's possible your cable may be "exploded" where you describe the plastic sheath pulled back. Take all the cable sections out of the stops and run the housing sections back and forth on the cable. If it feels rough after a clean and lube, then you may have a problem, replace the cable, or if it has enough length that it can be shortened, cut it and replace. It's best to use a special cutter, but if you do the rest of the cable finishing right a regular angle cutter will work.

As to housing finishing. I use a small stone grinder to get the end flat and square, then widen the opening if neccessary with a "pokey stick" (and eternally useful tool made with a old spoke. Bend the elbow end around into a round handle, snip off the threaded section, and sharpen to a point on the aforementioned grinder) Then, a ferrule is called for, with a quick crimp.

Wheels Manufacturing is my favorite ferrule, but any machined ferrule will do, unless you enjoyed the preceding so much you want do do it over again.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:25 AM   #3
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Thanks Brad!

My chain is clean, and only has 300 miles on it. It doesn't sound right as it seems to be silent for half its (chain length) revolution, and then gets a bit noisier. It was involved in a mishap, but I don't see any bent links.

The cassette has about $4k miles on it. This is the second chain. The derailleur hanger has been aligned with the Park alignment tool.

I used Sheldon's cable housing cutting techniques, and that seems to be what you're describing. However, I haven't crimped that end-ferrule. I don't know how to do it w/out pinching the cable housing as well.

I'll double check the cables and see if they are catching anywhere. They were fine a couple months ago, but I guess things can change quickly.

Thanks again, good stuff!
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Old 05-26-08, 06:34 PM   #4
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Ah, a mishap. Nothing introduces as many unknowns as that.

Don't worry about crimping the ferrule now, that's really just to keep everything together when you disassemble things.

It's possible that you have one or more stiff link in the chain, try backpedaling and watching the chain as it cycles over the jockey wheels, and also backpedal and watch for any jerking of the cage (as if the chain got very slightly shorter for an instant) That disease doesn't perfectly fit the symptoms but it's worth a try.

I imagine you know all this already, but did you align the hanger on all the angles, not just vertically? Also, if you align the hanger when the wheel is not seated squarely in the dropouts it won't be right.

Can you describe the details of this mishap for me?

I'd mainly like to know if the derailleur was hit, look for road rash on the body of the derailleur or the cage. Also, was the chain involved, as in jamming, getting a foreign object run through the cassette, etc.?
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Old 05-26-08, 07:07 PM   #5
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Ah, a mishap. Nothing introduces as many unknowns as that.

Don't worry about crimping the ferrule now, that's really just to keep everything together when you disassemble things.

It's possible that you have one or more stiff link in the chain, try backpedaling and watching the chain as it cycles over the jockey wheels, and also backpedal and watch for any jerking of the cage (as if the chain got very slightly shorter for an instant) That disease doesn't perfectly fit the symptoms but it's worth a try.

I imagine you know all this already, but did you align the hanger on all the angles, not just vertically? Also, if you align the hanger when the wheel is not seated squarely in the dropouts it won't be right.

Can you describe the details of this mishap for me?

I'd mainly like to know if the derailleur was hit, look for road rash on the body of the derailleur or the cage. Also, was the chain involved, as in jamming, getting a foreign object run through the cassette, etc.?
Hey Brad,

Yep, I aligned it on all possible angles. I'm pretty sure (but not positive) that the wheel was seated properly. However, since I had to realign it several times, I think I did get it right. To explain...

I had to align it several times because the chain was involved in a jam. A pin was not installed correctly (chain was brand new, my fault) and an outer link came off. When it got caught up in the derailleur, it ripped off the derailleur AND bent the derailleur hanger. Both had to be replaced (hanger cracked). Once replaced (and aligned) I turned my attention to the chain. The chain had bent at the link that came off. I removed that link, and used a removable link (not Wipperman, it was KMC or something). There did not appear to be any other stiff or kinked links. The fact that all appeared fine was strange to me. Strange because the chain was kinked over onto itself w/the derailleur in the spokes of the rear wheel! I chalked it up to a strong chain built for thousands of shifts, torque, and abuse.

As an aside, I did seem to drop the new chain on the inside of the front rings more often, but bandaged that problem with a retainer hook/chain keeper thing. I've (thus far) chalked that up to a mis adjustment issue. I'm starting to think (as you may be) that both point to a similar problem.

In reality, this upshift problem only occurs on 20% of my upshifts. It's not consistent. I've replaced cables, housing, tightened the derailleur adjustment screw (no help, then down shifts lag or don't happen), and can't see what's the cause.

Thanks for chiming in on the problem. Much appreciated!
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Old 05-26-08, 07:24 PM   #6
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Two more things to think about: You may have bent up some of the teeth on the rear cassette during your snag.

Also, a very common error is to put the derailleur cable on the wrong side of the bolt on the derailleur, even a small misalignment will change the effective length of the swingarm. Never hurts to make sure the cable is in it's proper groove.

The small problems on both front and back, and the inconsistent chain noise you mention both point at the chain.

Chain perfection is always important, but it's even more so in a narrow chain like yours.

If it were my bike, I'd look at the rear cassette to see if any teeth are obviously amiss, and then go for a new chain.
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Old 05-27-08, 01:29 AM   #7
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Sometimes, when shifting is a bit slow, it means the chain is too long (too many links in it)

I had this, removed 3" of chain, to make it the right length, put it back together, crisp and smooth shifting, even on Sora
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Old 05-27-08, 09:09 PM   #8
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Sometimes, when shifting is a bit slow, it means the chain is too long (too many links in it)

I had this, removed 3" of chain, to make it the right length, put it back together, crisp and smooth shifting, even on Sora
I think my chain length is correct. I used a technique I read somewhere, where you run the chain around the biggest ring/cog and add 1 link (1/2 link? rounding up, in essence), w/out going through the derailleur pulley and that's your length. It seems to look good in all combos.

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Chain perfection is always important, but it's even more so in a narrow chain like yours.

If it were my bike, I'd look at the rear cassette to see if any teeth are obviously amiss, and then go for a new chain.
Hey Brad,

Just rechecked everything. No bent teeth. No visible problems with the chain. Derailleur cable is in the right spot. Ugh. I wish it was a cheap fix that I could perform. Great suggestions, regardless.

At this point, I'll take it back to the shop, check derailleur alignment one last time making sure that the wheel is in place correctly, and then just buy a new chain. Cheaper than a new cassette, eh?

Thanks for the help. I'll post back when I find the fix!
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Old 05-28-08, 08:35 PM   #9
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Mulling this over today, I realize I have not been quite thorough. I have a few more ideas that have not been considered yet.

What years are the rear derailleur and front shifter?

How old is the bicycle?

Are all parts stock?

Do you notice any change based on how hard you pedal?

Last edited by Brad01; 05-28-08 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 05-28-08, 08:44 PM   #10
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Just realized I made an assumption.

What year Dura-Ace is this, and what year bike?

What is your exact rear der and shifter setup? Approximate years will do if you don't know for sure.
Hey Brad,

Judging from your earlier comments, I think you were guessing correctly. It's all 10 speed stuff from 2007. Even the replacement derailleur and chain are 2007. Actually, the brifters may be 2006, but I'm since there is no functional or cosmetic difference (that I'm aware of) I can't be sure.

I know I have an Ultegra 10spd chain around here somewhere but can't find it. So the chain replacement is on hold for another day or two.

The bike is an '04, and I built it up myself with the parts above. It hadn't done this in the past, so maybe we're on the right track with the chain, or something deteriorated. I'm not sure if my pedaling force makes much of a difference. I'll have to check that next time I ride.

You are the man for lending all this help and follow-up. Thanks much!

- B.
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Old 05-28-08, 08:58 PM   #11
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Does it shift all right in the repair stand?
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Old 05-28-08, 11:04 PM   #12
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Now im not sure how knowledgeable you are with a regular bike tune up, so I apologize if this is a bit fundamental, but I think we are digging a bit too deep for a simple issue. It sounds to me that you just need to back the barrel adjuster out (counter clock wise) on the rear derailleur a turn or so. Your cables are wayyyyy too new to be worrying about things that are being explained, unless the shift cable busted out of its endcap (which I have seen to happen on older 9 speed but not 10, which would be even more rare) and by now your brand new cables are stretching out and need to be re tightened (once again back out that barrel adjuster) a half turn or a complete turn and you should get great shifting. Simple as that.
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Old 05-29-08, 05:38 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=brians647;6759829]My potential issues:
1) the cable end that goes into the derailleur has a metal end on it, but it's somewhat loose fitting and not crimped on - could that be it? (I have that tighter fitting plastic cap at all other cable-end junctions)

Derailler housing is usually finished with black plastic ferrules whereas brakes uses silver metal ones. Note; done properly derailler cable is 4mm diameter and brake cable 5mm. Sounds like you have the brake ferrule on a derailler cable housing, thus the looseness.
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Old 06-04-08, 09:02 PM   #14
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Wow, sorry I missed these replies earlier. If any of you all check back, just wanted to say thanks!

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Does it shift all right in the repair stand?
Yes, it does. At least, I seem to run out of patience trying to get it to mis-shift! It'll shift right 15 times in a row, and then mess up for two. Go right for 10 mess up for 1. No rhyme or reason. Maybe i need to recheck on the stand once more. Do you think bb torque/ghost shifting could be affecting it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by greyghost_6 View Post
Now im not sure how knowledgeable you are with a regular bike tune up, so I apologize if this is a bit fundamental, but I think we are digging a bit too deep for a simple issue. It sounds to me that you just need to back the barrel adjuster out (counter clock wise) on the rear derailleur a turn or so. Your cables are wayyyyy too new to be worrying about things that are being explained, unless the shift cable busted out of its endcap (which I have seen to happen on older 9 speed but not 10, which would be even more rare) and by now your brand new cables are stretching out and need to be re tightened (once again back out that barrel adjuster) a half turn or a complete turn and you should get great shifting. Simple as that.
Thanks for the reply, I wish it were fundamental like that! I've messed with the barrel adjuster umpteen times. If I go too far in either direction now, it messes things up worse. I'll admit, it may even be a bit loose (which would feed my problem, I know); but 90% of the time it upshifts fine. Make it any tighter and I just lose the downshift speed - while the upshift problem stays. Also, when it does upshift properly, it does so very quickly - it never struggles to "grab." The problem now is that I'll get one upshift "click" and hear the chain struggling, but not jumping up; when I get the second "click" it now jumps up two - as if something is impeding it that it had to break through.

Thanks again! - B.
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Old 06-05-08, 10:19 PM   #15
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Brian,
A few more unusual suspects.

I asked about repair stand performance because that titanium frame that rides so smoothly will of course flex somewhat when you ride it, and this can change the effective cable length. Rarely will this cause a problem. If you're a big rider, the effect will be more pronounced.
If this were the problem however I'd expect your bike to auto-shift or make a little noise when you muscle a tall gear or stand up to conquer a climb. Worth thinking about.

Also, You really should remove your rear wheel, and wiggle your cassette to see if there's any play in the hub body.

It's also possible that you got the wrong replacement hanger for your bike. Long shot though.

Your Shimano derailleur has two identical looking jockey wheels that are not in fact identical. The top one has a few millimeters of lateral play to allow a little slack in the shifting. This actually reduces shift precision in a controlled way to make things run smoothly. When you have your wheel off, pull the chain off of both jockey wheels and make sure you don't have the top one in the bottom.
I made that mistake myself years ago when I rebuilt the perfectly good LX rear derailleur from my first real bike just to see how it worked. That ended in lots of muttering about finicky shifting.

If none of these ideas help, I'd go for that new chain.
If it doesn't solve the problem- you do have a removable link in your current one, so you can put it back on when the new one wears out. You will not really have spent extra money, just spent it sooner.
Good luck,
Brad
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