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  1. #1
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    For all of those 6/7 speed bikes using a modern compact crank and 9 speed chain

    I recently replaced a 53/42 crankset on a late 80's Cannondale with a Tiagra-level compact crank. I replaced the original 6/7/8 speed chain with a 9 speed version at the same time so as not to run into inteference issues with the chain rings. The bike had been upgraded to RSX brifters and a 7 speed cassette and this worked fine with the original chain and crankset. However, upon adding the 9 speed chain and compact crank, I could no longer get the bike to shift into the big ring while still having no chain rub in the small/big combo. The front derailler wouldn't move the chain far enough to complete the shift to the big ring unless the low stop was set so far in that I had chain rub in the small/big combo. The gap between the plates on the derailler was too big due to it's 7 speed vintage.

    I looked around on Ebay for a while for a cheap 9 speed double derailler but given my uber-frugalness, I couldn't see parting with $20 just to get this bike shifting correctly (trying to stick to a tight budget as always). Then I found this:

    http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...oducts_id=1706

    Of course, at such a great price I ended up buying two. Haven't installed it yet as I'm still waiting for the package but it sure seems like it'll do the trick. Hopefully someone else can benefit from this closeout deal as well as this seems to be a commonly discussed upgrade and issue on this forum.

  2. #2
    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    Uh, can you say what you bought? I clicked on the link and it says "product not found!".

  3. #3
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    I guess they sold out of the derailler (an FSA, 9 speed, "compact"). It was on clearance for ~$9.

  4. #4
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    FSA makes derailluers?

  5. #5
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    Yes, they do, or did. This is similar to what I bought:

    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=1629


  6. #6
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    You could have saved yourself some money by staying with a 7s chain, which usually runs fine on a 9s chainring, or by pinching in the forward part of the from derailer cage. I can usually get any front derailer to work 9s by doing that. Also, Campy levers alllow you to trim the front derailer, so they are a lot easier to set up.

    em

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy m View Post
    You could have saved yourself some money by staying with a 7s chain, which usually runs fine on a 9s chainring, or by pinching in the forward part of the from derailer cage. I can usually get any front derailer to work 9s by doing that. Also, Campy levers alllow you to trim the front derailer, so they are a lot easier to set up.

    em
    A new chain would have cost me as much or more than the derailler. I already had the 9 speed chain in my parts bin so it seemed like the best choice to put on the bike, until the FD issue came up. I hadn't thought of bending the cage but I'm not going to complain about the $9 I spent to get the job done right. The RSX shifters leave a lot to be desired but they get the job done.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    The front derailler wouldn't move the chain far enough to complete the shift to the big ring unless the low stop was set so far in that I had chain rub in the small/big combo. The gap between the plates on the derailler was too big due to it's 7 speed vintage.
    By "low stop" do you mean the inner limit-screw on the FD?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    By "low stop" do you mean the inner limit-screw on the FD?
    Yes. However, I can see why you asked the question. My wording is far from clear. What I intended to mean by "the low stop was set so far in" was that I had to turn the inner limit screw in (pushing the derailler out towards the big ring) in order to get the shift to complete. This setting caused rubbing in the little/big combo.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Hmm, I don't think the inner limit-screw affects shifting from the small-ring to big. You may want to increase the cable tension slightly and unscrew the inner limit-screw to prevent rubbing in the lower gears.

    Are the inner & outer plates of that derailleur flat and parallel? If you, you'd want to make them more trapezoid shaped with the front pinched in like the Shimano derailleurs. Those actually have a moulded bump on the inner cage-plate to help push the chain from the small to big ring. You may want to bend the inner cage-plate at the front to the outside slightly (2-3mm) to pinch it and it'll shift much, much better:

    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-28-09 at 10:45 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Hmm, I don't think the inner limit-screw affects shifting from the small-ring to big. You may want to increase the cable tension slightly and unscrew the inner limit-screw to prevent rubbing in the lower gears.

    Are the inner & outer plates of that derailleur flat and parallel? If you, you'd want to make them more trapezoid shaped with the front pinched in like the Shimano derailleurs. Those actually have a moulded bump on the inner cage-plate to help push the chain from the small to big ring. You may want to bend the inner cage-plate at the front to the outside slightly (2-3mm) to pinch it and it'll shift much, much better:
    The FSA FD shifts the chain perfectly. No complaints so I don't plan on modifying it at all.

    As to the low limit screw affecting shifting, it certainly did, at least in this case. I had as much tension dialed in as possible without lifting the derailler off the inner limit screw. At the point where I gave up on the original derailler, I had it adjusted such that any turn of the limit screw or barrel adjuster caused rubbing in the little/big combo but also made it so that the shift from the little to big chainring would complete. I just couldn't get rib of the rub and have the shift complete. So close but not quite. Certainly, bending the front of the original derailler inwards would have done the trick but I hadn't considered that option. If I had spent more than $9 of the fix, I might care about my lack of creative thoughts at the time, but the cost was insignificant so I'm just as happy.

  12. #12
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    I don't know why people worry about chain/chainring compatibility. The only chain issue is in the rear where a wide chain won't fit in the narrow spacing between the cogs. I've used a 10 speed chain on a 6 speed crank with no problems whatsoever. I haven't used a 6 speed chain on a 10 speed crank, and the only issue I can see is if the chainrings are that close together. I don't think crank tolerances are that close, but I don't know for sure. Usually though it is an older crank with a narrow chain since the chains get replaced often enough.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    I don't know why people worry about chain/chainring compatibility. The only chain issue is in the rear where a wide chain won't fit in the narrow spacing between the cogs. I've used a 10 speed chain on a 6 speed crank with no problems whatsoever. I haven't used a 6 speed chain on a 10 speed crank, and the only issue I can see is if the chainrings are that close together. I don't think crank tolerances are that close, but I don't know for sure. Usually though it is an older crank with a narrow chain since the chains get replaced often enough.
    The bolded statement is not true. I've had issues trying to use an 8 speed chain on 9 speed chainrings (triple crank). The chain would try to shift into the middle ring when using anything but the largest cogs on the cassette. It had nothing to do with chainring spacing and everything to do with the more aggresive ramps on the 9 speed middle chainring.

    In this case, I had a 9 speed chain on hand and figured I might as well avoid any potential compatibility issues with the 9 speed crankset by using it. I didn't expect to create an issue with the FD not moving the narrow chain enough. The solution was cheaper than an 7/8 speed chain would have been anyway.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    As to the low limit screw affecting shifting, it certainly did, at least in this case. I had as much tension dialed in as possible without lifting the derailler off the inner limit screw. At the point where I gave up on the original derailler, I had it adjusted such that any turn of the limit screw or barrel adjuster caused rubbing in the little/big combo but also made it so that the shift from the little to big chainring would complete. I just couldn't get rib of the rub and have the shift complete. So close but not quite. Certainly, bending the front of the original derailler inwards would have done the trick but I hadn't considered that option. If I had spent more than $9 of the fix, I might care about my lack of creative thoughts at the time, but the cost was insignificant so I'm just as happy.
    I'm not sure how the inner-limit screw can affect shifting. As soon as you move the lever, the FD is off the limit-screw anyway. If you increased cable-tension just slightly, the FD won't even rest on the limit-screw and is positioned only by the stop on the shift-lever.

    I just went out to confirm, but on 5 of my bikes in the garage, the limit-screw is about 1mm away from the FD when in the small-chainring position. On one of the MTBs with shifting-issues last month, all I did was turn the barrel-adjuster 3/4 turn tighter and it shifted up easier. Both before and after was with the limit-screw backed out so that it was 1mm away and doesn't affect the derailleur in either case.

    Now imagine the case where you added too much cable-tension. The FD wouldn't sit on the limit-screw at all and it would rub in small-ring/big-cog combo. But it would shift up really well, perhaps even off the outside... where the outer limit-screw comes into play.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    I'm not sure how the inner-limit screw can affect shifting. As soon as you move the lever, the FD is off the limit-screw anyway. If you increased cable-tension just slightly, the FD won't even rest on the limit-screw and is positioned only by the stop on the shift-lever.

    I just went out to confirm, but on 5 of my bikes in the garage, the limit-screw is about 1mm away from the FD when in the small-chainring position. On one of the MTBs with shifting-issues last month, all I did was turn the barrel-adjuster 3/4 turn tighter and it shifted up easier. Both before and after was with the limit-screw backed out so that it was 1mm away and doesn't affect the derailleur in either case.
    My comments about the inner-limit screw affecting shifting all assume that the derailler is actually resting on the inner-limit screw, which is what it's designed to do and is how all of my bikes are set up. On every other bike with a properly matched FD, I have never needed to have the tension so high that I was balancing between the FD resting on the screw or being supported by cable tension only.

    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Now imagine the case where you added too much cable-tension. The FD wouldn't sit on the limit-screw at all and it would rub in small-ring/big-cog combo. But it would shift up really well, perhaps even off the outside... where the outer limit-screw comes into play.
    To reiterate, when setting up the original derailler, I first set my low stop for the minimum of clearance to the chain in the little/big combo. I then added tension using the barrle adjuster to remove the slack from the cable. I then tried to shift up. The shift did not complete so I kept adding more tension until it did. However, I then tried the little/big combo again and found the chain to be rubbing. I had added so much tension to the cable that I pulled the FD off the inner-limit screw. As soon as I released that tension to get the clearance in the little/big again and to allow the FD to rest on the inner limit screw, the shift would no longer complete. Without adjusting tension, I could also turn the inner limit screw in further (causing rub in the little/big) and get the shift to complete.

  16. #16
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    To reiterate, when setting up the original derailler, I first set my low stop for the minimum of clearance to the chain in the little/big combo. I then added tension using the barrle adjuster to remove the slack from the cable. I then tried to shift up. The shift did not complete so I kept adding more tension until it did.
    Ok, that's how it should work.

    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    However, I then tried the little/big combo again and found the chain to be rubbing. I had added so much tension to the cable that I pulled the FD off the inner-limit screw. As soon as I released that tension to get the clearance in the little/big again and to allow the FD to rest on the inner limit screw, the shift would no longer complete.
    Why did you release tension on the cable? It's really to change the position of the FD on the inner-click right? Even without the inner-limit screw in place, the FD would still be in that position as dictated by cable-tension. It just happened that the position with lower tension touched the limit-screw because the FD moved further inwards... due to lower cable-tension.

    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    Without adjusting tension, I could also turn the inner limit screw in further (causing rub in the little/big) and get the shift to complete.
    Now here's the part I don't get. The outer position of the FD on the click is what determines how well the shift goes. Even before the lever has clicked into that position, the FD would've moved off the inner-limit screw anyway, so how can that affect shifting? Strange...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Why did you release tension on the cable? It's really to change the position of the FD on the inner-click right? Even without the inner-limit screw in place, the FD would still be in that position as dictated by cable-tension. It just happened that the position with lower tension touched the limit-screw because the FD moved further inwards... due to lower cable-tension.
    I released tension on the cable because when the FD was pulled off the inner-limit screw it was now rubbing the chain in the small/big combo. I had previously set the inner-limit screw to yield just enough clearance for the chain. Any more outward movement would cause chain rub. Note that in this position, the shift to the big ring would still not complete properly.

    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Now here's the part I don't get. The outer position of the FD on the click is what determines how well the shift goes. Even before the lever has clicked into that position, the FD would've moved off the inner-limit screw anyway, so how can that affect shifting? Strange...
    Let me see if I can explain this. I was thinking about it on my ride home last night and I think I see where the misunderstanding is.

    Let's assume that the inner limit screw is making contact with the front derailler. Cable tension is cranked up to the point where any additional tension will pull the derailler off the inner limit screw. Let's also assume that the outer limit screw is backed out completely. The front derailler will shift as far as the shifter will take it.

    Let's also assume the at 0mm, we have clearance in the little/big combo. We need to get to 5mm to complete the shift. The shifter is designed to pull enough cable to get to 5mm plus extra movement for chain clearance (and a little extra to deal with different outer limit screw adjustments). Now, insert a more narrow chain. The shifter doesn't pull enough cable to get to 5mm any more due to the extra clearance around the chain. However, if I now start at 1mm (versus 0mm where I had little/big clearance), I can now get to 5mm where I need to be for the shift to complete. However, I have rubbing that I don't want.

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