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Old 09-07-09, 06:36 PM   #1
mczolton
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Rear derailleur not shifting smoothly

My wife has a new Specialized Crosstrail (hybrid style) bicycle.

On our last ride, she noticed that shifting up one gear using the rear derailleur would work intermittently. That is, sometimes shifting from one gear to the next would work fine, and then other times the rear derailleur would attempt to shift, get halfway there, and make a clicking noise. When this happens, she had to shift two gears up, and then back down one gear to get to the gear she wanted. It appears that shifting down from this "problem" gear, or up from it works fine.

I am new to cycling, so if you need additional information, please let me know.

I appreciate the advice.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:47 PM   #2
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It sounds like the cable tension is a little slack. Just a slight turn counterclockwise on the cable tension adjuster should help the problem.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:02 PM   #3
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+1 on the cable tension adjustment. New cables usually "bed in" during the first few rides and require minor adjustments but then should work properly for many miles.

Since the bike is new your dealers should offer a free "tune up" after the first few weeks of ownership so I recommend taking it back for the adjustment. Perhaps the mechanic can show you what he or she is doing so you learn the technique for your future needs.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:10 PM   #4
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+1 on the cable tension adjustment. New cables usually "bed in" during the first few rides and require minor adjustments but then should work properly for many miles.

Since the bike is new your dealers should offer a free "tune up" after the first few weeks of ownership so I recommend taking it back for the adjustment. Perhaps the mechanic can show you what he or she is doing so you learn the technique for your future needs.
Thank you for the assistance.

Our LBS recommended we bring the bike in 30 days after purchase for a tune-up. We are definitely planning on doing this, however that date is a couple of weeks away. Should I make the adjustment myself and wait on the tune-up, or go ahead and take it in now?
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Old 09-07-09, 07:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mczolton View Post
Our LBS recommended we bring the bike in 30 days after purchase for a tune-up. We are definitely planning on doing this, however that date is a couple of weeks away. Should I make the adjustment myself and wait on the tune-up, or go ahead and take it in now?

If you want to see if you can do the work yourself, try adjusting the rear derailleurs barrel adjuster about 1/2 turn counterclockwise and see if that improves the shifting or makes it worse. Adjust in 1/2 or 1/4 turn increments as needed. Small adjustments can make a big difference and it's easy to overshoot and make things worse so keep track of which way and how far you turned it so you can go back to the starting point.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:17 PM   #6
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Here are some descriptions and a video on how this is done, as well as why:

http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=64

and...

http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-rear-derailleur/

Both the Park Tool site, and the BicycleTutor video's can be very helpful in helping a person to understand how to fix your bicycle. These take the mystery out of what all those 'things' are and how to repair and/or adjust them. As the bicycle is, no doubt, under warranty- I'd suggest letting the bike-shop do this work. For now. I'd also suggest you add these two sites to your Favorites list in your browser. The warranty won't offer free tune-ups forever. And there is no harm in asking the bike-shop to let you observe the work being done. Some will, some won't.
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Old 09-09-09, 11:41 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the replies. I ran this past my wife and she would like to hold off on any adjustments until we get the 30 day tune-up. Do you see any reason this would be a problem? I am mostly concerned with safety. I think she can live with quirky shifting until we can have the bicycle serviced.
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Old 09-09-09, 02:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mczolton View Post
Thank you all for the replies. I ran this past my wife and she would like to hold off on any adjustments until we get the 30 day tune-up. Do you see any reason this would be a problem? I am mostly concerned with safety. I think she can live with quirky shifting until we can have the bicycle serviced.

There's little joy in riding a finicky bike that isn't working so why wait to fix it. Anyway, there's no safety gained by riding a mis-adjusted bike.

Go ahead and make the adjustment yourself, though I'm married too and understand your concern. If not sure how, turn the cable adjuster barrel, by small degrees, trial and error, in the direction that makes things better (usually turning so the adjuster moves out). Keep track of what you do, so you can return it to where it started. This is designed as a user adjustment and you'll need to do it from time to time so you might as well learn now.

If you, decide to pass on DIY, there's no reason to wait out the 30th day. Bring it to the LBS, have them adjust it, and while at it, show you how so you can do it in the future.
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Last edited by FBinNY; 09-09-09 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 09-09-09, 03:37 PM   #9
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This won't necessarily mean you need the tune up - just a minor adjustment. They can do it in a matter of minutes.

Just run by there, and get it adjusted, and go back for the tune up later....
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Old 09-09-09, 03:50 PM   #10
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Awesome. Thank you all again.
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