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  1. #1
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    Rear Deraileur Indexing Issues

    I've recently bought a beaten up 2nd hand mountain bike (15sp) to get back into cycling. I'm slowly upgrading it, working my way through the drivetrain to start with.

    When I got the bike it had Shimano grip shifters & knackered deraileurs front & back. It didn't shift correctly when I got it & has improved greatly with new crank/sprockets, chain, front deraileur, rear deraileur, gear cables/housings & a 2nd hand set of Shimano thumb lever type gear shifters. All the new components are Shimano Deore.

    My problem is with the rear gears, it seems that no matter how I set it up, I cannot get the indexing set up correctly. It is as though the shifters have more movement than is required, my shifting is currently as follows:
    shift/gear
    1/1
    2/2
    3/3
    3.5/4
    4/5 (deraileur limit)
    5/--

    If I lower the cable tension from this point, then I can't get the 2nd gear & the others aren't seated cleanly. This happens the same on all the front sprockets.

    I've followed the normal setup proceedure for the rear deraileur as found on bicycletutor.com & sheldonbrown.com & I'm sure I've done it correctly (many times over)....I'm stumped as to why I can't get the shifter in line with the gears - any thoughts?

    Its perfectly usable as it is, but I'd obviously like to get the 4th & 5th gears where they should be...long term I'll be putting a new rear wheel with a 9 gear cassette on it & getting the Deore shifters, but thats a little way off yet.

    Thanks

    Tom

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Derailleur hanger is probably bent, Mountain bikes do that..
    go to a bike shop , and have them use their alignment tool on it.

    thats what its for.

    reading the below post , right no indexing back then.

    Real cyclists know how to shift a bike and think indexing is a crutch.


    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-09-10 at 07:26 PM.

  3. #3
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    By 15sp do you mean that you have a triple crankset and a 5 speed freewheel in the back?
    What speed are the shifters?
    I'm not aware of any 5 speed indexed shifters.

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    Yes 3 sprockets on the front and 5 at the back.

    It is an indexed 5 speed shifter - you can't buy them new anymore which is why I had to get a 2nd hand one, it is this type:
    5 speed Shimano SIS

    My nearest decent/reliable bike shop is over 30 miles away, so its not a case of popping to a 'local' shop - I'd like to be a bit more certain about the problem before spending most of a day making the trip.

    No idea what the crutch reference is about.

    Thanks for the replies so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by craftygeek View Post
    Yes 3 sprockets on the front and 5 at the back.

    It is an indexed 5 speed shifter - you can't buy them new anymore which is why I had to get a 2nd hand one, it is this type:
    5 speed Shimano SIS

    My nearest decent/reliable bike shop is over 30 miles away, so its not a case of popping to a 'local' shop - I'd like to be a bit more certain about the problem before spending most of a day making the trip.

    No idea what the crutch reference is about.

    Thanks for the replies so far.
    Well in that case count me in for bent derailleur hanger as well.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftygeek View Post
    ...No idea what the crutch reference is about...
    It's a bit of elitist sniping/ribbing. Today you can have either friction(where the shifter can transition smoothly through its range of motion) or index shifting, where there are distinct "stops" corresponding to each gear when you move the shifter though its range of motion. With friction, the rider has to develop a feel for how much to move the lever, and when the bike is running cleanly.
    In the early days of multi-geared bikes, friction was all there was. Then the first generations of indexing tended to be fairly crude, so performance sensitive riders still used friction.
    Eventually this morphed into the opinion that a "real" rider did just fine w/o the indexing, and that indexing was only a help for those unable/not committed enough to learn to use friction shifters.

    To me it's pretty much a non-issue. I have no problems with friction, particularly not in an open road setting. But I sure prefer indexing for city/MTB riding. There's less attention used up by the shifting when riding indexed. Now whether that attention is critical or not is another issue.

    The strong point of friction is that as long as you have the right chain width and cage length you can pretty much mix parts any which way, which isn't quite the case for indexed.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Derailluer hanger...my vote.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the Deraileur Hanger votes.

    I found out about another bike shop yesterday that is much closer to me - I'm going to go & have a look on my way past today to see if they can check it for me.

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    Well, I spent several hours with the bike this afternoon...ended up making my own Rear Deraileur alignment tool out of some aluminium section that I had in the workshop.

    The hanger was bent - its now perfectly straight...but the problem still exists - I'm now thinking that the indexing steps on the shifter simply aren't the correct spacing to match the movement of modern deraileurs...I can't think of anything else!

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    since this is an indexed system you need to match the components. you cant mix suntour derailleur and shimano shifters for example

  11. #11
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    I've upgraded the whole of the drive system to Shimano Deore - the only part that I haven't yet changed is the rear cassette...so it has to be either the spacing of the rear gears or the amount of travel on the older SIS shifter (which is shimano). I have to assume that the rear gears are shimano as the bike had shimano components on it when I got it.

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    I upgraded the rear wheel & cassette today so the drive train was 100% new & compatible....I still had the same problem - this time 8 shifter positions with a 9sp cassette.

    In case it helps others, I've found the problem.

    I had routed the cable round the wrong side of the fixing screw on the rear deraileur - moving the cable to the correct side of the fixing screw made the cable run much cleaner & straighter fixing the problem.

    Now I can't wait to go out & try the new setup...hoping for a dry day tomorrow!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftygeek View Post
    ....I still had the same problem - this time 8 shifter positions with a 9sp cassette.
    That's not an issue by itself. Derailer resting position - one gear. Then 8 shifter positions to get to the other 8 sprockets. 9 gears out of 8 clicks.

    Quote Originally Posted by craftygeek View Post
    I... I've found the problem.
    Congratulations!

    Quote Originally Posted by craftygeek View Post
    I had routed the cable round the wrong side of the fixing screw on the rear deraileur
    This is sometimed done deliberately, and referred to as a hubbub modification. IT changes the travel a bit and will make othewise incompatible Shimano / Campy combos run well together.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftygeek View Post
    I upgraded the rear wheel & cassette today so the drive train was 100% new & compatible....I still had the same problem - this time 8 shifter positions with a 9sp cassette.

    In case it helps others, I've found the problem.

    I had routed the cable round the wrong side of the fixing screw on the rear deraileur - moving the cable to the correct side of the fixing screw made the cable run much cleaner & straighter fixing the problem.

    Now I can't wait to go out & try the new setup...hoping for a dry day tomorrow!

    After derailleur hanger, this would have been my guess. When the rear der. cable is routed wrong it seems to almost work but just not quite. If you make the same mistake on the front d. your shifter feels totally stiff and the indexing is way out of whack. Glad you got it sorted out.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I also suspect, based upon the age and type of bike, that you have a bent derailleur hanger.

    Here's the good news: 5-speeds aren't nearly as picky about perfect hanger aligment as 9 or 10-speed drivetrains. I'm pretty sure that you can do this yourself.

    1. Shift your bike into a gear that makes the derailleur arm point straight down. Prop your bike up vertically against a wall or something.

    2. Now look at your derailleur from the back. If the arm seems to be pointing toward the rear wheel - that's it.

    3. If you find that you can't bend the derailleur hanger back with your hand, look for a 15" adjustable wrench. Clamp the wrench OVER the rear derailleur and bend it back until it's straight. IMPORTANT: Resist the urge to remove the derailleur so that you can bend the hanger by itself. If you happen to ovalize the derailleur mounting hole in the process you will be well and truely screwed.

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Until the companies that had index shifter schemes to sell, nobody needed them,
    the pro racers got along great without them.
    until their job included promoting their use, to sell them to the rest of the consumers.

    the sponsorship of pro teams is more part of the marketing,
    and only some of the product development budgets.

  17. #17
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    well almost 2 yrs later... Searched the forums while trying to fix a similar problem of indexing just not right. Found this thread, and found the same problem on the bike, that is, cable routed around the wrong side of the fixing screw.

    Once routed correctly, works like a dream.

    What did we ever do before forums and search utilities. Thx folks.

  18. #18
    Foward Leaning Attitude rithem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftygeek View Post
    Well, I spent several hours with the bike this afternoon...ended up making my own Rear Deraileur alignment tool out of some aluminium section that I had in the workshop.

    The hanger was bent - its now perfectly straight...but the problem still exists - I'm now thinking that the indexing steps on the shifter simply aren't the correct spacing to match the movement of modern deraileurs...I can't think of anything else!

    lets see a pic of your homemade DAG

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