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  1. #1
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    Shimano 105 Shifters Calibration

    I recently purchased a used Trek 2009 Trek 2.1 (with Shimano 105 shifters). However, at first the the derailleur seemed too loose (shifting to a higher gear–releasing tension–was fine). However shifting to a lower gear didn't always work, sometimes I had to go down two, up one because it wouldn't shift with the first tap. So I used the knob on the rear derailleur to add tension to the cable, and even did a high stop/low stop screw calibration. It now works great in the middle of the cassette (10 speed), but when I get closer to the ends, I either have problems shifting up or shifting down. This makes me think that the shifters are off calibration (meaning they aren't changing the tension of the cable quite enough). The 105s should be set for a 10-speed cassette, so I don't see why this would be an issue? Is there any way to change/fix this? Or should I just bring it into a shop?

    Thanks

    Joe

  2. #2
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Take the bike to your local bike shop to check cable tension or learn here how to do it yourslef and have a try first if you like. http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...nts-derailleur
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  3. #3
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    The shift levers aren't really involved. There is no "calibration" with regard to them. Nor are the High/Low involved unless you are talking the inner and outer cogs themselves which you don't seem to be. The High Low only stop the chain from moving too far outward or inward; they don't affect shifting per se. Bad cable routing can be involved with poor shifting and that's not always obvious; it would take somebody with experience to see that a rear derailleur cable was an inch too short or too long. Such things can make a difference, but if it's a new bike it should have come with the proper cable lengths. I'd take it too a shop and read up on the subject and check some videos. The B Screw could also be involved which is a fairly subtle tweak that can make a difference in crispness but would not normally cause it to be so far off as to force you to double shift an extra gear. That sounds almost entirely like a lack of tension. See if you LBS will allow you to watch them adjust it.

  4. #4
    AEO
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    didn't the bike shop recommend you bring it back after a month for a free tune up?
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    didn't the bike shop recommend you bring it back after a month for a free tune up?
    The OP purchased it used and probably from a private seller so there is likely no free tune-up available.

    BTW, I've noticed most LBS's no longer take bike in trade or sell used bikes. Shops in university towns or near a large university are sometimes the exception but most don't. Liability concerns?

  6. #6
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    If the cables haven't been changed out recently, might this be a sign that they're early in the "Shimano fray the cable inside the shifter" dance?
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    @HillRider you're right, it was a private seller, not a bike shop.

    So I tried literally all the suggestions here. First I tried (re)adjusting the rear derailleur with no luck. I didn't touch the B screw, because I didn't want to mess anything up. So I then took it to my LBS, tried to explain what was wrong, and gave it to them. They said they fixed it, stating that it was an issue with the B screw (that it was too tight), and so the rear derailleur had been misfiring. The guy also said my derailleur was pretty beat up (which it is, but I don't think this would be the issue). I tested it out at home on a stand, and it actually seemed to work. But as soon as I got on it for real, it was clear that they hadn't really done anything.

    @Ex Pres at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if something like this was the issue–is that a common issue with Shimano derailleurs?

  8. #8
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeturner View Post
    @Ex Pres at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if something like this was the issue–is that a common issue with Shimano derailleurs?
    He was pointing to a potential issue with the shifter.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  9. #9
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeturner View Post
    Ex Pres at this point, .... is that a common issue with Shimano derailleurs?
    It's a very common issue with Shimano shifters, not the derailleur. If you don't replace your cables on Shimano shifters every year or so you WILL have the cable break near the cable end inside your shifter.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    How's the RD hanger alignment look? That's the foundation underlying all RD adjustment, so give it at least a visual check to confirm it's OK.

    The next things I'd look at are the head of the shift cable for fraying, like Ex Pres said, and whether the cable's routed correctly at the pinch bolt on the RD, and whether the washer of the pinch bolt is in its correct orientation... people seem to struggle with that washer's orientation and what the tab's supposed to do.

    RD_pinch_bolt.JPG

    Also slide the housing up and down the cable... does it move pretty freely?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeturner View Post
    @HillRider you're right, it was a private seller, not a bike shop.

    So I tried literally all the suggestions here. First I tried (re)adjusting the rear derailleur with no luck. I didn't touch the B screw, because I didn't want to mess anything up. So I then took it to my LBS, tried to explain what was wrong, and gave it to them. They said they fixed it, stating that it was an issue with the B screw (that it was too tight), and so the rear derailleur had been misfiring. The guy also said my derailleur was pretty beat up (which it is, but I don't think this would be the issue). I tested it out at home on a stand, and it actually seemed to work. But as soon as I got on it for real, it was clear that they hadn't really done anything.

    @Ex Pres at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if something like this was the issue–is that a common issue with Shimano derailleurs?
    Whenever I encounter a rear shifting issue that doesn't respond to normal tuneing, the first thing that I do is to check the derailleur hanger alignment. Most of the time that fixes it.

    In your case, a tip off is the beat up rear derailleur. That's a pretty safe bet it's been pushed in.

    Shift into a gear combination that makes your derailleur arm point straight down and stand your bike up vertically against something. Then walk around to the back of your bike and examine the rear derailleur arm. If it seems to be pointing toward the rear wheel (my bet), that's it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    There is so little involved that I'd be looking for a better lbs if they can't fix it after returning one more time. If I were you I would 1) buy new cables and housing, cut them and ensure there are no burrs and they are all cut nicely and replace them 2) clean and oil the derailleur and make sure it's properly aligned 3) recheck the HI/Low stops with the new cables and tension the cables. That's pretty much it. The local lbs should be able to do all this in a heartbeat. They should also have seen if the rear derailleur is not aligned but it's so sad that many lbs have some young kids doing bike work. We only have two local shops (maybe a small third I've never been to...) and both are pretty decent. You might also have bent hanger which can be replaced or re-bent on most any bike. The culprit isn't likely the cable because that would typically show when you let off tension but it's not impossible. A total rework of your cable's and housing is a 10 minute job for an experienced bike person and retensioning everything is easily done in less than 30 minutes. Bring it in clean and give them one more chance and then look for another bike shop if you can simply because it's good to have somebody competent available. Bent derailleur is indeed possible...

  13. #13
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    If you paid the LBS to fix the problem take it back to them and tell them to fix it again because they did not get it right.

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    Okay, so I checked the RD hanger, and it looks to be just fine (maybe the slightest bit bent inwards, but not enough to be noticed). I decided to try to check out the RD cable in the shifter and was somewhat able to see it (without completely taking it apart, it seems hard to really see it). But I didn't really notice any fraying. I'll take it back to the LBS and hopefully they can figure it out this time.

  15. #15
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Even the slightest bend in the hanger can be an issue. Your LBS should have the tool from Park to officially check and repair this to get correct alignment.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  16. #16
    29er Rider MNRon's Avatar
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    +1 on the bent hanger. "not enough to be noticed" is bad enough. Hanger alignment and cable binding.. the biggest issues with rear shifting.
    Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive anyway.

  17. #17
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    So I took it back to my LBS and they happily took it back to fix (no charge of course), and this time they really looked at it hard. Unfortunately the guy I gave it to was not the one who got it back for me (after it had been fixed), so I don't know what they did. At first it seemed to be really good, like whatever they had done worked. However after taking it for a few long rides since, it seems less fixed. It's definitely better than before: when I have to give it a little extra tension after the click, it's not as much as before. And if I add the tension very quickly (just by pushing very quickly) it works 95% of the time. I *might* have gotten some sand in my chain/gears since I got it back, which could be contributing to this decline in fix-ed-ness, so I'll clean that off and see what happens.

  18. #18
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    Try shooting WD40 into the shifters, use lots. The old grease and dirt can cause excess friction and poor shifter performance. WD40 works well to loosen hard grease and clean out dirt, etc.

  19. #19
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    Where exactly on the shifters am I supposed to spray the WD40?

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeturner View Post
    Where exactly on the shifters am I supposed to spray the WD40?
    Inside the mechanism. Pull the brake lever and spray where you see the shifter movement actuate (i.e. the part that moves sideways when you move the shift levers). Douse the insides with as much WD40 as you can get in there, until things move smoothly again.

    I would turn to WD40 as a last resort, and I would check cable tension first, but if you can't figure out the problem try the WD40.

  21. #21
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    Try shooting WD40 into the shifters, use lots. The old grease and dirt can cause excess friction and poor shifter performance. WD40 works well to loosen hard grease and clean out dirt, etc.
    I can't see that helping in this instance; the shifters aren't intermittent. The indexing stops are unaffected by gummy grease, so if STIs are shifting, they're shifting properly. The goo just prevents the pawls from engaging by stiffening their pivots; they're only actuated by hair springs.

    If it isn't a bent hanger or derailleur, the derailleur may be worn. Is there much side to side play if you wiggle the bottom of the cage? Otherwise, it's either excess cable friction or mushy housing. It doesn't take experience to judge the correct length; just consider what it takes to minimise any bends in the housing. The correct length for RD loops is determined by the sweet spot where increasing the length stops meaningfully decreasing the radius of the loop. Housing ends should be filed or ground flat, liners poked open and radiused and ferrules crimped on.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    I can't see that helping in this instance; the shifters aren't intermittent. The indexing stops are unaffected by gummy grease, so if STIs are shifting, they're shifting properly.
    Simply not true.

  23. #23
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Along with the possibility of a worn RD, also check that the upper pulley has side-to-side slide but not angular "flop." It takes a while to wear out the bushing in there, but it can be done. Another source of "give" in the system would be a bottom-bracket cable guide that's loose and shifts position. Yet another source of imprecision is cable housings that weren't milled flush, forcing some of the strands to bear all the load while others loaf around doing nothing.

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    If the rear hanger is OK then you might start at replacing the cable and housing. At two years I doubt that the rear der. is worn out.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    Simply not true.
    In the case of older shifters that have seized- shooting a de-greaser into the shifters might free them up. (wd-40 builds up and destroys the plastic so it's a bad choice) This usually works 70% of the time I would say. Since the bike is new(er) It is definitely not the problem.
    Last edited by badbikemechanic; 08-31-11 at 03:30 PM.
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