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  1. #1
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    Shimano FD-6400 and STI compatibility

    Hi folks,

    I'm having some problem setting up the front derailer on this old Klein I've got. The fd is a 600 tricolor FD-6400 and the shifters are 2x8 600 ST-6400. Now, this set-up is what came with the bike when I bought it, and I've got it to work before. However, the travel of the derailer doesn't seem to match the travel of the shift lever, and I've got to put so much tension on cable that the chain rubs in the small ring/big cog combo.

    I've tried a couple different cable routings to no satisfaction. I've been trying to find some info about this on the web, and I find snippets of info that say that the FD-6400, made for 7-speed, doesn't have the right travel/geometry to work properly with STI levers. That seems apparent to me right now, but I'm not the most experienced mechanic and I can't rule out that I'm just an idiot who can't adjust a derailer properly.

    I'm close to pulling the trigger on either a FD-6401 or a FD-6500 on ebay as those seem like they are supposed to work, but I thought I would check in here before I spend the money to make sure it will fix my problem.

  2. #2
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    The 6400 series Ultegra was indeed 8-speed and the derailleur should be compatible with the brifter. Is your crank a double or a triple as these brifters were specific.

    Also, Shimano front derailleurs have a small tab right inboard of the cable clamp bolt. the cable must be routed OVER the top of that tab and then through the groove on top of the operating arm under the bolt. If you pass the cable between the tab and the bolt the arm movement won't be correct.
    Last edited by HillRider; 01-09-14 at 12:37 PM. Reason: To answer the correct question

  3. #3
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    Compare your cable routing at the FD pinch bolt with other bikes that are shifting correctly.
    Check the cable guide below the bottom bracket to see that there is no binding or excess friction.
    Has the cable and housing been replaced?
    Have you tried shooting WD40 into the shifter? A dirty shifter can cause excess friction and sluggish shifting.
    Try soaking the FD in mineral spirits or other solvents to free up the pivot points (I had that problem).

  4. #4
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    Cable routing is correct, no binding anywhere, shifter works fine, just doesn't pull enough cable. (yes, it has all the clicks for trimming etc and they all work). Also, re: the first reply, it's a front derailer problem, rear derailer works fine.

  5. #5
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    How do you have the cable clamped on the FD? I think it's supposed to go over the bolt.

    How is the FD cage aligned to the crankset? Again, no bike in front of me, but I'm pretty sure the OUTER cage should be parallel to the rigs.

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShartRate View Post
    Cable routing is correct, no binding anywhere, shifter works fine, just doesn't pull enough cable. (yes, it has all the clicks for trimming etc and they all work). Also, re: the first reply, it's a front derailer problem, rear derailer works fine.
    Yeah, I realized that and edited my posing to correct the useless info. Do note the way the cable must be routed OVER the fd's tab as routing it under can cause just the problem you are dealing with.

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    Clamping the cable over the bolt doesn't do any good, still not enough travel.

    Anyway I found some pics from a 600 catalog that show the ST-6400 alongside the FD-6401, not the FD-6400 (which is the one I have). I'll presume the derailer is not technically compatible with my levers, even if there are ways to force them to more or less cooperate.

    I just ordered a FD-6500 on eBay, I'll check back in here when it shows up to see whether it works or not.

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    FD-6500 is intended for 9-speed chains. You may still have rubbing problems.

    BTW, did you push the inner (release) lever on the left brifter multiple times to get it into the most inward position before you connected the cable at the derailleur? Forgetting to do that is a common mistake.

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    If you leave too much clearance when you adjust the FD low limit you may run out of cable pull at the other end of its travel. Be sure that the high limit screw is not too tight, limiting the derailleur stroke. Also make certain that the height and rotation of the derailleur is correct.

    Finally, if you are really certain that you actually have too little pull, try attaching the wire the "wrong" way to the clamp bolt, going underneath the little tab. This will shorten the lever arm and cause more derailleur travel per lever click, although the force needed will increase. This might buy you enough travel. It costs nothing but a little time to try it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    FD-6500 is intended for 9-speed chains. You may still have rubbing problems.

    BTW, did you push the inner (release) lever on the left brifter multiple times to get it into the most inward position before you connected the cable at the derailleur? Forgetting to do that is a common mistake.
    Yeah, I always made sure it was in the innermost position every time I attached the cable.

    If the FD-6500 doesn't work, maybe I'll just go to 9 speed lol! I have a set of Tiagra 9 speed shifters around, the rear derailer that came with the bike is 6500 Ultegra, I'd just need a new chain and cassette I'd bet. But, I have seen someone else reference having the ST-6400 shifters with FD-6500 and it working fine. There's no shortage of FD-6401's on ebay if it doesn't work I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
    Finally, if you are really certain that you actually have too little pull, try attaching the wire the "wrong" way to the clamp bolt, going underneath the little tab. This will shorten the lever arm and cause more derailleur travel per lever click, although the force needed will increase. This might buy you enough travel. It costs nothing but a little time to try it.
    I tried this, and you are right that it took more effort to move the lever. I spent so much time futzing with this setup that my had was actually getting tired from shifting. That cable route did buy me a little more travel, but I still couldn't get it to work right without having the barrel adjuster turned almost all the way out.

  12. #12
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    "I still couldn't get it to work right without having the barrel adjuster turned almost all the way out."

    So then turn the adjuster back in and re-clamp the wire a little shorter.

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    Coming back to update this with a happy ending, plus as a record for anybody else who may encounter this problem.

    I received the FD-6500 today and immediately installed it. Set the height and the angle, then set the limits, then routed and installed a new cable to the left ST-6400. (this was the same way it was routed before FWIW). After all that, I swung the big shift lever all the way into the inside and the chain shifted effortlessly onto the big ring. When I'd been working with the FD-6400, I'd have to put a whole barrel's worth of tension on the cable to get it to even think about shifting. This in addition to very stiff shifter action.

    Anyway, moral of the story here is that the FD-6400 is not compatible with STI shifters, at least not the ST-6400 (the numbers are deceiving here). FD-6500 definitely works as it should, but I bet that the FD-6401 works fine as well. I only got the 6500 because the price difference on ebay was negligible. I guess now I'll just throw the FD-6400 in the parts bin, I suppose it would still work with a friction shifter.
    Last edited by ShartRate; 01-14-14 at 01:19 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    I set up 9 speed ultegra STI (st-6501) and an FD-6401 and it works flawlessly. NOS shifters and a used derailleur but no problems setting it up.

  15. #15
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShartRate View Post
    Anyway, moral of the story here is that the FD-6400 is not compatible with STI shifters, at least not the ST-6400 (the numbers are deceiving here).
    Yeah, Velobase says the FD-6400 was 1988-91, and the FD-6401 was 1992-97, introduced with STI.

    Hah, get a load of this marketing bumf for Ultegra:

    The Ultegra group was developed to provide a high-performance racing type bicycle for amateur racers and performance oriented sports cyclists. Ultegra features polished bearing races, high strength steels, a striking modern colour treatment and compact high-tech design theme. This approach creates a new upgraded image for a fashionable high quality racing-type bicycle aimed at the performance cycling enthusiast. (1991 Dealer Manual)
    Actually, I suppose that approach did create a new upgraded image for a fashionable high quality racing-type bicycle aimed at the performance cycling enthusiast.

    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    I set up 9 speed ultegra STI (st-6501) and an FD-6401 and it works flawlessly. NOS shifters and a used derailleur but no problems setting it up.
    What about the crank, 8s or 9s?

    More likely to encounter problems going the other way, using a 9s FD with a 8s crank and/or chain.

  16. #16
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    9s FD and 8s crank and chain are what I have now and they seem to be gelling alright. It's too nasty out to do a real test run so I might have to get on the trainer tonight. If there is anything about the setup that seemed less than ideal right now it would be that I will have to use the trim functions on the shifter a bit. However, that's just compared to the old derailer I was using, and that thing really shouldn't have worked at all!

  17. #17
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    What about the crank, 8s or 9s?

    More likely to encounter problems going the other way, using a 9s FD with a 8s crank and/or chain.
    I've got an fc-6400 so it's probably an 8 speed crank. Could even be 7 speed I guess.

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