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  1. #1
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    "Don't try to adjust your front derailleur again before you call me!"

    Dropped my bike off at the LBS yesterday for some work, mainly some upgrades to fix some long-standing RD issues I've been having.

    Mentioned to the mechanic (an extremely nice guy who was advising me on some changes) that I had tried to fix a chain rub problem on the FD last weekend and probably didn't do a very good job. Asked him to take a look at it in addition to the other work he was doing.

    When I picked the bike up today, he was out. But when I looked at the bill, I noticed that he wrote a note on it, all caps, underlined, *not* to touch the FD again without talking to him.

    Uh oh. I think I'm in trouble. This will probably be one of these situations where the shop wishes they had posted a sign that says: "$50 to fix it; $100 if you watch; $200 if we have to fix your screw-ups."

    I am now wondering, on a scale of 1 to 10, how hopeless I am.
    Last edited by BengeBoy; 01-15-09 at 06:37 PM.

  2. #2
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member oldride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    Dropped my bike off at the LBS yesterday for some work, mainly some upgrades to fix some long-standing RD issues I've been having.

    Mentioned to the mechanic (an extremely nice guy who was advising me on some changes) that I had tried to fix a chain rub problem on the FD last weekend and probably didn't do a very good job. Asked him to take a look at it in addition to the other work he was doing.

    When I picked the bike up today, he was out. But when I looked at the bill, I noticed that he wrote a note on it, all caps, underlined, *not* to touch the FD again without talking to him.

    Uh oh. I think I'm in trouble. This will probably be one of these situations where the shop wishes they had posted a sign that says: "$50 to fix it; $100 if you watch; $200 if we have to fix your screw-ups."

    I am now wondering, on a scale of 1 to 10, how hopeless I am.
    About $200 worth of hopeless!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    I am now wondering, on a scale of 1 to 10, how hopeless I am.
    I'm thinking that the shop mechanic thinks you're about a 1, still teachable. If he thought that you were truely hopeless, he wouldn't have bothered to write the note.

  5. #5
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I have that same trip coming up soon. I attempted to adjust my FD on my Fuji, after changing out the large ring. When I loosened it, I loosened it too much and it dropped down the seat tube. Don't know exactly where it was before. Never got it working right again.
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  6. #6
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    You don't say if the bill was high or not... which would be a clue. Mechanic is willing to talk to you, so he thinks you are smart enough to learn something from the conversation. This is a good thing, as the FD adjustment involves the most voodoo of all bike adjustments. (Also possible: the FD is worn and he was barely able to finagle it... he wants you to leave it alone in its fragile state.)

    Or, he thinks you are a dope and wants to wag his finger at you!

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  7. #7
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Front derailers are difficult to dial in, but I don't agree with your LBS. You're not going to get to the point where you can replace/repair one if you don't try. If you want to work on bikes and you're concerned about working on your pride and joy, then buy a clunker at a yard sale. I did. Take it apart and put it back together, then do it to another. It's a little scary at first, but after three or four complete tear downs of different bikes, there's not much you won't tackle. I just completed my fourth frame up build (start with a raw frame and add components from other bikes) and will soon begin my fifth and sixth.
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  8. #8
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Hmm, I don't find front DRs difficult to dial in, but they are sensitive to things not being right. According to Park Tools (or is it Sheldon?), most problems are caused by rear dr adjustment - get that right first. Then make sure there's no stiction anywhere - my recent woes were partly caused by handlebar position changes that made the cable outers too long, just enough to make the thing difficult, something I hadn't thought about because 'it'd always worked before' (the 'before' being before I moved the handlebars back). Getting the front dr clamped in the right spot involves a bit of creative profanity but it's only annoying, not 'difficult'. Seriously, take your time, set everything up properly first, and they're a dream to adjust. The problems arise when we start fiddling with settings out on the road in an attempt to cure something ... that's often caused by something other than adjustment.

    Richard
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    He may have just set it in a condition that he understands, but may not be exactly "per the book"..
    IF you still have problems, he KNOWS what direction he wants to proceed in. If YOU "tweak it", he's back at ground zero.

    I had a FDER on a mid 70's ten speed that was mounted WAY TOO HIGH according to the book.
    I lowered it to the "proper spec", and it shifted like doo doo.
    At least I discovered the bike was originally red instead of brown!

  10. #10
    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    That was a ridiculous note to put on a bill.

    http://tinyurl.com/7cx8g

    http://tinyurl.com/4ggzy

  11. #11
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    It's a bicycle..............not a rocket.


    At least mine aren't...

  12. #12
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    It's a bicycle..............not a rocket.
    +1

    front derailleur adjustment made easy

  13. #13
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Hey, it's your bike. Touch whatever you want. Adjust whatever you want.
    At my favored LBS they would likely teach me how to make the adjustment instead of the approach to which you were privy.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    The only hired help whom I pay to lecture me are my doctors.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  15. #15
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    At my favored LBS they would likely teach me how to make the adjustment
    Same here. Of course it helps that my preferred mechanic posts here occassionally.

    Whenever I've messed something up, or been unable to fix it, I go in and explain what I've done and ask where it went off the rails.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  16. #16
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Note doesn't say "never touch that again". It says "talk to me before you do it". It may well only mean there is something unusual going on that he wants you to know about. (Him being a "nice guy"... this is my first inference and I would not be too worked up about it.)
    Let us know what it was...

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  17. #17
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    So, you have an experienced mechanic volunteering to give you advice next time you need to adjust FD. How is that a bad thing?
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  18. #18
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    So, you have an experienced mechanic volunteering to give you advice next time you need to adjust FD. How is that a bad thing?
    +1 sounds like a friendly offer to teach you how to do it correctly.

  19. #19
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Hey, it's your bike. Touch whatever you want. Adjust whatever you want.
    At my favored LBS they would likely teach me how to make the adjustment instead of the approach to which you were privy.
    As others have said, that is exactly how I would interpret this note, as an invitation to have them teach him how to adjust it. I suspect there was some humor involved which has been lost on some here.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  20. #20
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Funny story!

    Reminds me of my FD woes when I took the compact crank off my Calfee and installed the triple. I messed with that FD every way I could think of (and probably several ways I didn't realize!), but in no way could I get it to shift into the granny.

    Phoned my friendly LBS mechanic who informed me: "No Rick, that's never going to work, you need to buy the Shimano Ultegra FD for a triple crank."

    Oh, okay.

    Bought the correct FD, bolted it on and hooked up the cable . . . shifted perfectly the first time and every time since. Not sure how many hours of my life I wasted trying to get the "wrong" FD to work!

    Rick / OCRR

  21. #21
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Front derailleur adjustment can be downright frustrating on a triple with any type of indexed front shifter. With a friction shifter it is a piece of cake (or a slice of pie).
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I have had nearly the opposite experiance with the LBS where I purchased my bike and the FD. My bike has a SRAM Rival compact and from day one it had issues getting into the big ring with any tension to the drive train. I took it back several times and even got the advice to always soft pedal to shift to the big ring. The mechanic didn't appreciate my comment about informing the other guys in a race to ease up at the top of a hill so I can shift back to the big ring. Working on my own I was able to dail the FD in myself to shift properly. I took the bike in, at a later date, for another repair (bent derailer hanger from a crash) and once home I discovered the FD wouldn't shift to big ring. I called the LBS and sure enough the mechanic told me that he "tuned it up" for me. I finally managed to get it working properly again using my set up. Now, if I ever take the bike back for the "free lifetime adjustments" I make it a point to tell them to leave the FD alone.

  23. #23
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    Just to clarify - my LBS mechanic is a terrific guy. Extremely patient, very talented, really knows his stuff. He also contributes to a local bike blog and has written some terrific stuff on bike mechanics and repair.

    I was not at *all* offended by his note. He had stayed late Wednesday night to fix my bike; I had confessed when I dropped it off that my latest "brainstorm" on how to adjust the FD had gone off the rails; and asked him to take a look at the FD while doing some other stuff. He wrote the note because he knew he would be out of the store when I came by to pick it up.

    I interpreted his note as an offer to help (and a *friendly* but appropriately firm warning to stop screwing it up). I just thought it was funny that I was so far off in the wrong direction that he would take the time to warn me to take it easy before I tried to do it again. (fyi, I've adjusted many derailleurs in my time, but for some reason did not have the proper amount of grace when addressing this one at midnight last Friday night, which was the time I chose to "tweak" the FD in advance of a group ride).

    You can be confident I will not run out of examples of my bone-headedness, and hope to remain on good enough terms w/my LBS that they do not flee next time I enter the store.

    I will remind you of my last thread on my mechanical ineptitude:

    Why, yes, I *am* a mechanical genius....
    Last edited by BengeBoy; 01-16-09 at 12:31 PM.

  24. #24
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    For many years I've been telling my friend that I can show him how to tweek derailleurs and cables so he doesn't have to keep having his LBS perform the work every time he feels something is amiss. Last week he took his bike in for yet another adjustment and he's not happy with its shifting performance.
    He finally called me this morning asking to show him the trick in adjusting these things.

    So tomorrow, over some bbq'ing, I'm going to demonstrate and teach him the fine art of derailleur and cable adjustment, as well as checking for hanger misalignment.
    Besides his bike, I also asked him to bring a six-pack of Corona.
    Temps will again climb into the 80's in LA.....great riding and bbq weather.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  25. #25
    Old Enough to Know Better WalterMitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    It's a bicycle..............not a rocket.


    At least mine aren't...
    As a former rocket mechanic I will testify that nothing on the rockets were ever as vague or twitchy to adjust as the FD on a triple ring.
    Youth we got, what we need is a fountain of Smart!

    "Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?"

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