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  1. #1
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    Sigh. One thing after another. DIY gone horribly wrong...

    It all started with my thought: "I think I'll raise the stem by 1/2 inch". This is easy enough. Just undo front cantilever brake, raise stem, then reattach cantilever brake. This led to "adjust cantilever brake". No problem, I thought, I read Sheldon Brown's howto, and it seems easy enough. Then I noticed the grunge on the rim of the wheel, so I thought "I'll clean the rims while I'm at it", and this is where things went horribly wrong, since I don't have anything resembling a bike stand, I lifted the wheel to turn it a bit, and the bike fell over! Not hard, since I was holding the wheel, and I thought everything was okay.

    BUT! After this, my next ride, I noticed the chain was really noisy! That is not a good sign, so I did some barrel adjusting to try and clear it out, and that's when I realized I had to "adjust the freaking deraileurs". So I spent most of this afternoon and evening outside, riding up and down and up and down the street. I had to reset the low stop of the rear deraileur to stop the skipping on the lowest gear, then I had to adjust the rotation and high-stop of the FRONT deraileur, so that the chain would shift, yet not rub against the deraileur while in middle of triplet, when the rear was in the smallest gear.

    Adjusting the front deraileur is a BLACK ART, I tell you! It doesn't help that I'm a bit of a technophobe who's never driven a nail into a board without bending it. I only just got back in a half hour ago, with a sprocket-shaped grease smear on my right calf, and a painful place on the pad of my thumb that will soon be a water blister. At least my chain is quiet and efficiently shifty for the moment. When I take it in to the LBS for a tuneup, later in the month, I bet the mechanic is either going to pass out laughing or give me a stern lecture on doing a truly half-buttocked botch of an adjustment...

  2. #2
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    One thing leads to another and, before you know it, you're really having fun.

    I've learned to rely on the Park Tools front derailleur adjustment guide, step by step, and I am still sometimes reduced to foul language. Eventually, though, I get it just right and don't have to touch it again for a long time. Triples are much more bother than doubles.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    When it fell, which side did it fall on? If it fell on the left side, you should be ok. If it fell on the right side, you may have bent the derailleur hanger. Have the LBS check it.
    BTW the quality of the components makes adjusting either a breeze, or a frustrating adventure.

  4. #4
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Buy a workstand.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    I was repairing a bike in sad shape years ago, and one thing after another went wrong. Every little thing I tried to do had an extra complication I hadn't understood when I started doing it.

    I must have been in a good mood, because it just seemed like a part of life. I was happy to be doing something and learning. It just seemed so much nicer to be out there where things can and do go wrong, than just sitting around watching tv.
    mainlytext.com/bike.html Bicycling in winter, the entertainment version

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Yup. Everything on a bicycle works together. You can almost never change just one part without having to diddle with something else.

  7. #7
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Hey, the good news is you got your first tatoo with the grease smear on your right calf.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  8. #8
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
    When it fell, which side did it fall on? If it fell on the left side, you should be ok. If it fell on the right side, you may have bent the derailleur hanger. Have the LBS check it.
    BTW the quality of the components makes adjusting either a breeze, or a frustrating adventure.
    It was semi-middle quality... for 1992. My fear is that the hanger is indeed bent, though it's not obvious, just looking at it. When I finally finished up, the chain is being as quiet as it's ever been, so I have hope! It didn't actually "fall" so much as it just kind of "rotated unexpectedly" if you know what I mean. The thunderous crash came from my bike rack bag de-velcroing as the load inside shifted.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Buy a workstand.
    That will probably be in my budget... for next year.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Hint:
    High and low stops on both front and rear derailleurs do not go out of adjustment. Messing with them after the limits have been set correctly only exacerbates problems, not correct them. Go to Park Tool site and use their step by step instructions.

    Keep at it. It gets easier with a little experience
    Last edited by Doug64; 07-02-12 at 09:33 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
    Adjusting the front deraileur is a BLACK ART, I tell you! It doesn't help that I'm a bit of a technophobe who's never driven a nail into a board without bending it. I only just got back in a half hour ago, with a sprocket-shaped grease smear on my right calf, and a painful place on the pad of my thumb that will soon be a water blister. At least my chain is quiet and efficiently shifty for the moment. When I take it in to the LBS for a tuneup, later in the month, I bet the mechanic is either going to pass out laughing or give me a stern lecture on doing a truly half-buttocked botch of an adjustment...
    It is good to hear a ratification of my miserable experiences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    Hint:
    High and low stops on both front and rear derailleurs do not go out of adjustment. Messing with them after the limits have been set correctly only exacerbates problems, not correct them. Go to Park Tool site and use their step by step instructions.

    Keep at it. It gets easier with a little experience
    I wish I had read this long ago. I guess it doesn't help that I am a mechanical klutz like OP. And I even have a stand.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  11. #11
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    Hint:
    High and low stops on both front and rear derailleurs do not go out of adjustment. Messing with them after the limits have been set correctly only exacerbates problems, not correct them. Go to Park Tool site and use their step by step instructions.

    Keep at it. It gets easier with a little experience
    I had a problem similar to OPs with my wife's bike. She dropped it and the front derailleur was pushed out of align. I had a lot of trouble getting it back in a proper position and ended up messing with the stop screws. If you have to physically move the derailleur would that throw out the set it and forget it aspect of the previous stop set positions? It seems like it would.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  12. #12
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    Well, I think the front was just a simple case of the bracket not being tight enough, since it didn't take any effort at all to loosen it, which means it was already loose. Oval cogs do make measuring clearance more fun than usual! Also, the outside face of the front derailleur is more shaped like a potato chip than a flat surface, being ever so slightly concave. That makes lining it up a matter of some guesswork.

    As for the rear, as noted above, I fear the bracket was bent ever so slightly. I'll have to take it in to the LBS to let them wrench it around with that bracket-truing tool. Then they get the fun task of RE-readjusting the derailleurs!

    Another sign that things might be wrong, and that I may want another LBS, is that the B-tensioner in the fully untensioned position, doesn't come close to getting the pully to rub against the cassette. I already know that the cable housings might need replaced. I'm hoping that this isn't also the case for my entire Shimano 200CX derailleur/shifter setup... I've already spent all my discretionary budget for major items of non-emergency nature for the foreseeable future...
    Last edited by David Bierbaum; 07-03-12 at 06:26 AM.

  13. #13
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    And that, boys and girls, is why I took the triple off of my R500T last year and why I got a compact double for the N+1 this year. You are more ambitious than I am David, I can wrench pretty well but the FD of a triple is too much for my dense thick head. As Chasm said, get a work stand. I meant to order one last February when TomD77 posted about his new Park tool stand. Thanks for the reminder.

    Bill
    Last edited by qcpmsame; 07-03-12 at 08:53 AM.
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  14. #14
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Check Craigslist; quality used stands come up from time to time. I got a nice Wrenchforce stand for $75 used.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  15. #15
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    Come on guys! The front is much much eaiser than the rear, triple or double. The rear has the high-low limits, b screw, hanger alignment, and cable tension that has to be adjusted. The front has high-low, rtoation, and hight on the seat tube and cable tension. That's it. Simple as pie.
    If you can't afford a proper work stand, hang some hooks by rope or chains from the ceiling.

  16. #16
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    http://www.target.com/p/ventura-bicy..._gpa=pla&ci_kw=



    $19 at Target

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    $11.58 - Home Depot

    There is also one for $5.00 out there somewhere - Lowes or HD
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

  17. #17
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
    Come on guys! The front is much much eaiser than the rear, triple or double. The rear has the high-low limits, b screw, hanger alignment, and cable tension that has to be adjusted. The front has high-low, rtoation, and hight on the seat tube and cable tension. That's it. Simple as pie.
    If you can't afford a proper work stand, hang some hooks by rope or chains from the ceiling.
    Fewer parts and adjustments does not make them easier to get right than rear derailleurs. Everything has to be spot on, whereas rear derailleurs are at least a little bit forgiving, owing in part to floating top pulleys.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


    Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
    Come on guys! The front is much much eaiser than the rear, triple or double.
    Put me down as a disagree strongly.

  19. #19
    Enthusiast Shinjukan's Avatar
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    OP, too bad you're quite a long distance from my place, otherwise I would ask if you'd let me have your bike for a few days while I work on it. I'd even wash it for you . As late as last year, the thought of making repairs on my bike horrifies me with the same thought as yours: fixing or even adjusting a small part might lead to bigger and bigger ones. I know if that happens it's either a couple of days riding would be gone or fork out money to pay the LBS. Now, not only I adjusted all my bike parts to my preference but I also made it work much better compared to when I bought it brand new last year. I have a triple too but I tell you I'm having so much fun everytime I tinker with it---I can feel the artisan in me at work . I take my time as long as I need and let my bike 'talk back' to me. Learning how to feel the machines on how they're behaving is a very powerful skill that will lead to properly diagnosing the problem and fixing it promptly. Now my 3 bikes are working smoothly and curiously I'm looking to fix broken ones to further practice my skills. Tee-hee!

    We're very fortunate to live in a wired society so virtually everything that we need to know is just 'out' there waiting to be discovered. Without the web, it's either we're at the mercy of our LBS or we could resort to garage DIYs with our buddies (which I think is still the best way to learn, provided their knowledge is the right one) in fixing our bikes.
    Last edited by Shinjukan; 07-03-12 at 07:41 AM.
    "Sometimes riding slower is the faster way to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings."

  20. #20
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    All hail the power of the Interwebs! It's turned into the One Manual To Rule Them All for any and all DIY projects!

    Quote Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
    ...
    If you can't afford a proper work stand, hang some hooks by rope or chains from the ceiling.
    I'll escort all visitors to that room wearing black leather spanks and a gimp mask...
    Last edited by David Bierbaum; 07-03-12 at 08:36 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Derailleur adjustments always go to my shop or a friend I trust. This coming from a person that has torn down many dirt bike engines and repaired a broken cam chain adjuster on a dirt bike in the middle of the trail. BUT I NEVER TOUCH A DERAILLEUR! Just me but I leave it to someone that knows.

    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...S/exercise.png

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  22. #22
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    OP, education is not free. But you are learning and will end up in a better place for it.

    Good luck.
    2011 Felt Q620
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  23. #23
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    DERAILLEUR

    Thats why the have a LBS
    Chief Executive In Charge Of Diddly Squat.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    Okay, here's one to stump you all. I think my bike has "personality". When adjusting my front brake after raising the stem, I had it pretty much done, when I noticed a strange and incomprehensible phenomenon. Being a Cantilever brake, the cable routes through the stem, so the entire brake to lever geometry does not change in the least! No other cable comes into contact with this one at any point.

    BUT! I noticed, when I turned the wheel 40 degrees or more to the right, and applied the front brake, the pad on the right would touch the rim before the left pad. If I straightened the wheel or turned it to the left, both pads would touch the rim simultaneously. Out of curiosity, I turned that little tension adjustment allen key in the one cantilever till both pads touched the rim together, while the wheel was turned right. I was kind of expecting for the other pad to touch first when the wheel was turned left or straight, but NooOOOooOOoo, it just had to be perverse, and behave the same in all directions!

    Try as I might, I can NOT explain this behavior in any way that makes sense! How 'bout you folks?

    Edit: I just fiddled with it, and it still does it!
    Last edited by David Bierbaum; 07-03-12 at 06:37 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    donheff
    I had a problem similar to OPs with my wife's bike. She dropped it and the front derailleur was pushed out of align. I had a lot of trouble getting it back in a proper position and ended up messing with the stop screws. If you have to physically move the derailleur would that throw out the set it and forget it aspect of the previous stop set positions? It seems like it would.
    You are correct. If the derailleur position is physically changed, the stops will likely need adjustment.

    The front derailleur is much harder to adjust, and actually has more steps in the adjustment process than the rear. It also requires a feel for the proper cable tension during the initial setup that can only be learned from experience.

    If your front brake cable routing is the same (through the stem) as the one on my older mountain bike, raising the stem is the same as using a barrel adjuster to adjust the cable. The brake cable length is fixed, but by raising the stem the housing is essentially lengthened. This will position the brake pads closer to the rim. The tension screw you used to position the brake pads just increases the spring tension on the cantilever arm as you screw it in changing the position of the pads.

    I don't have a clue what would cause the difference in the brake pads' relationship to the rim when turning.
    Last edited by Doug64; 07-03-12 at 09:25 PM.

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