use your best eye
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Olympia, Washington
Bikes: '75 Bertin, '93 Parkpre Team 925, '04 Kona King Kikapu, '05 Bianchi Vigorelli
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If there's no spring action while holding it naked (!) in your hands, then something's wrong, like a broken spring. From your description this sounds like a dual pull type- cable can route to the mech. from either below (as in your case), or from above. And, yes, there is no such thing as a rapid rise FD.
When experimenting with the der. off the bike, make sure you are trying to move it in a way that simulates being mounted on the seat tube of the bike. Better yet, mount/clamp it on the seat tube as usual (without cable attached) and see if you can pull the cage outwards.
I don't know if this will really help. If the der. is shot, it's not expensive to replace.
"I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.