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Trying to convert to a 11-42 cassette with Wolftooth, but have some shifting problems

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Trying to convert to a 11-42 cassette with Wolftooth, but have some shifting problems

Old 09-08-15, 09:40 PM
  #1  
deanproxy
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Trying to convert to a 11-42 cassette with Wolftooth, but have some shifting problems

I recently got a 42t Wolftooth giant cog. I followed the instructions to the T and I have it mostly working well, except for the 15t-19t cogs.

Whenever I try to shift to the 19t cog, I just get the chain rubbing against the 19t cog, no shift. If I shift up again, it will shift two gears and skip the 19t cog.

To remedy this, I tried turning the barrell adjuster counter clockwise. This works, I can now shift from 15t to 19t! But wait, now I can't shift down in most gears... Too much tension, so I back off the barrell adjuster a few turns. Now I can shift down! But wait, now I can't shift up into 19t again...

I simply can't find a happy medium here. All other gears shift fine and relatively quickly. If I install the standard cassette (no 42t), all shifting works great with some minor adjustments. I even tried removing the 15t cog and putting in the Wolftooth 16t cog they send with the Giant cog. Now it won't shift from the 16t to 19t cog. I tried adjusting the b-tension out some. This fixes it, but now I can't use the 42t gear because the jockey wheel is too close to the big cog!

The cassette is brand new. It's the Shimano XT M771 cassette, which Wolftooth says its compatible with. Derailleur is a Shimano XT Plus.

Anyone have any suggestions? I've tried everything and it seems like this entire thing is completely unusable and a waste of $90.
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Old 09-09-15, 06:01 AM
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Shifting up but not down, or vice versa, and being able to shift between the two using the barrel adjuster is often indicative of cable friction.
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Old 09-09-15, 06:12 AM
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First you don't turn barrel adjusters "a few turns", you adjust them a fraction of a turn at a time. Otherwise you are going to see-saw between two tight and too loose and probably never luck into just right.
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Old 09-09-15, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Shifting up but not down, or vice versa, and being able to shift between the two using the barrel adjuster is often indicative of cable friction.
Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
First you don't turn barrel adjusters "a few turns", you adjust them a fraction of a turn at a time. Otherwise you are going to see-saw between two tight and too loose and probably never luck into just right.
Both of these are correct. Change your derailleur cable and housings. It only costs a few dollars and makes a world of difference if you're having shifting problems. Buy the "expensive" housing if you have a choice, it's only a tiny bit more expensive and does a very good job. (We have generic cable housings that aren't great, then we have Jagwire that's miles beyond the generic stuff. I'm sure there is better stuff as well.)
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Old 09-09-15, 12:21 PM
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Forget the spacer between the cogs?
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Old 09-09-15, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Both of these are correct. Change your derailleur cable and housings. It only costs a few dollars and makes a world of difference if you're having shifting problems. Buy the "expensive" housing if you have a choice, it's only a tiny bit more expensive and does a very good job. (We have generic cable housings that aren't great, then we have Jagwire that's miles beyond the generic stuff. I'm sure there is better stuff as well.)
The cables are virtually brand-new. The entire bike is about 3 months old. I know it's possible there is some cable friction going on, but it's such a new bike, I'd be pretty surprised if it were the cables... I'll check anyway.

I think there's a misunderstanding about the "few turns" on the barrel adjuster. I have to turn it a few turns in order to get anything happening between the 16t and 19t cog. I do 1/4 turns at a time, so basically 3-5, 1/4 turns on the barrel and it will finally shift up into the 19t. However, it won't shift down now... I then start making 1/4 turn adjustments clockwise and it basically takes 3-5 of those in order to get it shifting down into the 16t cog now, but I'm right back to where I started.
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Old 09-09-15, 01:53 PM
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Per Wolf Tooth's installation instructions, the spacer, as well as the 17t cog is removed and not added back. Indeed, if you add back the spacer, you can't put on one of cogs. The 42t cog is pretty thick, which accounts for the removal of the spacer.
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Old 09-09-15, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by deanproxy View Post
The cables are virtually brand-new. The entire bike is about 3 months old. I know it's possible there is some cable friction going on, but it's such a new bike, I'd be pretty surprised if it were the cables... I'll check anyway.

I think there's a misunderstanding about the "few turns" on the barrel adjuster. I have to turn it a few turns in order to get anything happening between the 16t and 19t cog. I do 1/4 turns at a time, so basically 3-5, 1/4 turns on the barrel and it will finally shift up into the 19t. However, it won't shift down now... I then start making 1/4 turn adjustments clockwise and it basically takes 3-5 of those in order to get it shifting down into the 16t cog now, but I'm right back to where I started.
Just because it's new doesn't mean that it's right. Trust me. Sometimes bikes are assembled by monkeys.

So let me get this right, you put the bike in the 16t gear, then shift down, to the 19t gear, since it doesn't shift you turn the barrel adjuster 'till it shifts? Doing that type of static adjustment in the middle of the cassette isn't great. Try smaller increments then try to go shift the bike. When you shift you often overshift a little bit, so even if a 1/4 turn doesn't show anything under a static test (or rather, one where you're not shifting) it may make a difference when actually shifting.

I'd still recommend replacing the cables and housings. It's so cheap it's good to make sure it's NOT that. There may be a burr on one of the ends of the housings, or one of the housings may be too long or too short. All possibilities, all would give you the results you're describing. Sometimes the cables used to assemble the bike have corrosion on them which cause friction.

Also, is the B screw adjusted correctly?
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Old 09-09-15, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Just because it's new doesn't mean that it's right. Trust me. Sometimes bikes are assembled by monkeys.

So let me get this right, you put the bike in the 16t gear, then shift down, to the 19t gear, since it doesn't shift you turn the barrel adjuster 'till it shifts? Doing that type of static adjustment in the middle of the cassette isn't great. Try smaller increments then try to go shift the bike. When you shift you often overshift a little bit, so even if a 1/4 turn doesn't show anything under a static test (or rather, one where you're not shifting) it may make a difference when actually shifting.
No, I'm sorry. I'm leaving out too many details and therefore confusing you. I'm bad at being lazy when typing.

Here is how I'm doing it, let me know if this can be done better.
  1. Turn barrel adjuster fully clockwise.
  2. Unlock cable from derailleur to remove any tension.
  3. Set low/high limit by adjusting screws and manipulating derailleur by hand.
  4. Reattach cable to derailleur while making sure cable is pulled tight.
  5. Shift through cogs 11t and 13t to make sure it shifts fine. If fine, move on to 13t and 16t
  6. Shift between cogs 13t and 16t. Make sure it's fine and move onto 16t and 19t
  7. Crap, 16t to 19t is having some struggle. Adjust barrel 1/4 turn counter-clockwise, reset back to 16t
  8. Still no go, repeat step 7 until it cleanly goes up into cog 19t.
  9. Notice that now I can go into 19t, shifting down into 16t hangs up a big. Reset back into 19t and back off barrel adjuster 1/4 turn.
  10. Repeat step 9 until shifting up into 19t starts to hang again. Now back at step 7.
Originally Posted by corrado33
I'd still recommend replacing the cables and housings. It's so cheap it's good to make sure it's NOT that. There may be a burr on one of the ends of the housings, or one of the housings may be too long or too short. All possibilities, all would give you the results you're describing. Sometimes the cables used to assemble the bike have corrosion on them which cause friction.
I'm willing to give this a go as well. I'm willing to try whatever at this point.

Originally Posted by corrado33
Also, is the B screw adjusted correctly?
It's adjusted as far in as it will go at this point, which is giving me about 5-6mm of clearance between the upper jockey wheel and the 42t cog. I have noticed that if I gear up into the 16t cog and back out the tension on the B screw to normal levels (normal meaning, what it would be on a typical 11-36t cassette), the shift is a ton smoother and it shifts from 16t to 19t with no problem. But with the B screw maxed out to allow clearance into the 42t, this causes the problems I'm experiencing.
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Old 09-09-15, 03:50 PM
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Check the derailleur ' s hanger it might be bent just enough to throw things off . you might not see it by looking at it , have it check at your LBS .
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Old 09-09-15, 07:25 PM
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deanproxy
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I have a derailleur alignment tool and checked the alignment first thing. It's aligned.
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Old 09-10-15, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by deanproxy View Post
I have a derailleur alignment tool and checked the alignment first thing. It's aligned.
DAG's are great for steel frames with non-replaceable hangers, but for most new bikes, with replaceable hangers, not so much.

You haven't mentioned what type you have, if it's a replaceable one, would be pulling it, and checking against a flat surface, I've had OEM hangers, which are very soft, replacing with quality aftermarket, like Wheels Maufacturing makes a lot of difference to shifting.
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Old 09-10-15, 01:49 PM
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Made a video to show what I'm talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlNe2AI19Rk
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Old 09-10-15, 02:28 PM
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Put a new 19 tooth cog on the bike and see if it makes a different or take the 19 off the bike and put an 18 tooth and try that. Roger
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Old 09-10-15, 02:55 PM
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check the 19 cog for any burrs or bent teeth to keep the chain from moving . as rhenning said try changing the cog.
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Old 09-10-15, 03:07 PM
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Why do you stop pedaling to shift? That's the exact wrong thing to do. Try shifting while pedaling...

I realize that this is probably because you're holding a camera, but still...

Have you tried riding the bike and shifting? Is the 19t cog on backwards?
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Old 09-10-15, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Why do you stop pedaling to shift? That's the exact wrong thing to do. Try shifting while pedaling...

I realize that this is probably because you're holding a camera, but still...

Have you tried riding the bike and shifting? Is the 19t cog on backwards?
It is because I'm using one hand. I don't always do this, obviously. Me stopping pedaling is simply because I have to film with one hand. Continuously pedaling does not fix the issue I'm having. Yes, I've tried shifting while riding the bike.

19t is on the correct way.

Last edited by deanproxy; 09-10-15 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 09-10-15, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeman715 View Post
check the 19 cog for any burrs or bent teeth to keep the chain from moving . as rhenning said try changing the cog.
Checked, no burrs or bent teeth. Also, it's a brand-new cassette with only 1 ride on it. Furthermore, there isn't an issue getting into the 19t if I'm using the cassette as a standard unit (meaning, without the 42t setup)
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Old 09-12-15, 06:33 AM
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This is a B-tension issue common to most of these 42 and 40t conversions. The best solution is to get the One-Up components RAD cage and fit it to your SLX/XT/XTR derailleur. It will alter the position of the upper jockey wheel to maintain proximity to the sprockets and allow shifting. The problem you are having (shifting problems in the mid-range) is common - no matter what Wolftooth or anyone else claims - and most people can't get it to work without changing the cage. Many people have low standards of expectations, however, and will just live with it.

When you say XT Plus I assume you mean XT shadow plus.

All this advice about straightening derailleur hangers and replacing cables won't hurt, but it won't fix your problem.

- Joel
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Old 09-12-15, 07:25 AM
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Subscribing, since I'm also looking at a Wolf Tooth GC mod, and using probably an XT M771 cassette for a 1x10 drivetrain. I plan on trying to use a Dura Ace 7800 RD with their roadlink though, I asked them about derailluers since I am wide open and they suggested that they had better luck with shimano road derailleurs so I'm trying DA first. I was looking at the 40t Giant Cog mod to get more range while using just a 1x10 setup, but in all honesty even without the GC mod, the stock 11-36 with single crank has more range than my current vintage doubles! So I'm on the fence if the extra cost and hassle of the mod is worth it... hope you can get yours working and let us know if you do.
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