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Very stiff front shifting - Shimano Claris

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Very stiff front shifting - Shimano Claris

Old 04-26-18, 01:53 AM
  #1  
hedgehog9
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Very stiff front shifting - Shimano Claris

Hi,

I'm having a problem with my Claris front shifting. My left shifter is very stiff when downshifting and when it shifts down it's with a bang that resonates through the bike. First of all, I realize it's a rather common problem given so many topics on this issue, however, none of the solutions offered have worked for me. Here's a few facts to help narrow down the problem:

- When I got the bike, I didn't have this problem, but it probably started the first time I tinkered with the front mech. I have ignored the problem and rode for almost a few months before the left shifter broke
- I have replaced all of the relevant parts (shifter, FD, inner & outer cables, even ferrules, except for barrel adjuster, which appears to be broken) but the problem persists
- The shifter appears to me to shift fine when disconnected from FD (although I'm not sure how it's supposed to feel)
- The FD is moving fine when I move the cable with hands
- Yes, the cable is routed and clamped well (I'm aware of the shifter stiffness problem due to leverage when people don't clamp the cable correctly)
- Yes, the guide under BB is fine
- No, indexing has nothing to do with this. No matter what you do with the limit screws, the clunk persists
- No, the cable tension is not too high. I tighten it just so it's barely enough to put the FD onto the big ring


So the only thing that doesn't work in the system (as far as I can understand) is the barrel adjuster, but I've tried removing it as well as playing around with different outer cable lengths to no avail. However I will admit that the cable in the outer casing (both old and new) didn't go as smooth as I would have liked it when installing it. But to be honest it was the first time I replaced cables so I don't really know how it's supposed to be.

I'm losing sleep over this, no matter what I try, it's all the same

I'll be massively thankful for any thoughts on this.
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Old 04-26-18, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by hedgehog9 View Post
I'm having a problem with my Claris front shifting.
Thread moved from Road Cycling to Bicycle Mechanics.
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Old 04-26-18, 05:03 AM
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Given the number of logical things you've tried it's unlikely remote assistance will help much, but I would say that the only thing you have not changed is the rider. Are you shifting under high pedal pressure? It appears there are many bike shops in Vilnius. Is there a reason you have not sought help locally? At least have someone else, preferably an experienced rider, see if they have the same problem when they ride your bike.
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Old 04-26-18, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by hedgehog9 View Post
[I]- When I got the bike, I didn't have this problem, but it probably started the first time I tinkered with the front mech.
Never fix a running piece. Front derailleurs especially do not lend themselves to tinkering.

I wonder if you have set the high limit too tight and the mech is having trouble releasing the ratchet due to the tension. I would suggest that you start over and loosen the shift wire and the FD mounting clamp. Then follow this procedure from the beginning without skipping any steps: https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair...eur-adjustment Do not leave too much clearance at step 5 or you may run out of travel at the other end.
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Old 04-26-18, 06:02 AM
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A bit of an update: Apparently the barrel adjuster is back online, I've no idea what had happened but I couldn't really move it before and now it's just fine. So I've played around with the tension once again using the barrel adjuster this time. I also moved the FD a few mm down to the point where it's almost about to touch the big chainring. Then I also lubed the cable around the plastic guide under the BB. I'm happy to say I've managed to get some results where the downshift is a bit less forceful but it's still far too loud, imo.


Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
I wonder if you have set the high limit too tight and the mech is having trouble releasing the ratchet due to the tension..
The high limit is almost all the way out.

As for the bike shops, yes, there are plenty around here and I was thinking of giving them a call. But then I'm almost ashamed to not be able to fix it myself, given that I know that all the relevant parts are new, so it has to be some installation/adjustment issue.
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Old 04-26-18, 07:33 AM
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I agree with the strong chance of too much cable tension WRT the high limit travel. The onlt time I hear a "bang" is when the shifter high gear ratchet position is really tight. Andy
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Old 04-26-18, 09:30 AM
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You didn't mention lubrication.

If your cable is gummed up inside the cable housing it may "let go" with a thunk.

Try sliding the cable out of the housing and lubricate with light grease or oil or...And, if your cable runs through split cable stops you can slide the housing/cable out without undoing the cable at the derailleur.

Check the BB cable guide too. A spot of lubrication there may also be in order.
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Old 04-26-18, 10:18 AM
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There is a whole detailed procedure for adjusting the front deraileur and it is listed in the Park Tool website as linked to above. Follow that procedure step by step to find happiness.
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Old 04-26-18, 05:30 PM
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You state the cable did not go in as smooth, both old and new. My guess is the routing around the handlebar is causing the cable to bind. It might even be a loose strand stuck somewhere in the shifter causing it to bind. Maybe a burr at the housing end. Regardless, shfter cables run very smooth through the housing.

John

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Old 04-26-18, 11:44 PM
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I have to say that I have a several months old Trek 1.1 (Claris Gruppo) that has had this exact problem since day one. It has been back to the dealer 3X! And they still can't fix it! Nor can they fix the scraping of the FD cage against the chain when in the big ring. I've 'solved' the problem by using the big ring only sparingly, but sooner or later (before summer) I will have to get to grips with the issue. I have always been a 'better' if slower mechanic than the pro's that staff the LBS's where I have bought bikes. Problem is I am lazy and would rather ride than wrench. I will be watching this thread with interest for any insights.
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Old 04-27-18, 12:18 AM
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FWIW, I put the Claris shifters on my wife's bike because the ST2300 shifters had a thumb lever that was too difficult to push down to downshift from the large to middle chainring. No issues with dufficult shifting with the Claris.

​​​​​​​John
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Old 04-27-18, 06:07 PM
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OP, I didn't see you mention how the housing ends were cut and whether or not you dressed them flat with a file after cutting the housing. it's possible that the cut wasn't perpendicular to the housing, which could cause the cable to bind. This is more likely if the cable tension is high. Also, if the housing is lined, which most are these days, make sure the liner isn't pinched closed by the cutter. I open it with an awl, heated by a match.

To get the ends properly aligned, I usually hold the cable in whatever arc gives the needed frame/handlebar clearance and then dress the end flat with a file. That way the end stays flat after installing the cable. It's not usually an issue for the FD, since it normally only has a cable from the shifter to the downtube cable stop - the rest of the FD cable is normally exposed. This is more important for the RD housing from the chainstay stop to the RD, since it's a smaller radius bend.
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Old 04-28-18, 10:53 AM
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Thanks for all the comments and tips guys, that's very much appreciated. I did a test ride today and I can say that I seem to have (at least to a considerable extent) got rid of the problem. The sound is already bearable indoors and I could hardly hear anything significant while riding. The first time I downshifted to the small ring I even had to look down in disbelief to see the chain on the small ring – I was used to hear the bang everytime I downshifted! In my case it surely had to do with the barrel adjuster, which had been stuck for some reason. Once I got it back, it was pretty simple to adjust the FD to get rid of the excess tension. And I also lubed the chain around the BB cable guide, if that was of any help.
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