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Why a Relatively New Bike Needs Adjustment

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Why a Relatively New Bike Needs Adjustment

Old 10-05-18, 08:31 AM
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Noonievut
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Why a Relatively New Bike Needs Adjustment

With new bikes Iíve purchased over the years the lbs has usually said I may need to bring the bike in after a few hundred miles to adjust the shifting. They often cite ďcable stretchĒ, but they donít mean the actual metal cable stretching but perhaps how it was set up in relation to slack with the housing/ferul (my guess).

But I donít always experience poor shifting with a new bike, until itís been 1,000+ miles. Why the difference? As reference the drive trains are usually 105/Ultegra or Rival. Iím interested in learning more about this...

My current Rival 1x has been awesome in the two months Iíve had it on a new gravel bike. Shifting up to the 42t cog and back-no problem. Until this morning! All of a sudden the chain would not stay in the largest cog going up a gravel 20% climb :-(

Why does this happen all of a sudden? Last ride it was perfect. And the chain was recently lubed. And all other shifts between cogs are fine.

Iím going to fix it this weekend (looking forward to getting to better know my rear derailleur), and will follow a park tool book I own as well as their YouTube videos...but it kind of sucks when it catches you on a rural road before the sun rises when all I have are my bike lights.

Thanks!
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Old 10-05-18, 08:48 AM
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The "sudden" part makes me wonder if there's a sharp edge in a brifter or somewhere else in the cable route that cut through a few of the wire strands. If that's the case, you'll want to replace the cable (and fix the underlying problem) rather than turn the adjusting knob a quarter turn.
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Old 10-05-18, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
The "sudden" part makes me wonder if there's a sharp edge in a brifter or somewhere else in the cable route that cut through a few of the wire strands. If that's the case, you'll want to replace the cable (and fix the underlying problem) rather than turn the adjusting knob a quarter turn.
Maybe I over-used ďsuddenĒ. Last ride I didnít climb the harder hills so was out if the largest cog. Shifting was fine. Ride before that I was in the largest cog and all was fine. This morning I road for 20 minutes, shifting between all but the largest two cogs and it was fine. Then I got to the steep climb, tried to shift right to the largest cog at the bottom of the climb and it stared acting up.

If itís what you say, would shifting be fine in all but the largest couple of cogs? Or would shifting be poor across the range of cogs?

thanks
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Old 10-05-18, 09:04 AM
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Sorry, I'm going to have to quote Mark Twain: "I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn't know."

It's been a while since I had a problem with a fraying cable, but my memory is that it was present across the cassette, but worst at the big cog end.
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Old 10-05-18, 09:21 AM
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My experience is that all bikes are a little different as to when or even if they need some adjusting after putting in some miles. When you consider all the little moving precision parts involved in making the drivetrain function just having some micro wear on a few parts adds up to enough to need a few tweeks now and then. It's as simple as that. Just ride it and maintain/adjust when necessary.
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Old 10-05-18, 09:30 AM
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I agree that happened suddenly is a key data point. If you can't get it to index properly all across the cassette with a 1/4 turn of the barrel adjuster, I'd have the derailleur hanger alignment checked.
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Old 10-05-18, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I agree that happened suddenly is a key data point. If you can't get it to index properly all across the cassette with a 1/4 turn of the barrel adjuster, I'd have the derailleur hanger alignment checked.
It indexes perfectly across 9 of the 11 cogs. But I will check the alignment.
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Old 10-05-18, 11:13 AM
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Also check inside your shifter and the whole run for a fraying shift wire or dislodged housing.
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Old 10-05-18, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
With new bikes Iíve purchased over the years the lbs has usually said I may need to bring the bike in after a few hundred miles to adjust the shifting. They often cite ďcable stretchĒ, but they donít mean the actual metal cable stretching but perhaps how it was set up in relation to slack with the housing/ferul (my guess).

But I donít always experience poor shifting with a new bike, until itís been 1,000+ miles. Why the difference? As reference the drive trains are usually 105/Ultegra or Rival. Iím interested in learning more about this...

My current Rival 1x has been awesome in the two months Iíve had it on a new gravel bike. Shifting up to the 42t cog and back-no problem. Until this morning! All of a sudden the chain would not stay in the largest cog going up a gravel 20% climb :-(

Why does this happen all of a sudden? Last ride it was perfect. And the chain was recently lubed. And all other shifts between cogs are fine.

Iím going to fix it this weekend (looking forward to getting to better know my rear derailleur), and will follow a park tool book I own as well as their YouTube videos...but it kind of sucks when it catches you on a rural road before the sun rises when all I have are my bike lights.

Thanks!
There are a couple of things to check. First, shift up to the highest gear (smallest cog) and check the cable tension. That's the most likely problem considering that the derailer won't stay in the low gear, which is the highest cable tension. The cable should have a little 'twang' to it. It shouldn't be super tight but it shouldn't be loose either.

A less likely possibility... but still possible... is that the outer cable housing has slipped a rod in the housing. This could jam the mechanism so that the cable becomes slack. The following is illustrated for a mountain bike but works just as well for road bikes. Shift down to the lowest gear (largest cog)

Library - 3391 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

and then, without pedaling, shift up to the highest cog.

Library - 3392 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

This will put slack on the cable and allow you to pull the cable out of the frame stops. (This won't work as well if you have cable housing from the shifter to the derailer)

Library - 3395 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Library - 3396 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

You can then pull off the ferrules and inspect the end of the cable housing. If you have wires sticking out of the housing like this

IMG_1361 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Or without the ferrule

IMG_1362 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

you'll need to replace the cable housing. The wire can jam up against the inner cable and not allow the system to shift right. The cable should look blunt with all the rods even. It really should have plastic running all the way to the end of the rods but most have had a few millimeters of sheathing trimmed off. I've found that the trimmed housing can lead to the rods slipping in the outer sheathing.
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Old 10-05-18, 02:21 PM
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Service after the sale

IDK yours , but the LBS here, includes 6 months of free service ,
for new bike buyers, to sort out any fine tuning needs,
and with most sales in the summer , 6 months later, winter is slower,
so the year around shop workers have payroll hours income.

..
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Old 10-05-18, 04:37 PM
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Fixed!

Thanks for the responses.

I should have mentioned that I was at work when I asked this question, and that after this morning's ride I didn't have a chance to look at the bike or try anything at all before posting.

Well, when I got home there was a clump of weeds twisted around one of the jockey wheels, pinched in there tight, which took a while to dislodge. With that removed, I started shifting through the gears. I still had the issue of shifting into the two largest cogs, and after checking the H limit screw (was fine), I made slight CCW turns to the barrel adjuster as I would shift up the cassette and then down. Continued to shift fine in the smaller cogs, and after about 1.5 turns it was shifting into the largest cogs. Feels like I don't have a lot of turns left in this direction though. But I don't want to let more slack into the cable and then go through this again. I think for now I'll leave as is.

Perhaps the weeds caught in the jockey wheel resulted in the suddenness of the issue.

I'll continue to monitor.

FYI - full length housing; bought the bike over an hour from home so it isn't a quick trip for free service (which was offered)...unless I felt really stuck.
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Old 10-05-18, 06:13 PM
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I'll add some general points- As the cassette cog counts have grown the tolerance for miss adjustment has lessened. When on the larger rear cogs the guide pulley is closer to the in use cog, so any miss adjustment has less open chain links to damp the effect. Different riders stress different parts at different rates. The shop will not know your nature and how the bike will reflect that (after initial use) so they take a "cover all points" approach. Unfortunately since bikes don't all have power per mile recording devices that also record how many cog teeth are used or how wet the rides are the service intervals are generally made WRT mere miles. Not entirely wrong but not truly reflective to real life conditions. It's less considered these days (since the lowest cost is more often what ranks the quality of the deal) but when one buys a bike one also invests in the shop's skills and motivations. It's not the bike's fault if this aspect is considered less important then cost. (More to those who buy from a locationless "shop") Andy
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Old 10-06-18, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
Thanks for the responses.

I should have mentioned that I was at work when I asked this question, and that after this morning's ride I didn't have a chance to look at the bike or try anything at all before posting.

Well, when I got home there was a clump of weeds twisted around one of the jockey wheels, pinched in there tight, which took a while to dislodge. With that removed, I started shifting through the gears. I still had the issue of shifting into the two largest cogs, and after checking the H limit screw (was fine), I made slight CCW turns to the barrel adjuster as I would shift up the cassette and then down. Continued to shift fine in the smaller cogs, and after about 1.5 turns it was shifting into the largest cogs. Feels like I don't have a lot of turns left in this direction though. But I don't want to let more slack into the cable and then go through this again. I think for now I'll leave as is.

Perhaps the weeds caught in the jockey wheel resulted in the suddenness of the issue.

I'll continue to monitor.

FYI - full length housing; bought the bike over an hour from home so it isn't a quick trip for free service (which was offered)...unless I felt really stuck.
Unless it wasn't ever right, 1.5 full turns is a huge adjustment. I'm more inclined to think you have a different problem. Sudden onset and weeds in the jockey pulley are clues. If you brought your bike to me, I'd start by checking the derailleur hanger alignment and making sure that everything was lined up the way that it's supposed to be.
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Old 10-06-18, 06:17 AM
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The challenge with reading terms like "sudden" is that they are based on the writer's observations. Many people are somewhat clueless to the initial onset of issues until the issue presents a on ride problem. To them the issue starts at that point, "suddenly". I have assessed bike issues for decades and frequently (as in most of the time) see that the problems are those that slowly grow and take time/miles to raise to the level of an on ride one.

In this case who knows what is the real story. We have to take the OP at his claims but the professional in me still wonders... Andy
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Old 10-06-18, 08:47 AM
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Derailleurs and indexing...😉
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Old 10-06-18, 09:09 AM
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After a thousand miles I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit of full length housing compression and cable stretching develop. If that's the issue you shouldn't see this happen again. Good to see that you've solved it!
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Old 10-06-18, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Kovkov View Post
Derailleurs and indexing...😉
Originally Posted by ed4406 View Post
After a thousand miles I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit of full length housing compression and cable stretching develop. If that's the issue you shouldn't see this happen again. Good to see that you've solved it!
happy it was a basic adjustment. Iím trying to improve my mechanic skills so Iím the end this was a helpful experience.
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Old 10-06-18, 12:09 PM
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Cable stretch is literally just that. Yes, the cables DO stretch and the housing DOES compress. If neither happened, there would be no need for adjusting barrels. Why do you think they put turn-buckles on suspension cables?
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