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Struggling to set 3-speed FD

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Struggling to set 3-speed FD

Old 06-07-20, 10:43 AM
  #1  
cprobertson1
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Struggling to set 3-speed FD

I've just changed the bottom bracket, crankset and front derailleur on the bike - had to get a smaller (115mm spindle length) bottom bracket to accomodate the smaller swing of the FD.

The FD is a shimano FD-A07, intended for triples.
Crankset is an Altus FC-M371 (22/32/44T)
Spindle length is 115mm. (UN55/68mm thread)
Shifters are Shimano ST-EF41 EZ fire plus.(triple)

So, trying to set it up, I keep ending up with one of three situations:
  1. Far too loose at bottom end - can't reach hardest gear: so I tighten the cable up.
  2. Too tight - pushes the chain off the outside of the largest chainring: so I re-set the end stop.
  3. Far too tight - can't pull the cable tight enough to get it up to the final chainring: loosening it off takes us back to scenario #1 .
I have a nasty feeling that the bottom bracket spindle is ever so slightly too short - and that I should have went for the 118mm... OR I'm doing something daft somewhere.

I know it's kinda hard to figure out what's wrong without handling it - I can either record the problems as a video and chuck it up on youtube, or take pictures on-demand whenever you guys want one. If you want pics, just let me know what you want a pic of and I'll get right on it.

Finally, quick list of things I've tried:
  • Park tools guide
  • Sheldon brown guide
  • Taking it apart and starting again
  • Anger
  • Denial
  • Bargaining
  • Acceptance
I do have one other option which is to take it to the local bike shop, but he's packed at the moment and I would really like to learn how to do it myself (and asking him to show me seems kinda cheeky!)

I'll get pics of the basic setup up soon - so if you want me to take any specific shots just let me know and I'll get them up at the same time
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Old 06-07-20, 11:19 AM
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Right - pics will go up here. Google photos album

As you can see, when the top end is set, the cable is ridiculously loose along the bottom tube. If I tighten it up so that it's less slack at the 22T chainring, then it's too tight to go all the way up to the top gear - OR if the endpoint isn't set, it pushes against the chain on the largest sprocket. As far as I am aware, height and rotation of the cage is alright - but I'd be happy to change it again if you think it'll help =/

I might also try unscrewing that bottom bracket a few mm to see if that fixes it - its not like I'm actually pedalling on it after all!

You can also see that the cable needs replaced because of all of these shenanigans! My bad... I'll get on that as soon as I can prove the setup works... the bike won't be in-use until the gearing is sorted, and I dont want to replace the cabling right this second in case I ruin it further in the process of tweaking.

The bottom bracket will also be de-mudded before actual use...
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Old 06-07-20, 12:51 PM
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If the spindle is too short, you couldn't reach the the small ring. (edited)

Could you provide a link to THAT FDER?
I only seem to come up with

FD-A070 2x7


Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 06-07-20 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 06-07-20, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
If the spindle is too short, you couldn't reach the the small ring. (edited)

Could you provide a link to THAT FDER?
I only seem to come up with

FD-A070 2x7

Here we are - sorry

https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/produ...0/FD-A073.html
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Old 06-07-20, 02:06 PM
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Undo the cable from the pinch bolt.Undo the limit screws. Make sure they don't touch the stops. Start again everything backed off
The fd should now shift on to the smallest. If it doesn't something is wrong.
Do up the cable and the pinch bolt with a little tension. I would start with the rear in the middle of the cassette.
So now snug up the limit screw to the stop
which you know is the inside limit of the derailleur. Don't add any tension the cable.
Shift to the big ring if it can reach and if it doesn't you have another problem.
Same again snug up the limit screw.
So now you have both outside and inside limits. If you can't reach a chainring the the problem is elsewhere. But there should be plenty of adjustment.
Fine tune from there.

​​​​​​
​​​​​​

Last edited by blamester; 06-07-20 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 06-07-20, 02:09 PM
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Well, "Road" FDER's have a different pull ratio than "mountain" FDER's.
You have "mountain" shifters & crank and an incompatible FDER.
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Old 06-07-20, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Well, "Road" FDER's have a different pull ratio than "mountain" FDER's.
You have "mountain" shifters & crank and an incompatible FDER.
Dang! That would certainly explain it. I should have known =/

Oh well, at least the 7 I spent on it wasn't a lot! Back to the old one for now then

----EDIT----

Thats the old fd-ty15-gs reinreinstalled - can shift up from the bottom chainring but not back down to it (the parallelogram seems to have a lot of rotational flex in it).

I'll keep it off-road until I get a new cable anyway.

​​​​​​I feel kinda dumb not realising the road FDs would have different indexing from an MTB - it's kinda obvious in retrospect...

Oh well! At least I now know...!

----EDIT no.2----

Can anybody suggest a bottom-pull/bracket derailleur compatible with 3x7 gearing and the MTB shifters/chainset?

Also, just to double check (sorry - novice here! Always worth asking!) - I take it FDs designed for 9-speed casettes are also designed to shift the thinner chains, and won't be compatible with the wider 6/7/8 speed chains due to changes in the cage size?

Last edited by cprobertson1; 06-08-20 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 06-08-20, 08:57 AM
  #8  
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Reckon an FD-M370 will work? It's been superceded by the M371, but it is half the price, and according to the spec database the 371 is a down-swing while the 370 is a top-swing.

The one thing I'm concerned about (see above) is that the M370 is for 9-speed cassettes: will it work alright with my 7-speed cassette with it's 7-speed chain? The internet seems to suggest it'll be fine - but I thought I'd ask anyway!

I have also checked the following:
  • Chainstay angle: bike is 66...ish, I found it hard to measure. (M370 is 63-66 or 66-69)
  • Capacity: crankset is 44/32/22, 44-22=22T (M370 is a 22T)
  • Pull-type: needs to be bottom-pull (M370 offers dual-pull.)
  • Clamp size: seatpost is 28.1 (M370 fits 28.1-35.9)
  • Top-mid difference: crankset is 44/32/22, 44-32=12T (M370 is a 12T)
  • Chainline: bike is 47.5mm* (M370 is 50mm)
  • Type: Altus, for mountain bikes... I checked... three times...
Any other specs I should double-check for compatibility?

Ps - I know the Altus isn't exactly a high-end model (quite the opposite!) - this is just to get me running until I can afford to get a cassette hub and a higher end groupset (provisionally, a Deore groupset - but it depends on lots of factors. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!). For now, I just want something that works - how smoothly/nicely it works is merely a bonus!

Last edited by cprobertson1; 06-08-20 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 06-08-20, 09:38 AM
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I'd probably opt for a M-31X level.
9 speed will be just a bit narrower and more prone to rub on the wider 7 speed chain.
Even a Tourney level will work fine when used in "conventional" configurations.
This is my 22-32-36 with a Tourney on my 9 speed Globe. You can see the gawdawful gap.
It does need a bit of help going to the largest ring, but considering the largest ring should have 6-8 more teeth.....
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Old 06-08-20, 10:49 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I'd probably opt for a M-31X level.
9 speed will be just a bit narrower and more prone to rub on the wider 7 speed chain.
Even a Tourney level will work fine when used in "conventional" configurations.
This is my 22-32-36 with a Tourney on my 9 speed Globe. You can see the gawdawful gap.
It does need a bit of help going to the largest ring, but considering the largest ring should have 6-8 more teeth.....
Holy cannoli! That's quite a gap!

Why does it need to be installed so high? (That's not me being critical btw! Just curious as I've never seen any installed that high before )

I'm not too worried about chain rub - if it turns out to be a problem, I'm pretty sure you can put 9-speed chains on a 7-speed set anyway. Y'know. Improvise! Though, I'll double-check you can actually do that first. If it comes to it.

I'll look in the M31xx. Am I right in thinking that's in the alive-alive-o range?
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Old 06-08-20, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cprobertson1 View Post
......Why does it need to be installed so high?.......
IF the FDER is the proper height for a 22 and a 32 and a 42/44 in the 3 positions, how well would it clear the middle ring on a down shift if it's 6-8 teeth lower than it should be? (hint- not even close)
If I had a 16-26-36, I could lower it to look "normal". Ever seen a 16-26-xx?


My point was that FDER's are pretty forgiving. If you look at a lot of new bikes, you'll often see that the FDER is 1 step below the the shifters/RDER in the food chain.

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 06-08-20 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 06-08-20, 01:08 PM
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Ah, that makes sense! Still looks like a monstrous gap - I love it!

I'll call the local stores tomorrow and see what they have in stock. Fingers crossed I'll find something that fits!
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Old 06-08-20, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cprobertson1 View Post
Ah, that makes sense! Still looks like a monstrous gap - I love it!

I'll call the local stores tomorrow and see what they have in stock. Fingers crossed I'll find something that fits!
It is monstrous and is ugly to boot.
It IS a Tourney shifting a 9 SPEED!

The thing about going up the food chain (more speeds) is that the cage gets a bit narrower and you'll start getting chain rub when using the end cogs of the cassette sooner. Quite possibly, a whole cog sooner.
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Old 06-09-20, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
It is monstrous and is ugly to boot.
It IS a Tourney shifting a 9 SPEED!

The thing about going up the food chain (more speeds) is that the cage gets a bit narrower and you'll start getting chain rub when using the end cogs of the cassette sooner. Quite possibly, a whole cog sooner.
It's brilliant - I love it.

The increased number of speeds doesn't actually appeal all that much to me - I'm still going to buy into it at some point - but I'm happy with my 3x7 setup for now.

At some point I plan on upgrading to a deore or deore XT groupset - not too expensive but much better than what I have already. Sure, the cost adds up (especially when you remember I need a new rear hub, at which point I'm tempted just to replace the wheels. At the very least I can use it as an opportunity to rebuild the rear wheel though! That'll be fun - "forever and a day" is how long I've been told it will take! On the bright side, I can't really call myself a true DIY-er until I've rebuilt a wheel or two! Or, at least rebuilt the same wheel multiple times because I didn't do it right the first time!

Speaking of not doing things right... UN55 BBs... can you add a spacer on the drive-side (right hand side)? (either 1.5mm or 1mm)? I know this is only partly related to this particualr thread but I didn't want to start a whole new thread for a yes/no/maybe answer

I managed to get the TY15 trimmed to get full use of the gears - chainline is out slightly, needs to be moved outwards 3mm to make it near-perfect, which I judged by unscrewing the BB and tightening it up again (gently) onto an allen key. Without the chainline adjustment, the chain rubs on the inside of the largest chainring on the three hardest gears. Moving it out by 3mm fixes that beautifully (and brings the chainline to almost exactly 50mm - convenient!).

I re-tightened everything up and took it out today (avoiding the verboten gear combos that cause chain rub) and it worked beautifully. The rear shifting got clunky after an hour's ride - not quite sure what's happened there - it was smooth-as-butter when I started out... I'll trim that a little before I head home tonight (I'm at work) and see where that gets me.

Last edited by cprobertson1; 06-09-20 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 06-09-20, 03:07 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by cprobertson1 View Post
......Speaking of not doing things right... UN55 BBs... can you add a spacer on the drive-side (right hand side)? (either 1.5mm or 1mm)? I know this is only partly related to this particualr thread but I didn't want to start a whole new thread for a yes/no/maybe answer

I managed to get the TY15 trimmed to get full use of the gears - chainline is out slightly, needs to be moved outwards 3mm to make it near-perfect, which I judged by unscrewing the BB and tightening it up again (gently) onto an allen key. Without the chainline adjustment, the chain rubs on the inside of the largest chainring on the three hardest gears. Moving it out by 3mm fixes that beautifully (and brings the chainline to almost exactly 50mm - convenient!).......
Originally Posted by cprobertson1 View Post
I've just changed the bottom bracket, crankset and front derailleur on the bike - had to get a smaller (115mm spindle length) bottom bracket to accomodate the smaller swing of the FD.
I have a nasty feeling that the bottom bracket spindle is ever so slightly too short - and that I should have went for the 118mm... OR I'm doing something daft somewhere.....
Looks like you outguessed yourself?
I've only used the cheaper BB's with the plastic NDS cup. I understand sometimes shims are used. I guess as long as you can still get it tight enough without creaks etc......
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Old 06-09-20, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Looks like you outguessed yourself?
I've only used the cheaper BB's with the plastic NDS cup. I understand sometimes shims are used. I guess as long as you can still get it tight enough without creaks etc......
I sure did: needed a shorter one and went too short -- it's all part of my plan to collect every UN55 and open an oddly specific museum to share them with the world!

I wonder if all bike upgrades go this smoothly, or if I'm just awkward... but hey, at least I'm learning... and have some spare parts in different sizes... xD

--EDIT--
Called the bike shops yesterday - one was closed, the other didn't have any parts available and would have to order it in.

I've gone for the M370 - purely because it matches the required spec, and is cheap. 11, plus 2 delivery (which I'm happy to pay as I ordered some other stuff as well)

Last edited by cprobertson1; 06-10-20 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 06-15-20, 12:16 PM
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I am at an utter loss to explain this ..

I just finished installing a the front derailleur... And now my bike is making noises like a cooing pigeon.

ANYWAY - apart from the cooing - I can now access all my gears... and once I track down the source of the cooing... I can start using it in earnest!

Seriously... Cooing... Its not even every time the pedals or wheel goes round - it comes in pairs (coo... coo...)... followed by a break of a few seconds. In fact... it's coinciding with the chain going round... stiff link or two, maybe? No idea why it'd be freaking cooing though!

Thanks for the help folks! Very much appreciated!

Sorry I didn't go with a better FD - the goal is to get it running with the minimum of fuss and the M370 seemed to fit the bill... mostly because I'm a cheapskate. As long as it runs long enough for me to save up for a new groupset, I will call it a win!

Also, wtf is with these downward-pivoting FDs being so far back? It's going to get in the way of my rear mudguard - sheesh! I thought the whole idea of this type of FD was to give you more space for a crazy-big wheel?

Anyway, thanks again, folks - as I said earlier - your advice was very much appreciated! If I ever meet any of you there'll a dram of whisky waiting for you.
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Old 06-15-20, 01:31 PM
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I recently purchased a Shimano Claris front der. What I'm doing is a budget conversion of a mid 80s asian steel road bike to a semi-quazi-gravel bike. I wanted to replace the stem friction shifters with brifters.


To make a long story short and not sure of the design differences between the Tourney and the Claris but I could not get this der to shift at all. Cable too tight, cable too lose, blah blah blah. I was beginning to think that the der was a top pull although the specs said bottom pull.


The solution to the problem had to do with the cable routing and the orientation of the little pin near the pinch bolt on the der. I routed the cable properly and adjusted the high/low and bam! Works. Works even with $40 made in China brifters. All due to cable routing.
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Old 06-15-20, 03:00 PM
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Indexed 3 speed shifter gets replaced by a friction shifter..
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