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Bike on Trainer - Won't Shift into Highest Gear

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Bike on Trainer - Won't Shift into Highest Gear

Old 09-18-23, 06:02 PM
  #1  
drosso66
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Bike on Trainer - Won't Shift into Highest Gear

Hi Everyone,
New member here. I have a Giant Escape Disc 1, 2X9, with a Shimano Alivio Rear Derailleur. When I mounted the bike onto my Zwift Hub direct drive trainer, it was in 9th gear, and I placed the chain around the 9th gear spokes on the trainer's cassette, which is what the instructions said to do. After trying out the trainer and shifting gears, I attempted to go into 9th gear again. The bike seems to have stopped at 8th gear, even though I had shifted incrementally up to 9th gear.

Unfortunately at first, I tried to find a quick fix, and I just didn't know what I was doing; I turned the rear barrel adjustment knob on the Alivio clockwise and loosened the cable anchor and pulled down on the cable and then retightened the anchor. When that didn't result in the chain moving into 9th gear when I got on the bike and pedaled without shifting, I stupidly turned the rear barrel knob counter-clockwise, which of course didn't work, either.

I then did a lot more careful researching, and now I think the problem might be too much cable tension. (?)

As I hadn't owned a bike for about 15 years, I've forgotten everything I once knew about them. I am reaching out for some some guidance as to the proper steps to take in terms of what to adjust, which direction to turn the relevant screws or knobs, and the sequence I should do them in, and/or if there is a procedure to do some kind of reset---to start from a neutral state, and the adjustments to make from there.

I have all the relevant images below, including a guide I created for adjusting the Shimano Alivio, which just doesn't exist anywhere. (I'm also hoping I got all the labeling right on the guide).

Thanks very much!

Dave





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Old 09-18-23, 06:14 PM
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Your trainer may not locate its cassette in the same lateral location as the wheel your derailleur is adjusted for. Which means that both the cable tension AND the high limit stop may require adjustment.
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Old 09-18-23, 06:32 PM
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ya shoulda loosened instead of tightening the cable tension ... and you also should have reset the high limit screw to allow the derailleur to properly reach the 9th gear before retensioning the cable.

start from scratch.
shift the shifter to the "9" position
release the cable tension at the clamp while the shifter is in "9".. but keep the cable in position at the clamp!
adjust the high limit screw to get the derailleur. tracking cleanly on the 9th cog...
now, turn the cable adjuster all the way in,. then come back out 1.5 to two turns.
NOW retension the cable as you tighten the cable clamp screw. (i get best results by actually moving the derailleur a tiny bit inward while doing this.. If your fingers won't allow this, you can Turn the Limit Screw in exactly One Turn, pull the cable tight, then tighten the cable clamp while holding the cable tight, then Return the High Limit screw to the previous position by turning it OUT one full turn ;-)
fine tune the adjuster to work in all gear positions, if needed.
Done.

PS... unless you re-align the trainer hub to be exactly like your bike's rear wheel hub, you will be doing this again when you want to go ACTUALLY riding.

Last edited by maddog34; 09-18-23 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 09-18-23, 08:45 PM
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Just a couple of minor points to add to that;
you might find it easiest to run zwift, start a ride and set your trainer resistance to 0% while adjusting the rear mech - makes it possible to turn the crank by hand although even then itís not easy and might need to use the small chainring or start from the top of Alpe du Zwift heading downwards .

Secondly, if itís shifting cleanly but just wonít go into 9 and ESPECIALLY if you also want to use this bike on a real world wheel with different lateral positioning, Iíd be tempted to leave it and set the trainer resistance accordingly so as to not need it. I never use my hardest gear in zwift, even in 1000W+ sprints, and I have the trainer difficulty below 50%

Thirdly (bonus point) - that saddle is amazing. How does that feel after an hour on the trainer?
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Old 09-18-23, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
ya shoulda loosened instead of tightening the cable tension ... and you also should have reset the high limit screw to allow the derailleur to properly reach the 9th gear before retensioning the cable.

start from scratch.
shift the shifter to the "9" position
release the cable tension at the clamp while the shifter is in "9".. but keep the cable in position at the clamp!
adjust the high limit screw to get the derailleur. tracking cleanly on the 9th cog...
now, turn the cable adjuster all the way in,. then come back out 1.5 to two turns.
NOW retension the cable as you tighten the cable clamp screw. (i get best results by actually moving the derailleur a tiny bit inward while doing this.. If your fingers won't allow this, you can Turn the Limit Screw in exactly One Turn, pull the cable tight, then tighten the cable clamp while holding the cable tight, then Return the High Limit screw to the previous position by turning it OUT one full turn ;-)
fine tune the adjuster to work in all gear positions, if needed.
Done.

PS... unless you re-align the trainer hub to be exactly like your bike's rear wheel hub, you will be doing this again when you want to go ACTUALLY riding.
Thanks very much for your reply and advice. I just have a couple of questions to make sure I totally understand the steps you outlined:
1) shift the shifter to the "9" position
So this is already done, right? (Please see 2nd picture from the top in my original post)

2) release the cable tension at the clamp while the shifter is in "9".. but keep the cable in position at the clamp!
So I'm going to loosen the Cable Tension/Anchor screw at the bottom of the derailleur, but not let the cable slip out completely, just enough so it can move if pulled on from either direction?

3) adjust the high limit screw to get the derailleur tracking cleanly on the 9th cog
a) So I am going to turn the High/Upper Limit screw; Which direction do you recommend trying and what increments should I turn it in?

b) At this point, to get the derailleur to track cleanly on the 9th cog, should I be manually pedaling to achieve this/get the chain to move to the 9th cog?

4) now, turn the cable adjuster all the way in, then come back out 1.5 to two turns.
a) Are you referring here to the Cable Tension Barrel Adjustment Knob at the derailleur?
b) Which direction should I initially turn it to get it all the way in---clockwise or counter-clockwise?

5) NOW retension the cable as you tighten the cable clamp screw
I am probably going to use your alternate suggestion of turning the High Limit Screw in exactly one turn and then pulling down on the cable and re-tighten the anchor screw.
By "turning the High Limit screw in," you mean clockwise, correct? (So after I tighten the anchor screw, I would then turn the High Limit screw back, exactly 1 turn counter-clockwise.)

Thanks again for your kind assistance with this. It is very much appreciated.

Dave
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Old 09-18-23, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by choddo
Just a couple of minor points to add to that;
you might find it easiest to run zwift, start a ride and set your trainer resistance to 0% while adjusting the rear mech - makes it possible to turn the crank by hand although even then itís not easy and might need to use the small chainring or start from the top of Alpe du Zwift heading downwards .

Secondly, if itís shifting cleanly but just wonít go into 9 and ESPECIALLY if you also want to use this bike on a real world wheel with different lateral positioning, Iíd be tempted to leave it and set the trainer resistance accordingly so as to not need it. I never use my hardest gear in zwift, even in 1000W+ sprints, and I have the trainer difficulty below 50%

Thirdly (bonus point) - that saddle is amazing. How does that feel after an hour on the trainer?
Hi choddo, and thanks for your reply.

Starting with the seat (couch ), it's from a company called sixthreezero. Here is a link to this specific seat: https://www.sixthreezero.com/product...Comfort%20Seat
I had to go this route for my bike seat because, although I've lost a lot of weight, I've still got a long way to go to get back into the high intensity interval training shape I was in fifteen years or so ago. From the half-hour or so I got in on the bike before I noticed the gear issue, I can tell you that it is very comfortable.

As for your suggestion about getting onto Zwift so I can access the trainer's internal resistance to a minimum, I haven't yet signed up for the service because I wanted to get my bike and my computer all set up and ready first. To that end, and to get the bike itself more correctly tuned, I am going with the procedure kindly provided by maddog34. Nonetheless, I never would have thought of trying what you suggested, and I really appreciate it.

Dave
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Old 09-18-23, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Your trainer may not locate its cassette in the same lateral location as the wheel your derailleur is adjusted for. Which means that both the cable tension AND the high limit stop may require adjustment.
Thanks, Kontact. Your evaluation of the problem seems to be totally consistent with what maddog34 said also.

Dave
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Old 09-19-23, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by drosso66
Thanks very much for your reply and advice. I just have a couple of questions to make sure I totally understand the steps you outlined:
1) shift the shifter to the "9" position
So this is already done, right? (Please see 2nd picture from the top in my original post)

2) release the cable tension at the clamp while the shifter is in "9".. but keep the cable in position at the clamp!
So I'm going to loosen the Cable Tension/Anchor screw at the bottom of the derailleur, but not let the cable slip out completely, just enough so it can move if pulled on from either direction?

3) adjust the high limit screw to get the derailleur tracking cleanly on the 9th cog
a) So I am going to turn the High/Upper Limit screw; Which direction do you recommend trying and what increments should I turn it in?

b) At this point, to get the derailleur to track cleanly on the 9th cog, should I be manually pedaling to achieve this/get the chain to move to the 9th cog?

4) now, turn the cable adjuster all the way in, then come back out 1.5 to two turns.
a) Are you referring here to the Cable Tension Barrel Adjustment Knob at the derailleur?
b) Which direction should I initially turn it to get it all the way in---clockwise or counter-clockwise?

5) NOW retension the cable as you tighten the cable clamp screw
I am probably going to use your alternate suggestion of turning the High Limit Screw in exactly one turn and then pulling down on the cable and re-tighten the anchor screw.
By "turning the High Limit screw in," you mean clockwise, correct? (So after I tighten the anchor screw, I would then turn the High Limit screw back, exactly 1 turn counter-clockwise.)

Thanks again for your kind assistance with this. It is very much appreciated.

Dave
three pieces of advice.
1... i strongly advise that you look up "Rear Derailleur Adjustment" on youtube.. watch, listen, and learn...

2... when you turn the high limit screw in without pushing the derailleur inwards toward the spokes, you may strip out the high limit screw's J.I.S. driver head. Push the Derailleur INWARD some, THEN turn the limit screw inwards. turning it Outwards will be much easier, and watch which way the Derailleur moves.
Use a fresh Philips head screwdriver with pushing force or a small flat blade screwdriver to turn the Limit screws.. Contrary to looks, J.I.S. is a Different type of screw head pattern.

3... experiment carefully, learn. and quit being a worry wart.

Last edited by maddog34; 09-19-23 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 09-19-23, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by drosso66
Hi choddo, and thanks for your reply.

Starting with the seat (couch ), it's from a company called sixthreezero. Here is a link to this specific seat: https://www.sixthreezero.com/product...Comfort%20Seat
I had to go this route for my bike seat because, although I've lost a lot of weight, I've still got a long way to go to get back into the high intensity interval training shape I was in fifteen years or so ago. From the half-hour or so I got in on the bike before I noticed the gear issue, I can tell you that it is very comfortable.

As for your suggestion about getting onto Zwift so I can access the trainer's internal resistance to a minimum, I haven't yet signed up for the service because I wanted to get my bike and my computer all set up and ready first. To that end, and to get the bike itself more correctly tuned, I am going with the procedure kindly provided by maddog34. Nonetheless, I never would have thought of trying what you suggested, and I really appreciate it.

Dave
Oh yeah you should do what he said if the bike is staying on the trainer permanently. My advice about the setting at zero was regarding your question 3b. You probably wonít be able to turn the pedal by hand to check the alignment if the trainer is asleep. But you can always jump on and off the bike as you adjust it.

You can probably do the same trainer resistance setting on RGT which has a free tier that doesnít expire (unlike Zwift which starts charging you after 2 weeks iirc)

And your question about directions - yes. What heís suggesting is that you tighten/restrict the upper limit deliberately (while holding the mech in a bit to reduce the load on the screw) by turning it clockwise. Then anti-clock afterwards to allow its spring to pull it back out.

As for the barrel adjuster - you can use either end. Itís worth having a couple of turns on one of them available for adjustment in future as it will change as the cable ages so itís better to not clamp the cable with perfect alignment at the limit of the adjuster. Both of those knurled barrels increase the cable tension by turning anticlockwise. Counterintuitive but by ďunscrewingĒ they pull the outer cable housing away from the lever or mech respectively. Same effect with both, the mech will move inwards since the lever ainít going anywhere. Easier to see whatís happening if you do the one at the mech.

Last edited by choddo; 09-19-23 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 09-19-23, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
three pieces of advice.
1... i strongly advise that you look up "Rear Derailleur Adjustment" on youtube.. watch, listen, and learn...

2... when you turn the high limit screw in without pushing the derailleur inwards toward the spokes, you may strip out the high limit screw's J.I.S. driver head. Push the Derailleur INWARD some, THEN turn the limit screw inwards. turning it Outwards will be much easier, and watch which way the Derailleur moves.
Use a fresh Philips head screwdriver with pushing force or a small flat blade screwdriver to turn the Limit screws.. Contrary to looks, J.I.S. is a Different type of screw head pattern.

3... experiment carefully, learn. and quit being a worry wart.
I appreciate the additional tips---thanks. I actually have J.I.S. bits but I never would have known that the Limit screws had them and not PH had you not added this info. I am also going to make sure to push in the derailleur before turning the high limit screw clockwise.
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Old 09-19-23, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
Oh yeah you should do what he said if the bike is staying on the trainer permanently. My advice about the setting at zero was regarding your question 3b. You probably wonít be able to turn the pedal by hand to check the alignment if the trainer is asleep. But you can always jump on and off the bike as you adjust it.

You can probably do the same trainer resistance setting on RGT which has a free tier that doesnít expire (unlike Zwift which starts charging you after 2 weeks iirc)

And your question about directions - yes. What heís suggesting is that you tighten/restrict the upper limit deliberately (while holding the mech in a bit to reduce the load on the screw) by turning it clockwise. Then anti-clock afterwards to allow its spring to pull it back out.

As for the barrel adjuster - you can use either end. Itís worth having a couple of turns on one of them available for adjustment in future as it will change as the cable ages so itís better to not clamp the cable with perfect alignment at the limit of the adjuster. Both of those knurled barrels increase the cable tension by turning anticlockwise. Counterintuitive but by ďunscrewingĒ they pull the outer cable housing away from the lever or mech respectively. Same effect with both, the mech will move inwards since the lever ainít going anywhere. Easier to see whatís happening if you do the one at the mech.
Hi choddo,
I can't tell you how much I appreciate you helping me out with these clarifications---its exactly the info I needed. Thanks so much!

Cheers,

Dave
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