Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Quest to Improve Shifting Performance

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Quest to Improve Shifting Performance

Old 08-26-05, 09:14 PM
  #1  
t-cycle
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Jackson, NJ
Posts: 40

Bikes: Dawes Lighting 1000; Motobecane Nomad

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quest to Improve Shifting Performance

I upgraded my front derailleur from Shimano 440 to Shimano Ultegra looking to improve front derailleur performance. I did not really experience much of an improvement. Is it worth upgrading the flat handle bar Shimano 440 shifter to a Shimano 660 shifter to improve front derailleur shifting performance or am I simply looking to improve something that really cannot noticeably be further improved? Thanks.
t-cycle is offline  
Old 08-26-05, 09:32 PM
  #2  
phantomcow2
la vache fantôme
 
phantomcow2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NH
Posts: 6,266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I never noticed a huge difference with front derailleurs, using a high and low end unit. What do you mean by improving performance? Faster shifts?
You probably need to spend some quality time adjusting the thing, front derailleurs are more difficult to setup/adjust than the rear.
__________________
C://dos
C://dos.run
run.dos.run
phantomcow2 is offline  
Old 08-27-05, 01:49 AM
  #3  
t-cycle
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Jackson, NJ
Posts: 40

Bikes: Dawes Lighting 1000; Motobecane Nomad

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the reply phantomcow2. Faster shifts is exactly what I mean! No matter how much "tinkering" I have done with adjustments, I have yet to have the performance of what I expect (at least what I would "like" to expect.)
t-cycle is offline  
Old 08-27-05, 04:05 AM
  #4  
cs1
Senior Member
 
cs1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Clev Oh
Posts: 6,908

Bikes: Specialized, Schwinn

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 133 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by t-cycle
I upgraded my front derailleur from Shimano 440 to Shimano Ultegra looking to improve front derailleur performance. I did not really experience much of an improvement. Is it worth upgrading the flat handle bar Shimano 440 shifter to a Shimano 660 shifter to improve front derailleur shifting performance or am I simply looking to improve something that really cannot noticeably be further improved? Thanks.
I've always had very good performance with friction front derailler shifting, ie Campy shifters. For me at least indexed shifting of the front was never very positive. You could always switch to Shimano bar end shifters with friction front shifting.

Tim
cs1 is offline  
Old 08-27-05, 07:14 AM
  #5  
sydney
Senior Member
 
sydney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 9,428
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cs1
For me at least indexed shifting of the front was never very positive.

Tim
Maybe you just don't know how to do it.
sydney is offline  
Old 08-27-05, 07:16 AM
  #6  
sydney
Senior Member
 
sydney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 9,428
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by t-cycle
I upgraded my front derailleur from Shimano 440 to Shimano Ultegra looking to improve front derailleur performance. I did not really experience much of an improvement. Is it worth upgrading the flat handle bar Shimano 440 shifter to a Shimano 660 shifter to improve front derailleur shifting performance or am I simply looking to improve something that really cannot noticeably be further improved? Thanks.
Maybe you just don't know how to adjust it right.Even poorly adjusted DA won't shift well. Too many folks think upgrading a FD is the answer to poor adjustment.
sydney is offline  
Old 08-28-05, 05:09 AM
  #7  
cs1
Senior Member
 
cs1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Clev Oh
Posts: 6,908

Bikes: Specialized, Schwinn

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 133 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sydney
Maybe you just don't know how to do it.
Well, that's entirely possible.

Tim
cs1 is offline  
Old 08-28-05, 08:58 AM
  #8  
neil0502
My bike's better than me!
 
neil0502's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northern Colorado
Posts: 2,041

Bikes: (2) Moots Vamoots, (1) Cannondale T2000 tourer, (1) Diamondback Response Comp mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by t-cycle
Thanks for the reply phantomcow2. Faster shifts is exactly what I mean! No matter how much "tinkering" I have done with adjustments, I have yet to have the performance of what I expect (at least what I would "like" to expect.)
I have to agree with Phantomcow. Adjustments.

Read through the Park Tool front derailleur adjustment page carefully. Once you understand it, start adjusting. If you're unsure in your abilities, you may not want to start loosening your derailleur clamp yourself (meaning: have this performed by your LBS). Once you loosen that clamp, there's really no equivalent to an "undo" command that will get you back where you started.

Between the FD angle and the height, though, I would submit that here's where faster FD shifting can be found (at least sought) . . . providing your cable tension, chainline, etc., are correct to begin with.

You also may want to obtain a copy of John Forester's Effective Cycling. There's a section on 'Derailleur Theory and Expert Adjustment' that gives a bit more information and a few more tricks to try.

Good luck!
neil0502 is offline  
Old 08-28-05, 05:27 PM
  #9  
phantomcow2
la vache fantôme
 
phantomcow2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NH
Posts: 6,266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My front derailleur is a Falcon I took off an Xmart bike I found at the dump. Call me cheap, but I found no difference in shifting performance with this and the shimano deore of a bicycle i test rode.
It took me a while to adjust the front derailleur....
but read the link that Neil0502 posted to the park tool website. The clearance of the derailleur cage to the chainring is something i never knew before reading that. When i got it within a pennies worth of clearance, shifting improved. All of these little things combined are what makes a difference.
And make sure that the derailleur itself is parallel to the chainrings! Theres a lot more to "play" with than a rear..
__________________
C://dos
C://dos.run
run.dos.run
phantomcow2 is offline  
Old 08-28-05, 06:58 PM
  #10  
Al1943
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 9,438

Bikes: Trek 5500, Colnago C-50

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Shifting performance is often directly proportional to the amount of crud and corrosion in your shifters and cable housings. Try hosing out the shifters with WD-40 and lubricating or replacing the cables and cable housings.

Al

Last edited by Al1943; 09-13-05 at 06:17 PM.
Al1943 is offline  
Old 08-30-05, 07:07 PM
  #11  
t-cycle
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Jackson, NJ
Posts: 40

Bikes: Dawes Lighting 1000; Motobecane Nomad

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Shifting down is great. Shifting to the highest chaining takes a little pressure, as was with the 440. After all the adjustments, basically, the shifts are about the same with the Ultegra as was with the 440. Derailleur adjustment does seem to be the key. One last caveat, don’t expect the same quality shifts with the front derailleur as with the rear. Thanks everyone!

Last edited by t-cycle; 08-30-05 at 07:15 PM.
t-cycle is offline  
Old 09-12-05, 09:37 PM
  #12  
DannoXYZ 
Senior Member
 
DannoXYZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Saratoga, CA
Posts: 11,739
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by t-cycle
Thanks for the reply phantomcow2. Faster shifts is exactly what I mean! No matter how much "tinkering" I have done with adjustments, I have yet to have the performance of what I expect (at least what I would "like" to expect.)
The adjustments actually comes AFTER you've got the derailleur positioned optimally on the frame relative to the crank. That Park Tool guide is one of the best procedures.

1. First, make sure you have the proper bottom-bracket spindle. Measure the distance between the centerline of the seat-tube to the center between the chainrings. Derailleurs designed for doubles want this distance between 35-45mm.

2. Then, make sure the height of the derailleur has the outer-cage just 1.0-2.0mm above the teeth on the big-chainring. I find that 1.5mm works way, way better than 3.0mm.

3. Next comes the lateral rotation of the derailleur. Notice that the Park Tool guide has you setting the chain in the biggest gear (big-ring in front, smallest cog in back). Then they have you rotate the derailleur so that the outer cage is parallel to the chain not the chainrings. That's a tiny difference, but it makes a HUGE difference in shifting performance. Most shops train their employees to set the outer-cage to be parallel with the chainring because it allows them to make consistent adjustments, but it's a consistenly mediocre adjustment. Follow the Park guide and set the outer-cage parallel to the chain the biggest gear. This adjustment is SO important that Shimano even makes a pre-rotated/pre-bent outer-cage on their newer derailleurs with the little step that kicks out at the bottom of the cage. This has the same effect as rotating the rear of the cage outwards even when shops stubbornly keep the face of the cage parallel to the chainring.

4. Finally, the trick that really helps shifting from the small chainring to the big one is to bend the tip of the inner cage outwards a little. About 3-4mm from parallel to the outer-cage should do. If you look at the newer Shimano derailleurs, you'll see that they have a built-in bump that has the tip of the inner-cage aimed towards the outside. This helps guide the chain up from the small ring to big-ring.

FINALLY, once all these physical adjustments are made, you can mess with cable-tension and limit-screws.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-12-05 at 09:47 PM.
DannoXYZ is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.