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Poor shifting -Shimano STI

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Poor shifting -Shimano STI

Old 03-25-12, 11:55 PM
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Standard Issue
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Poor shifting -Shimano STI

I recently upgraded my old steel Bianchi with modern shimano componts and the shifting through the rear gears is generally poor. If I tension the cable enough to shift down from the smallest gear to the largest, its too much tension for the chain to drop back down when upshifting and vise-versa. The limit screws are set correctly, I think. I know its not a bent hanger because i transferred the drivetrain over to another, perfectly functionig bike and had the same issues.
Heres a list of all the components in the driveline:

Shimano R-600 2x10 sti levers, 6600 series (almost new)
New Shimano 105 5700 rear d (tried a different D, had the same results)
Almost new ultegra 6600 front d (front shifting works fine)
Shimano integrated crankset
105 10 speed cassette
105 cables/housing (also tried jagwire housing)
Generic weinneman wheelset with 130mm spacing (frame only requires slight spreading to fit)
And my primary suspect: 10 speed wipperman chain

The chain only came with one side of the master link so I nixed it and put it together using a chain breaker. I didnt notice any tight links and the chain is just long enough to work using the big/big gear combination with no sag or rubbing in small/small.
I dont want to drop $50 on a new chain becore hearing some other ideas.
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Old 03-26-12, 05:53 AM
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This is unheard of, 80 views and not a single reply?
Somebody usually jumps in with something by now.
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Old 03-26-12, 07:07 AM
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I have no obvious suggestions other than to start the rear derailleur set up from scratch following the guidelines on the Park tool web site. I'll assume your cables and housing are clean and free of drag and friction.

As to the chain, if you joined it using an existing pin instead of the master link, you are asking for failure at that point and sooner rather than later. Modern chains (and that means 8-speed and up) use shorter pins that are riveted in place for strength. Pushing out a pin removes its flared end and reams the sideplate holes oversize. Reusing that pin leaves a badly weakened joint and a near certain failure point.
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Old 03-26-12, 07:54 AM
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It sounds like quite the mystery. If you are sure the hanger is not bent (swapping parts to another bike is kind of the hard way to figure this out - getting an LBS to spend 5 minutes with a derailleur hanger alignment gauge is a lot easier and properly isolates the potential problem.

It certainly does not sound like a limit screw issue. Get your limit screws set so the chain rides properly in the largest and smallest cogs and you shouldn't ever have to adjust them again.

But I will reitterate what hillrider said - do not ride a bike with a modern multi-speed chain that has been re-connected with a used pin - it will fail... get a new master link.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:05 AM
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Dd you swap the cassette yourself? I've had indexing issues from a cassette that isn't tightened firm.
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Old 03-26-12, 11:03 AM
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It sounds like you have excess friction somewhere in the system. When you changed the shift cable housing did you change ALL of the housing, including the last loop which enters the derailleur? Is that loop properly sized so that the housing aligns well with the stops on both ends? Did you make sure that the housing ends were cut squarely and filed flat, with no stray wire strands protruding, equipped with the proper ferrules at each housing end? Is the shift wire correctly routed and properly attached at both ends with no frayed strands? You state that you think that the limit screws are set correctly; be sure that they are. Double-check your derailleur alignment with the proper tool, this is essential for good shifting performance.

Fix your chain! Get the correct master link and use it, your chain is certain to break under load where you connected it with a used pin.
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Old 03-26-12, 11:19 AM
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Thanks for the advise about the chain, I wasn't aware of that issue.
I did replace all the housing to the rear D and made sure the loop was long enough. I use a dremmel cutting wheel to cut the housings and grind them flat. The liner is cleanly cut and I used a light lube on the cables.
I did install the cassette myself but I've checked and rechecked that. The cogs and spacers are all flush with each other and there's no play. I'm really hoping the shifters aren't the issue as I did buy them used from someone who converted to a tri setup. They look new and click perfectly. Each click takes up the same amount of cable.
A friend is going to let me try his chain to see if that solves the issue. I really hope it does because I don't want to buy new levers.
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Old 03-26-12, 11:20 AM
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I'm just a newb but here goes...

When you moved the "drivetrain" over to a new bike, did that include the shifters and/or cables?

And I'm curious... are the problems worse when going from small to large cog (pulled by cable) rather than large to small (pulled by spring)? If so, that may point you down a path to finding the problem.

Lastly, and this is a WAG... any chance the derailer cage is contacting the cogs? That will create trouble quickly...

Lastly, perhaps the chain or cogs are worn out?

-Tom in SoCal
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Old 03-26-12, 11:27 AM
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shifters, rear D, chain, cables, housings
The problem is pretty eaqual both ways. I can get it to shift down (to larger cogs) by tightening the cable then the spring doesn't seem to pull hard enough -or God forbid the shifters aren't giving up enough cable- to shift from large to smaller cogs.
New chain
New Cassette
new cables/housings
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Old 03-26-12, 11:49 AM
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I ran into an issue I hadn't seen a couple days back, I had a similar symptom and I found that I needed to tighten the B-bolt a little to get the RD to swing far enough to initiate the shift (the top pulley was too close to the bottom of the cassette and the chain was limiting the movement of the RD). I worked from the two extremes to the middle until I found a sweet spot.

Have you played with the setting of the bbolt? What size cassette do you have? ... and what size are the chainrings?
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Old 03-26-12, 12:38 PM
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It seems a Standard Issue, by now..
welcome to the legion of people who cannot figure out how to make their
indexed shifting bike click from one gear to another,
and begin writing here like they are unique.

look up some of the hundred prior postings ,
on this topic.. then come back again..


OK I get the search is a hard function to work..

post new thread is easy to find, search not so obvious.

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-26-12 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 03-26-12, 01:00 PM
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Thanks, fietsnob, that was very helpful information. That kind of advice is a good way to excede 14,000 posts in under 2 years without actually having to think.

As for the "B" adjustment screw, I haven't really messed with it. I have my chain as set so in the small/small combination the top pully wheel clears the cassette.
The cassette is 11-28 I don't know chainrings offhand but it's a compact.
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Old 03-26-12, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Standard Issue View Post
As for the "B" adjustment screw, I haven't really messed with it. I have my chain as set so in the small/small combination the top pully wheel clears the cassette.
The cassette is 11-28 I don't know chainrings offhand but it's a compact.
Actually, the b-screw is there to assure the jockey (top) pulley clears the largest cog when in the lowest gear. This is a particular consideration since your rear derailleur is rated for a 28T max cog and you are right at that point so be sure it clears.
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Old 03-26-12, 01:21 PM
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You asked.. I've been 40 years in the bike repair biz.. so I don't have to ask ..

Don't care for the stuff, myself, It's Friction shifting .. or my IGHub drivetrains.

this is just a spectator sport pretty much , kid.

I like this function:


Last edited by fietsbob; 03-26-12 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 03-26-12, 03:01 PM
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Don't worry about having to replace the shifters - as long as they consistently click in and out of gear they should work fine, provided the other components are functioning properly. STI shifters don't really have grades of function - they either work or they don't... you seldom/never hear of a shifter that still clicks and doesn't work.
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Old 03-26-12, 03:18 PM
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Hi, sorry I did not read all here but did you check of yo put the chaain on the right side in and the right side out?
losi
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Old 03-26-12, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Standard Issue View Post
If I tension the cable enough to shift down from the smallest gear to the largest, its too much tension for the chain to drop back down when upshifting and vise-versa.
You need to be more specific. For example: does this happen with only one or two of the same cogs consistently, or does it change?

It's possible that there is an inconsistent sized spacer in the cassette, or your chain is out of spec, like it's too wide.
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Old 03-26-12, 03:36 PM
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I've had two cases of brifter STI shifting problems in the last 6 months like you're sounding and in one case, it was in the cable housing, and in the other case, it was in the location where the cable met the pinch bolt. In the case of the housing, the person who last serviced the bike like to strip off the last 5 mm of housing and leave bare compressionless straight wire. This allowed the cap to fit nicely, but it bunches up the embedded wires of the compressionless housing so it's all pinched at the end inside the housing. The tighter the cable, the more it pinched. So you could shift from small to big cog, but it would then hold the cable and prevent slide back. Trimming that off fixed that problem. And in the case of bad pinch bolt location, the person had pinched the RD cable in the a way that was a bit too close to the center bolt itself and wrapped it around the post. This shortened cable pull slightly, so he thought he could negotiate all 10 speeds, but really he was only going from 2 - 10. He'd never get to the small cog. And the shifting would get misaligned on either end. He could only get good shifting for around 6 speeds in the rear then go out of alignment.
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Old 03-26-12, 04:18 PM
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Based on my experiences I would start by hosing out the shifter(s) with WD40. I would also try soaking the rear derailleur in mineral spirits, or at least try lubricating the derailleur's hinge pins. Both of these tricks have helped me with similar shifting problems.
I agree with the others that the short housing at the rear derailleur is critical to good shifting.
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Old 03-26-12, 05:18 PM
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I've experimented with the short housing going into the rear D to no avail and the rear D is brand new and perfectly clean. a I'm curious about Losi's suggestion of checking to make sure the right side of the chain is facing out. I'd imagine that would only be an issue for a chain and cassette that have worn together but I could be wrong. Both the chain and cassette are brand new in my case.
regarding flushing the shifters, I did spray a fair amount of wd-40 into them when I noticed the previous owner appears to have used a lubricant of too-high viscocity.
The issue with that was the pin would engage/disengage and the shifter would not click and the shifters would opperate smoothly but slowly. Now the action is quicker and it clicks every time so I'm guessing that means it's taking in/letting out enough cable.
All of your insight and Ideas are great so far. Even if you're not pro mechanics, sometimes it helps to have a different brain think about it.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:09 PM
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I would try more WD40, just in case.
You could also try cleaning the cable guide found under the bottom bracket.
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Old 04-11-12, 12:57 PM
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A new 105 10 speed chain solved the issue. I also picked up a set of 5 shimano reinforced link pins to replace the ones I removed from the Wipperman chain.
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Old 08-10-12, 06:11 AM
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Some good tips on this page for general maintenance. Thanks to all those who have contributed!

I just ran into a similar shifting issue with a new chain and cassette. Turned out that the cable housing was gummed up and needed replacing.
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Old 08-13-12, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Standard Issue View Post
shifters, rear D, chain, cables, housings
The problem is pretty eaqual both ways. I can get it to shift down (to larger cogs) by tightening the cable then the spring doesn't seem to pull hard enough -or God forbid the shifters aren't giving up enough cable- to shift from large to smaller cogs.
New chain
New Cassette
new cables/housings
You can verify the issue is that the combination of light RD return spring tension and the stupidly short cable pull of Shimano 10spd (8spd is too short/only just long enough IMO) by manually assisting the RD's spring, ie pull it outboard to tighten the cable as you run through the gears.

The only cure is stronger RD spring tension, less cable friction, or high-zoot genuinely compressionless shift housing like that Vertebrae stuff you see advertised here.

I'd start by looking at housing lengths to ensure all curves are as smooth as possible, and making sure there are no kinks in the cable (although an appropriate bend where it goes around the BB can sometimes help slightly).

Oh, and if the housing deforms when you pull on the derailleur, beefier stuff would help... my skinny housing isn't up to it now I've gone from 8spd to 9spd.

Then I'd look at finding a way of increasing the RD's spring tension; on some older Shimano derailleurs there was a two-step adjustment for it; lacking that you can jam something under the end of the spring, but I think they all use linear springs now... I suppose you could wire some coils together. Also you can often remove some play from the upper pivot by fitting a thin washer behind the circlip, which might help, and it doesn't hurt to make that pivot a little stiff.

Last edited by Kimmo; 08-13-12 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 08-13-12, 12:17 PM
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Did I read correctly that the OP uses SHIMANO connecting pins on a Wippermann chain?
You seem dangerous as a mechanic and will likely get hurt on your hacked-together bike. You might not want to learn all this the hard way.
I am next expecting to read that the OP used ferrules on the brake housngs going into the STI levers.

Cutting housings with a Dremel is the WORST way to do it.
The ends of the wires won't lie in a flat plane anyway, after the housing is bent into an arc, and the blunt-ended wires you ground flat will not properly embed into the plastic ring inside of the ferrule, so the wires will have very uneven compression force between them.
The Dremel wheel also completely contaminates your new housing with grit, and flushing it out will remove any lubricant from the inside of the housing. Shimano housings are pre-greased, as are some others.
I doubt if a previous mechanic stripped the covering from the end of the shift housings. The covering is molded on, but shrinks over time, suggesting that it is old and likely now more brittle and contaminated.

The 10s 11-28t cassette is particularly troublesome, as HillRider noted. Really at the limit in terms of how sensitive the cable adjustment becomes. I usually substitute a non-floating pulley in the top position for use with the 11-28 cassette, which really extends the service interval and speeds up the shifting.

Almost glad to hear you have it working well at the moment, but do realize that a failed chain can pitch you into traffic if you are riding out of the saddle when it were to fail. That might also happen if a sideplate peels off and snags the front derailer cage while you're pedaling fast.
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