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Question about lever/fd compatibility, Campy.

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Question about lever/fd compatibility, Campy.

Old 10-19-17, 05:49 AM
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Question about lever/fd compatibility, Campy.

Ok guys, this is something that is puzzling me. On my new road bike, everything but the fd is Ultrashift, 2010 Athena group. The problem is that no matter what is done or who has worked on the bike, I can't get the fd to shift onto the big ring reliably and most times it just partially goes onto it before dropping the chain. The fd is at the correct height and perfectly parallel to the big ring, we have played with cable tension etc. Everything on the bike is brand new because the US parts are NOS. Last night it occurred to me that this may be happening because the cable pull from the lever isn't the same as that of this newer, powershift front derailleur. This hasn't even come up until I started thinking about the individual parts that went into this bike late last night.

Am I onto something here?
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Old 10-19-17, 06:05 AM
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I have built my share of Campy bikes with different combinations of FD and shifter pull differences based upon shifter model. I have gotten pretty much all to work fine.

You need to be more specific about which way your chain is falling off...back to inside onto the small ring...or over the big ring and onto the crank arm.

I am presuming...your chain is falling off back onto the small ring...an incomplete shift to the big ring.

So...here are a couple of tips. First you need to open up the outboard stop to allow the FD to traverse slightly pass the big ring to effectuate a complete shift.

Second point is a bit more technical. If you think about the detents within the shifter that make up how much cable is pulled relative to clicking into place...and the finite distance a FD translates from inboard to outboard stop. The position of the click that secures the outboard movement of derailleur against the outboard stop....this point of cable pull has to coincide. I hope this makes sense. You have to think about how the design works. If the outboard stop is too tight precluding full click engagement of the shifter because of where your cable pull window is oriented...then you will have your condition.

Now...moving the outboard stop outboard may cause your chain to overshift over the big ring. No good of course. If you have your outboard stop in the right place, your only recourse is to move the window of cable pull so that you get full click engagement to hold the derailleur in place pressed against the outboard cable stop. This takes a bit of trial and error by adjusting cable tension and may in fact may require introducing a bit of cable slack on the inboard stop side AND...using 'the next click' on your left shifter to achieve the correct click position at the outboard stop.

If you think about the design and how it works in total, I believe the above should make sense.


Good luck

Last edited by Campag4life; 10-19-17 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 10-19-17, 06:23 AM
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Thanks Campag4life. It is, as you said, "back to inside onto the small ring" so it's making an incomplete shift. Every video I've seen makes me think that as long as I set up the small ring correctly I should be able to shift to the big ring within 3 clicks but the third click only achieves a partial shift as you has guessed. It just seems like even with the chain being within 1mm from the small ring as a starting point and securing the cable to the fd with full tension, the pulls aren't long enough to get to the big ring.
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Old 10-19-17, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by kansukee
Thanks Campag4life. It is, as you said, "back to inside onto the small ring" so it's making an incomplete shift. Every video I've seen makes me think that as long as I set up the small ring correctly I should be able to shift to the big ring within 3 clicks but the third click only achieves a partial shift as you has guessed. It just seems like even with the chain being within 1mm from the small ring as a starting point and securing the cable to the fd with full tension, the pulls aren't long enough to get to the big ring.
Your next step kansukee then is to detach the cable from the front derailleur. While pulling on the bare cable with your right hand, repeatedly hit the left shifter thumb button until you have taken all the slack out of the shifter.

Then, with right hand still providing some tension to the bare cable, hit the lever on the left shifter repeatedly and count the clicks. If you get more than 3 clicks out of the shifter, which I suspect you will...pls report back how many clicks you get....but let's say you get 4-5 clicks out of the left shifter...then you know you have plenty of cable pull to effectuate a shift onto the big ring.

From there...your challenge will be...to attach your cable to the derailleur where you can shift to the big ring AND have the nearby click in this derailleur position be such that it will hold against the outboard stop. This takes both an adjustment to cable tension AND where you position the outboard stop. You have latitude with both. Regarding cable tension to get the outboard stop click in the right position, you have the latitude to set up cable tension a bit loose against the inboard stop for example. This will allow your shifter to be in its 4th click for holding against the derailleur cage outboard stop.

Hope that makes sense, and be sure to report back how many clicks you get out of your Campy left hand shifter.



PS: setting up cable tension which is critical for the FD is made MUCH easier with a barrel adjuster installed near the stem area of your cable routing. This allows for precise tuning of tension of the cable so that the click and outboard cable stop position coincide.

Last edited by Campag4life; 10-19-17 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 10-19-17, 12:19 PM
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Cool Campag, thanks a lot. I will have a chance to test this next week and will let you know how it all went.
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Old 10-19-17, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kansukee
Cool Campag, thanks a lot. I will have a chance to test this next week and will let you know how it all went.
To put it another way, your shifter will likely pull plenty enough cable to get the front derailleur cage over far enough to shift onto the big ring and stay against the outboard stop position you have established. Your outboard stop is positioned to:
a. effect a complete shift to the big ring
b. not overshift so the chain goes over the big ring and falls off.

But...it may just not be at the 3rd click position in your case because of how you have your FD set up. You may need to go to the 4th click to achieve a full shift and stay firmly against the front derailleur outboard stop.

Typically its the 3rd click to get the FD to shift to the big ring and stay there because:

1st click: trim small front chainring to smallest cogs in back
2nd click: trim big chainring to biggest cogs in back
3rd click: shift from small to big ring.

But...your setup based upon the starting point of where you have your inboard stop set along with what your chainline spacing is i.e. lateral location of chainrings is....you may need to go to the 4th click to pull enough cable to complete the shift to the big ring.


Hope that makes sense.

Last edited by Campag4life; 10-19-17 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 10-23-17, 05:31 AM
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Alright, I went and tried all of that stuff and still, even the fourth click wouldn't bring the fd close enough to shift to the big ring. A friend who owns a lbs miraculously had a 2009 or 2010 Athena fd ( it has the old logo from those years which matches my RD and shifters) in a parts bin. I went home, installed it by hitting the thumb shifter until all the cable tension was released, tightened the cable to the fd, adjusted the trim of the small ring and voila, with just a bit of barrel adjustment it went onto the big ring!

So I think this confirms my theory that in order to shift correctly, both the shifters and derailleurs have to match as far as being ultrashift or powershift. In this case, the fd wasn't traveling far enough to match the cable pulls from the left lever, it seems.
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