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Chain falling off front ring

Old 10-14-08, 12:11 AM
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Chain falling off front ring

Hello,
when I go to shift my triple front ring from the second to the first(such as when climbing), it will often not want to shift to the smaller ring, and if it does it seems to want to fall off. What could be the cause of this and what would be an easy fix? I'm thinking I need to do FD adjustments, but I'm not sure if that's the case(I watched a YouTube video on how to do them, but there was no "why" video).

Thanks.
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Old 10-14-08, 12:38 AM
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If you go from the middle ring to the smallest chainring and it tends to fall off I'd check the limit screw on your FD. You may need to adjust the L-Screw to keep it from moving inwards too much that it pushes the chain off the smallest ring.

Check out Park Tools website: https://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=75

Good luck!
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Old 10-14-08, 04:51 AM
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I have had similar problems with my triples. mine was from the large ring to the middle ring and I had to let the derailure move out more when shifting up to the ring, by adjusting the set screw a little . this gives the derailure a little more momentum on the down shift to the smaller ring. also the other thing is it could be set a little low on the rings. and not be moving fast enough to move the chain off the chainring teeth.ymmv
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Old 10-14-08, 05:13 AM
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Check your rear dérailleur alignment. It may be "overshooting" the shift.

Unfortunately, this is a problem that is all too common with triples.
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Old 10-14-08, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Anti404
Hello,
when I go to shift my triple front ring from the second to the first(such as when climbing), it will often not want to shift to the smaller ring, and if it does it seems to want to fall off.

Thanks.
Unless you are severely cross-chaining then I suggest that the inner limit screw on the front derailleur needs an adjustment.

If the limit is set properly and it shifts ok, but falls off the front ring then I would check rear derailleur tension and position adjustment.

If you do all of the above and still have problems then consider clicking up two gears in the back before dropping it into the granny in the front. This way you can keep more torque on the driveline during the downshift of the front D.
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Old 10-14-08, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Anti404
Hello,
when I go to shift my triple front ring from the second to the first(such as when climbing), it will often not want to shift to the smaller ring, and if it does it seems to want to fall off. What could be the cause of this and what would be an easy fix? I'm thinking I need to do FD adjustments, but I'm not sure if that's the case(I watched a YouTube video on how to do them, but there was no "why" video).

Thanks.
Seems to me that this is a problem inherent to triples. I have a triple (105) on my Cannondale; no matter what adjustments have been made, it's always been temperamental. If it's adjusted to the big and middle rings, it won't be efficient to the small ring.

The compact double (Ultegra) on my Serotta is much nicer to ride with.

If anyone has a good suggestion on this one I'd love to hear it, too. I'm thinking of rebuilding the drivetrain on my Cannondale - and will probably put another triple on it. But only if it's going to be better than what I have on there now.

Beth
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Old 10-14-08, 06:21 AM
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Here's the easiest fix I can think of for the "triple dropping chain" problem.

https://cyclocrossworld.stores.yahoo.net/3rdeyechwa.html

With that said, I admit that the only bike I have that has a triple is my MTB (those have built-in chain watchers). I just don't personally think a triple works smoothly for a road bike. I had one, removed it.
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Old 10-14-08, 07:35 AM
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In my case, it has likely been due to "cross chaining", as Grumpy McTrumpy mentioned.
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Old 10-14-08, 10:30 AM
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Same exact problem on my ATB, which has a triple! It seems to be an all too common problem. The derailleur is adjusted fine, everything shifts perfectly, but I drop the chain every once in a while when hitting something hard. The biggest issue is the index shifting! The SOB is spring loaded beyond belief, and shoots the chain to the lower sprocket! So before shifting onto the slower sprocket in the front, I take it down two clicks in the rear first.
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Old 10-14-08, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Gee3
If you go from the middle ring to the smallest chainring and it tends to fall off I'd check the limit screw on your FD. You may need to adjust the L-Screw to keep it from moving inwards too much that it pushes the chain off the smallest ring.
+1 for limit screw.

Originally Posted by MrCrassic
Unfortunately, this is a problem that is all too common with triples.
Yes, this is the main reason triples suck. Instead of having to adjust the derailer to align with two chainrings, you have to adjust it so it aligns with all three. And the people that are most likely to have triples are the least likely to understand how to adjust them properly. Some people need the crazy low gearing, but most people would be better with a compact and big cassette, and mtb rd if needed.
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Old 10-14-08, 12:29 PM
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You need to soft pedal when changing to the small ring.
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Old 10-14-08, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadToNowhere
Seems to me that this is a problem inherent to triples. I have a triple (105) on my Cannondale; no matter what adjustments have been made, it's always been temperamental. If it's adjusted to the big and middle rings, it won't be efficient to the small ring.
I'm going to have to disagree with you. I had an Ultegra SL triple on my bike and once I got it adjusted properly I never had a problem with it. Hell, I wish my new SRAM Force FD and Red levers shifted as nicely as the old Ultegra triple! I will admit that it took me a couple of rides to get the triple adjusted spot-on. Following Shimano's install directions to the letter seemed to help get things pretty close, but I believe I had to play with the cable tension a bit to get things shifting perfectly.
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Old 10-14-08, 01:04 PM
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my chain also keeps poping off. i have a double and i tend to ride the big ring, at a stop light i'll shift the lowest gear, yes cross chaining, and then i'll start and the chain will just pop off into the bottom bracket. i've adjusted the chain tension, but that didn't seem to help, acutaly i get chain rub if i losen it anymore. its just scary when a red light turns green, you get up to go and the chain pops off.

any help?
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Old 10-14-08, 02:48 PM
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If it's slow to shift to the small ring, your cable may be too tight. Then when you do get it to go, your lower limit is set too loose so the chain falls off.

If you fix the lower limit and loosen the cable a bit, you may find you're getting a lot of chain rub when you're in the lightest gears (at least I'm assuming so since the lower limit slackness plus the cable's tightness both help eliminate cage rub in those gears). So then that might mean your FD cage isn't really aligned properly, which requires starting from scratch. If you don't need the biggest cogs in your granny ring, then I wouldn't worry about that so much. If you're not getting a lot of chain rub, then you might be shifting from too high a cog in the back. Shift to the granny ring more from the middle of the cassette to help keep the chain on, even when the limit is set right.
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Old 10-14-08, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel
I'm going to have to disagree with you. I had an Ultegra SL triple on my bike and once I got it adjusted properly I never had a problem with it. Hell, I wish my new SRAM Force FD and Red levers shifted as nicely as the old Ultegra triple! I will admit that it took me a couple of rides to get the triple adjusted spot-on. Following Shimano's install directions to the letter seemed to help get things pretty close, but I believe I had to play with the cable tension a bit to get things shifting perfectly.
I appreciate that. As I said earlier, I'm thinking about rebuilding (or having rebuilt by a trusted mechanic) the drivetrain on one of my bikes. Having full Ultegra on my compact and never having a problem with it, I haven't been sure if it's the 105 that's the problem, or the fact that it's a triple.

Beth
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Old 10-14-08, 03:14 PM
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On the bikes I own and bikes I've flipped that have triples, the chain suck problem is usually the derailer limit screw needs adjustment or the cable needed adjustment.
However, the OP said shifting was sluggish, and when it shifted, it would fall off. Before I start messing with that bikes limit screw, my experience says check the chain for stretch. I had that a happen on an older road bike with triple. When I checked the chain, sure enough it was time for a replacement. Once changed to a new chain, the problem disappeared. I think the OP ought to check his chain for stretch based on it being two problems.
I ran into one bike where nothing worked, my main hardtail MTB. Finally I changed the less than one year old Alivio derailer for an LX. Chain suck problem solved. I think its interesting that on the Giant OCR-C3 triple, all the components are 105 except the front dr, its' an Ultegra. On my personal bikes that have a triple, I like to put an upgraded dr on the front if I have any problems.
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Old 10-14-08, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadToNowhere
I appreciate that. As I said earlier, I'm thinking about rebuilding (or having rebuilt by a trusted mechanic) the drivetrain on one of my bikes. Having full Ultegra on my compact and never having a problem with it, I haven't been sure if it's the 105 that's the problem, or the fact that it's a triple.

Beth
My 105 and Ultegra FDs have performed equally well (or equally poorly--I've dropped some chains with both) with my compact.
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Old 10-14-08, 04:58 PM
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If your trusted mechanic can't adjust a triple, you shouldn't trust your mechanic.

Seriously, they take a FEW more minutes to get tweaked in. But getting the limit screws set is no different.
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Old 10-14-08, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadToNowhere
I appreciate that. As I said earlier, I'm thinking about rebuilding (or having rebuilt by a trusted mechanic) the drivetrain on one of my bikes. Having full Ultegra on my compact and never having a problem with it, I haven't been sure if it's the 105 that's the problem, or the fact that it's a triple.
My experience was that I couldn't get the setup perfect on the repair stand alone. I had to take the bike out, ride it, and stop on the side of the road to make some minor tweaks. Perhaps a better mechanic could get things working perfectly in the shop, but that didn't work for me. I should probably also mention that I typically shift either the FD or the RD but not both at the same time. I found that shifting the FD from the middle to the small chain ring while at the same time trying to shift the RD to smaller cogs was a recipe for dropping the chain... even when the drivetrain was perfectly adjusted.

I would think that a 105 triple should work nearly as well as an Ultegra, but have to admit that I haven't actually ridden one. I would expect that shifts with a triple probably wouldn't be as fast as with a compact, but you shouldn't be dropping the chain or having difficulty getting it onto the chain ring you want...
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Old 10-14-08, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by weavers
my chain also keeps poping off. i have a double and i tend to ride the big ring, at a stop light i'll shift the lowest gear, yes cross chaining, and then i'll start and the chain will just pop off into the bottom bracket. i've adjusted the chain tension, but that didn't seem to help, acutaly i get chain rub if i losen it anymore. its just scary when a red light turns green, you get up to go and the chain pops off.

any help?
I have a triple chainring with a 9-speed cassette, and I was having that trouble... go on a green light, or stand to tackle a hill... sometimes even simply going over a crack in the road while under any amount of torque whatsoever and "clang" the chain would jump from the centre chainring down around the BB. Frustrating as ____.

Well, the chain was very worn, and it had taken the rear cassette with it (I bought the bike used, and put 1000 km on it myself) so I put on a new chain and a new cassette... problem solved.

Look closely at your chain -- does it have play side-to-side? Can you see the gaps between the rings and links? Perhaps a new chain is all you need....
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Old 10-14-08, 07:01 PM
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My chain is actually almost new as the last time my old chain went to pop off, it exploded.
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