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Sram FD

Old 03-18-12, 08:18 AM
  #1  
Debusama
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Sram FD

Iíve been riding on my Sram Force drive train for about a month now and Iím really disappointed with it. There doesn't seem to be any happy medium between where it appears to work, but every 10-15 shifts, it inexplicably throws the chain to the outside of the chain (which is scratching the crap out of my pretty new crank arm) and the other extreme where I have the end-stop adjusted so the derailleur wonít move far enough to put the chain on the big chain ring without skipping for 20 seconds (even then, after a enough tries, the chain eventually ends up hanging from the crank arm.) I dropped the chain a few times after riding for about a week, but just assumed it was due to cable-stretch, and brought it back for the customary first Ďtune upí after which I was still dropping the chain every few rides. After playing with it on the stand, it does the exact same thing; 10 or 15 beautiful shifts, and then off with the chain for no apparent reason. It seems as though the derailleur is too wide and when the inside edge is in position to push the chain onto the big ring, the outside edge isnít close enough to the ring to prevent the chain from falling off the other side.

I havenít worked with Sram much, but with all my old Shimano systems, a derailleur adjustment is typically something I can handle on my own. Iíve fiddled with it myself, and just as I think Iíve got it perfect... itís always just a matter of time before the chainís hanging from the crank arm. Itís exactly the same on the stand as when I ride, so it isnít as if Iím shifting to the big chain ring mid-climb or anything like that.

Iíve been watching my teammates and riding partners, and noticed that it appears every time someone drops a chain, itís a Sram bike. Iíve asked people about it and they all seem to have kind of accepted that dropping the chain every third ride is just kind of part of life and an acceptable price to pay for the 200g they saved by going with Sram over the similarly priced Shimano gruppo. I donít understand how they can be OK with it. As racers we might spend half a year training to peak during a specific race, and Iím just not willing to accept the idea that there is a 33% chance Iíll drop my chain and watch all that training go down the toilet when in the last 3-years on Shimano105, I might have dropped the chain 2 or 3 times, all of which were my own fault.

After reading reviews saying that compared to the Red FD, Force is the better one, Iíve come to the conclusion that Sram front derailleur probably just suck, I'm giving serious consideration to putting an Ultegra or DA FD on. Before I do that, Iím wondering if there is some magical secret to getting a Sram FD to shift dependably that I donít know about (I can share it with everyone else I know who runs Sram). Also, I know the Shimano RD and Sram shifters donít play together, but I think a Shimano FD will work with a Sram shifter, please let me know if Iím wrong.
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Old 03-18-12, 08:32 AM
  #2  
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While tuning my Rival FD, I have noted that if I set the high limit according to the sram spec it is very hard to shift up. Therefore mine is slightly wider. I have never tossed a chain to the outside, but it shifts more slowly than I would like.

Let's see some closeups of yours.. maybe it is a touch too high or out of plane.

But if you've given up, then yes, you can install an ultegra or dura ace FD. I was going to buy DA 7800 from ebay before I read that the new Red yaw FD is compatible. Since it includes a chain catcher, it is a pretty decent deal at $139-159.
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Old 03-18-12, 08:39 AM
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I use full sram force. no issues.
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Old 03-18-12, 09:15 AM
  #4  
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I know you dont want to hear this, but it's user error. Your group needs adjustment.
I use SRAM force and red, prior to that rival. Never a dropped chain, no noise, no chain rubbing.

try using the videos at www.youtube.com/SRAMtech to guide you.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
I know you dont want to hear this, but it's user error. Your group needs adjustment.
I use SRAM force and red, prior to that rival. Never a dropped chain, no noise, no chain rubbing.

try using the videos at www.youtube.com/SRAMtech to guide you.
I do want to here that, it's better to be able to adjust something than to have to buy a new derailleur. It hasn't worked well since I got the bike. It is on a custom frame and the bike was assembled by the builder, who used to wrench for a pro race team back in the day, so I trust he is competent, but I wonder how much experience he has with sram. The other people I know who are having similar problems are also on bikes where the frame and drive train were purchased separately. I'm wondering if there is something in the vertical position where it mounts to the seat tube that requires a high degree of precision for it to work properly. I'll check the video, thanks.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Debusama View Post
I do want to here that, it's better to be able to adjust something than to have to buy a new derailleur. It hasn't worked well since I got the bike. It is on a custom frame and the bike was assembled by the builder, who used to wrench for a pro race team back in the day, so I trust he is competent, but I wonder how much experience he has with sram. The other people I know who are having similar problems are also on bikes where the frame and drive train were purchased separately. I'm wondering if there is something in the vertical position where it mounts to the seat tube that requires a high degree of precision for it to work properly. I'll check the video, thanks.
Many people just rely on bike shops to do their adjustments. You should try to just do it yourself correctly.
My first Rival bike had bad front shifting. Brought it back to the shop a few times, they could not get it right, and told me "that's just how SRAM is". You can see how BS answers like that quickly become the commonly held belief.

I watched the video, with literally no bike repair background, and set it up correctly. Now I do all my own bike builds and maintenance.

For the big ring, I recommend setting the limit screw and tension so you can just barely over-push the front derailleur, and when you let it go, it sits perfectly.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:32 AM
  #7  
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i have a sram rival fd, never had an issue on chain drop.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Debusama View Post
I do want to here that, it's better to be able to adjust something than to have to buy a new derailleur.
Excellent attitude! Here are pics of my front derailleur. If your is higher than this, it's the most likely cause of your chain overshoot. Sorry about the cameraphone quality but I just snapped them 30 seconds ago.

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Old 03-18-12, 10:39 AM
  #9  
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The pic with the chain on the inner ring helps more. You can see that the derailleur is just barely higher than the outer ring.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:53 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by kbro1986 View Post
I use full sram force. no issues.
+1, 2011. Clanky and loud but luv it.
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Old 03-18-12, 11:19 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ThinLine View Post
+1, 2011. Clanky and loud but luv it.
+1 As well. No front derailleur issues with Force. Red, on the other hand, has been acting up as of late. Me thinks the new 2012 Yaw FD will be worth getting.
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Old 03-18-12, 11:42 AM
  #12  
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I have 2011 Sram Red and while i can tweak it to give me minimal problems, its always getting tweaked out of adjustment on a regular basis. I've had no problems with shimano fds. I have a 2012 Red Yaw FD coming to me Monday morning since Velonews reported 9/10 on backwards compatability and give that a try.
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Old 03-18-12, 12:22 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
...I recommend setting the limit screw and tension so you can just barely over-push the front derailleur, and when you let it go, it sits perfectly.
Cable tension is critical, it must be taut, but not so much as to prevent the micro return movement when the lever is released, once the correct balance is achieved adjusting for stretch later is simple. The front derailleur is only a slave, it's all about setting cable tension for the shifter to work as intended.

I have a Force front derailleur and have never dropped the chain to the outside.
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Old 03-18-12, 12:30 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
Excellent attitude! Here are pics of my front derailleur. If your is higher than this, it's the most likely cause of your chain overshoot. Sorry about the cameraphone quality but I just snapped them 30 seconds ago.

Thanks for showing my those pictures, I think mine might be slightly higher. I'm off to watch the video and try to adjust it.... crap, wrong picture
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Old 03-18-12, 04:45 PM
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I have two bikes, both Sram. One is full Rival and the other has a mix of Red and Force. They both shift the front well, but the Rival bike, which was set up by the LBS, shifts a little bit better than the Red/Force bike which I set up. It does take a bit to set up the front derailleur on a Sram group set, but they can work well. I have found that cable tension is very important to get them to work smoothly.
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Old 03-18-12, 05:39 PM
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User error
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Old 03-18-12, 06:08 PM
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My Force FD was throwing my chain inward when i shifted into my small ring. I read up on how to adjust the limit screws properly and have it set where i haven't thrown it in months. I have a chain catcher on there now just in case it happens again but i think adjusting the limit screws and cable tension will solve your problem.
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Old 03-18-12, 06:36 PM
  #18  
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Sorry to hear about the issues with your FD. I just purchased a complete SRAM Force group for my bike and have been having flawless performance.

I work as a mechanic at a shop so my skill level is probably higher than the average person when it comes to tuning drivetrains. After setting up the bike and taking it for its first ride I worked and tuned the drivetrain for quite a while. The positioning of the FD is very important. I luckily only had to do some very minor adjustments after initially setting up my FD to get it working flawlessly. The RD took a bit of work for it to be as quiet as my Shimano stuff but I'm fine with that.

Don't give up. I'd say you need to find someone who has experience with SRAM drivetrains and have them set it up right. After riding Campy (Chorus) and Shimano (DA), Force is definitely my favorite to ride. I love the quick punch of the downshifts, and the up-shift on the front rings is the snappiest I've experienced yet. The brakes work beautifully and the hoods are the best feeling and looking I've seen.

One more thing: a trick I like to use in order to never drop chains is adjusting your FD so when your in the smallest ring in the front and the largest ring in the back you have some slight chain rub. Its worked well for me and I'd rather have rub on a gear I use infrequently than be dropping my chain.
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Old 03-19-12, 10:32 AM
  #19  
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OK, so in looking at the derailleur from above, it didn't appear to be exactly parallel with the chain (on big/small/ or outermost gears front and back), so I rotated it slightly and did a test ride. During the ride, I went out of my way to shift more frequently, and it had been shifting beautifully until, as as I was transitioning from a flat to a mild grade (maybe 2.5%), I shifted with a light load on the chain and it jammed between the derailleur and the big ring After I unjammed it, I could still move the derailleur, but it wouldn't quite go onto the big ring. I suspect that during the jam, the cable slid out from under the mounting bolt a little and loosened. I looked at the video from Sram, and there were parts of the procedure that could only be done on a brand new derailleur with the limit screws set to wherever they come from the factory. I'm going back to the drawing board now, and I'm going to try setting it up according to this procedure https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...ur-adjustments. I attached a picture if how it was before I adjusted anything.
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Old 03-19-12, 10:48 AM
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jammed chain sounds like your high limit is too tight and/or the derailleur is installed too low. I would check the limit first. that said, starting from scratch with the park tool step-by-step isn't a bad idea.


if you take more pics, try making sure the room is well-lit and don't use flash on the camera / phone. you can also light it from the side with a flashlight, but no flash on the camera is the key to close-up shots.
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Old 03-19-12, 11:02 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
jammed chain sounds like your high limit is too tight and/or the derailleur is installed too low. I would check the limit first. that said, starting from scratch with the park tool step-by-step isn't a bad idea.


if you take more pics, try making sure the room is well-lit and don't use flash on the camera / phone. you can also light it from the side with a flashlight, but no flash on the camera is the key to close-up shots.
yeah, the blackberry kind of just always flashes. I might have enough sunshine this afternoon to bring it outside to take the pictures after I have readjusted everything, so if it still has issues, someone might be able to see what is wrong.
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Old 03-20-12, 08:17 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
jammed chain sounds like your high limit is too tight and/or the derailleur is installed too low. I would check the limit first. that said, starting from scratch with the park tool step-by-step isn't a bad idea.


if you take more pics, try making sure the room is well-lit and don't use flash on the camera / phone. you can also light it from the side with a flashlight, but no flash on the camera is the key to close-up shots.
I started from scratch and followed the park procedure to set it up. It's back to doing exactly the same thing it was doing before I posted the first time. I'm going on a 3-day riding trip this weekend and I really don't want to be screwing around with this thing all weekend, I think I'll just put my 105 derailleur on as I know I can get that one working. I may try again though when I get back. Unfortunately I squandered small window sunshine between finishing work and sundown on a mountain bike ride, so all I have are the crappy cell phone pics in my poorly lit basement. This is how it currently looks. As it is, it shifts onto the small ring fine, but it will only sift onto the big chain ring with the chain on the smallest few cogs of the cassette and an throws the chain to the outside of the chain ring about every 5 shifts. in the middle or inside parts of the cassette, it won't shift onto the big ring at all.
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Old 03-20-12, 08:56 AM
  #23  
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It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like the back of your FD is angled too much to the outside.
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Old 03-20-12, 09:38 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by brian416 View Post
It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like the back of your FD is angled too much to the outside.
Yeah, I thought that too just based on the picture, but in person it I didn't see it. I may try turning it in a touch I've also considered releasing a little cable tension and doing some test shifts on the trainer with a little load if it appears to be working on the stand (unfortunately there will be no outdoor test-ride as it's currently snowing) I'm really stressing out because I'm going through the trouble to get out of town for a good weekend of training rides in warmer weather, and I don't want it ruined by this derailleur.
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Old 03-20-12, 02:24 PM
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First adjust (screw in) the limit screw so the chain won't fall to the outside, then increase cable tension to the point the chain will move to the big ring when on a low gear cog.
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