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Triple brifter woes


Old 07-02-18, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
I had this exact problem on my triple road bike. When putting new housing and cable on this spring my front shifting wound up the way you described. So the shifting became much worse than it was even with the old housing/inner wire. This led me to really examine the Shimano front derailleur set up procedure. Normally I would say to follow the directions exactly and in the correct sequence. In the case of the triple brifter (Mine is a Dura Ace 7703) combined with a compatible front derailleur (in my case an Ultegra 6603 with an Ultegra 6603 Triple crank) following the set up brochure for the 6603 FD leads to a cable that is TOO TIGHT! That early step after setting the low and high stops, where you shift into the “granny ring” then pull the slop out of the cable is where I believe the set up gets messed up. Why this is the case I cannot tell you.

I honestly thought I irreparably broke my 7703 triple front shifter. The super hard shifts and having to settle for not using the big ring was the same symptom I was experiencing. Very lousy to be on a group ride where you have as much fitness as any other rider out there yet get dropped multiple times during terrain changes while you fuss around and pray that the gear you are seeking to be in will cooperate.

Another downside to this “too tight” cable setup: trim clicks are not there any more or just barely there.

Here’s how I got them back: the whole procedure took like 5 seconds to do (if I recall correctly) - shift your brifter into the middle ring. While in the middle ring loosen the FD cable pinch bolt slightly. Let the FD cage start to slip toward the granny side but not completely, then tighten the cable again. Now check your shifting. You should now have EASY clicks going middle to big and back down to middle. Same with middle to granny and back up again. When you get it right, you’ll know. Why Shimano doesn’t explain this better is a mystery to me.

You will still need to play around with adjuster barrel while in the middle ring to eliminate rub in your biggest rear cog (or in my case I settled for 2nd biggest - not rubbing).

When in the granny ring you may now have a cable that is ever so slightly slack. My advice here is to resist the temptation to loosen the cable in order to remove the slack. In this case it is needed for some reason. My theory is that my “loosening the cable” on the fly dynamic adjustment is that it may somehow relax the built in trim mechanisms to make them functional. Also, resist the temptation to take up slack in the cable using your adjuster barrel - this will only mess up the setting for any “trim” ability built into your front shifter.

i hope you find this helpful. I suspect that your front shifter is not broken at all - I will return-visit this thread to see if my little tweak works for you.

One final observation that occurred with me which made shifting effort higher - the bottom bracket nylon cable guide was worn out. Putting a new one on helped reduce the shifting effort even further.
I am pretty sure that your description of some slack in the cable when in granny was part of the Shimano instructions at one time. I do have a distinct memory of reading this. Can’t find the the digital source right now.
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Old 07-03-18, 07:50 AM
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Bikes: '14 CoMo Carrera, '11 CoMo Primera co-pilot, '98 Santana Visa, a Plethora of road bikes (and 1 MTB)

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Originally Posted by wtandem View Post

I am pretty sure that your description of some slack in the cable when in granny was part of the Shimano instructions at one time. I do have a distinct memory of reading this. Can’t find the the digital source right now.
Correct. Most Shimano derailleur installation instructions have you set the low limit stop, then pull the cable by hand and tighten the affixing bolt, then pulling on the cable along the down tube to "tighten things up a bit, then loosening the affixing bolt, pulling the cable tight by hand, then tightening the bolt again. This will leave some slack in the cable when in the granny gear. This procedure tends to work very well.

You can find this is most Shimano installation documents and on many LBS and indivual installation instructions published online (eg. https://www.artscyclery.com/learning...railleurs.html.)
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