Adjusting derailleurs....hard?

The duke

Active Member
I am a non-mechanical, non-handy person. My emtb has been shifting like crap. When I push hard on the pedals, the crank slips. I need to press the shifter twice to get it to change gears once.


I brought my bike in to be adjusted after 60 days...and within 30 days from that, shifting was noisy and inconsistent. After another 90 days, I brought it in for a tune up. But a couple of bangs on the derailleur while aggressively mountain biking and it's gotten bad again. Putting chain grease on the derailleur seems to have made it worse.

How hard is it to adjust myself? Will I only make it worse? Can anyone recommend a gold standard YouTube video to follow along with?
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
A cable adjustment usually works unless something is damaged. Usually the cable stretches and turning the barrel counter clockwise or out fixes everything.
 

Ebiker01

Active Member
It is your chain , needs replacement. That’s why is slipping when applying hard pressure.
And also have the rear wheel Checked for trueness then can start the der. Adjusting. That can affect the shifting.

It’s easy if you know how the 2 screws , the cable tension , the barrel adjusters work.

If you want to learn it will take 1-2hours to practice and paying attention to the small details.

Imo i would take it to a shop , if not a lot of time available.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I use this old Sheldon Brown web page: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html to true up the derailleurs on my 6 ebikes and MTB's.

The problem I experience most is the derailleur hanger bracket gets out of alignment. It can be caused by the occasional spill or any rough handling of the bike.

I bought this alignment tool from Park and use it regularly to check the hangers.


42106

Not cheap but it's paid for itself in saved visits to my LBS.
 

Rick53

Member
I am a non-mechanical, non-handy person. My emtb has been shifting like crap. When I push hard on the pedals, the crank slips. I need to press the shifter twice to get it to change gears once.


I brought my bike in to be adjusted after 60 days...and within 30 days from that, shifting was noisy and inconsistent. After another 90 days, I brought it in for a tune up. But a couple of bangs on the derailleur while aggressively mountain biking and it's gotten bad again. Putting chain grease on the derailleur seems to have made it worse.

How hard is it to adjust myself? Will I only make it worse? Can anyone recommend a gold standard YouTube video to follow along with?
When you say you aren't handy . Have you ever Tried ? I ask because I grew up with 4 Brothers who did all the Mechanical and Wood working around the House > I never had to do any . So I thought Like You I couldn't . Once I started to try It's pretty simple : I've rebuilt Carbs ,engines , Guns ,Guitars etc. I would suggest you get a Work stand and learn how to adjust you derailleurs : Which is mainly your cables : To keep any Bike with a chain operating at it's peak . Minor tweaks are required at least every 30 days . Go and BUY a Park Tool Work Stand : Then Get on You tube and watch their videos

I'd never even considered doing a valve job on an engine : Last year I completely rebuilt a John Deere Tractor engine : Even rebuilt the Carburetor and installed a New Ignition Module : Would have cost me $1500.00 > Doing it Myself I spent less then $400.00. I'd never done anything like this : Youtube Videos make things simple

IF THE CHAIN IS NOISEY : ODDS ARE : It's out of alignment over the sprocket teeth. Probably hardly any at all. Normally unless you fall or have really garbage parts : The only adjustments you have to make is in your cables : The adjustments are just minor twists on the cable : Not seeing your Bike I have no real idea You likely don't need the Park Tool Derailleur Alignment gauge > You didn't take any parts off right?

Chances are you need some Shifting Lesson and a Few Minor tweaks on the front and Rear cables : Like I said Good Videos on You Tube from Park Tool >

YOU NEED TO LEARN TO DIY for basic Bike adjustments : Keep in Mind Nobody Working at an LBS is making Top Wages : Some of them might not even really know what they are doing and mess you up further :
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
A cable adjustment usually works unless something is damaged. Usually the cable stretches and turning the barrel counter clockwise or out fixes everything.
I broke a takeup wheel frame once. Shifted terribly. Wore out the wheel teeth a couple of times, too, Grass wound up in the derailleur wheel or sprocket cluster will mess up all adjustments.
 

emtbdude

Member
There are only two possible ways of adjusting derailleurs.

1. barrel adjuster for cable tension or slack. Turn left or turn right.

2. limit screws to limit left right derailleur movement. Turn screws left or turn right.

Anyone can perform these adjustments. With some practice, you should be able to become proficient enough to get your bike shifting properly again.

IME, a mechanic who works on a dozen bikes a day is going to be much more precise and much faster with this type of routine adjustment. If they are close by and have a good rep, they can likely get it shifting perfectly in just a couple of minutes. Well worth $10 to $20.
 

Johnny

Active Member
Get a derailleur adjustment tool like this one https://cyclospirit.com/products/derraileur-hanger-alignment-tool-gauge. This one is $20-30 cheaper than the parktool counterpart but of the same quality. I think you can find even cheaper alternatives that may work for your needs(the quality will be less though).

1. Check if derailleur is bent, if it is correct it with the tool.
2. Check if your cassette has any play, if so tighten it.(you will need a cassette adapter for this)
3. Check if your hub has any play in it , if so tighten it. (you will need cone wrenches or a very thin wrench for these)

If you have any of these three problems and you don't fix them you will always have bad shifting( at least on some gears) no matter how much you adjust the derailleur,so don't dismiss these checks. If you don't want to go through this yourself jusat take it to a LBS but make sure that they check all these.

After checking/fixing the top three continue with Derailleur adjustment:


1. Adjust limits
2. Tune with the barrel adjuster.


There are many good youtube how to videos on this. I found Parktool one a little long(but it is probably the best one), I think global mtb network has a simpler/shorter one.
 
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Rick53

Member
Get a derailleur adjustment tool like this one https://cyclospirit.com/products/derraileur-hanger-alignment-tool-gauge. This one is $20-30 cheaper than the parktool counterpart but of the same quality. I think you can find even cheaper alternatives that may work for your needs(the quality will be less though).

1. Check if derailleur is bent, if it is correct it with the tool.
2. Check if your cassette has any play, if so tighten it.(you will need a cassette adapter for this)
3. Check if your hub has any play in it , if so tighten it. (you will need cone wrenches or a very thin wrench for these)

If you have any of these three problems and you don't fix them you will always have bad shifting( at least on some gears) no matter how much you adjust the derailleur,so don't dismiss these checks. If you don't want to go through this yourself jusat take it to a LBS but make sure that they check all these.

After checking/fixing the top three continue with Derailleur adjustment:


1. Adjust limits
2. Tune with the barrel adjuster.


There are many good youtube how to videos on this. I found Parktool one a little long(but it is probably the best one), I think global mtb network has a simpler/shorter one.
Man
Thanks.....a little hesitant, but I'll give it a try
Is it not working Now ?? You are hesitant because it's foreign. You don't need some gimmick tools either : If you haven't fallen and bent something . Which would be really obvious . All that's involved here is very slight Minor cable adjustments : And likely if you read your manual you'd see how easy it is and part of routine maintenance You don't need any alignment hanger unless you bent the thing or you are installing a New One. Even then you don't need one : It's a Peddle bike : With a motor : But the main parts are still from a Peddle bike
 

The duke

Active Member
Man
Is it not working Now ?? You are hesitant because it's foreign. You don't need some gimmick tools either : If you haven't fallen and bent something . Which would be really obvious . All that's involved here is very slight Minor cable adjustments : And likely if you read your manual you'd see how easy it is and part of routine maintenance You don't need any alignment hanger unless you bent the thing or you are installing a New One. Even then you don't need one : It's a Peddle bike : With a motor : But the main parts are still from a Peddle bike
Thanks! I haven't crashed....am pretty gentle with my bike....but it seems to have slowly 'drifted out of alignment'. Where can I see how these "minor cable adjustments" work?
 

Johnny

Active Member
Man
Is it not working Now ?? You are hesitant because it's foreign. You don't need some gimmick tools either : If you haven't fallen and bent something . Which would be really obvious . All that's involved here is very slight Minor cable adjustments : And likely if you read your manual you'd see how easy it is and part of routine maintenance You don't need any alignment hanger unless you bent the thing or you are installing a New One. Even then you don't need one : It's a Peddle bike : With a motor : But the main parts are still from a Peddle bike
Derailleur adjustment tool is a gimmick ?
 

Rick53

Member
Derailleur adjustment tool is a gimmick ?
IMO yeah :Although I should have elaborated why I said that . A derailleur is usually mounted with a bracket > If it's bent Just buy a New one . The tool is fine if you're a Shop which might encounter multiple bent brackets over the years it's in Service. For the average Home owner it's far Cheaper to just buy a New Bracket : 1: You really have to smack a Rock or Tree hard to bend your bracket . If you do you usually ruin more then just the Bracket :

It also doesn't sound like the OP has a Bent bracket : It sounds like his chain isn't centered over the Sprocket teeth correctly . That is a barrel adjustment fix : In reading over this Thread I'm guessing the OP is More confused then before he posted:

I've been fixing My own Bikes for 45 years: 90% of the time it's been cheaper to Buy a New part then it is to purchase the tool to fix the part .

I made the comment I did because the first thing the OP stated was his lack of mechanical ability
 
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The duke

Active Member
IMO yeah :Although I should have elaborated why I said that . A derailleur is usually mounted with a bracket > If it's bent Just buy a New one . The tool is fine if you're a Shop which might encounter multiple bent brackets over the years it's in Service. For the average Home owner it's far Cheaper to just buy a New Bracket : 1: You really have to smack a Rock or Tree hard to bend your bracket . If you do you usually ruin more then just the Bracket :

It also doesn't sound like the OP has a Bent bracket : It sounds like his chain isn't centered over the Sprocket teeth correctly . That is a barrel adjustment fix : In reading over this Thread I'm guessing the OP is More confused then before he posted:

I've been fixing My own Bikes for 45 years: 90% of the time it's been cheaper to Buy a New part then it is to purchase the tool to fix the part .

I made the comment I did because the first thing the OP stated was his lack of mechanical ability
Thanks Rick! I just had lunch with a couple of cyclists. They told me to be careful because if I went too far into adjusting myself, I could get lost. Does that sound plausible?
 

Johnny

Active Member
IMO yeah :Although I should have elaborated why I said that . A derailleur is usually mounted with a bracket > If it's bent Just buy a New one . The tool is fine if you're a Shop which might encounter multiple bent brackets over the years it's in Service. For the average Home owner it's far Cheaper to just buy a New Bracket : 1: You really have to smack a Rock or Tree hard to bend your bracket . If you do you usually ruin more then just the Bracket :

It also doesn't sound like the OP has a Bent bracket : It sounds like his chain isn't centered over the Sprocket teeth correctly . That is a barrel adjustment fix : In reading over this Thread I'm guessing the OP is More confused then before he posted:

I've been fixing My own Bikes for 45 years: 90% of the time it's been cheaper to Buy a New part then it is to purchase the tool to fix the part .

I made the comment I did because the first thing the OP stated was his lack of mechanical ability
I am sorry I can't agree with you on this. My experience has been very different and when I talked to other cyclists who has mtb's they all agreed that a derailleur adjustment tool is a must have for most home mechanics.

Sometimes even out of the factory, bikes may come with bent derailleurs moreover bending a derailleur is actually quite easy, a hit on the door while bringing your bike inside is enough.

For the bicycle I have, the hangers cost about $15-20 a piece(oem costs more) which is not really what I call cheap. You can flatten a hanger many times before it breaks hence the price of a derailleur adjustment tool is significantly cheaper than going through hanger replacements every time you have a bent hanger.

Since he admits that he is inexperienced, one can only speculate about the real reason why he is having the shifting problem so I tried to give him pointers so that he can check youtube videos/internet without getting lost.
 

Rick53

Member
IMO yeah :Although I should have elaborated why I said that . A derailleur is usually mounted with a bracket > If it's bent Just buy a New one . The tool is fine if you're a Shop which might encounter multiple bent brackets over the years it's in Service. For the average Home owner it's far Cheaper to just buy a New Bracket : 1: You really have to smack a Rock or Tree hard to bend your bracket . If you do you usually ruin more then just the Bracket :

It also doesn't sound like the OP has a Bent bracket : It sounds like his chain isn't centered over the Sprocket teeth correctly . That a barrel adjustment fix : In reading over the Thread I'm guessing the OP is More confused then before he posted
I am sorry I can't agree with you on this. My experience has been very different and when I talked to other cyclists who has mtb's they all agreed that a derailleur adjustment tool is a must have for most home mechanics.

Sometimes even out of the factory, bikes may come with bent derailleurs moreover bending a derailleur is actually quite easy, a hit on the door while bringing your bike inside is enough.

For the bicycle I have, the hangers cost about $15-20 a piece(oem costs more) which is not really what I call cheap. You can flatten a hanger many times before it breaks hence the price of a derailleur adjustment tool is significantly cheaper than going through hanger replacements every time you have a bent hanger.

Since he admits that he is inexperienced, one can only speculate about the real reason why he is having the shifting problem so I tried to give him pointers so that he can check youtube videos/internet without getting lost.
You are welcome: