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Front derailleur

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How to Adjust Your Front Derailleur How to Adjust Your Front Derailleur
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dakawan Offline
New Member

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2014
Post: #1
Front derailleur
So I screwed up and played with the front derailleur while the bike was upside down. I made the mistake of thinking the chain was rubbing on the front derailleur but it always rubs when it’s upside down. I played with the screws and managed to sprang my foot when the chain fell off.
I got a trainer and I’m using that as a stand to fix my error. But I follow the directions in my manual and have looked at tons of different directions on YouTube, which all seem to be about the same. The damn thing still rubs when in the extreme cogs 8 and 1. The middle crank which I thought would be fine rubs in almost all the cog gears.
I haven’t played with the height or angle which seems to be perfect, and the angle is spot on parallel to the chain.

Let me explain how I’m doing it.
1. Barrel Adjuster for Crank all the way in
2. Set Crank to highest gear (1)
3. Set Rear Mech to lowest gear (8)
4. Undo the Cable
5. Turn High Adjustment screw till it stops rubbing as I peddle
6. Re tighten the cable
7. Switch to Lowest Crank Gear (3)
8. Switch Rear Mech to highest gear (1)
9. Adjust the Low Adjustment Screw till it stops rubbing as I peddle
10. Done

I test it and it seems like the gaps become bigger than they should be. I don’t want to take it back to the LBS because I’ll have to hell to pay, and they seem like giant jerks. Buy a seven hundred dollar bike and it felt like they had decided I shouldn't have it. Considering what I did maybe I shouldn't.
Apr 5, 2014 05:18 AM
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DaveM Offline
Veteran Member

Posts: 1,423
Joined: Aug 2008
Post: #2
RE: Front derailleur
Eh, screwing things up is the only way to learn!

On the procedure you're following, I think you might be making a mistake, but it could just be your terminology.

When you set the inner and outer "limit" screws (adjustment screws) you want the chain on the two out chainrings, front and back and then on the two inner chainrings. Your description sounds like you are putting it on the outer in the front and inner in the back and then vice versa. [outer and inner tend to be better terms because so many people get confused with "high" and "low" gear.]

A couple other things. The outer cage of the derailleur should be parallel to the front chainring, not to the chain.

Note that as you change gears around in the back, sometimes you have to adjust the front derailleur a little to stop rubbing. It's a small movement ("trimming") the front derailleur just enough to stop the rubbing, but not so much that you change gears. That's normal on most bikes.

Worst case, most shops give you a free tune up or something on a new bike. Take it in and ask them to give it a once over. Tell the shifting seems weird. No need to tell them why. It's normal for a new bike to need a little adjusting anyway after a couple weeks as the cables stretch and things settle into place.
Apr 5, 2014 07:36 AM
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cny-man Offline
Veteran Member

Syracuse, NY
Posts: 554
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #3
RE: Front derailleur
Best not to give your own description, especially when you are using incorrect terminology. Just follow the procedure at or

To avoid confusion due to both your description and the one above:
The inner adjustment on the front is done with the chain on the innermost/smallest chainring (on the front) and the innermost/largest cog (on the rear). Chainrings is a term used exclusively for the front "gears." Also, please avoid terms like "highest" and "8th" gear - not everyone means the same thing by those terms.
Your procedure for the high gear is not correct, as the derailleur will not move as you back off the high limit screw - the cable has to be pulled to move the derailleur outward. Best to use innermost/outermost, smallest/largest (or 3rd smallest, etc) 16 tooth rear cog, etc.

Bottoming out the derailleur/cable adjustment barrel is fine. Make sure there is no tension on the cable and then adjust the inner adjustment.

To adjust the high limit just pull on the cable to shift the front derailleur. Adjust the limit screw whichever way needed so that it shifts well without rubbing in the large front and small rear combo.
Apr 5, 2014 11:32 AM
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dakawan Offline
New Member

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2014
Post: #4
RE: Front derailleur
I've been trying to adjust my front derailleur which I've probably been doing right but after reading that sheldon brown walk through I think I've been so confused because my rear derailleur isn't functioning properly either. I should correct that first. Thanks for the website reading that one paragraph put a lot of insight into my head.
Apr 5, 2014 01:18 PM
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