How to adjust the gearshift cable on a bicycle

How to properly adjust the rear derailleur

To independently adjust the rear derailleur on a bicycle, you just need to strictly follow the step-by-step instructions from specialists in this process. So, follow all the steps:

  • Move the chain to the small sprocket with the right shifter.
  • Unscrew the fixing screw and release the cable.
  • Find the screw marked “H”. Use a screwdriver to adjust this screw so that the smallest star lies in the same plane with the rollers, which are located in the foot (frame).
  • Pull the cable by hand and fix it with the screw.
  • Check the operation of the switch, and if it does not work correctly, the chain does not switch well to large stars, then you need to tighten the cable harder (either with the help of a drum or with a switch).
  • Move the chain to the largest sprocket available in the cassette.
  • Find the screw marked “L” and adjust it so that the tab (frame) and the sprocket are in the same plane. in this case, the crossover will not be able to get into the spokes of the front wheel.

How to fix defects

The speed switch will work perfectly and the bike itself will be with a new (or not very old) cable, with absolutely intact shirts (and not dry!) ​​And not deformed (or in a small volume) stars and chain.

If the cable is just stretched, then you just need to pull it up. But if the cable breaks, then you cannot do without replacing this element. The process of replacing the cable is not difficult, the main thing is to strictly adhere to the recommendations of the specialists:

  • unscrew the cable fixing screw, which is located on the cross-over;
  • pull the cable out of the shirts;
  • if necessary, disassemble the shifter and pull the cable out of it;
  • a new cable must be inserted into a special groove in the shifter, and it is the metal tip of the cable that must enter into the groove;
  • lubricate the entire cable with a special grease, you do not need to spare the consumable;
  • pass the cable through the shirts;
  • there are special grooves on the frame, into which shirts are tucked;
  • fasten the cable with a screw on the front end.

In case of poor gear shifting, pay attention to the return spring. it must be clean and lubricated. To achieve this, you just need to rinse the spring under running water, dry it completely and lubricate it thoroughly.

If the frame of the rear derailleur is crooked, then this can only mean one thing. the cock is bent. If this is not critical, then you can correct the cock with your hands. you need to take the rear switch in your hand, which is fixed on the cock, and hold the frame with the other hand. Slowly pull out the problematic transmission element (cock) until relatively even setting.

Note: this “repair” of the cock is a temporary solution to the problem of shifting gears. The fact is that the rooster is a consumable that needs to be changed in time, and not constantly repaired / pulled.

How To Change Your Gear Cables

In some cases, the bike owner pays attention to a deformed rear derailleur (the front derailleur rarely suffers on impact). it can also be returned to its original position with the help of hands. But if the rear derailleur is deformed too much, then it is advisable to replace it.

Note: After performing specific manipulations to repair bent / deformed parts, you should not use the bike for too long. this may end in a fall, another breakdown at the most inopportune moments. And in some cases, such carelessness can lead to a traffic accident.!

Why is there a violation of gear shifting

To understand what action should be taken to adjust gear shifting, you need to understand what causes may lead to the problem in question. Experts identify several such predisposing factors:

  • deformation of the rooster;
  • stretching the cable;
  • deformation of the speed switch;
  • malfunctioning return spring.
adjust, cable, bicycle

How to adjust the speed switch on a bike

It often happens that either the speeds on the bike are not switched clearly, or some new transmission elements have been installed. In this case, you will need to adjust the speed switch and it is quite possible to do this work on your own, without contacting specialized workshops.

Necessary terminology

To understand the process of self-adjusting the speed switch, you need to know the definition of some specific terms, otherwise it will be difficult to understand the instructions.

  • Speed ​​switch (crossover). This is a transmission element that is specifically responsible for gear shifting. If there is a rear crossover, then it also acts as a support for the tension of the bicycle chain. The crossover (back and front) can be described as follows: it is a parallelogram mechanism equipped with a powerful return spring, on which the frame is fixed. The rear derailleur has two rollers inside the frame. if the level of cable tension increases, then the frame shifts the chain to large stars, and if this cable tension decreases, then the chain is shifted towards small stars with the help of the frame. The mechanism of the front derailleur works in the same way.
  • Shifter. It is designed to switch speeds by changing the tension level of the cable. Most often, the shifter is located on the handlebars, but in some models of bicycles it can also be located on the lower tube of the frame triangle. Note:shifters and speed switches have a common connection on the steering wheel (this is provided by a cable) and are covered with a jacket.
  • Cassette. This is the name of the rear transmission unit, which consists of stars of different sizes (of different diameters and with a different number of teeth) and is installed on the rear hub drum. If the bike is old, then a ratchet is used instead of a drum in the rear hub.
  • Cock. It is a metal part that helps maintain the integrity of the frame and rear derailleur in the event that the vehicle has been hit. The rooster is always attached to the frame, and a cross-over is already attached to this metal part. When a blow occurs, it is this very cock that breaks, and the frame and the speed switch (crossover) remain intact.
  • System. This is the name of the front transmission unit, which consists of stars of different diameters and with a different number of teeth. These stars are fastened to each other and the connecting rods with special hollow bolts on the connecting rods, but you need to know that there are no hollow bolts in cheap bicycles. the stars and connecting rods are riveted to each other.
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How to adjust the front derailleur

There are also clear and simple step-by-step instructions for adjusting the front derailleur:

  • Shifting the chain to a smaller star.
  • Unscrew the fixing screw and release the cable.
  • We find the screw marked “L”, with its help we adjust the position of the frame so that the chain is between the plates of the frame, but at the same time does not touch them.
  • We stretch the cable, fix it with a screw.
  • Now we move the chain in the cassette to a smaller sprocket. it is convenient to do this using the rear derailleur.
  • With the front derailleur, move the chain to the middle sprocket and look. if the chain on the second one touches the outer side of the frame everywhere, then you need to increase the cable tension using the drum located on the left shifter.
  • We switch the gear to the largest sprocket in the cassette and check. if the chain touches the walls of the frame, you need to move the last element so that the chain is in the middle. This manipulation can be done using the screw marked “H”.

How to adjust the speed switch on a bike

Having become the happy owner of a bike, you should be prepared for the fact that over time you will have to carry out basic maintenance of the bike yourself. Of course, if we are talking about a serious malfunction, it is best to seek help from specialists, but many manipulations can be safely performed on your own.

Adjusting the front derailleur

  • We put the speed switch in the following ratio: the smallest star in the front and the largest in the back;
  • We unscrew the cable;
  • Using the screw of the limiter for low gears, we adjust the position of the frame, it should be at a distance of no more than 3 mm from the chain;
  • Stretch the front derailleur cable slightly;
  • Switch the speed to the middle sprocket and check if the chain is touching the outer frame. If it touches, it is necessary to tighten the cable more;
  • We put the derailleur on the smallest sprocket and check how easy it is to change gears. If the switch does not work, adjust the high gear limiter screw.

Setting up the rear derailleur

  • Setting the switch to the smallest star.
  • Loosen the cable. To do this, unscrew the clamp screw located on the rear derailleur.
  • Putting the front derailleur chain on the middle sprocket.
  • We check the operation of the chain. To do this, you just need to twist the pedals. If the chain starts to fall, adjust the high gear stop screw. As a result, your rear derailleur and the smallest sprocket in front should be on the same line.
  • Pull the cable tightly and tighten the bolt, which is responsible for fixing the tightening.
  • We begin to test the switch by clicking each speed from the lowest to the highest. If in a certain place the system fails, then adjust the tension of the cable until all speeds are easy to switch.

When adjusting the speed switch, be sure to remember that all manipulations with the cable must be done smoothly and very carefully. Be patient and avoid sudden movements. When loosening or tightening the bolts, do it gradually, no more than one turn at a time.

Remember that speed tuning is a very important issue that affects the overall performance of your bike. Therefore, take the drive mechanism very seriously, and once you have mastered the technique of setting speeds, carry it out systematically.!

Steering wheel switches

The switches here are exactly the same as on the rear wheel. They are absolutely no different, and even located exactly the same.

Reasons for the malfunction of the rear spreader

The reasons can be varied. this is a bent cock or derailleur, poor cable tension, corrosion on parts, etc. Usually such problems occur if the derailleur is incorrectly set or no one has used a bicycle for a long time, which has caused corrosion on the parts of the diverter and its movement is difficult.

Adjusting screws on the switch

Despite the variety of parallelogram switches sold, the principle of their operation is the same, and therefore, they have a similar design. Usually they all have 5 adjusting elements:

  • Embedded bolt with nut for fastening the cable.
  • Hollow screw with cable tension drum.
  • Thrower travel stop screw to largest sprocket. denoted by letter L.
  • Thrower travel stop screw to smallest sprocket. marked with H.
  • Chain tension screw.

Some inexpensive derailleurs may not have a cable tension drum and chain tension screw. But there is an adjusting drum on the steering wheel shifters. So you can adjust the tension of the cable directly in motion, without forgetting to throw the chain onto the smallest sprocket.

Rear derailleur setting

It is convenient to lubricate, adjust and repair chain drive units with the rear wheel raised. To do this, you can tilt the bike, leaning on the side stand, hang the bike on hooks or an ironing board, ask a friend for help. A rear wheel stand will help out well in this situation.

  • clean the derailleur and sprocket cassette well;
  • place the chain at the front on the middle sprocket and at the back on the smallest sprocket.

The rear spreader must be cleaned to properly set up. Namely: clean the tensioner rollers from dirty grease, remove the blades of grass and sticks from the sprocket cassette, wash and lubricate the chain. Even after this simple work, the switch starts to work much better.

  • screw in the tension screws on the rear spreader and at the shifter all the way;
  • pull the cable out of the retaining screw.

It is not necessary to completely remove the cable from the bike, but it will not hurt to inspect it for damage and lubricate it.

Setting the travel limit to the smallest sprocket: crouch at the back of the bike and turn the adjusting screw H, set the thrower so that its rollers and the smallest sprocket in the cassette are on the same straight mowing line.

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There is one trick here: if the spreader is no longer new, and it staggers, then you can adjust it more or less accurately only by placing the frame not along a straight mowing line, but literally moving a hair to the right, away from the wheel.

If the setting is done correctly, then when the wheel rotates, the chain does not try to jump to the side and works silently.

  • we fix the cable with a mounting bolt, pulling the cable not with pliers, but by hand;
  • we tighten the cable by rotating the hollow screw with a drum, so that the spreader easily switches from one sprocket to another and back with one click and pressing the shifter.

It is enough to adjust the transition only between two adjacent stars, and the shift will be adjusted on all the sprockets of the cassette. This is the advantage of the index gear change system.

If a groove is provided for the cable in the clamp, then make sure that it hits exactly in it, and does not squeeze, being fixed incorrectly.

Setting the travel limit to the largest sprocket:

  • we loosen the adjusting screw L so that it does not interfere with the movement of the spreader;
  • turning the pedals, we throw the chain to the largest sprocket at the back;
  • by turning the adjusting screw L, align the spreader in the position when its rollers and the largest sprocket of the cassette are exactly on the same mowing line.

Again, if your bike has a knobby derailleur, then it is advisable to move its frame slightly away from the straight mowing line, but towards the wheel when adjusting. Sometimes this is just a little bit is not enough for the wobbly derailleur to throw the chain onto the largest sprocket in the back.

  • we transfer the chain to the smallest sprocket in the front and the largest in the back;
  • if, when the chain rotates, the upper tensioner roller touches the sprocket in the cassette, then tighten the chain tension screw. It is necessary to set the gap between them, approximately equal to 5 mm;
  • move the chain to the largest sprocket in the front and the smallest at the back and check the chain tension in this position.

Fine tuning tips

  • you need to set the minimum speed, that is, at the back, the chain stands on the largest star, and in front on the smallest.
  • slightly loosen the tension of the cable and turn the screw L until there is a 1mm gap between the chain and the frame
  • we firmly fix the cable, before inserting it into a special groove.
  • we set the highest speed
  • adjustable with screw H the gap between the chain and the inner side of the frame
  • we check the performance
  • if the switching is tight, then we adjust with screws to the desired state
  • After all the manipulations, the bicycle should be washed and lubricated all parts (chain, sprockets, etc.)

Steering wheel switches

If the shifter on the handlebars breaks, it will not be difficult to understand this, since the cable tension will immediately weaken, or it will simply stop pulling. Chasing expensive Sram, Shimano components in the hope that they will not work better is not worth it. For an ordinary inexpensive bike, the speed of gear changes and the weight of components are not as important as the maintainability and cheapness of replacement parts.

about setting the rear derailleur in a short

How to adjust the front derailleur on a bike

Adjusting the front derailleur is a little easier than the rear derailleur. Here, an important factor is its correct and reliable installation on the frame, and everything else is done within 15 minutes.

The correct front derailleur position is when the chain is on the largest sprocket and a distance of 1-3mm is maintained from sprocket to frame. Then we can assume that the switch is set correctly.

Cables and shirts

Special attention should also be paid to cables with shirts. The shirt is the sheath of the cable. And special attention should be paid to them for the simple reason that if the cable or shirt is damaged, then at the most crucial moment it can break, and subsequently switching speeds will be impossible.

three are SIS braid, SIS-SP braid, and twisted braid. Based on the selected cable, the correct shirt should also be selected. Otherwise, it may happen that the cable will rub the entire sheath, and it will fail.

Design and principle of operation of the front crossover

The design of the front derailleur is very simple. We will consider all its components, as well as their purpose below.

  • Clamp. This part attaches the front derailleur to the bike frame.
  • Parallelogram. Parallelogram-shaped hinged spring-loaded part. It is the main moving part of the front bulkhead, to which the frame is attached.
  • A guide frame that has an outer and an inner part. A chain runs inside her.
  • Adjusting bolts L and H (stops). There are two of them. They restrict the movement of the guide frame towards the frame (L) and away from it (H).
  • Cable fixing bolt. Locks the gear shift cable.

The principle of operation is based on a simple collision of the chain on the desired star. When the gear is shifted from a larger (in diameter) star to a smaller one, the cable tension is weakened, and the switch spring pulls the parallelogram with the guide frame a certain distance towards the frame. The outside of the frame pushes against the chain, causing it to bounce onto the smaller sprocket. When switching from a smaller star to a larger one, the opposite process occurs. The derailleur cable tightens and moves the parallelogram and guide frame away from the frame. The inner part of the frame presses on the chain, and thanks to the special shape of the frame itself, as well as special hooks on the sprockets of the front system, the chain engages and throws it onto a large sprocket.

This design provides limiting bolts (L and H) against which the parallelogram rests when reaching the end positions. If the setting of the front derailleur stops is not correct, the chain will jump off the carriage or connecting rod.

Possible errors when setting the rear derailleur

Question: What if I unscrew the adjusting screw to the end, and the chain still does not switch to 1 speed lower? Answer: Most likely you pulled the cable poorly by hand from step 4, or you did it with insufficiently tightened cable tension adjusting screws from step 3, and it is also possible that you did not pull the cable at the highest speed on the shifter described in step 1.

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Question: I reached stage 7, but the chain was not on the smallest star why? Answer: You may have pulled the cable too tight by hand in step 4, in which case try to loosen the cable tension slightly with the adjusting screw. If the chain still does not go to the extreme small star, repeat steps 1 to 4.

How to adjust bike speed. chain skew


The tools you may need are a Phillips screwdriver and possibly a 10 or 8 hex key or wrench depending on the switch. It is also very convenient to carry out work on a special bike rack, but you can also cope without it.

Reasons for the deterioration of the rear derailleur:

Lack of service. Most often, when buying a bike, the derailleur works well and flawlessly, but after the season of operation, you can replace the deterioration in performance or even the chain jumping off the extreme sprockets. In 70% of cases, setting the rear derailleur helps, but sometimes this does not help either, then the cable and shirt should be replaced, as they become clogged with dirt and interfere with the smooth running of the cable in the shirt. Usually bike maintenance is done once a year, in which the switch settings are turned on.

Sometimes, to save money, they lubricate the cable with grease or any other lubricant and it turns out to improve the work for a while, but later the lubricant attracts dust to itself and the work deteriorates again, so you will have to do this procedure more often than you would like.

Deterioration of the switch itself. Everything ever breaks down and the derailleur on a bike is no exception. Most often, the parallelogram axes of the switch wear out, due to which a small backlash is formed, which does not allow the correct setting of the switch.

Derailleur sprockets are worn. Over time, plastic sprockets wear out due to which the chain no longer holds on to them, which leads to poor operation of the derailleur. Also, the sprocket axles can wear out and the sprocket will dangle unnecessarily on the axle, which leads to poor shifting.

Curve cock or the switch itself. When you fall or hit something with the switch, the cock will most often bend (break), since it is made specially from a weaker alloy than the switch itself (to keep the more expensive part intact). The curvature does not allow the chains to stand up exactly, which reduces the efforts to adjust the crossover to zero. Read how to straighten a cock with your hands.

Cable problems. Sometimes, during installation or when dropped, the cable may bend strongly, after which the place of the bend will prevent the smooth movement of the cable in the shirt. In this case, it needs to be replaced.

It also happens that the cable gets loose (that’s why you should use the ends of the cables) and subsequently one of the thin threads begins to separate from the main bundle, as a result, interferes with the normal movement of the cable in the shirt. Sometimes one thread in the cable can break and also prevent it from working normally, here you can isolate it from the main bundle along the entire length of the cable. But the best option would be to replace the cable with a new one.

If a new cable was installed, then sometimes after a certain number of kilometers (about 100 km), you can notice a deterioration in switching. this is due to the fact that the cable is slightly stretched. In this case, it will be necessary to tighten the cable tension bolt a little.

adjust, cable, bicycle

Important! If at least one of the 5 problems you have, it will not be possible to adjust the switch perfectly!

Operation: how to tune the front speed row on a bike with two or three sprockets

Setting up the front derailer occurs only after debugging the rear derailleur. Before starting the process, be sure to check two parameters here:

  • parallelism of the inner frame of the chain;
  • the gap between the largest sprocket and the outer frame of the dereiler (should be about 2 mm).

The procedure responsible for the task of how to adjust the forward speeds on a bicycle includes three key transitions.

Adjusting the brakes

The brake is another critical element that cycling is impossible without, although some daredevils try to do it. If you want to ride the streets without endangering your life, you cannot do without regular inspection and adjustment of this system.

Mountain bikes usually have three types of brakes: rim brakes, also known as V-breaks, and disc brakes, either mechanical or hydraulic. The mechanism of operation of each of these types has its own characteristics, so their setting has certain specifics. Let’s consider the adjustment process using rim brakes as an example, since they are the most common and popular.

V-breaks use the wheel rim as a working surface. During braking, the cable is stretched and both pads are pressed against the rim at the same time. The cables stretch over time, so they need to be tightened periodically. Pads are subject to wear and should be replaced in time.

Rim brakes

Before proceeding with the adjustment of the brakes, it is necessary to release the end of the cable from the retainer on the lever. To give the block the correct position, it is necessary to loosen the nut that secures it to the lever. When you press the brake, the pads are set in such a way that they are pressed against the rim with their entire surface. The pads and the tire must never touch.

At the same time, the edge of the pad should not go beyond the border of the rim, otherwise it will wear off unevenly and a protrusion will appear on it. Now the position needs to be fixed with the fastening nuts.

How to adjust your bike’s shifter cables

Rim brake diagram

The next item in our program will be setting the levers. The purpose of this procedure is to simultaneously press the pads against the rim. The levers should be adjusted using special screws that are located near the place of their attachment to the fork. By pressing the handbrake, we determine which of the pads comes into contact with the rim earlier than the other. Now, by manipulating the screws, you need to adjust the springs and achieve simultaneous touch.