How to properly install the front derailleur on a bike

How to properly adjust the bike’s front derailleur?

The front derailleur performs worse than the rear derailleur because it shifts the tensioned chain to the transmitting load.

Therefore, try to switch it at idle when the chain is not tight, it will be easier for the switch to deflect the chain.

If you did everything as written, and the switch does not work well or touches the circuit, then apparently you did not finish the prestigious English school Hogwarts and you will have to pay the sorcerer. But keep in mind around the crowd of charlatans who do not know how to conjure and their magic artifacts are not real.

I strongly recommend that you set up the rear derailleur before starting the setup / adjustment of the front derailleur so that everything works correctly for you. This manual will fit all brands and models of front derailleurs: Shimano, Sram, Microshift, Campagnolo and others.

  • Prerequisites for Configuring a Switch
  • Unscrew the bolt
  • Checking the position of the switch frame
  • Working with a cable and a shifter
  • We expose the extreme position of the frame
  • Checking the switching clarity
  • Differences between road derailleur setting and MTB

Planetary hub

Sometimes you will find derailleurs right inside the rear hub, unlike the familiar derailleurs that are attached to the cock and throw the chain over the cassette. This is a planetary hub. These bushings are most commonly seen on road bikes. The advantage of such bushings is that the switching takes place without sudden jumps in the chain, which is very convenient, besides, dirt does not get on the working parts, as a result of which the switching is not so dependent on the external environment. Also, switching in the planetary hub occurs without pedaling, which means that you can switch even while standing still. The disadvantage of such bushings is that they weigh a lot, and most importantly, it is difficult to find a service that can repair them, and even more so, they cannot be repaired on your own during the trip.

To set up the front derailleur, you need not only to know how to do it, but also to conjure a little and scare away evil spirits.

Even that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to tune the front derailleur perfectly, though. Before adjusting, make sure that the cable and shirt are clean, intact, not rusty, without sharp bends or kinks. Otherwise, excessive friction of the cable on the shirt will prevent the front derailleur from being adjusted.

Procedure to adjust the front derailleur:

  • Switch the front derailleur to the smallest sprocket and the rear derailleur to the largest (depending on which sprocket the chain is on in the back, it will deviate at different distances relative to the front derailleur, and we need to adjust the extreme position).
  • Screw in the cable tension screw on the shifter, leaving 2 turns.
  • Release the cable on the front derailleur (by loosening the clamping screw). Remember how it was clamped, there is a special groove under it and when you clamp it, do not twist the cable around the screw).
  • Use screw L to set the derailleur frame so that the chain does not touch the frame with a minimum clearance (it happens that the stars or cranks are bent, so turn the pedals and make sure that the chain does not touch the frame in any position).
  • Check that the cable moves freely in the shirt, and pinch it so that it does not sag or get taut (be careful, tightening too much can cut through individual wires).
  • Shift the front derailleur to the largest sprocket and the rear derailleur to the smallest. If you cannot shift to the largest chainring, then the cable may not be tight enough. then loosen the cable tension screw just enough. Or maybe the H screw is too tight and does not start the switch, in this case, unscrew it a sufficient amount.
  • Using the screw H, set the switch frame so that the chain does not touch the frame with a minimum clearance (turn the pedals and make sure that the chain does not touch the frame in any position).
  • Change the speeds and adjust the clarity of work with the cable tension screw. In order for the switch to be better thrown onto large stars, you need to unscrew the screw, and in order to better reset it on small stars, tighten.
  • If you cannot adjust so that the chain does not touch the frame in any rear and front gears, then select the speeds at which you ride and adjust them. Neglecting combinations that are best avoided. For example, it is not recommended to include gears in which the chain is strongly bent (combination of large stars at the back and front or small stars at the back and front).

How to Change Your Front Derailleur. Replacing Your Bike’s Front Mech

Differences between road derailleur setting and MTB

There is no difference in front derailleur settings on mountain bikes and road bikes. The only thing is that the road bike uses not 3 stars, but two stars in the system of stars, which makes the tuning faster.

If you have a dual system. You will also need to complete all the points, and in the 4th step there will be no adjustment of the central position, and the tension of the cable will be adjusted when switching to the 2nd star, where there will be an adjustment of the extreme position with the screw “H”.

Set the center position of the front derailleur frame

It is necessary to transfer the chain to the center sprockets of the cassette using the rear derailleur. We switch from the first to the second speed (the chain should initially be on the 1st star), if it does not switch, then it is necessary to tighten the cable with the tension regulator (see paragraph 3.A), which is located on the shifter. We twist until the chain clearly and quickly transitions to the middle star.

Front derailleur

The front derailleur usually has more travel and requires less adjustment, so they usually start with that. In addition, the readjustment here requires less precision and is easier to repeat after the rear.

How to properly adjust the derailleur on a bike?

Before proceeding to setting the speed switch, you should understand its place in the entire drive mechanism and general settings, because, in addition to setting, the switch must be correctly set, the correct switching system must be suitable for it, and the chain must fit the stars. Problems with the switching system are not always caused by an incorrect setting, but with a poor installation or an erroneous selection of a combination of elements. In addition, by mistake, elements that do not match each other may be placed on the bike.

Preparation for work

Angle adjustment

The second problem is both installation and configuration. The entire device must be parallel to the stars of the common frame axis. This is determined by special devices or by checking the parallelism by eye: we simply bring the bike to the line of sight so that one of the edges of the wheel, hub or other landmark is on the same line and becomes “invisible”, and we check if our chain or frame does not diverge.

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In case of serious deviations, we work with the installation of the switch, you may even have to remove the device, with small ones. with special adjustment screws, if there are any on our model.

Rear derailleur

Initial checks on a rear bicycle derailleur begin with the derailleur mechanism. complex than the front, it can hide more problems in itself than can be corrected with a tweak:

  • The rooster is a special attachment, and, being usually a separate part from the frame, the rooster is damaged by falls and even serious loads, therefore it is very important to check its parallelism to the frame and, in general, its integrity.
  • Recoil spring. its defects are often perceived as problems with the cable jacket, as they look the same: switching on the loosening of the cable becomes problematic. Springs are usually changed along with the entire device.
  • The cable feed is a secondary test, on many derailleurs, especially budget Shimano, the cable runs into the rear derailleur from the back, creating a kind of “loop”. It is on it that damage usually appears, since this point is easily damaged when falling or driving on the grass.


Actually, this is what is usually called “switch adjustment”. this is working with High and Low limiters. The point is to keep the chain from falling off the sprockets in extreme positions. This setting is done simultaneously on the front and rear sprockets with the (ideally) disconnected cable. Those. first, adjustment is made, and only then a cable is wound under the screw and pressed. This increases accuracy and eliminates tensioning effects that can interfere with work.

What do you need to know? Each switch has two adjustment screws, usually marked with two letters:

  • H. high or hard. “high”, the position of the chain on the largest star in front and the smallest in the back;
  • L. low or light. “low”, position on the smallest chain in front and the largest. in the back.

The purpose of the adjustment is to set the chain on the corresponding stars, rotate the corresponding bolts with a screwdriver until the chain is parallel to the frames and, accordingly, with the correct installation of the mechanism itself, parallel to the plane of the wheel and the stars. Additional conditions:

  • The chain should not fly off when switching to the outermost sprocket.
  • The frame or chain must not touch the axle and frame.
  • The chain should not “scratch” against the speed selector.

After adjustment, the entire mechanism should be assembled and checked for correct operation. All transitions must be clear so that the chain does not sag or touch the frame or frames. The shortcomings revealed in this “test drive” require a serious approach, because they can speak not only of incorrect tuning, but also of other problems in the bike, and it is better to fix it right away, and not expect serious damage.

On planetary bushings

Gear shifting in planetary hubs is completely different from the usual described mechanism, but also requires periodic adjustment. A “pusher” is responsible for changing gears on planetary gears. a small element resembling a chain that connects the shifting mechanism inside the hub with a cable.

In order to adjust everything well, it is necessary to find the slot on the pusher (the connection point of the rigid and movable parts of the device) and at the penultimate speed align it with the wheel axis (for this, special viewing windows are usually provided). The setup steps are as follows:

  • We set the penultimate speed: 2 for a three-speed hub, 3 for a four-speed.
  • We remove the boot or other protection of the connection point of the cable to the pusher.
  • We release the pusher and find the required point, tracking through the viewing window the coincidence of the spline and the wheel axis.
  • We tighten the cable with the screw, aligning the pusher.
  • Close protection.

It is difficult to make any other shift setting for the planetary hub on your own. You will need to completely disassemble all the mechanisms, which is quite problematic at home.


How this switch works

This is not a Tiptronic automatic transmission and the operation of the switch is very simple. Conventional aside, it’s just a steel frame suspended from a bicycle frame that can move left and right. As it moves, it pushes the bicycle chain and forces it to move from one sprocket to another. Powered by a cable that is connected to a shifter on the handlebars.

Everything seems to be simple, but not as it seems. The front derailleur has to work with the busiest top of the chain, which transmits power to the rear sprockets and is always in tension. Therefore, in the event that the derailleur is set incorrectly, changing gears will not be easy even with ideal rear shift settings.

To make the whole adjustment clear and understandable, let’s imagine that we are installing it on a bare bicycle frame. Settings from scratch, kind of.


One of the most important steps in setting up the front derailleur is to adjust its position relative to the frame: vertical (along the seat tube) and swing (horizontal).

To set the angle of rotation, you need to look at the switch frame from above.

Correct position is when the central longitudinal axis of the frame is parallel to the driving star.

Shifting the front of the frame slightly inward (towards the frame) will slightly secure the shift to the shallow sprocket, preventing the chain from sliding off it. But at the same time, being on a large star in front and on a small one in the back, there will certainly be friction against the frame.

A similar shift to the opposite side (outward) will reduce the chance of chain friction against the outside edge of the derailleur frame when using the large drive and small driven sprockets, but it will increase the risk of chain bouncing when shifting to the small gear in front. A special chain stopper is sometimes used to prevent slipping.

Choosing the right height has a direct impact on the quality of the shift. Generally, the clearance between the bottom edge of the outer derailleur frame and the top edge of the teeth of the large gear should not exceed 2mm. But you can adjust more precisely.

The smaller the gap, the better the switch will perform.

How to properly adjust the bike’s front derailleur?

It is generally not worth adjusting the front derailleur until the rear derailleur is configured. But before you tweak something, you need to thoroughly know how it works. Therefore, let’s try to understand the principle of its work.

Required tools

Locking devices

Sometimes, to improve shifting to a small drive sprocket, it is still necessary to loosen the derailleur adjusting screw responsible for the lower gears. This leads to the fact that the chain easily bounces off the small star, almost without lingering on it.

To do this, there is a special stopper that is attached to the seat tube next to the small sprocket and physically prevents the chain from jumping off the system. These limiters include: 3rd Eye Chain Watcher and N-Gear Jump Stop.

Simultaneously with faster shifting at the front, a wider overall speed range is also created, since it becomes possible to use the extreme positions of the chain: a large sprocket at the front, a large sprocket at the rear and vice versa. This can be quite practical for mountain bikes or tandems.


If you still have not been able to adjust the switch, you need to make sure that the cable does not jam anywhere in the shirts. To do this, remove the cable jacket from the stops on the frame. All shirts should move easily with respect to the cable. If not, try lubricating the cable or replace the shirts after cleaning the cable. There should be no broken wires on the cable in the working area. Replace the cable and pedal until the chain takes up the corresponding sprocket.

The play at the end of the switch frame should not exceed 1-2 mm.

How To Install & Adjust A Front Derailleur

You can also read about the device of gear shifters.

Last updated October 12, 2004.

Front derailleur setting

All stages of installation and adjustment of the front derailleur, a detailed description of possible problems.

You can only adjust the front derailleur if the rear derailleur has already been tuned, since the front derailleur setting depends on the chain position on the rear sprocket cluster. When adjusting the front derailer, you will need to use the full range of the rear gears.

Before adjusting the switch, first of all, you need to wash it and lubricate all its moving parts. It also does not hurt to check the condition of the cable. If it is worn out or loose, it should be replaced. If the cable is dirty, it must be cleaned and lubricated. Unlubricated cable can be the main cause of poor gear shifting.

READ  The bike does not change gears on the chainrings.

Step one

By turning screw 1, we ensure that the frame is at a minimum distance from the chain from the side of the carriage. Make sure that the chain does not touch the frame.

Things to do before adjusting the front derailleur

  • Check if the changeover fits the front sprocket. If you can’t make adjustments for a long time or are installing a new front derailleur, then it is worth checking this item. There are three main parameters (apart from the direction of cable feed, etc.) that may not be appropriate for normal operation of the switch. This is the maximum number of teeth of the largest sprocket, the maximum difference between the teeth of the smallest and largest sprockets, and the minimum difference between the teeth of the middle and largest sprockets. These parameters can be found in the instructions for the speed switch. There are also derailleurs for three front stars and for two, plus the system may not correspond to everything. We will cover the topic of how to choose a front derailleur in more detail in another article. Below we will give a picture with the transfer parameters of Shimano Alivio FD — M430 / 431 as an example.
  • Check for play and visually inspect for damage. It happens that during a fall, as well as with prolonged use, backlash of the frame, parallelogram and other parts of the switch is formed. Plus, the frame itself can bend. This results in fuzzy gear changes and tuning problems. Fine tuning is impossible without the elimination of backlash. The best option would be to buy a new switch.
  • Clean the debris from the switch and relubricate it. Before you start adjusting and adjusting the front crossover, you should thoroughly clean all its parts from dirt and re-lubricate. These are primarily springs, as well as movable parallelogram joints. To do this, you can remove it from the bike frame. It should be borne by Honor that in this case it will be necessary to re-adjust the correct position of the switch relative to the stars of the system.
  • Clean and lubricate the front derailleur cables and check their integrity. Disconnect the cable from the fixing bolt on the switch and take it out through the lever on the steering wheel (this is not necessary, you can clean and lubricate the cable without removing it). We examine for a rupture of the veins. If everything is normal, then we clean the cable from dirt and lubricate it (if damage is observed, then the cable should be replaced with a new one). Then we insert it into the shifter and thread it into the shirts. We do not attach it back to the switch; this will be done during the adjustment of the transfer. If, when biting off the end piece, for example, with pliers, the end of the cable is fluffed, then inserting it back into the shifter is unlikely to work. In order to do this, the tip of the cable should be soldered with tin. To simplify this procedure, we dip it in soldering acid and solder it. Do not solder too much tin, as it will interfere with passing the cable through the hole on the shifter; it is enough to cover it with a thin layer.
  • Clean and lubricate the bike chain. In order to find out how to clean and lubricate the chain, you can follow the link.
  • It is advisable to have a customized rear derailleur. This is not necessary, but in this case you will have to manually reposition the chain to the correct sprockets on the rear cassette when adjusting the front shifting. In general, it is easier to tune the bike’s rear derailleur first and then move to the front derailleur.

Indexing cable tension

While you don’t need to adjust the stop screws after they are properly placed, you can adjust the cable tension as you gain miles. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “cable stretching”. But the cable doesn’t really “pull”, it just fits into the case. When this happens, you usually have to tighten the cable to keep the shifting smooth.

To do this, we will use the barrel adjuster. This device is usually located near the cable exit from the chassis on the rear derailleur.

Knowing what happens when you turn the barrel adjuster is helpful when you are about to add or remove tension. When you turn the barrel adjuster clockwise, you screw it in and decrease the distance between each end of the cable and therefore decrease the tension on the cable. If you turn the barrel adjuster counterclockwise, you unscrew it and add more space between each end of the cable and increase the tension. wire rope.

  • Switch to the smallest gear on the cassette.
  • While pedaling, increase one gear by clicking the shift lever. If the derailleur does not move the chain to the next gear or wobbles, increase the cable tension a quarter turn (counterclockwise on the cylinder adjuster) and try again until the derailleur easily moves to the next gear.
  • If you press the shift lever once to enter the large gear and the chain skips two gears in the cassette or starts rubbing against the next higher gear, release the cable tension by turning the cylinder adjuster clockwise a quarter turn at a time.
  • Continue to move to larger rings. If the derailleur fails to move the chain to the next largest ring or it wobbles, add cable tension.
  • Once you get to the largest cog, switch back to the smallest rings. If there is any vibration or the chain will not move back to the smaller rings, release the cable tension until shifting is successful.
  • Continue this process until the gear changes are smooth without excessive noise.

Front derailleur adjustment

The front derailleur must be properly aligned to operate effectively. Make sure the outside of the cage is parallel to the chainrings. Also, make sure the bottom edge of the outer race is 2-3mm above the top of the teeth of the large ring.

Once the position is right, switch to the smallest chainring to check your inner stop screw. The inside of the cage should be close to the chain, but not touching it, with a gap of approximately 1-2 mm. Then make sure there is no excess slack in the cable. Tighten securely, but not too tightly if required.

Now move the rear derailleur to the smallest gear and the front derailleur to the largest sprocket. The outside of the front derailleur cage should be 1-2mm from the chain. If the chain chases the outer race, try moving it. If friction stops while doing this, you need to increase the cable tension by going back to the small chainring and pulling the cable harder, or using the linear barrel adjuster if you have one.

If you change the shift and the friction persists, then the outer stop screw is too tight and must be loosened (counterclockwise) until friction ceases. If the tuning is correct and you have a middle chainring, there is no need for further adjustments as it will be set according to the work you have done with the inner and outer chainrings.

Adjusting and adjusting the front derailleur of the bicycle

Sooner or later, every cyclist has to adjust and tune the bike’s front derailleur. And the cheaper the transfer, the more often. This happens for many reasons. For example, the cable is stretching, or you decide to adjust after replacing the derailleur. This does not change the essence. For this operation, you need to perform approximately the same steps. Therefore, we decided to talk in detail about how to set up and adjust the front derailleur of the bicycle using the example of pictures and videos, and what needs to be done before performing this procedure.


Before making any adjustments, there are a few things on your bike that could be broken or worn out, which could cause shifting problems.

Chain wear or “stretching” occurs naturally as you ride. The rollers and fingers holding your chain together wear out with every ride, and this process can happen faster if you ride in adverse conditions. This wear will actually lengthen each link. If you continue to ride with a worn chain, it will wear out the teeth on your cassette and chainrings. This damage cannot be repaired, so it is recommended that you check chain wear frequently and replace the chain. or you may need to replace the entire transmission.

READ  Cleaning The Bike Chain At Home

If you experience chain slippage, if your chain drops unexpectedly, or if overall gear shifting is rough, always check for chain wear. Even if you have no problem, it is recommended that you check the chain wear once a month.

Here’s how. Get yourself a circuit checker tool! This tool is inexpensive and a surefire way to know when you need to replace a chain. On the instrument, you will see 0.5% on one side and 0.75% on the other. On most 11- and 12-speed chains, the manufacturer suggests replacing the chain when 0.5% wear is reached. When the 0.5 mark is visible on the bottom of the tool, use the hook on the left side to secure the tool to the roller in your chain, if the opposite end slides between the two rollers instead of sitting on top, you have a worn chain and should be replaced before further adjustment switch to fix any problem.

A damaged case or frayed cable can be the culprit for gear shifting problems. Inspect the housing where it is visible, from the front of the bike where it connects to the gear levers to the rear where it connects to the derailleur. A housing that has extreme bend or pinching can restrict the movement of the cable that moves your derailleur when shifting gears. Replace housing and cable if damaged.

A common place where a cable can fray is where it bends on the switch and is secured with a bolt. If you notice a frayed cable, replace only the cable.

Be aware that if you have a bike with internal cable routing, problems may occur inside the frame that you cannot see. Replacing the cable and housing may be required to properly diagnose your problem.

A bent derailleur suspension is an extremely common problem that can cause shifting problems and even cause your chain to slip onto the spokes. If this happens, you may face even more problems, such as broken spokes or a broken derailleur.

The gear derailleur mounts are made of soft metal and flex easily. If you fall, your bike fell in the garage, or you have saved or sent your bike, it is recommended that you check the derailleur suspension before setting off.

At the back of your bike, take a look at your hanger. It should be parallel to the cogs on your cassette. Even a slight bend or twist can cause gear shifting problems. If you think your derailleur suspension is likely to bend, using a derailleur suspension alignment tool is the only way to know for sure. This tool will also allow you to try to return the switch to the correct position. If the suspension is too bent to be repaired, replace it.

Good job!

Gear shifting problems? Learn how to adjust the rear derailleur for smooth, quiet shifting

Shifting problems are always frustrating, but in some cases they can even damage your bike or cause an accident. If you are experiencing constant clicking when pedaling, inconsistent shifting, or if you are unable to shift to some of the gears on the cassette, knowing how to adjust the rear derailleur can help you solve or at least diagnose your problem. Below are some of common problems that can cause shifting problems and basic rear derailleur settings to help you shift a little easier. Stay tuned for more in future articles on front derailleur adjustments and cable and housing replacement.

Adjusting the screw “L” of the front derailleur.

Adjusting the screw “H” of the front derailleur.

Front Derailleur Steering Angle Adjustment.

The front derailleur holder should be approximately parallel to the chain. Accuracy of gear shifting on a bicycle depends on the accuracy of setting the angle of rotation.

  • Shift the gears so that the chain is on the outer rear sprocket and the outer front drive sprocket.
  • Examine the chain from above. The chain should be parallel to the outer plate of the derailleur holder (see photo).
  • If the derailleur requires a turn, move the inner drive sprocket down to loosen the cable tension.
  • Loosen the locking bolt and turn the speed selector to the correct position. Make sure that this does not change the height. Tighten the locking bolt again (see photo).
  • Move the outer sprocket back and check if the derailleur is level (see photo).
  • Repeat this procedure until the speed selector plate is parallel to the circuit.

Note: The front derailleur clip usually leaves a mark on the frame to guide you when changing the steering angle.

Bicycle front derailleur adjustment

The purpose of this manual is to help you understand how to properly set the front derailleur on your bike. It may differ slightly on different bikes, but the procedure itself is about the same.

This guide will be very helpful if your bike has poor gear shifting and you want to adjust the front derailleur correctly. Once you finish adjusting the front derailleur, you’ll be amazed at how well your bike shifts. In addition, this guide will be helpful when installing the front derailleur for the first time.

If this is your first time trying to adjust the front derailleur on a bike, then you need some technical skill. And the best way to get them is to try and tweak the shifter. tinker with it yourself! To make it easier to understand the process of adjusting the front derailleur, there are many photos in the article.

The job of the front derailleur on a bicycle is to move the chain from one drive sprocket to another. The derailleur holder is moved with a cable. When the tension of the cable is released, the holder is shifted inwardly under the action of the spring. A correctly adjusted front derailleur should move the chain clearly and smoothly between the chainrings. When pedaling the bike, the holder should not rub against the chain.

To adjust the front derailleur, you need the following tools (see photo above):

  • Hex wrench (size depends on the specific front derailleur model)
  • Screwdriver
  • Coin

Now let’s get down to adjusting the front derailleur! The main thing is to do everything with pleasure.!

Front derailleur indexing adjustment.

Front derailleur height adjustment.

  • Shift the gear selector so the chain is on the middle drive sprocket. This will place the outer holder plate directly above the outer star.
  • The distance between the teeth of the outer sprocket and the bottom edge of the outer holder plate should be 1. 2 mm. A coin will serve as a tool for measuring the gap, since its thickness is approximately 1.5 mm. The coin should clearly fit into the slot (see photo).
  • To change the derailleur height, first release the cable tension by shifting to the smallest drive sprocket. Then loosen the gear selector retaining bolt, adjust the height, and retighten the bolt. Switch back to the middle guide sprocket and check the holder height (see photo).
  • Repeat this procedure until the distance between the teeth on the outer drive sprocket and the bottom edge of the outer carrier plate is 1 to 2 mm.

Note: The clip of the front derailleur usually leaves a mark on the frame to guide you when changing height.

Position of the front derailleur stop screws.

The stop screws restrict the movement of the front derailleur in an inward or outward direction. The stop screws are identified by the letters “L” and “H”. Screw “L” limits the holder movement outside the inner star, and the screw “H”. outside the outer star.

If there are no marks on the screws, then it is possible to establish which of them is responsible for what can only be empirically. Switch to the inner guide star. Turn one of the screws first clockwise and then counterclockwise. If the speed switch moves, then it is screw “L”. If not, check another screw. Turning screw “H” should not move the speed selector. Mark the screws to know which one is which.

Completing the front derailleur setting.

Congratulations! You have correctly adjusted the front derailleur on your bike. Shifting between the front drive sprockets should now be quick and smooth.

We hope this tutorial was helpful to you. You can now enjoy cycling!