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Author Topic: shifting problems  (Read 5952 times)

Mahk

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shifting problems
« on: September 14, 2013, 11:17:38 AM »
I am a new rider (started last fall) with a new bike (also last fall, a Trek Top Fuel) and in the past two or three months have had a lot of problems shifting gears, especially in the rear.  Sometimes it doesn't shift at all, sometimes two or three hundred yards after I pump the lever, sometimes  I pump the lever two or three times and then it will shift two gears and I have to shift the other way, sometimes the chain skips, and occassionally the chain falls off of the front chain ring. 
 
I've had things adjusted numerous times, had the cassette replaced once, the chain replaced twice, rerouted the shift cables so they are as straight and direct as possible, and had the cables pulled out of the casing and then cleaned and lubed. 
 
I ride a fair number of miles, but before every ride I brush the cassette, wipe and oil the chain and still have problems.  It seems to be associated with the dust from the dry trails.  The shift cables are exposed along some parts of the frame and someone said that every time the cable comes goes from exposed to enclosed there is an entry point for debris that has built up on the exposed cable.  They suggested that I have the shift cables completely enclosed.  That would involve drilling out the stops that are on the frame to allow the cable to pass through, so there would be no reversing the process. 
 
This made sense, paticularly since it did shift better (albeit for a short time) after the cables had been pulled and cleaned.  But, it also made me wonder why the cable was exposed at all.  So, two main questions:
 
1) does anyone know if enclosing the entire length of the shift cable will help it shift more smoothly, and
 
2) if that does help, why is the bike manufactured with the cables exposed?
 
Thanks for any suggestions.
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DeepVI

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 01:16:04 PM »
I am a new rider (started last fall) with a new bike (also last fall, a Trek Top Fuel) and in the past two or three months have had a lot of problems shifting gears, especially in the rear.  Sometimes it doesn't shift at all, sometimes two or three hundred yards after I pump the lever, sometimes  I pump the lever two or three times and then it will shift two gears and I have to shift the other way, sometimes the chain skips, and occassionally the chain falls off of the front chain ring. 
 
I've had things adjusted numerous times, had the cassette replaced once, the chain replaced twice, rerouted the shift cables so they are as straight and direct as possible, and had the cables pulled out of the casing and then cleaned and lubed. 
 
I ride a fair number of miles, but before every ride I brush the cassette, wipe and oil the chain and still have problems.  It seems to be associated with the dust from the dry trails.  The shift cables are exposed along some parts of the frame and someone said that every time the cable comes goes from exposed to enclosed there is an entry point for debris that has built up on the exposed cable.  They suggested that I have the shift cables completely enclosed.  That would involve drilling out the stops that are on the frame to allow the cable to pass through, so there would be no reversing the process. 
 
This made sense, paticularly since it did shift better (albeit for a short time) after the cables had been pulled and cleaned.  But, it also made me wonder why the cable was exposed at all.  So, two main questions:
 
1) does anyone know if enclosing the entire length of the shift cable will help it shift more smoothly, and
 
2) if that does help, why is the bike manufactured with the cables exposed?
 
Thanks for any suggestions.


Not to sound like an ass, but are you doing the work or a shop? 


1) Yes, in the long run.  As there's less access points for your cables to gunk up.  However a lot of crud has to get in before causing the problems you're talking about.  Unless you're dropping lube into the cables.  With the super dusty conditions there has been, lubing your cables could accelerate the gunking process.
2) Some do, some don't.  It's a matter of tradition I think with frame makers.  If you want to give it a test run before taking a dremel to your frame there are products such as these. http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=40212&category=1613


More to the point of the problem.  It sounds like you have tension issues(caused by cable stretch of a new bike), maybe complicated by limit screw issues.  If your limit screws aren't set properly, then you'll never get your tension right.   Here's an article from Park Tool.  http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/rear-derailler-adjustments-derailleur


Oh and one final thought.  If you're RD hanger is bent or twisted, the above things will never get right.  It could be just slightly bent and be causing those issues.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 01:17:47 PM by DeepVI »
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Mahk

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 01:53:25 PM »
Thanks for the links.
 
The work was done first at the shop where I bought it, then, when they couldn't get it to shift properly, a second shop. 
 
I'm an ok mechanic, and wondered if something was just a little out of adjustment, but I don't know anything about bikes and didn't want to make it worse. 
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David Kuehnen

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 01:57:25 PM »
Bent deraillieur hanger or damaged deraillieur are much more likely culprits than dirty cables.  :
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Shark

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 03:18:01 PM »
I replace the shifter cable and housing at least once per season.
Yes, check the hanger with a tool (I have one, maybe we can check it at the park one day).

Measure your chain. New is exactly 12" pin to pin. Once it is over 1/16" wear, time to replace. If +1/8", likely a nee chain won't mesh right onto an old cassette as things have worn together.

Fyi, I run full cable housing and it stays nice and clean inside all season.
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gmcttr

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2013, 05:42:30 PM »
...and had the cables pulled out of the casing and then cleaned and lubed....

...2) if that does help, why is the bike manufactured with the cables exposed? ...

What the other's have said...plus....if I'm having shift problems that I can't correct with the barrel adjusters and I've been riding heavily for a year, I look for obvious problems/damage to the derailleurs and correct functioning of the shifters. If these are OK (and they usually are), I check the derailleur hanger with the Park tool and replace the cables and housings. The cable housings are wear items that need replaced every year or two and I replace the cables at the same time because it easier to feed new cables through the housings.

Why do the manufacturers use interrupted housing instead of continuous? Housings compress and the longer the housings are, the more they can compress. The shorter the housings, the crisper the shifting and brake feel with rim brakes. Full length housings do work with a slight trade off in performance. To give it a try, you can zip tie the cables to the frame.

If you live in the Columbus area, I'd be happy to check the derailleur hanger and give it a look over with you.

DeepVI

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 07:33:39 PM »
Had another thought. Since this problem seemed to have just popped up.

Make sure your housing is fully seated in the housing ferules.  If you took a spill or turned too sharply, the housing could have pulled out of the ferule then not reset all the way.  All can look normal, but if the housing is resting on the ferule, it will mess up your tension.  Speaking from experience.
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Wall

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 08:52:34 PM »
I use Jagwire kit that fully encloses the shift cables.  No need to drill out cable stops.  Check your derailleur hanger it may be slightly bent in causing shifting problems and slipping in the rear.

Mahk

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 11:44:49 PM »
Yes, check the hanger with a tool (I have one, maybe we can check it at the park one day).

Thanks, that would be very helpful. 
 
Measure your chain. New is exactly 12" pin to pin. Once it is over 1/16" wear, time to replace. If +1/8", likely a nee chain won't mesh right onto an old cassette as things have worn together. 

I just replaced the chain last week (the 'old' one looked worn and would catch on a rag when I wiped it down) but that didn't change things. 
 
  Fyi, I run full cable housing and it stays nice and clean inside all season. 

I'm leaning towards doing the full cable housing.
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Wall

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2013, 10:21:32 AM »

chuckdlou

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 01:44:21 PM »
this is going to likely rile some people up, but i don't really care...but chains and cassettes need to stay matched to one another as the pins wear grooves on your cassette with age...a new chain on an old cassette will not work the way you want it to as the distance between pins will differ on the new chain...some will tell you i'm wrong, and that if you replace the chain often enough this will not be an issue...i disagree...chains and cassettes need to be mated for life...

Wall

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2013, 08:04:03 AM »
Hahahaha.  Which company do you work for, SRAM or Shimano? ;)

David Kuehnen

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2013, 08:09:17 AM »
I've always heard that a chain has 1/2 the lifespan of a cassette.  That said, you should but 2 chains for every cassette and alternate them every few hundred miles so that chain wear is never an issue.



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Shark

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2013, 08:20:00 AM »
this is going to likely rile some people up, but i don't really care...but chains and cassettes need to stay matched to one another as the pins wear grooves on your cassette with age...a new chain on an old cassette will not work the way you want it to as the distance between pins will differ on the new chain...some will tell you i'm wrong, and that if you replace the chain often enough this will not be an issue...i disagree...chains and cassettes need to be mated for life...

To a point i agree, but once you go past that wear point that everything is meshed together, you really need to ride it out. But swapping out $14 chains can double the life of a cassette & chainring.

I did that one time a few years ago, same chain, cassette, & ss chainring. Had probably +3K miles on the setup over 2 seasons. shifted fairly well.
I eventually had to put a new chain on & it made some serious grinding noises for about 100 miles until it wore onto the chainring. eventually replaced the whole setup.

I've found using a good oil-based chain lube helps to prevent wear instead of the crappy wax based stuff that doesn't last 20 miles of riding.
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Moved to Idaho....:) Now I actually *mountain* bike.

Fett

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Re: shifting problems
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2013, 10:29:46 AM »
Mahk,
I also have a Park Derailleur Alignment Gauge (DAG-1) that you can borrow to check out.  A bent hanger can make everything else of sync. I will try to remember to throw it in my car for the next time I see you out at the park.
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