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  1. #1
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    Derailleur adjustment issue

    Hi all,

    I recently purchased a used 2009 Trek 3900 to try to get myself back on a bicycle. I'm having an issue with shifting the rear dérailleur. I read the adjustment instructions in the Trek manual which seem straightforward, however when I go through the gears in my garage everything seems perfect.

    On the road however, single up shifts don't work. If I hit the shifter once the rear end starts making lots of noise but doesn't shift. A second hit on the shifter will give me 2 rather violent shifts. Down shifts are smooth and no problems.


    I did not go through the full adjustment procedure since everything worked good in the garage, but guessing that's a good place to start. Also thinking new cables may be in order (exposed sections of old ones are rusty, oddly only signs of age on the bike). Can anyone recommend a good yet inexpensive cable/cable set?


    Does this issue seem like anything more than a simple adjustment? Would old/worn cables cause this type of problem?

  2. #2
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    I would change the cables for sure. Check the chain for wear(stretch) and check the cassette also. There is a chance the cable change will fix the problem. I like to use Jagwire cables. The cheaper ones (cant remember the name Ripcord...maybe?) work pretty well. I have both and cant really tell the difference. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    You are on the right track. Gunked up or crimped cable housings are one of the common causes shifting issues. Lift the cables housings out of the stops* and check to see if they can slide easily up and down the cable. If the housings done slide freely they need replacement. It is amazing what new cable housings (you need new cables at the same time) can do for shifting.

    * to get housings out of the stops I down shift to first gear while pedaling, then up shift a couple gears without pedaling that should put enough slack in the cable that you can get the housings free.

  4. #4
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    Try another 1/8 to 1/4 turn on the adjustment .But if the cable doesn't move freely ,replace them.

  5. #5
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    I see 3 cablesets from Jagwire. One is a generic kit. These two though appear to be almost the same thing in different packaging but $10 price difference. I will check with Jensen as well but any idea what the difference is (besides the color options)
    Jagwire Mountain Pro Derailleur Kit > Components > Cables and Housing | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Jagwire Mountain Pro Shift Cable Kit > Components > Cables and Housing | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Sounds like new cables may be a good upgrade even if it's not the root cause of this problem. I will try the trick to see what my current ones are like though.

  6. #6
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    Go with the cheaper one. The expensive one is awesome, but the cheaper one works great. There is a guy on ebay that sells pre-cut lengths. Search for jagwire, mountain bike, then sort by cheapest. I got some and they were good. I think he is in california.

  7. #7
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    Upon further review I think the only difference between those two kits is the color choice.. And I found that Amazon sells the more expensive color options at the same price anyway (I wanted the gold to go with my blue/silver frame). Looks like a winner there for $28.

    Amazon.com: Jagwire Ripcord Derailleur Kit, Gold Medal: Sports & Outdoors

  8. #8
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    one of them has reinforced housing that has a strip of metal inside to prevent compression.

  9. #9
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    The shifting cable needs some more tension if the cable/housing are still in good shape.

    Rotate the barrel adjuster on the shifter like someone else had mentioned.

    If there isn't any room to left to rotate the adjuster, loosen it all the way, pull the slack from the cable with some pliers by loosening the bolt on the derailleur, then start tightening it again by rotating the adjuster on the shifter.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by asmolow View Post
    The shifting cable needs some more tension if the cable/housing are still in good shape.

    Rotate the barrel adjuster on the shifter like someone else had mentioned.

    If there isn't any room to left to rotate the adjuster, loosen it all the way, pull the slack from the cable with some pliers by loosening the bolt on the derailleur, then start tightening it again by rotating the adjuster on the shifter.
    Exactly. Take up a little slack in the cable. Drip some 3-in-1 oil down along the cable into the housing also.

    $30 for shifter cables and housing is a rip-off, no matter what the marketing department or their victims say. You will gain no noticeable improvment of a $6 set, and very little over just lubing what you've already got installed, as long as it's not kinked somewhere.

    Alligator Cable With Housing | Alligator | Brand | www.PricePoint.com

  11. #11
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    Novara Shift Cable Kit at REI.com
    This is lined Jagwire housing, plastic ferrules and slick stainless cable. $19.
    Do a full run with zip ties or drill out your stops. You will not believe the improvement.

  12. #12
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    Well I replaced the derailler cables last night with the Jagwire ripcord. The cable is definitely a level (or several) above the stock one in quality. The housing seems stronger and it comes with a sort of "rain jacket" so even the exposed areas of the cable are covered. The instructions that came with the cable were nearly useless though.

    I'm still having kind of an odd shifting problem, though it is much better now, as the old cables were binding some. I've had it adjusted so that it works great from 1-7, or 1-6, skip 7 and go to 8. When I go through the gears in the garage it goes 1-8, but when I ride it's only going through 7.

    Does this seem like a high gear adjustment issue, or cable housing tension?

  13. #13
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    those ripcords are pretty sweet. I get so frustrated trying to tune derailleurs. I will let others offer you advice on that. If you absolutely cant get it, take it to the bike shop. Should be cheap and fast for them.

  14. #14
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    If the deraileur stops are adjusted correctly then the the cable tennison is to tight.

  15. #15
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    I'll give one more go at adjusting the high (small gear) stop. The tension adjuster is all the way in (loose) so maybe I just pulled the cable too tight when I put it in the clamp, will double check that as well.

    And yes, I do like the Ripcords, overall seem very high quality, and I went with the gold color which is sort of translucent and you can see the metal braiding in the housing. The cable itself is also coated with something which should prevent rust like my old cables had, in addition to having the exposed runs covered with the rain jacket except the derailleur ends.

    Thanks!

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