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  1. #1
    Pittsburgh Trail Rider
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    Can't shift off large chain ring

    My front derailer will not shift off the large chain ring. I try shifting all the way down to the smallest ring and it doesn't move. I cleaned and oiled the chain (using simple green and white lightning) and it shifted smoothly for about week, but then started acting up again. I have only been using my bike to get back and forth from work, no trail riding, on paved roads. I have only had this bike for about a year, have only taken it off paved trails a couple times, and I am new to doing any adjustments. Do you all have any suggestions?
    "With God all things are possible" - Matthew 19:26

    "Blessed are those who can laugh at their own mistakes, for they shall never cease to be amused" - unknown

  2. #2
    MTJ
    MTJ is offline
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    A couple things to try

    There are basically three possibilities for problems here: the spring in the derailleur (not likely), the cables (get dirty and jam up easily) or your shifters (if the other two things are ok).

    To rule out the derailleur: Disconnect the cable from the derailleur and see how it moves; it should literally shft to the granny gear as you loosen the cable (cable tension shifts from smaller gear to bigger gear, so with no cable tension it should shift to the lowest possible gear immediately). One spin of the cranks should dump the chain to the granny gear. If it doesn't, your derailleur is the problem. If it does, go to the next step - cables.

    Cables are cheap, cable housing is usually even cheaper. Go to your LBS and pick up a shifter cable and enough housing to replace what you've got on the bike now. Swap it out (if you've never replaced shifter cables before, it can be a little nervewracking the first time, just go slow and don't lose any small parts). Since you're not touching the derailleur or the cranks, you should not have to move your limit screws at all, so clamp the chain back on and try it again. If it works, the lesson learned is that cables get gunked fast, and they should be cleaned and lubed regularly. If it doesn't work, then it's likely your shifter.

    Disconnect the cable from the derailleur again and pull on it with your right hand; put some decent tension on it. With your left hand (the one that does the shifting) shift gears. When you upshift, it should pull cable away from you, and when you downshift, you should feel it giving cable back to you. If it doesn't, the shifter is shot. Unless it's an expensive unit (XT/X.9 or better), it's usually best just to buy a new one rather than attempt repairs.

    On a side note, "only using my bike to get back and forth from work" is hard on a bike. You know how dirty your chain gets, so make an effort to give the derailleurs and cables the same attention you give your chain.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    Ho far to and from work and how often?

    ie total kms?

  4. #4
    Pittsburgh Trail Rider
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    Work is at most 1 mile from my apartment. So I am only putting 1.5 - 2 miles on it 5 days a week. I have not taken it out trail riding much because I always seem to have issues with something on the bike.
    "With God all things are possible" - Matthew 19:26

    "Blessed are those who can laugh at their own mistakes, for they shall never cease to be amused" - unknown

  5. #5
    Pittsburgh Trail Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTJ
    To rule out the derailleur: Disconnect the cable from the derailleur and see how it moves; it should literally shft to the granny gear as you loosen the cable (cable tension shifts from smaller gear to bigger gear, so with no cable tension it should shift to the lowest possible gear immediately). One spin of the cranks should dump the chain to the granny gear. If it doesn't, your derailleur is the problem. If it does, go to the next step - cables.
    I disconnected the cable, spun the cranks, and the chain didn't go anywhere. Looks like it is the derailleur?
    "With God all things are possible" - Matthew 19:26

    "Blessed are those who can laugh at their own mistakes, for they shall never cease to be amused" - unknown

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