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  1. #1
    sru
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    Desperation Call, Shimano shifting problems, again

    After scouring the different boards here, it seems I have a fairly common problem with poor shifting performance of my rear XT derailleur. I couldn't find a clearcut solution so I am appealling to the masses for help.

    Here is my problem. I cannot get my rear XT derailleur to shift down (from smaller to larger cogs) cleanly without having to give my shifter an extra little jab after I try to shift down one "index" or gear. This tends to happen most in the middle range of my cassette, and rairly, if at all, at the top or bottom ranges. Going the other way (from larger to smaller cogs) is not a problem.

    So this is what I've done to try to fix this problem. New chain, new cassette, new RD hanger, new cable and housing (twice) and even a new crankset (which I needed anyway). All that remains is my shifter (Deore) which I have cleaned and re-lubed and my RD.

    I have tried running the cable in two different ways with no effect. My LBS, who has been patient with me adjusts everything just right for the test ride can't figure it out. 5 minutes into a trail ride, the shifting gets screwy on me. I know that Shimano RD's can be a little tricky, but is this normal??

    So, who's got an answer?


    The bike is a Marin Rift Zone (not stock)

  2. #2
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    I had some worn dropouts. They allowed the wheel to move back and forth a little bit in the dropouts. One of the problems I was having was consistant shifting.

    I glued the wheel into the dropouts and it worked great for about 3 weeks till the epoxy fell out.

    In the end I got a new chainstay and dropouts for $130??, all was good.

    Bad pivot bearings, bushings.

    Wobbly free-hub.

  3. #3
    backwoods and backwards
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    Maybe the cable housings aren't all cut to spec., but it soundslike a bad shifter to me.
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  4. #4
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    the shifter? this is how to tell...

    have you ajusted the cable tension with the barrel adjuster? more tension or counter clockwise makes it shift up quicker and vice versa do this first in big, then middle then small then middle.. do this while you ride as the bike acts differently than on the stand and the shop knows this and should thouroughly test ride before replacing anything.

    Being that you have new cables they will strech just like a new bike. see the other post i just put up to adjust the tension from start, but being that you said it works ok in the beginning, it probably needs only a quarter to half turn over tension on the adjuster. adjust the b screw inward so that you it can help you better in the rougher stuff.

  5. #5
    Exaggerated member
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    9 speed set up or 8 speed?
    Alex

  6. #6
    Everyone Bleeds!
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    One word...............SRAM

  7. #7
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    Questions...

    What kind of housing are you using? What kind of ferrules? How were the housing ends cut? Were the ends of the housing properly opened up with a pointed tool after cutting?

    (Quality housing and proper installation can make all the difference.)

  8. #8
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    They allowed the wheel to move back and forth a little bit in the dropouts.
    ... A loose rear hub could cause something similar... I think Parktool has good instructions for determining how tight it should be.

  9. #9
    thecentralscrutinizer
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOJO K
    Maybe the cable housings aren't all cut to spec., but it soundslike a bad shifter to me.
    Agreed. The Deore shifters are okay at best when new. They seem to wear out quickly and develope strange shifting problems.
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  10. #10
    sru
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    It's a nine speed set-up. My cable is a jagwire and was installed by the head mech. at the local Marin dealer. I am assuming he cleaned up the cuts to the housing before installing.

    Thats a good point on the loose rear hub. It is a Shimano M525 and does have a tendency to loosen up on occasion, but is tight now and I still get the problem. I have tried the barrel adjuster on the trail, which only made things worse. I'll try the adjusting the B screw to see if that helps.

    I am really starting to suspect that that the shifter is shot.

  11. #11
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    Since you've hit everything else....

    logic tells us the only thing it could be is the one part you haven't changed out. That would be the shifters. Remember the derailleurs are technically "dumb" they do exactly what the shifters tell them to do. That's why you can use a modern "mega 9" rear deraillure on any thing from a 7 speed to a 9 speed drive train as long as you have the right shifters. So the quality and durability of the shifter is quite important. Deore shifters are great for entry level bikes, but IMHO should never be speced above the entry level. They do tend to wear quickly and "slop out" internally. The little extra "push" that you are having to give to make the down shift indicates that is more than likely what has happened.

    But with that said. Examine your rear derailleur as well. They aren't bullet proof either. If it's new fine. If not, they also wear out as well. Check all of the pivot points for slop. A slopped out rear d will cause the same symptoms you describe.

    But assuming that all else is either new or in good shape, it is likely the shifters.

    By the way, GOOD SHOW! You've already hit the most neglected part of the drive train, the cables and housing! Almost 90% of the shifting problems I've ever encountered where old worn out calbes and/or housing. The other 10% were other parts of the drive train. Goon on ya!

    Good Dirt
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  12. #12
    sru
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    Thanks for the reply Squash. I'll check my RD, but if its my shifters, any thoughts of going with any of the sram 2:1 offerings or stay with shimano?

    Thanks for the help.

  13. #13
    Vaginatarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by sru
    It's a nine speed set-up. My cable is a jagwire and was installed by the head mech. at the local Marin dealer. I am assuming he cleaned up the cuts to the housing before installing.

    Thats a good point on the loose rear hub. It is a Shimano M525 and does have a tendency to loosen up on occasion, but is tight now and I still get the problem. I have tried the barrel adjuster on the trail, which only made things worse. I'll try the adjusting the B screw to see if that helps.

    I am really starting to suspect that that the shifter is shot.
    when you say the barrel adjuster only made it worse, did you try turning it the other way?
    maybe even start from scratch, loosen the cable nut, make sure its in the right gear, adjust the limit screw, tighten the cable nut, try shifting all the way up, adjust the other limit , shift to the middle gears, shift up and down fine tuning with the barrel adjuster

  14. #14
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    Since the gears seem to be performing OK in the extremes of the range, I would also guess that the shifter is either worn out or has some crud in the pawls that is causing the problem. Also, as mentioned, the RD mechanism will get worn out, or slightly damaged if you have hit it, fallen on that side etc... Just a bit of play in the body pivots, or the pulley cage pivots will cause shifting problems... though the latter seems to cause more problems as the tension gets higher (larger rear cog). Put the RD into the largest rear cog and then see if you can move the lower pully laterally. If there is any appreciable play, time for a new changer! Since you have done everything else anyway - you might as well change the shifters and RD mech... And never assume anything with mechanics! I pride myself on doing a good job, and last year I was installing cables on a bike, with cable ferrules from a brand-new container that I had just opened. The WRONG ferrules were in the container, and I didn't catch it. The next weekend the customer came in saying she had problems with her RD... I pulled things apart and realized that the ferrules were not right. Looked at the bottle and it was labeled for the right part - but the ferrules inside were not what was on the label! Man was I embarrased. Another mechanic also had used the same ferrules on a couple of other bikes. Embarrasing phone calls followed! Things happen. But I would guess your RD or shifters are on the way out. You didn't mention how old your ride is, and do you ride hard, crash on occasion. etc...?
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  15. #15
    Shortcutting Hikabiker
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    I had a 4 year old Deore shifter on my bike, it works fine with the rapid rise XTR I was running before, but when I switched to a XT Shadow it shifted OK, but made noises like it wanted to ghost shift in certain gears, although it never did. I switched the derailleur back to my XTR and was happier. I toasted the XTR the other day though and had to put the XT Shadow back on. Now with the XTR shifters it works a LOT better, shifts better and is much quieter. To make the story short get some new shifters. 08 XTR >> 04 Deore.... of course.

  16. #16
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    Your call on that one....

    Quote Originally Posted by sru
    Thanks for the reply Squash. I'll check my RD, but if its my shifters, any thoughts of going with any of the sram 2:1 offerings or stay with shimano?

    Thanks for the help.
    If you are going to stick with your Shimano derailleurs, then stick with Shimano shifters. I've never really been impressed with the SRAM 2:1 stuff with the exception of the old Attack Grip Shifters. For 2:1 from SRAM they work about the best. Their triggers just aren't all that IMHO. Shimano has been working with the 2:1 ratio from the start and they've got it down to an art. Again, in my opinion, if you really want to see the best performance from your Shimano derailleurs, stick with Shimano shifters. I'm not saying that SRAM components don't perform well, they do! But their strength is with the 1:1 components that they started out with.

    Anyway, your choice fo course, but I'd recommend an upgrade within the shimano line for best performance.

    Good Dirt
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  17. #17
    sru
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    Great replies!!

    Lots of really good info. I will try ATBScott's idea of checking for slop in my RD. I think its time to start shopping for new shifters.

    Is it worth rebuilding my RD?

  18. #18
    backwoods and backwards
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    Quote Originally Posted by sru
    Great replies!!



    Is it worth rebuilding my RD?
    Almosy never. New pullies or a new spring maybe. If there's play in the main pivots, it's cooked.
    Live the life you love!

  19. #19
    sru
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    Well I checked my RD using ATBScotts method.

    When I grabbed the lowest pully, I did move side to side a little, but didn't feel like any of the pivost were loss, so I guess the RD is OK.

    I'll try new shifters. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll be replacing the RD too.

    Thanks all!!

  20. #20
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    Sru: Does the RD have any "crash marks" on it - has it taken a blow to the side below where the hanger pivot bolt goes into the dropout? While I still suspect shifters may be in your future, make sure the RD is in good shape (I am assuming that you and/or the shop have checked the dropout hanger). If you take the rear wheel out, and release the cable so there is no tension on it, you should be able to very easily and smoothly move the RD side-to-side with no hanging up before it hits the stop screw adjustments. If there is damage here, it tends to manifest itself more with "shifting to a smaller cog" problems. If the pivots have resistance, then the spring can't move the derailluer as easily, and the fine adjustment from the shift lever can be compromised as the cable is dragging the derailluer into place instead of just "moving it". It would be a shame to buy new levers and still have the same problem. If the bike is over 3 years old, the shifters become even more suspect as the lower-end shifters, well-taken care of, can go in that time. Then again I have seen some that are 10 years old and still working, but they don't get ridden as much! One of my old Stumpy FSR's turns 10 in a month or so. The XTR RD is still on the bike. The XT shifters were replaced last year. That bike had 4-1/2 years of lots of riding, and then occassionally the last 5 years. If you can, pop for the XT shifters as they seem to have better mechanisms. XTR are even better, but the price as components go aren't worth the difference in almost all cases. You can buy two or three XT shifter sets for what XTR go for most of the time! Good luck!
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  21. #21
    sru
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    The hanger only has 4 rides on it, no crashes or bangs in that time.

    The RD did take a hit last year, complete with a battle scar, but it shifted OK after that crash. It pivots freely and the spring pulls it down to the smaller cogs quickly, so I guess thats a sign that the pivots aren't binding up.

    I have been eyeing some XT shifters. How long is the throw on the paddles compared to my Deores (which I feel are to long)??

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