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  1. #1
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    I am so frustrated with XTR Rear Der.

    I am not a Shimano basher. I think both Shimano and SRAM are excellent products, although I do think SRAM is better. Just not enough better for me to rush out and replace everything.

    I am starting to change my mind. My XTR is really pissing me off. Some rides is shifts like butter, other times I think I’m going to break a cog or a chain it shifts so hard.

    Sometimes it slides right into the COG, other times it skips COGS. Lets not forget the ghost shifts.

    I am constantly dialing my shifting while riding so it stays on the right COG. It was really bad this weekend. I was at a point I was hesitant to shift because it shifted so hard and the chain would just fall off. When torquing up a hill and your chain falls off you eat your handlebars.

    I don’t know if I hit it on a rock or something. It’s just so frustrating. I have brought it to my LBS and it holds for a while, but soon I am right back at making adjustments.

    I have a race in a week and zero confidence in my RD. Not the ideal situation. All week I am doing night rides; I really don’t want to be messing with my RD in the dark.

    I know XTR’s are excellent components, I just don’t know what’s wrong with mine. I know Shimano is high maintenance but this is ridiculous.

    If I can’t perfect the shifting by Friday, the X.O is going on. It’s so hard to enjoy a ride when you keep hearing your chain grind thru the cogs then fall off.

    I guess I’m just venting.
    Last edited by Guppie58; 10-24-2005 at 08:05 AM.

  2. #2
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    Dude, all I have to say is if you don't have confidence in your stuff, you won't push yourself to your limits.

    Take the added luxury of knowing it won't break and install your SRAM man.

    Speaking of which.... I miss my X.7 so badly. Good winter project!

  3. #3
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    I Would Tend To Blame Other Things...

    The r derailleur is pretty much the dumbest part of the drivetrain equation. It just goes where the cable and chain force it to. Unless there is excessive pivot slop from years of use or it's bent, there is basically no reason for the derailleur to effect shifting performance.

    If it were me I would check the cabling for kinks, frays, rough housing, etc. Or perhaps give the shifter a good cleaning.
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  4. #4
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    ^ I just changed the cables. I thought maybe cable stretch caused something so I pulled them in a little. I wiped them down with grease. I will clean my shifting things.

    I know what you mean though. I followed everything from front to back looking for something.

    May I did just hit something and thru it way out of whack.

  5. #5
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    Agree, the problem may lie somewhere else

    Quote Originally Posted by Shayne
    The r derailleur is pretty much the dumbest part of the drivetrain equation. It just goes where the cable and chain force it to. Unless there is excessive pivot slop from years of use or it's bent, there is basically no reason for the derailleur to effect shifting performance.

    If it were me I would check the cabling for kinks, frays, rough housing, etc. Or perhaps give the shifter a good cleaning.
    bent der hanger? cables housing to tight/short could cause ghost shifting on turning (or rear suspension movement on FS frames)? bad bent or worn spring on rear der?

    Shayne is right, a good rear derailleur is quite easy to set up if their are no other problems or issues.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Nazi
    spring on rear der?
    As a couple of others have suggested; that is my guess as well.

    I find replacing the spring to be a real pain, so try cleaning and lubing it.

    I'd pop it off, flush it out very well with WD40, working the linkage, relube it with some Teflon product and check it then.

    I have had good results with this.

    Good luck.

    Also: I have begun to store my bike with the spring detensioned--set up with the chain in a "loose" gear combination.

  7. #7
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    If you used grease on the cables you may make the problem worse. Good cables and outers shouldn't need any lube.

  8. #8
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    I'm assuming you checked your chain for wear and your cassette is still fresh.

    Change your cable housing, run it uninterupted from the shifter to the RD. Also grease it is bad, light oil or teflon is better. Also check your cable routing, 90 degree bends are bad and will cause the cable over time to saw through your housing especially on a FS frame. Also if you want a lighter feel in shifting run a larger rear loop before the RD. Added bonus in doing this is housing tends to fray on the ends and over time will cause rough shifting so instead of replacing the whole cable housing just snip off an inch from the RD side and it will work like a new cable housing. Its amazing how some bikes route cables for looks rather than shifting performance. Going SRAM will not fix the problem with your shifting if cable housing is toast and poorly routed around the pivots, good luck!

  9. #9
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    New cable housings are the answer to 95% of all rear shifting problems.
    Just use enough to have smooth curves in the routing.
    Also, the Avid Rollamajig is a must have for reduction/elimination of friction in that all important last run of cable housing before the derailleur.
    Speaking of grease, the use of bearing grease is a big no-no for cables. It's way too viscous. Light lube or nothing at all is preferred. That being said, my mechanic just installed new cables and housings and used Johnnysnot (SRAM) on the cables. My system has never shifted better, with a very light feel. Johnnysnot is made for plastics and is normally used inside the Gripshifts to smooth out the shifter itself. It's a very light lube.
    Good luck.
    Lenny

  10. #10
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    The cables are not even a month old and were installed by my LBS while doing a race prep on my bike. I shouldn't have used the word grease. I used whatever he gave me, which was really to keep them clean. I clean my RD after EVERY ride with white lightning cleaner. Then I lube everything.

    The chain and cassette were replaced two months ago. Both SRAM.

    I checked my hanger to see if it was bent but I will double check that.

    The shifting felt like somebody turned the knobs located on my shifting pods. You know how that messes up your shifting. I turned those knobs back to a middle position. Readjusted the RD then dialed in the shifting with the knobs (a couple turns in one direction). On my bike stand the shifting looked good. We shall see how it is going up a hill or bouncing around.

  11. #11
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    check your preset screws. those may be off and effect the shifting further up the cassette. completley detension the cable, set the RD to be perfectly in line w/ the 9th gear, and then tension the cable again. pull it up to 2nd gear and then adjust the cable tension from there, again looking from behind the bike to see if the RD lines up with the cog the chain is supposed to be on.

    i think constant tinkering is just throwing your drivetrain in and out of whack. if this is confusing you go to your LBS and have them show you how they do it.

    if that doesn't work, i'm with everyone else....cables.

  12. #12
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    If your derailleur works fine for a while and then goes bad, i think its pretty clear you have other problems. Putting another kind of derilleur is likely not going to solve anything unless you take the time to correctly adjust everything.

    Exactly like one of the posters above said. The derailleur is one of the dumbest components on the bike. Derailleurs don't "go out of adjustment". Derailleurs are completely dependant on all the other components to stay in adjustment. That is cables, housing, correct housing runs, shifters, barrel adjusters, cable stops, chains, derrailleur hangers, cassette, and even correct axle alignment. The derailleur itself just sits there and does nothing but if one of those other factors are out of sync everything can go to hell.

    If you keep struggling with all the adjustment and it still keeps ghost shifting then thats almost always a sign of a bent derailleur hanger or bad housing. I suggest you start by taking the bike to get a hanger alignment tool mounted and verifying its straightness. Its never a bad idea to just buy a new hanger when in doubt. Also make sure you have no bent teeth on the cassette and the chain is not badly worn out.

  13. #13
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    He said cable "housings" Guppie. Not cables. Just because your lbs changed your cables that doesn't always mean they also changed your housings. Yeah they should, but....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    If your derailleur works fine for a while and then goes bad, i think its pretty clear you have other problems. Putting another kind of derilleur is likely not going to solve anything unless you take the time to correctly adjust everything.

    Exactly like one of the posters above said. The derailleur is one of the dumbest components on the bike. Derailleurs don't "go out of adjustment". Derailleurs are completely dependant on all the other components to stay in adjustment. That is cables, housing, correct housing runs, shifters, barrel adjusters, cable stops, chains, derrailleur hangers, cassette, and even correct axle alignment. The derailleur itself just sits there and does nothing but if one of those other factors are out of sync everything can go to hell.

    If you keep struggling with all the adjustment and it still keeps ghost shifting then thats almost always a sign of a bent derailleur hanger or bad housing. I suggest you start by taking the bike to get a hanger alignment tool mounted and verifying its straightness. Its never a bad idea to just buy a new hanger when in doubt. Also make sure you have no bent teeth on the cassette and the chain is not badly worn out.
    I echo what Hecubus said. I'd check the cassette over real well for bent teeth.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Nazi
    bent der hanger?

    Agree, this is another one that can easily get over looked. You'll never get it to shift properly without a straight hanger. You like dags?
    Long Live Long Rides

  16. #16
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    The housings are different too. I can tell they were changed. XTR cables instead of whatever came stock.

    I printed off an excellent illustrated 'how too' so I can see what you guys are referring too. I tore off my RD almost a year ago so I know my hanger has been replaced.

    Somebody mentioned a tool to check alignment but I couldn't find that at any online shops, maybe I am not looking close enough.

    I will check cassette again. I bent teeth on my last XT cassette so I know exactly what that is like.

    Cables okay.
    Chain is okay.
    Shifting pods okay.

    hanger alignment ?
    Bent teeth on Cog? (

  17. #17
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    Most bike shops will have the Park alignment tool. Its about $50 if you order it but its not worth buying for a one time use. You are better off just buying two or 3 spare hangers for the price.

  18. #18
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    i have a Sram PC99 chain and try to do a good job of keeping it well lubricated and clean of grit. on our sunday ride this past weekend i had a link just start binding. my RD was ghost shifting and making all kinds of noise. thankfully i had enough extra chain that i could pull a set of links and keep going. once the sticky link was out the shifting went back to short cage perfection

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guppie58
    I tore off my RD almost a year ago so I know my hanger has been replaced.

    Somebody mentioned a tool to check alignment but I couldn't find that at any online shops, maybe I am not looking close enough.
    Park Derailleur Alignment Gauge (DAG-1)...

    http://www.parktool.com/products/det...=17&item=DAG-1
    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4208


    I've seen brand new hangers that weren't perfectly aligned to the frame. Plus it only takes one hit to knock it off signficantly.
    Long Live Long Rides

  20. #20
    sadly, like the element
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew
    You like dags?
    What? "Dags, do you like them" Oh, dogs, yeah.

  21. #21
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    aer you using the dual control shifters and the reverse pull derailure. If so put a rollamajig on the derailure. I hav ebeen using this setup for 2 years now with no prblms sinse the instalation. I have set others up the same with similar results. Good luck

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guppie58
    The housings are different too. I can tell they were changed. XTR cables instead of whatever came stock.

    I printed off an excellent illustrated 'how too' so I can see what you guys are referring too. I tore off my RD almost a year ago so I know my hanger has been replaced.

    Somebody mentioned a tool to check alignment but I couldn't find that at any online shops, maybe I am not looking close enough.

    I will check cassette again. I bent teeth on my last XT cassette so I know exactly what that is like.

    Cables okay.
    Chain is okay.
    Shifting pods okay.

    hanger alignment ?
    Bent teeth on Cog? (
    Sorry, but there's just too many variables to rule out incorrect setup.

    Do you know for sure if there's any part of the housing or ferrules that are crimped?

    Do you know for sure that a cable, new or otherwise, isn't frayed slightly inside a cable housing?

    The hanger is also something that may "look" ok, but the human eye can not pick up the variances that will cause poor shifting, which is why they make the alignment tool, so it may look fine, but be far from it.

    And there are other factors as well, but replacing the derailer with another kind will not solve anything if the installation and setup is poor. Shoddy work cane come out of shops where the mechanic doesn't adaquately test the repairs. Ocassionally one of the above things happens or is existing despite the best efforts of the mechanic, and at that point the difference between a good and bad mechanic is the one that junks all the calbes and housings again and fixes the problem, whereas the poor one may just try to "make it work".

    I would also recommend against ever using oily lubricants inside of cable housing. The only thing we ever put in there is bike-aid, which is a dry molybdenum lube, it's not like any other kind of lube, and it will not attract dirt. Oils and greases are bad, will cause a sludge to form once the cables or housing wire starts to oxidize, and will generally be nasty...worst of all, they'll result in crappy shifting because of the sludge.

    Other "unsolvable" problems are sometimes the result of a bent derailer, sometimes the derailer itself gets bent, and you really can't tell by looking at it, but if it has taken some hard hits it can stop working correctly, and replacing it may solve the problem. On my DH bike I killed many sram derailers, the shimano ones lasted me much longer, but on my last DH bike I hit the derailer pretty hard a few times and it stopped shifting to the smallest rear cog no matter how I adjusted it. I didn't care because all of my other gears worked fine and it wasn't a big deal, so I left it until I sold the bike, when I replaced it with a new derailer for the guy that bought it. My current XT derailer on my 6pack has taken a pretty huge beating, lots of impact marks, but still shifts perfectly. Both bikes have the same derailer, but one just got a few "lucky hits".
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guppie58
    The chain and cassette were replaced two months ago. Both SRAM.
    2 months ago is a long time if you're ridng 100+ miles a week or in some very muddy conditions. You should be looking at replacing your chian about every 700-1000 miles depending on riding conditins, if it's a SRAM more along the lines of 600-800 miles. My replacement schedule is about every 2-3 months depending on riding conditions, milage and chain manufacturer.
    Last edited by LyNx; 10-25-2005 at 07:35 PM.
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