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  1. #1
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    SRAM ten speed shifting issues

    Just got a new bike a month ago and built it up myself. First time for 10 speed for me but have set up several 9 speed derailleurs over the years so not a total noob but I'm having a few issues with my rear shifting.

    When I shift to a taller gear (down to a smaller cog) the chain hangs up on the current cog especially in the biggest three or four cogs. I have to click the shifter twice then it shifts down two cogs and I have to shift back up one. It's also a bit slow/reluctant to shift up onto a larger cog with one click sometimes.

    -It won't stay in the second to smallest cog no matter what I do. As soon as I click it down from the third smallest it drops down immediately onto the smallest. If I click it back up one it will stay for a half second then drop back down.... so essentially I only have 9 gears.

    -I can't get the upper pulley anywhere close to the the largest cog using the b-tension screw. It seems to move the pulley back and forth more than up and down. I know this gap on a 10 speed cassette is supposed to be greater than on a 9 speed but it's between 15-20 mm. Is that right?

    Do I have my derailleur mounted incorrectly perhaps?

    -I can feel the black Power Link connector link when running the chain through a rag to wipe off excess lube. Is this correct? The old removable gold Powerlink on my 9 Speed stuff felt just like any other link (ie couldn't identify it by feel).

    Puzzled. (yes I've googled but haven't found the anwsers I'm seeking.)


    FWIW the front derailleur is working flawlessly. Can't believe how easy and fast it is to shift between the two gears in the front. Loving it. Wish the rear were working as well.
    Last edited by KRob; 05-09-2013 at 12:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    A couple of things:

    -Start by setting up the derailleur properly from the start. Shift all the way up to the largest sprocket, and gently pushing on the parallelogram, try to move the pulleys past the largest cog. Screw the 'L' screw in (or out) until the top pulley lines up on the center of the sprocket. Now, shift all the way down to the smallest sprocket. Adjust the 'H' screw until the center of the top pulley is lined up with the outside face of the small sprocket. Again, shift up to the largest sprocket, and using the b tension screw, make sure the top pulley clears the sprocket by a few millimeters. Continue by adjusting the tension on the cable with the shifter's barrel adjuster--more tension if you have hesitant shifts to a larger sprocket, less if it hesitates going to a smaller one.

    -10 speed derailleurs are much more sensitive to the alignment of the derailleur hanger. Try aligning it and seeing if your problem goes away.

  3. #3
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    I had a very similar issue with my 10spd that the OP described. Took a lot of fiddling with the barrel adjuster to get it just right. It seemed like when I'd get the top end working correctly the bottom end would go out. It literally came down to a half turn in the right direction on the barrel adjuster. 10spds are super tight...

  4. #4
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    Double check the rear derailleur that it is installed properly on the hanger. It seems that the tab that goes over the hanger and sets the B tension can be installed in the wrong spot. There have been several threads with SRAM derailleurs and this problem.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies. I did go through the procedure as wschruba described when I first set up the derailleur but like I said no matter where a place the b-tension screw the pulley is still about 15-20mm away from the biggest cog. If I loosen it all the way it moves forward more so the chain wraps around the sprocket more but doesn't seem to get much closer.

    B tension screw almost all the way unscrewed (loose)
    Derailleur 002

    Derailleur 004


    After Slash5's comment I thought aha! I've got it. But after going out in the garage and taking off the rear wheel and pulling the derailleur and looking at every possible way to spin the b-tension stop plate, there was only one way that made any sense at all and that's the way I had it.

    Does this look right?
    Derailleur 001

    I should say that it did shift a little better with the b-tension all the way loose and had an easier time drop down onto the next smaller cog.... but still hangs up on the large cog and still wants to drop off the second to smallest cog too easily. At least when I shift it back up onto that cog it will stay there now.

  6. #6
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    The only thing I can think of is if your cable tension is too tight. I've found the cable on SRAM rears needs to be fairly loose. (in comparison to shimano) They seem to be VERY finicky about that.

    Or that your hanger is just ever so slightly tweaked. Ditch the plastic end caps for alu ones as well. IMO, the plastic ones can sometimes have enough give to make things weird.

    Maybe a cassette or something else just slightly out of spec even, if all else fails.
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  7. #7
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    Have you had the bike back for a shop service???? Most bike are sold with at least 1 free one. If its a month old I'd get them to look at it and get it sorted from that end.

    All the adjustments tie in together. If you don't get the first one correct then the rest won't help. Parktool website has excellent tutorials on just about every element of bike maintenance you can do.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    The only thing I can think of is if your cable tension is too tight. I've found the cable on SRAM rears needs to be fairly loose. (in comparison to shimano) They seem to be VERY finicky about that.

    Or that your hanger is just ever so slightly tweaked. Ditch the plastic end caps for alu ones as well. IMO, the plastic ones can sometimes have enough give to make things weird.

    Maybe a cassette or something else just slightly out of spec even, if all else fails.
    Thanks scrub, I'll check the cable tension. Does it need to be almost slack when in the small/small combo?
    I've kinda not considered a tweaked hanger because it's done this from brand new. I suppose the hanger could've gotten tweaked during shipping, but it was pretty well packed and padded by knolly. I'll take a look at that.

    The plastic end caps suggestion makes sense too, if the 10 speed is super finicky to tension and small adjustments. Thanks.

    Would a too long of chain cause any of these problems. I'm a couple links too long. In fact when in the small/small combo the chain below the lower pulley drags on/wraps around the cassette.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexRandall View Post
    Have you had the bike back for a shop service???? Most bike are sold with at least 1 free one. If its a month old I'd get them to look at it and get it sorted from that end.
    Having a professional mechanic look at it would be nice, but frame and kit purchased directly from Knolly and there's no shop with knowledgeable mechanics within 200 miles. I did the build up myself.

    Confession: Despite having been an avid mountain biker for 16 years and doing most of my own wrenching..... I'm still not a very good mechanic and like a typical male, sometimes don't read all the instructions before beginning.

    I have read and watched some of the Park Tool and SRAM tutorials, but the folks here on mtbr have helped me even more over the years. I guess I'm more of an interactive learner. (But I've read enough mtbr posts to know that not all internet advice is good too )
    Last edited by KRob; 05-09-2013 at 12:13 PM.

  10. #10
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    Krob, I've found with my past 2x10 SRAM drivetrains that the alignment of the "H" stop screw, or the alignment with the smallest cog is crucial as it is the starting point of the shift up the cogs, if it is slightly off it will mess up the shifting in the middle of the cassette for some weird reason. Make sure the top pulley aligns with the smallest cog EXACTLY with zero tension on the cable. I take the cable out and chain of to align mine, then install the cable and chain, then I pedal the bike in the stand and listen for the slightest chain noise, if you hear some noise, its slightly off so adjust the H screw slightly in each direction until it goes away. I also agree with the plastic ferrule suggestion, get some metal ones. I also dont use the SRAM powerlinks as they are only supposed to be used once, I use the KMC.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigstr View Post
    Krob, I've found with my past 2x10 SRAM drivetrains that the alignment of the "H" stop screw, or the alignment with the smallest cog is crucial as it is the starting point of the shift up the cogs, if it is slightly off it will mess up the shifting in the middle of the cassette for some weird reason. Make sure the top pulley aligns with the smallest cog EXACTLY with zero tension on the cable. I take the cable out and chain of to align mine, then install the cable and chain, then I pedal the bike in the stand and listen for the slightest chain noise, if you hear some noise, its slightly off so adjust the H screw slightly in each direction until it goes away. I also agree with the plastic ferrule suggestion, get some metal ones. I also dont use the SRAM powerlinks as they are only supposed to be used once, I use the KMC.
    Interesting. Thanks Craig. I admit I didn't pay as much attention to the H limit screw as I did the L limit screw. I'll double check that alignment when I'm checking the cable.

    I have to order another connecting link anyway for when I shorten the chain so I may look into the KMC version. I partially installed the new powerlink (connected, but not locked into place) before I did the initial chain shortening and set up and I think I may have bent it a bit getting it off (Didn't know the new ones weren't flexible). May explain why I can feel it running through my hands... and maybe explains the reluctance to stay on that second to bottom cog? Although that problem doesn't correspond to when the connecting link comes around so maybe not.

  12. #12
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    Great thread....I'm a pretty knowledgable mechanic but the things KROB is describing above is EXACTLY what I've been experiencing as well regarding SRAM 10 speed. A lot of good info here to sort it out.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayha View Post
    Great thread....I'm a pretty knowledgable mechanic but the things KROB is describing above is EXACTLY what I've been experiencing as well regarding SRAM 10 speed. A lot of good info here to sort it out.
    Glad to hear that even more experienced mechanics have had the same issues.

    I noticed when I checked the H limit screw that it had to be screwed out all the way to align the pulley with the cog. Is that an indication that the cable tension is too high?

    BTW the top pulley was in a bit too far when I checked it, but when I alligned it it didn't really seem to help the shifting issues.

    The more I think about, the more I suspect a slightly tweaked hanger. On the smallest three or four cogs it acts like there's not enough cable tension and on the top 3 it acts like there's' too much. In the middle it shifts pretty well.

    Still need to change out the plastic ferrules and check the cable tensin.... but if that doesn't help, it looks like I'm down to the hanger.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Glad to hear that even more experienced mechanics have had the same issues.

    I noticed when I checked the H limit screw that it had to be screwed out all the way to align the pulley with the cog. Is that an indication that the cable tension is too high?

    BTW the top pulley was in a bit too far when I checked it, but when I alligned it it didn't really seem to help the shifting issues.

    The more I think about, the more I suspect a slightly tweaked hanger. On the smallest three or four cogs it acts like there's not enough cable tension and on the top 3 it acts like there's' too much. In the middle it shifts pretty well.

    Still need to change out the plastic ferrules and check the cable tensin.... but if that doesn't help, it looks like I'm down to the hanger.
    I can assure you it's not the hanger. I've had the same issues you are having on three different bikes. Pain in the ass! I'm going to call SRAM.

  15. #15
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    I think you've got too much tension on the cable, did you release all the tension before you checked the H limit screw? I've found that when I cant get it right, I start from scratch. Turn the barrel adjuster all the way in, then back it out one turn, pull the cable snug (not tight) and tighten the fixing bolt, pedal the bike and shift up one cog, if it goes up smoothly, shift up again and go from there. Other thing to check is if you have a kink in the cable somewhere? If that doesnt solve it, get a derailleur hanger alignment tool on that thing, either its bent or the derailleur is bent. When I got my 2011 Delirium from Knolly, it came with a bent hanger.

  16. #16
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    Actually, yeah, what craigstr said above regarding the H limit is spot on. If that's off at all, it'll throw the rest of the shifting all out of whack.

    I'm betting it's that, paired with too much cable tension.

    Before clamping the cable down, un-thread the barrel adjuster at the shifter a half dozen turns. Then you've got some slack built into your system if things are still just a touch too tight.

    I loooooove my SRAM shifters and derailleurs, but they do have some finicky issues on setup.
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  17. #17
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    Just had all these issues going from a Shimano 3x8 to the Sram 1x9 set up. Great advice has been given here. I had to go over the set up several times before I got it right. The Sram set up was a lot more finicky to get right but today's 12 mile ride let me know I finally got it right! OP keep @ it and you'll get it! Watch some stuff on You Tube to assist you if you have not already. Good luck!
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  18. #18
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    Sram's manual

    SRAM ten speed shifting issues-screen-shot-2013-05-12-6.33.06-am.png
    you're WAY more than 6mm distance tooth to tooth by this picture

    you're "B" screw adjustment is to far out from the looks in those images... should be around 6mm from cassette tooth to jockey tooth when in the largest cassette ring,\. SRAM's are very sensitive to "B" screw as they use a stiffer upper jockey setup than Shimano's.. and will cause just what you are describing... especially when you add a slightly out hanger

    Hanger most likely tweaked.. pretty much every new bike needs the hanger properly aligned
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigstr View Post
    I think you've got too much tension on the cable, did you release all the tension before you checked the H limit screw? I've found that when I cant get it right, I start from scratch. Turn the barrel adjuster all the way in, then back it out one turn, pull the cable snug (not tight) and tighten the fixing bolt, pedal the bike and shift up one cog, if it goes up smoothly, shift up again and go from there. Other thing to check is if you have a kink in the cable somewhere? If that doesnt solve it, get a derailleur hanger alignment tool on that thing, either its bent or the derailleur is bent. When I got my 2011 Delirium from Knolly, it came with a bent hanger.
    I messed around with it some more this weekend. Took chain off. Released the cable and aligned the H limit screw exactly with the bottom cog as noted in the post above. The odd thing about that is that I had to run the limit screw all the way out to get it to align. But it did align and spins clean without any rattling when in the small cog (which it did before too).

    Result? Not that much difference. Still most of the same issues just in different places on the cassette.

    Shifts up the cassette click for click pretty well from small to large. But won't drop down to smaller cogs until you click twice and then it jumps down two... all the way down now. I guess that 's an improvement. If I increase cable tension then the shifting up the cassette gets worse.
    Last edited by KRob; 05-14-2013 at 01:45 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomllama View Post
    you're WAY more than 6mm distance tooth to tooth by this picture

    you're "B" screw adjustment is to far out from the looks in those images... should be around 6mm from cassette tooth to jockey tooth when in the largest cassette ring.
    I know. That's what I said. Any idea how to get it closer to the cog? I've screwed the b-tension screw all the way in and all the way out and it mostly moves the pulley forward and back.... not up and down (very much). The picture is about as close as it gets which is 15-20mm.

    I did watch a SRAM video on setting up a 9 speed derailleur and right at the end the guy says that on a 10 speed derailleur that space should be more (than the 6mm) but he didn't say how much more.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    I know. That's what I said. Any idea how to get it closer to the cog? I've screwed the b-tension screw all the way in and all the way out and it mostly moves the pulley forward and back.... not up and down (very much). The picture is about as close as it gets which is 15-20mm.

    I did watch a SRAM video on setting up a 9 speed derailleur and right at the end the guy says that on a 10 speed derailleur that space should be more (than the 6mm) but he didn't say how much more.
    ya.. forgot it's a 10 speed,.. spacing.... my bad.. ... XG1099, XG1080 and XG999 cassettes it say 12 mm...

    I have seen two frames where we had to take the little washer at the mounting screw with the tab and spin it out of the way instead of in between the hanger tab and the b screw... not something I like but some frames set the hanger too far forward/back and/or low if you can't get it closer, call sram.... they need to make it more adjustable..

    Still think from your original description that the hanger is bent or the wheel/axle is tweaked so it's not lined up.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomllama View Post
    ya.. forgot it's a 10 speed,.. spacing.... my bad.. ... XG1099, XG1080 and XG999 cassettes it say 12 mm...

    I have seen two frames where we had to take the little washer at the mounting screw with the tab and spin it out of the way instead of in between the hanger tab and the b screw... not something I like but some frames set the hanger too far forward/back and/or low if you can't get it closer, call sram.... they need to make it more adjustable..

    Still think from your original description that the hanger is bent or the wheel/axle is tweaked so it's not lined up.
    Thanks. Still more than 12mm though. May have to try flipping the stop/washer out of the way like you mentioned and see what happens.

    Going to check with the local sporting goods/bike shop and see if they have a hanger tool and if I can borrow it (friends with the owner... just don't trust the mechanics).

  23. #23
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    KRob, been following your thread and issues. I JUST build up my Chilcotin this weekend and had the same issues. Like you I do my own wrenching, to a certain extent of course, but regardless I consider myself handy with bike stuff.

    I go a new X9 Type 2 mid cage and did the initial L/H adjustments without tensioning the cable yet. After I was happy with that, did the B tension screw... like you, noticed that with the screw backed all the way out I still have 10-12mm from the jockey to the 36t of the cassette. This bugged the crap out of me too... after an hour looking through photos in google images, noticed that SRAM exhibited this moreso than the Shimano rear derailleurs.

    Now I figured this wasn't too much of an issue but on the stand and rotating through the gears (1x10) I realized the rear chain drop in the low gears is slow or hung up.. immediately thought it was a rear hanger issue. Took it to a shop since I don't have the tool and the hanger was realigned since it was pushed inward 1-1.5mm toward the spokes.

    The bike shifts much better now but I do noticed that the shifting in the low range is still a bit slow... I contribute it to 2 things... the gap between the jockey wheel and cassette and/or going from short cage to mid cage.

    Hope this helps. Maybe you can hit up Dusty for his opinion as well. If you can share with us, that would be great as well.

    Good luck.

  24. #24
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    Tried to crop the only photo I had but you can see the gap on the largest cog, B-tension screw all the way out.


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynamicz View Post
    Tried to crop the only photo I had but you can see the gap on the largest cog, B-tension screw all the way out.

    According to SRAM as quoted by thomllama , 12mm is the new 6mm for 10 speed cassettes (Can anyone else confirm that?). My gap is bigger than that at 15-18mm.

    But with the hanger alignment fixing your problem (mostly) I'm doubly suspicious about the hanger now.

    Thanks. Anyone else with Chilcotin frames and SRAM 10 speed derailleurs notice that gap being bigger than recommended? And does it seem to affect your shifting?

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