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  1. #1
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    New question here. Some general questions regarding chain skipping and rear derailleurs

    Hi. First off, thanks for taking the time to read this! I will try to give a bit of background but not too much to bore anyone. I have been a casual rider for several years but have never really done maintenance or routine upkeep of my own bikes. Around 10 years ago I purchased a new specialized hard rock sport which has done really well considering my lack of upkeep that I am just learning about now. Last fall I broke a chain and replaced it, which didn't seem to be that big of a deal. However, once I replaced the chain, it kept skipping something horribly. I had the cassette replaced thinking that would help. However I am still having issues. I have new cables but have not put them on yet. While looking up videos and reading up on adjustment, I noticed that I no longer have a b-screw in my rear derailleur (nor anything to thread one into) I tried to rig something up from the hardware store, but that seems iffy. Seeing those problems, I am considering replacing the rear derailleur to see if that will fix it (in addition to new cables). My bike has gone through many falls since I hadn't been putting it in a stand and the wind would frequently blow it over...so that may have bent it or something. (there are other issues I have noticed too that lead me to think replacing is a good idea) However, since I am so new at bike repair, I am wondering if I am missing something obvious?

    Seconldy, there is the issue of what to replace it with. I am discovering that my set up is pretty out of date. I have an 8 speed cassette with an 8 speed shifter set up (SRAM x7 shifters and SRAM S-x4 rear derailleur). It looks like a SRAM X9 might work since I have seen some people claim it can accommodate 8 speeds, but I wasn't able to find anything authoritative. Any suggestions on if I need to replace it or what to replace it with are GREATLY appreciated! I am itching to get riding again since the weather is getting nice and it becomes a main source of transportation and recreation for me.

  2. #2
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    Replace the chainrings too. If that doesn't fix it, replace the jockey wheels on the rear derailleur. The chain, chainrings, and cassette wear together. You can normally change the chain a few times if you do it early and often enough (at least yearly) and keep the cassette and chainrings. If you wait too long you have to do everything at once.

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  3. #3
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    Would you suggest replacing the derailleur as well or to try this before that? I am thinking since I really haven't had anything done to it for 10 years that it is time for some replacements. I will look into the chain rings too though. Thanks for the suggestion! This newbie who is just dipping his feet into bike repair really appreciates it.

  4. #4
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    You can look at them and see if they are worn. Just flip the bike upside down and pedal it. You should be able to see exactly what it is skipping on.

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  5. #5
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    It is skipping under pressure on all of the rings between the largest and the smallest in the rear cassette. I am not seeing any skipping on the front chainrings. I know my tensions are a bit off from some of the work I had been doing and my intention of replacing cables, but I was wondering if doing that would fix it since my current rear derailleur can't be adjusted apart from the limit screws (and there is some tweaking needing to be done since the top jockey wheel will come in contact with the high and low gears since the b-screw is missing.

  6. #6
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    just an update in case anybody is actually following this. I am going to try to just replace the whole rear derailleur and take it from there. I'm hoping that just upgrading and replacing parts will fix the issue. Hopefully running new cables to the new derailleur and cleaning/lubing the chain again will take care of my shifting woes. A little adventurous for a 'first project' but I'm excited for the learning experience.

  7. #7
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    You need to be sure your derailluer hanger is in alignment also.

  8. #8
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    A bike shop might give you a b-angle adjustment screw for free.

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    Last edited by drwx; 04-19-2017 at 03:10 PM.
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  9. #9
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    I'd check the derailluer hanger and also make sure the derailluer is adjusted correctly.
    Adjust the barrel adjuster a quarter turn at a time and try it. If the indexing is off a little too much then it will skip all over the place like you described.

  10. #10
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    I'd replace the chainring.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  11. #11
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    All your symptoms describe normal wear of parts. As DRWX correctly posted, all the transmission components wear together. Also, chain skipping is normally more evident under pressure.

    As a learning exercise, you can try replacing individual components and learn how each one modifies your bike behavior.
    Another option, is to change the whole set up at once and stop suffering.

    Since you describe yourself as a casual rider, I believe you will not be in need of top of line accessories.

    Nowadays transmission prices have become really affordable for 3x8 and 3x9 systems. Shimano, for example, has tuned their lower tier group set (Altus) for 3x9 gears. And believe me, this line of product work just fine, and look just as good as his bigger brothers. Acera and Alivio sets (a bit higher tiers) share a lot of the characteristics you would expect in top tiers just 9 years ago.

    Take a look at this page, and see I'm not lying about the looks of Altus components.
    ALTUS M2000

  12. #12
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    After coming back with a new question, I see I never did post my results. I ended up buying a new sram x9 derailleur and also replaced the cables. Once doing that overhaul, it ran like new...I couldn't believe how much of a difference it made! Thanks again for everyone who posted thoughts and suggestions. I am grateful for others willing to share their knowledge and experience in this way.

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