2012 Salsa Fargo 3 drivetrain issue is driving me nuts, PLEASE help!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    2012 Salsa Fargo 3 drivetrain issue is driving me nuts, PLEASE help!

    I have a 2012 Salsa Fargo 3 which is an absolute monster of a bike. It's beyond fun on all types of terrain and I love it, but it has one extremely glaring flaw that I am at a loss as to how to get it fixed.

    I am trying to get road shifters (Sora) to work with the stock drivetrain. The bike originally had bar-end shifters, which drove me nuts, so the bike shop switched them out to road integrated shifters (because I wasn't buying the bike if it had the bar end shifters).

    My rear derailleur: Shimano Deore, 9-Speed, Long Cage
    My rear cassette: Shimano HG-50 9 speed 11-34T

    these seem to work flawlessly. I never seem to have problems shifting with my right hand. In fact, I sometimes have to shift with my right hand in order to get the shifting on my left hand to work.

    with my left hand, it's been a constant nightmare.

    my front crankset: FSA Alpha Drive Trekking, MD = 175mm
    my front chainring: FSA 26-36-48T
    my front derailleur: Shimano Deore, Low Clamp, Triple

    My front triple is almost like buying bike components. You can have 2, but you can't have all 3. "Lightweight, inexpensive, durable" - pick 2 of 3. "Granny, middle, bigring" - pick 2 of 3.

    If I have ideal shifting with granny and middle, then shifting into the big chainring is a 50/50 proposition. If I have ideal shifting with big and middle chainrings, then shifting into granny becomes problematic. I got a JTek adapter, and have had 3 different mechanics work with it at 2 different shops, and in all cases, downshifting from big chainring into middle chainring is a 50/50 proposition. Another mechanic removed the adapter, did some tuning to it, and now shifting into big chainring from the middle is a 50/50 proposition.

    When I say "50/50 proposition", what I mean is that if I shift into *gear*, I continue to pedal and after 3 full revolutions, it hasn't shifted, and I end up having to putz around with it (i.e. shift left hand into different chainring, then shift back, or continue to hold left hand shift lever while shifting the right hand - this sometimes does the trick)

    Shifting never works consistently with my left hand and I am at a complete loss and frustrated as hell to the point where I just want to punch a wall. Rear shifting is great...never had any problems back there with the road shifters, even though it's a Deore rear derailleur and cassette

    If ANYBODY has anything specific they can recommend, please do, and please use specifics as I don't necessarily know what the heck some of these items are.

    I have read that apparently there is no possible way to work a set of indexed road shifters with a MTB front triple crankset/derailleur. At the same time, I've read on a few different places, vague references to "using a 10-speed whosie with a 9-speed whatsis" but have no idea how that applies to the left hand shifters and derailleurs since they're only dealing with a 3-speed crank/chainring.

    I'd really appreciate any help. The bike, when I don't have to deal with shifting that front chainring, is so fun and so fantastic, but I don't know what to do and I don't have the $$$ to just buy an entire new drivetrain, and even if i did, what do I buy?

    SRAM 42/28 w/11-36t? That's great for flat ground, but if I want to load up with some weight and climb a serious gravel mountain pass, I'm outta luck. Similarly, if I want to go for a fast road ride, 42/11 is going to run out of oomph down a hill pretty quickly.

    Run a road crankset? 50/39/30? Well I can't use a MTB cassette, so I'm stuck with a "granny" ratio of, what, 30/32 at best?

    Any help greatly appreciated. Honestly, if it works, I'll ship you a 6-pack of your favorite, I'm so frustrated right now.
    just ride.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MagicCarpet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    The only thing I can think of that I haven't said in our previous exchanges is that I found when using a top swing / low clamp front derailleur that it was a rock catcher and I had to change it for a bottom swing / high clamp version. With the former I had very unreliable down shifts due to various sized rocks / stones landing in the mechanism and stopping it from returning to it's proper position when the cable was released.

    I still find it hard to believe the Shiftmate isn't working, but those Gevenalle shifters are the best advice you've had if it isn't happening for you. The big question then is whether or not to go full 10 speed while you're at it.

    See if the rock theory is relevant to you if you can. Just look down in to the mechanism when it doesn't change down properly.

    It sounds like you really like the bike and a solution must be just around the corner, so hang in there. Best of luck to you.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    hey Carpet,

    yeah, I think the fact that the LBS's around here

    1. Never heard of the JTek mechanism
    2. Were unaware of the incompatibility between road STI shifters and a MTB front derailleur leads me to believe that they haven't had any experience trying to mix the 2.
    3. They probably do not have the experience with this to really be able to make it work

    Unfortunately, "finding a mechanic" to make it work isn't much of an option since I purchased the bike with them.

    now considering:

    the Troll and Ogre are flat bar bikes
    the Specy AWOL has a road FD and road triple (or a CX double crank, depending upon the model)
    the Trek 920 Disc has an almost identical drivetrain to the newer Fargo 3 (i.e. SRAM X5/7, SRAM S1000 crank) but it also uses bar-end shifters, go figure!

    so I just think that the Fargo is a completely unique beast. I haven't been able to find a single instance of a bike that has MTB FD and triple crankset with drop handlebars.

    looking at that Gevenalle website though and seeing how they function, I'm fairly certain that I'd want to use them even if I wasn't having issues with my shifting. Those little suckers seem like a pretty awesome setup, like, really impressive and useful and easy-to-use. The biggest issue I had with the bar ends is that they were so 'out of the way' back there on the far-sweep of the 'chippers. This seems to completely obviate that. The only 'issue' with them is that you have to be on the hoods to shift, no shifting from the drops, which if it works smoothly, is a very minor issue

    regardless, this weekend, i'm going to head down to Portland (I live about 2 hours north along I-5) and give a few bikes with those gevenalle shifters a try. I'll post back with my results and opinions.
    just ride.

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