The Derailleur Failure

Recently I ran into a problem I had no idea how to deal with. I am not sure if hitting a small pothole caused the problem or not but after hitting it I found that I could no longer shift into the big chain ring (or big gear on the peddle side) and was bound to use the small one for the rest of the ride. I have been working on getting strong enough to use the harder gears more and have started to get the hang of it. So this totally bummed me out. Those of you with some riding experience know that you use your easy gears to rest your legs and your heavy gears to rest your lungs. Doing this back and forth throughout your ride can make you last a lot longer on a ride.

Not having time the rest of the week to work on my bike, thanks to work, I decided this Saturday to try and get that derailleur set up so that I would be able to ride Sunday. After all it couldn’t be that hard. There are only two screws. One sets the outside distance movement of the derailleur and the other sets the inside distance. You can  usually bet that if you think that something that you have never done before is going to be easy you’re in trouble.

Now I knew that the inside screw would adjust the inside distance so I made sure that that was set properly then I used the outside screw to adjust the distance on the outside but that didn’t seem to move the derailleur at all. I turned it one way and then the other. No good. I tried it out by riding the bike and found that it was ten times worse than it was before I started with it. What to do? I started searching the web for answers and found a lady’s post that recommended never messing with the screws once they had been set by a professional but to adjust the tension on the cable with the barrel adjuster. You turn it toward you to loosen it and away from you to tighten it. I sure wish that I had found that post before I had messed with the screws.

I then looked for a video and found one that walks you through the entire process of setting up the derailleur professionally. I found that the whole problem had been that my cable needed to be adjusted as it had become too loose and possibly the bump had pushed it over the edge.

Now I recommend that you watch this video at least once to familiarize yourself with this process so that you are not caught unprepared like I was. You should also add to your travel pack on your bike, if you don’t already have these tools there, a Philips screw driver, a small pare of plyers, and a medium size Allen pack. That is all that you will need to correct this problem out on the road.

That’s all for now. See you on the road.

Tony R.


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