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Derailleur Adjustments in 4 Easy Steps!

Adjusting your bicycles components is an essential step in keeping your bike properly maintained and running smoothly. For those of you having trouble with those pesky derailleurs, here are 4 easy steps to keeping them properly aligned.

Step 1: Releasing The Cable Tension

The first step to adjust the derailleur is to release all of the cable tentation by loosing the screw that held the cable on the derailleur. Simply loosen the screw and allow the cable to hang freely.

Step 2: Setting the Outer Limits

Every derailleur should have two screws located on the derailleur itself. Ever wonder what these actually do? The only purpose of these two screws is to set the outside limits of the derailleur. A derailleur is a spring loaded device. So, these two screws simply prevent the springs from pushing the derailleur too far past the smallest and largest sprockets. Thus, preventing the chain from falling off of the rear cassette.

To make these adjustments, move the shifter on the handlebar so that the chain moves down to the smallest sprocket. Now, while standing behind the back, look at the alignment of the smallest sprocket and the top wheel on the derailleur itself. They should be aligned vertically. If not, then take a screwdriver and try turning the adjustment screws that I mentioned previously. You will notice that the derailleur will move in or out out slightly. If it does not seem to move, then try the other screw. You may have to play with them to figure out which screw to adjust. Once you have them aligned, then it's time to move to the other limit screw.

Step 3: Setting the Inner Limits

To adjust the other screw, you will have to pedal the bike with your hand. While pedaling, simply push the derailleur inwards, toward the rear tire. You will notice that the chain will move up the cassette to the largest sprocket. Once you have the chain on the largest sprocket, you can stop pedaling but keep the pressure on the derailleur so it does not spring back out. Now adjust the other screw so that the small cog on the derailleur lines up with the largest sprocket. At this point you want to make sure you push the derailleur as far inwards as it will go. Once it stops, you know that you have hit the "limit" screw. You do not want the derailleur to move past the largest sprocket vertically. Once you have achieved proper alignment with the smallest and largest sprockets, its time to re-tighten the cable.

Step 3: Re-Tightening the Cable Tension

In order to achieve the proper cable tension, you have to pedal the bike once again. The spring loaded derailleur will be rolled back down to the smallest sprocket. Once you have done this, click the shifter lever on the handlebar all the way down to the lowest gear while pulling on the loose cable at the derailleur. This will allow you to get all of the slack out of the cable before tightening it down. Now, while holding the cable taught, insert it back into the clamp and re-tighten the screw. The trick here is to just pull the cable taught, do not try to pull as hard as you can!

Now, if you have done everything correctly, you should be able to run the gears smoothly! If it does not seem quite right, then try making very small adjustments with the tension screw where the derailleur cable enters the derailleur housing. Only small adjustments here can go a long way. Another simple trick is to make sure that your derailleurs are clean. Simply spray the cassette and derailleur with some degreaser and blow it off with compressed air after a few minutes.

Congrats! You can now ride smoothly. Have fun & Ride Safe!

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Source by T Berry